FAR January 2013

The first launch of the new year was pretty eventful. The weather was perfect so I decided to chance my two-stage rocket affectionately called Frankenstager. FS was assembled from several miscellaneous spare parts and rockets already in my garage to get some experience with two-stage design and flight.

The wavier for the FAR launch was 30,000′, so to make sure I didn’t bust the wavier I made some alterations to the motors and added ballast to keep things closer to the ground. Another optimistic late addition was a keychain cam secured with a #8 screw and covered with some foil tape. The hope was that it would stay on during the Mach 1.8 flight and get some footage before being cooked or shut off. I had FS on the pad after some much needed help from Matt from Manhattan Beach (Thanks!), then after some initial ignition hiccups an oversized Mg/Teflon igniter lit FS’s 6000N-s M booster motor with a small delay. The boost was a little off vertical but not too bad, burning for roughly 4 seconds. The Raven altimeter in the booster section was set to separate the stages with a 1 gram black powder charge a second after booster burnout detection. Then another second after that the Raven altimeter in the sustainer lit the 3600N-s L motor via head end ignition which took several seconds to come up to pressure. The sustainer lit to my excitement painting another white stroke of smoke in the sky which was soon followed by a nice throaty roar. Everything held together and my GPS started beeping again before reaching apogee which looked to be around 27,000′ from the readouts on the radio. I followed the signal all the way down to 7,600′ when suddenly the signal died.

Long story short, the last known signal from the GPS was located 5 miles southwest on the fringe of a small mountain range.  After hiking a total of 6 hours I threw in the towel and resolved to search for the missing pieces  another day. Another huge thanks to Matt for spending several hours looking for my booster, if you’re reading this I owe ya! I really hope to have an update soon.

  1. #1 by Matt Mundy on February 14, 2013 - 9:55 pm


    Hope all is well with you.

    That was a great flight and it looks like you learned/gathered quite a bit of useful knowledge from it. I’m also glad to hear that you recovered el FS and hopefully she’s ready to fly again….soon! (Please…haha).

    I was more than happy to help pre launch and post as I truly didn’t want her to go missing. Sorry that I sorta missed the landing zone search area that day. Heard the booster landed 3+ miles from the site….I’ll bring my trail running shoes next time. 😉

    Hit me up before you go out again….I’d love to help out.


  2. #2 by James on February 15, 2013 - 7:01 pm

    Matt thanks again for helping out and spending your time looking for my rockets! Hope to see you out there again soon.

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