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Before and After Photo Contest
Subtitle: The Agony of Defeat

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LambdaYou have spent countless hours working on a rocket. You have planned the flight. You have set it on the pad. The anticipation is building and a count down begins. Smoke, flame, and then...

... the agony of defeat. Oh, yes, for those with any years on them, these words are ingrained into our heads. ABC's Wide World of Sports opening introduction featuring ski jumper Vinko Bogataj, whose dreadful misjump and crash of March 21, 1970, brought chills to all who watched it... over and over again.

With that in mind, this photo contest is to document your rocketing "agony of defeat" with a BEFORE and AFTER picture.

Winners will be judged by EMRR Guests during a voting week of October 27 - 31, 2008.

  • Entry photos must be two (2) photos
    1. (1) BEFORE - on display, on pad, etc.
    2. (1) AFTER - as close to the "agony" as possible
  • Entry may be GIF, JPEG, of BMP - or - if you don't have an electronic photo, e-mail us for a mailing address and we will scan the pictures for you.
    Look closely at the snow impression... where did this rocket land and where did the ejection charge fire? You're right.
  • The "write-up" need only be basic information about the rocket and perhaps a valuation of it in dollars, time, etc. Also include what happened that caused the "agony". Any additional information is welcome.
  • MUST Be "G-Rated".
  • Contestants may only enter (1) entry
  • Contestants must be on EMRR's Announcement List to be eligible
  • Contest is over on 10/26/2008.
  • Online Voting will take place from 10/27 - 10/31.

PRIZE SELECTION: The normal prize selection procedure for EMRR is that at the end of the contest winners will get an e-mail THROUGH THE eList asking them to acknowledge by reply within a week. Prize selection is done through this e-mail exchange.

PRIZE TABLE* (Can you donate a prize):

Art Applewhite Rockets
UFO Picture Any Style of Flying Saucer kit of your choice of design up to a 29mm motor mount.

Art's Flying Saucers NEVER Fail!
SpaceCad Logo
(1) SpaceCAD Registration License

Back to the drawing board with expert help!
(1) Decaffeinator Rocket

It is made of styrofoam cups... what harm could come from that?!
Guest: Brook Wood Payloader
(1) Quest Q E-Z Payloader

Protect your payload (or not)!
Apogee Components
Apogee Components
(1) RockSIM Design Software V8

Design it right the first time!
SpaceCad Logo
(1) SpaceCAD Registration License

Entry #4: Moe Bertrand 99 pts
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Upscale "Estes" Scrambler

My upscale Scrambler was born of an idea spawned when my good buddy (and fellow EMRRer) Geoffrey Kerbel showed me a piece of larger diameter clear tubing suitable for a payload section.  Since I'm nearly always on the lookout for yet another new rocketry project I gladly accepted a foot or so of the material. He put the dial caliper on the somewhat flexible tube and gave me the best diameter reading he could. I needed an accurate number to order the custom balsa nose cone and transition.

In the back of my mind I'd been wanting to upscale the classic Estes Scrambler cluster bird and now the project was set in motion.  I wanted a cluster of three 24mm motors so I selected BT80H for the main airframe.  I ordered the custom balsa nose cone and transition as well as some lite ply centering rings from BMS. I even went a step further and ordered a sheet of  custom decals from Tango Papa.  The build went without a hitch and as usual I planned to fly my bird "nekked" for the first flight.

Launch day (Feb 9th, 2008) arrived and I carefully packed a couple raw hens eggs in the payload section. Six small machine screws secured the payload section together.  I finished prepping the Scrambler with three Estes E9-4 motors and carefully packed the 36-inch nylon chute on top of a thick layer of "dog barf" wadding. I filled out the requisite flight card and after the cursory inspection I proceeded to a pad with a ¼-inch launch rod.   I paid careful attention hooking up the clip whip to the engine cluster and signaled I was ready to launch.  I called a heads up launch and the Rainbow Valley crowd stood ready.

Please understand I really enjoy photographing rockets and I typically let someone else (usually a youngster) perform the launch duty.  I readied my Canon 30D digital SLR and waited for the countdown.   As soon as the countdown reached Zero I started snapping photos. My camera has a decent "burst mode" so I usually get at least one photo of a rocket leaping off the pad.  Well today, the Scrambler went nowhere. As soon as the engines ignited the fireworks started.  Thankfully I just held the shutter button down and managed to capture some really amazing photos of the carnage.   Just as soon as the show began it seemed to be over.  Flabbergasted, I waited a minute or two for the smoke to clear and approached the pad with caution.  Still on the pad, my Scrambler was toast.  The payload section had blown off the booster section and landed nearby, still attached by the long shock cord. 

I cleaned up the mess from the launch area and headed back to my prep area to determine what happened.  What became obvious during the walk back was two of the motors had CATO'd while the third failed to20ignite. The two culprits were hanging about halfway out the back of the rocket and both had completely split open lengthwise. The third motor was still snug in the motor tube, unaffected by the fireworks.  The booster section was basically intact but completely charred on the inside as well as being split open between two of the fins.  As for the payload section, I removed the nose cone and unpacked the precious cargo. Amazingly, neither egg had broken during their brief suborbital "flight."  Thankfully, the shock cord was so long the 36" chute was able to completely deploy and safely lower the payload section to the ground.   A lot of effort went into creating my upscale Scrambler, including about $30 for the two custom balsa turnings. Thankfully, they're still usable and will be recycled into the rebirth project.  I have yet to rebuild the Scrambler but the components are ready and a very nice sheet of custom decals stands by to dress it up.  I hope to have much better luck with the Scrambler next time.

Entry #39: Phil Handley 37 pts
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Malcolm Jennings' tried to launch his scratch built (and battle-scarred) rocket at IRW in Scotland this year on a Pro54 White Thunder motor. When the button was pressed, the motor mount tube decided that the rest of the rocket would only hold it back. It shred the centering rings, shot straight through the rest of the rocket and got tangled in the shock cord. After a full loop, it freed itself and shot off to the left and hit the ground a few feet away from someone's van. Might be wise use a bit more glue on the centering rings next time!

Entry #5: James Gartrell 36 pts
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Before and after photos of Mark Thell's Cineroc/Omega launch at NARAM-50. I stopped by to talk with Mark just before the launch. I think I was as thrilled to see his rocket as he was to fly it at NARAM-50. I was thinking how beautiful the flight would be as I took the "before" photo. Similarly, I felt the agony I was sure Mark was feeling as I took the "after" photo. Ouch!! Thanks for allowing me to share, Mark. He reports the damage was mininal and it will be repaired. Sweet!

Entry #31: Geoffrey Kerbel 29 pts
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This was what was left of my "beautiful" upscale of the Estes Satellite Interceptor. It is a 2.56X of the original with a LOC 2.5 main body tube. It was built because I had a cone type engine retainer that I had won from a previous EMRR contest. The original had the engine cone as well but was for display only. The cone was for a 29mm engine and the 2.56X size kept the rocket weight down to where most of the available 29mm engines would fly it. After two earlier flights went perfectly on a G motor, then a H motor, I wanted to try the I200! I did the sims on it and it was ok on velocity and altitude. My good friend Moe Bertrand did the picture taking that day and recorded most of the flight.

After a long speech from the RSO on the beauty of the rocket( he really fell in love with it), the countdown was on and the rocket was off. I really wasn't ready for the instant "see ya" and at about 300' there was a very loud bang. I was expecting to see a lot of plywood and cardboard tube come raining down as that was clearly a sonic boom but the rocket just kept on heading up. The motor burn was short but that dang thing just kept going and going ( you get the idea)! Just as it was about to disappear, it started to arch over and started down. There was a medium delay in the motor and I waited and waited. It soon became clear that it was not going to have a chute. We did hear a pop and someone with binoculars said the nose cone was out but that was it. Of course I had to watch the thing go thud into the hard desert but there was nothing I could do. I thought there went about $30 worth of material, four weeks of building and another two to finish and $25 worth of Excelisor decals! And the RSO had really played it up!

After looking it over at the range, all I could figure was that the I200 sent it up so fast that the chute was stuffed way down into the body tube. The ejection charge was enough to push out the cone but the chute was too far down the tube to get out. However, after looking it over at home, I was very surprised to find the "fin can" without a single scratch or crack anywhere! The motor mount was solid and not one fillet was broken! Amazing! It had come in from at least 2000'+ and with a little work I had it back together ready to fly about three weeks later! I added a "cold air baffle" which cut the chute bay area about in half. I don't know if I will send it up again on an I200 but with another set of Fred's decals it is again a beauty and ready to fly.

Entry #34: Nathan Dalrymple 28 pts
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My Binder Design Velociraptor is no more. I have attached a few pictures that tell the story. She launched on an Animal Motor Works K530 Green Gorilla. Beautiful green flame against the gray sky! Straight up launch, just gorgeous. until apogee (6800' AGL or so), where there was no hint of deployment. She hit 0.66 miles to the southwest of the launch site, as measured by the BigRedBee GPS in her nose (tracked it all the way down!). When we got to the impact site, there was no debris field-just the aft 8 inches or so of this once-tall rocket sticking out of the ground. Almost a total loss-saved the parachutes and a few other oddments. We racked our brains while walking back to the truck to try to come up with a theory for the failure, but nothing sounded completely plausible. In the end, I chalked it up to a broken solder joint or something similar.

Until. I downloaded the pictures my father-in-law took before the launch. Then I understood why it crashed. If you'll look closely at the bottom two frames in the collage (bottom is my rocket in prep, middle is picture from the Binder Design website,, and compare them, you'll see that I put the payload bay on upside-down. It should have been obvious-there is a fat gray stripe around the bottom of the drogue bay. This should have been next to the booster, not the nosecone. So-the altimeter was upside-down in the bay, and being of the accelerometer variety, was expecting a launch in the downward direction. This never happened, and so neither did deployment. Doh!

So, the crash was purely pilot error. Not hardware, or software, or electronics. Probably lack of sleep combined with the excitement of the launch. I learned several things from this experience:

1. Get a good night's sleep before the launch.
2. Use a backup deployment device of a different type than the primary. A barometric unit would have saved this bird. Or a wireless. Or a MAD. Or a timer.
3. Those AMW Green Gorillas have a gorgeous flame!

Despite the sheer, incomprehensible obviousness of my mistake, I have learned I am not alone. A good buddy sent me a link to this site ( I must be a long lost Dumas cousin.

Entry #16: Tom Krawczyk 27 pts
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Here is a before and after shot at an unsuccessful attempt in flying an Estes T-25 Centurian. The kit was equipped with several electronic servos and a remote control with the idea to send the kit off a pad at a 60 degree angle and upon engine burnout, it turns into a remote control glider which you could practical pick your spot for the landing.

Liftoff was great, however our engine choice of a composite E30 rather than the suggested Black Powder D12P proved to be just a tad too much power as it made a full 360 degree arching loop and came down into the rocky soil under full power. As you can see by my 7 year old nephews face, there wasn't much salvageable.

Entry #10: Bill Spadafora 26
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This disaster was my first Level 2 attempt at NARAM 43. The rocket was 6" in diameter and weighed about 12 pounds. It was supposed to be a conservative flight on a J350. It was flown on the sport range and carefully aimed away from the contest range. To make sure the parachute came out I had a timer and used the motor as a backup. Things did not go as planned. The up part went well but when I expected the chute to deploy the nose cone moved most of the way out and stopped. The rocket continued on an arc towards the contest range. Fortunately, nobody was hurt but I was told that the noise it made on it's way down was scary. I learned a valuable lesson on this flight. Pyrodex is not the same thing as black powder. It also confirmed my lack on confidence in motor delays.

Entry #41: Joe Pscolka, Jr. 23 pts
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I built this rocket "Mass Flux" specifically for this years Balls 17 research launch in Black Rock, Nevada. I put a lot of hours into laying up the fiberglass tubes, fiberglass nose cone, etc. It stands 12' tall with a diameter of 7.25", weighing in at 32 pounds without a motor.

The motor I made for this flight was a true 4" diameter, 6 grain O-3000 containing 23 pounds of propellant. This was the 89th research motor I made without a single mishap or CATO. Well, you know what they say, "There is a first time for everything"!

When the LCO pushed the launch button the motor overpressurized and burst with a mighty whump!!! That thing sounded and felt like a 500 pound bomb going off. Thank God for safe distances! The entire 5' long booster section was obliterated into very small pieces.

I'm relatively sure I know what caused the CATO. I use a spreadsheet program to calculate the mass flux of each individual grain in the motor. Prior to the CATO, the calculated mass flux numbers were well within the safe zone. However, after the CATO, while trying to figure out what went wrong, an error was found in the mass flux formula that gave false numbers. After fixing the formula, the mass flux number for grain #5 was unacceptable. Essentially, grain #5 was acting as a nozzle within the motor, tearing chunks of propellant from the core and totally plugging the nozzle as soon as the motor fully pressurized. Tough luck for me, but a valuable (albeit expensive) lesson learned.

The booster of the aptly named "Mass Flux" will be rebuilt this winter. Next time it will be loaded on the launcher with a 6" "P" motor.

Entry #44: Eric Maher 23 pts
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This is my son's Loc Lil Nuke. The estes E9-4 cato'd on ignition. Damage to the rocket was surprisingly light. The severed shock cord was the worst of it. The photos were taken by Scott Sellers at the October Syracuse Rocket Club launch.

"When they work they're cool, and when they don't work they're really cool." - Unknown

Entry #42: Bruce Fishbein 22 pts
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Maggie's Momba is named after my daughter, and is also a tribute to our favorite ice cream store where we used to live in Arizona (Maggie Moo's). This was my first attempt at any kind of free-form masking and painting of a model rocket, and I was pretty pleased with the results. I also made some custom decals on my ink-jet printer, which came out well too.

The maiden flight was on an Aerotech F50-6T single-use motor at the 4/19/08 CMASS launch in Amesbury, MA. Other than a little trouble inserting the igniter, nothing seemed amiss. Until the countdown got to zero, that is.

The motor split along its length and blew apart the motor tube and airframe, which split into pieces along the lines of the fin slots. You can also see some of the smaller parts flying through the air in the photo.

I sent a warranty claim (along with these photos) to Aerotech and they not only replaced the motor but also sent me a mustang, which has become a great addition to my collection.

Entry #1: Mark Van Luvender
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My LOC Expediter, which crashed on Sunday at NSL 2007 in Muncie.  Flight was on an I218R, and there was no ejection event, so the poor rocket did it's best to auger in to the rock hard landscape of Muncie with a sickening "pop!" sound - as a friend of mine put it - much like the popping heard when opening a tube of Pillsbury biscuits so you can put them in the oven...Ouch!

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Entry #2: Dick Stafford
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The Ringer is a ring fin design based on a piece of window tint tube and a unique (odd? weird?) yarn-wrapped cone. So, a lot of the rocket is scrounged parts and leftovers. You can read all about it here.

Just because it was made from scrounged stuff, doesn’t mean I wasn't proud of it. Like I said, the cone was unique and took a lot of work. And that finish. The Krylon X-Metals purple over the perfect surface of the tint tube looked great. On its 2nd flight, I suffered my first non-ejection event on a 29mm RMS. In honor of the coming Olympic games, it stuck its landing.

As I dug it out, I was surprised both that there was barely any tube damage (that tint tube is tough stuff) and I only found one scrap of the cone. It wasn't until I dug out the sod plug until I found out why.

Entry #3: Verna DeArman
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Life, Death and Resurrection

This is my original Battlestar Galactica 4 engine Hyper Viper. It has made several great flights on 3 B6-0 and 1 B6-6, including the one where we missed igniting the core engine -which resulted in a spectacular 1 point landing and the damage you see in the photos.

The Hyper Viper had to have the front half of the main body tube replaced all the way back to the canopy's leading edge. After that, we were able to 'Bondo' the nose cone cracks with some super glue and sanding. It also required some wing and tail repair, a new chute and shock cord mount.

As far as cosmetics go, we decided to paint only the parts that had been replaced and only re-applied decals as needed. The end result leaves the Hyper Viper with a nice 'weathered / combat' look.

It's our philosophy that no rocket is ever too far gone to rebuild - something.

Entry #6: Brian Coyle
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Performance Rocketry all fiberglass G3 (modified fin shape), SkyRipper 54mm J263 hybrid motor. Estimated alititude 3,000 ft. No deploy... Read more

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Entry #7: Eric Fadely
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This was my newest (7) motor 29mm cluster. I put it up at our Auxiliary Air Field on it's maiden flight with (3) G64-W's. Only two lit and didn't get the altimeter up high enough to arm so it came down hard onto the concrete runway.

Entry #8: Jon Chrisman
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I chose to build and fly a BSD 38 Special for my first Level 1 certification flight..I worked tirelessly on this rocket to build it 'right' as this was my first High Power rocket..The hard work paid off as I had a beautiful looking rocket at completion..Then I got overly ambitious. I decided that on my L1 attempt I was to use dual deployment as well! Not a good decision! It was pretty windy that day(Feb 9th 2008), rocket made a pretty good ascent, but weathercocked pretty badly due to the wind, then nothing..When will the ejection charges going to go off? None did..Attempted to make a nice post hole in the hard sod field turf..Post mortem determined that there was not enough space between the barometric sensor on my altimeter and the altimeter sled..Lesson learned: Don't bite off more then you can chew, or venture in water WAY over your head!

Entry #9: Kathy Miller
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This was the second build and flight of this unusual upscale of a 12" featherweight tumble-recovery model. Weighing in at 55 lbs, 7.5" diameter and 12' tall, Fiddle Faddle was flying on an AMW M1850GG. The night before flight it had rained quite hard and water had gotten into the bed of the pick-up. The top of the booster was wet and a bit swollen. I had been advised not use shear pins to hold the sections together anticipating a non-apogee event from the combination of swollen cardboard and sheer pins. I went with the advice from more seasoned rocketeers. Unfortunately, at motor burnout the rocket separated with the rocket coming in for a crash landing. Ouch!

Entry #11: Kevin Johnson
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I've got a faily good entry for this contest- from NARAM-49's G Superroc event. I built a fairly straightforward design, 12 feet of bt-55 tube using Quest T-35 as external couplers. The motor was an Ellis Mountain G36-5. Things went well getting it out to the pads and on the rod, but that's where the good times stopped.

These before and during photos are courtesey of Chris Taylor via

Entry #12: Cliff Oliver
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My Fliskits Richter Recker came to grief one sunny afternoon at one of SEARS' monthly launches a couple years back. We've all read (or saw) the little pamphlet that Jim puts in each of his cluster model kits. Right? Well, apparently, there's a reason for it! One of the steps listed in these detailed instructions say to protect the ejection charge end of black powder motors with a bit of wadding. This is to prevent a motor that did not ignite at launch from being lit from the top by the other burning motors ejection charges.

With me so far? Well, needless to say I did not follow those instructions. I loaded three Estes D12's without the wadding on the tops. The 'Recker launched but, seemed a bit under powered. It did fly fairly well, however and deployed it's chute at about apogee as planned. On the way down I noticed a bit of smoke emitting from the top of the booster section. You know, the part of the rocket that smoke would come from if one of the motors was burning from it's top down! It was at the same instant that my brain said "I think my rocket is on fire" that the body tube just forward of the fins separated from the rest of the rocket. It too was smoking rather heavily. So, picture this, we have one burning part of a rocket that has just landed (on a sod farm, no less!) and one still floating down lazily on it's chute. (also heading sod!) Luckily, the motor mount end burnt itself out during the descent. Not so for the other parts. Once it landed on the sod bystanders kicked it (at my ur gent r equest) a few feet into the dirt road to save the sod from damage. Then it received a healthy dose of lemon lime gatoraid to cool it down. Yep, it was the closest fire fighting agent at the time.

Upon inspection, I saw that one of the motors did not ignite at launch. And yes it did light at or just after apogee - from the top! It burned the body tube apart. the motor mount was also badly bruned and the fins broke off at impact with the ground. I rebuilt the booster section and flew it again with all three motors properly protected by wadding over the top covering the ejection charges like I should have in the first place!

You can see videos of the flight at these links.

Moral to the story? Read and follow instructions. They were put there for a reason by someone whose been there, done that!

Entry #13: Tony Vincent
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This is my Roachwerks Nike Hercules (4x18mm) waiting for it's maiden flight on 4/19/2008.

The boost was great! Delay was right on and had a good chute. I was close enough to see one of the fins pop off on landing. But as I got closer I could see the aft end was badly burned and two of the motors were missing. One (or two) of the motors had burn though it's side. No one had noticed any thing during the flight.

I have since rebuilt the booster section and had a great flight at NARAM 50 on 4xC6-5s with Gordon (sandman/Roachwerks) Agnello there to see it fly.

Entry #14: Steve Kristal
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Not Enough Black Powder

Entry #15: Rick VanVoorhis
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The last flight of Coral Snake on the K700 was quite an event with the top breaking off at 700 MPH and the fincan flying to about 7,000 feet before coming in. The top drifted off over a river and my son was nice enough to retrieve that. This was the same day that the Space Shuttle Columbia came in and I flew the rocket as a memorial flight.

All the pieces.

Entry #17: Terry Markovich
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Black Brant XI Before and After

The rocket is a scratch-built, one-quarter scale version of the Black Brant XI and it had flown three successful flights prior to this attempt.

The first-stage booster has a cluster of two motors. One of those motors CATOed immediately after the above photo was taken. Below is a snapshot from the onboard video mounted in the third-stage. At the other end of the shock cord is the second-stage with the third-stage fin can and first-stage coupler still attached. Safety features designed into the rocket prevented the second and third-stage motors from igniting.

Luckily it wasn't very far to the ground, the "minor" damage was quickly repaired, and the Black Brant XI has gone on to fly again. More information and videos (including this short flight) area available on the Black Brant pages at:

Entry #18: Douglas Gardei
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My entry is the demise of my Ladyrobin. Its a stretched Phenolic version of the PML Aurora. Before construction, I coated the tubes with 6oz Fiberglass. Its strong, its heavy, and was my favorite rocket to fly with my AMW 38/640 motor. The "Before" picture shows the size of the Ladyrobin. Standing next to the rocket is Paul Robinson (left), Robert DeHate (right) and me. Of course the Ladyrobin is loaded with a AMW motor ;).

Since the first photo was taken, the Ladyrobin's tail was badly damaged at Nerrf 3. After a flight with an AMW J370GG, there was a separation and the lower section snapped in half just a few inches above the fins. So I spent about $150 to rebuild the lower section. I also decided to replace the altimeter bay because the old altimeter bay was warn out.

The "After" picture was taken Sept 1th, 2007 (FlisKits Anniversary Launch) after the Ladyrobin's first and last flight after the booster's rebuild. I used an AMW I357GG with motor eject as a backup to the apogee charge. Dual Deploy was to be controlled by a Transolve PK-6 Altimeter with each charge connected to two low current igniters. After two misfires, the third time was the charm and the Ladyrobin lifted off with a brillant green flame. I should of gave up after the second attempt. After apogee, it was apparent something was terribly wrong. No Motor Eject. No altimeter controlled Apogee Eject. I was hopping and praying for a main event... but the rocket disappeared on the other side of a grassy hill and I heard the heartbreaking Thump!.

The photo shows everything left after the crash. Everything between the nosecone and altimeter bay (which was in the middle of the rocket) was jammed into the nosecone (parachute, nomex cloth, tubular nylon). The Altimeter bay is completely smashed (seen to the right at the base of the nosecone). The orange piece is the largest piece of the upper section tube left and its just a side of the tube. You can see a few smaller body sections littering the ground around the site, many more body fragments were buried around the nosecone.

Here is a picture take of what I was able to recover from the site. Photo by Jim Flis.

Entry #19: Glenn Roth
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I have a sumission for "before and after," called the "GAR Special." A 4 ft long conversion of a Titan, @ least the nose cone is from a Titan. Orginally, I had my own fin design on it with a 3 engine cluster. I got tired of fiddling with "clip whips" and came upon a brain storm! I'll just cut the old "tail" section off and make a whole new fin design thats interchangeable!

I used spent engines to make the connection of the new fins to the rocket plus screws to hold it together. However, I forgot one thing. The "blast deflector plate" inside and "back pressure." Day of launch was terrific! Took off like a bat out of you know! Then came the "ejection charge" and that was last I saw of my new "interchangeable fins.

Entry #20: Chris Palmer
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This was the standard Estes Rubicon without the motor retainer. I usually skip the retainer so a larger motor can be used. After multiple flights w/D12’s, E9’s etc., I flew it with an F21-8 Aerotech (man it really flies nice on this motor, fast and high—hope they bring it back ). On this launch I decided to upgrade the motor to an Ellis G37. I dubbed it the last flight of the Rubicon on the flight card because I fully expected the fins to pop off in flight or the tubes to collapse. I really hadn’t planned for a CATO!!! The first photo is really a gem (thanks to our wonderful club photographer Eldred Pickett) as it shows the moment of the CATO with the motor being blown out to the left of the rocket and the tubes etc being destroyed. The final photo shows the final damage with the grain of the Ellis motor still intact. The bright side of all this is I did manage to get closest to pad, although most of it never really left the pad. There is enough of the kit left for a rebuild, NC, fins. This time it will be a cluster though with flash pan ignition ;-)))

Entry #21: Tim Blohm
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Here is my entry, my 4x upscale of the Quest Tomahawk Cruise Missile. I really liked how this turned out. It took alot of time, the scoop was a bit tricky, but in the end it looked pretty menacing. I built it with a 54mm motor mount, but on it's maiden flight I decided to go with an AT I195J, which is only 38mm. Only 50 lbs. of thrust and a 2.5 second burn I was thinking I could get a good look at how it performs and check stability. I loaded the motor, used my 38/54 mm spacer and set it up to launch. 3,2,1, ignition... it kind of sat there for a second, then when it started taking off it was moving in what seemed like slow motion, like something was holding it back, and it had a funny sound. It climbed to maybe 500 feet, went nose down, and SMACK!! into the hard playa. Well, apparently, while I had motor retention for a 54mm casing, I did not configure the motor retention correctly using the spacer(or an engine block would have worked as well). So as the motor was burning , it was actually going up into the motor tube, which thru the whole flight out of whack and the resulting core sample. I have since rebuilt it, but it was stolen out of my garage one day. Yeah, that sucked. :(

Entry #22: Dwayne Shmel
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I built this Fat Boy using my printed paper lamination technique to give it a unique appearance. The process is straightforward, and once you get the hang of it, much easier than the normal filling-sanding-painting-decal process - especially when you want your entire rocket to be patterned or "decorated." As a matter of fact, this rocket won first place in my club's Fat Boy "beauty contest", even after it was seasoned with a dozen launches. Getting a little bored with the C and D motors, I decided to add a little extra power to the "Yellow Jacket" and loaded it with an F12-5J motor for our club's (monthly) June 28th launch. It was pretty windy that day and I should have chosen a motor with more initial thrust to overcome the wind. The little yellow "bee" went straight up about 50' then made a horizontal "bee line" over a hill and to the northwest - landing in the middle of a green wheat field. After a couple of futile hours of searching, I gave up. My rocket and 24mm Aerotech motor casing were gone. Fast forward to August 23rd - almost two months later - to the monthly launch site. The wheat had been harvested now so I decided to search one last time for my Yellow Jacket. As I approached the field my hopes dropped quickly as I notice the field had already been plowed. Even if I could get close to the estimated landing point - the rocket may be buried in the dirt. With diminished expectations, my wife and I divided and conquered the search area. After about 15 minutes, my wife spotted what she thought was a mangled bottle or soda can in the dirt. Low and behold, we found the wayward rocket after 2 months in the elements. It lay partially buried in the soil and was barely recognizable - showing evidence of being run over or sheared by the ploughshare. I was elated to discovery the motor casing was still inside and undamaged. The rocket is a complete loss and we never found the plastic nose cone or chute even after digging around the adjacent dirt for a while. But I was glad to recover that expensive casing. And that is my rocket's agony of de-wheat (field).

Entry #23: James Turner
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It starts with the completion of my Aerotech Astrobee D scale kit on 07/18/2007. This was my first build into mid-power rocketry. On 07/28/2007 was going to be the maiden flight for this bird. I read all instructions, loaded my 29/40-120 Aerotech case with a G64-4W load for the first time, double check the chute packing and loaded it on the launch pad. My brother-in-laws from AZ were also on hand for this event. The first flight was spectacular. On the return trip from recovering the rocket, one of the local law enforcement vehicles arrived on site. The officer asked what we were doing, and after our answer, asked if he could watch the second launch. After prepping the rocket for its second flight, I again loaded it onto the pad. Off it went, straight up, arced over and seperated, but only the chute for the upper section deployed. My heart sank as I watched the lower section come straight down into the CONCRETE parking lot. The top section was un-damaged. The bottom section w as quite a bit shorter than when it lifted off. At least my RMS case was not damaged. A quick look at the Aerotech web page, about $75.00 on the credit card, and the replacement parts were on their way (I originally bought the rocket kit new on E-bay for $60.00). After repairing this rocket, it flies great and I am still flying it today. It is one of my favorites in my ever expanding fleet.

Entry #24: John W. Sarosi
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These two photos attached are of my Estes V-2. They were taken at Rockets and Relaxation 7,my NAR section The Pittsburgh Space Command's annual launch and picnic. They were taken on August 19, 2001 by me. The first photo(V-2.jpg) is the model waiting to be launched on a Aerotech E15-4w. The flight was interesting. First, the motor chuffed at ignition. When the motor finaly ignited the model had a spectacular flight. The delay seemed long. I thought I was going to simulate a V-2 hitting a target. Then the ejection charge went off. The shock cord snapped. The nose cone and parachute landed safely. Not the body. It crashed front end first. as seen in the second photo(v2crash.gif). I had to replace the front of the body tube. I have flown this model four times since. The last time was at this years Rockets and Relaxation on August 17 on a D12-3. The parachute shroud lines came lose and the rocket landed hard, damaging a fin.

Entry #25: Sather M. Ranum
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This is an entry for the before-after contest. "Moratorium" is a term defining a temporary cessation of activities, especially those considered dangerous or hostile. She is also a scratch-built rocket using LOC components using a cluster of three 29mm motors in a 5.5" body tube, and was engineered to achieve a stable flight to apogee deployment with only 2 lit motors. On her fourth flight, she did just that... 2 of the 3 AeroTech G80-4T single-use motors came up to pressure and successfully lifted her skyward. At approximately 100 feet, the 3rd motor cato'd (casing failure), blowing out the side of the rocket, deploying the recovery system, and setting the whole thing on fire. Enough was recovered (nose cone, fins, centering rings, AeroPack retainers) to attempt a rebuild.

Entry #26: Beth Zastempowski
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Anyone familiar with the Buffalo, New York area knows were a pretty big sports town thus the name of this rocket  "Miller Time" named after the Buffalo Sabres all star goalie Ryan Miller.   As the Before and After pictures clearly illustrate this flight ended pretty much like all Buffalo sport teams seem to, on the losing end.   O well always next year!

Entry #27: Greg Elder
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This is my (or was) Big Beth X-2, a semi scale-up of the Estes Design of the Month Little Beth X-2. The Big Beth X-2 had a cluster of 3 D12 motors in the first stage and a single D12 motor in the second stage. I had about 3 or 4 flights with this rocket until the disaster shown in the last photo. That is what happens when not all of the 3 engines in the first stage ignite. Ouch!!!

Entry #28: Brian Ray
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This was a scracth build made from a BBQ sauce bottle with a nose cone made from a Happy Meal. It flew great a few times until the shock cord failed. Ronald McDonald floated away blissfully as the rocket pranged. The heat from the ejection charge softened the plastic leaving it a crumpled mess after hitting the ground.

Entry #29: Hank Helmen
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Picture of William and Maggie launching "Big" Estes Executioner E engine rocket. Zoom and and notice expressions!

This was August 19th. We used an E9-6 engine on the second launch. The rocket drifted into the very tip top of the trees with the shock cord neatly draped over a bunch of needles on the end of a branch. Looks like it would be easy to get down if it were not so high up!

Of 8 total launches yesterday we only lost one rocket. Unfortunately it was the newest and biggest most expensive one! Had installed a baffle kit in it to save on flame proof wadding. It worked well.

Entry #30: Todd Mullin
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My friend Brandon Harrison decided to go for his level 2 flight with a BSD 54 Special on an Aerotech J350 at Plaster Blaster. The rocket had made a couple of lower powered flights with no problem.

The boost was picture perfect! That's when the problems began... The rocket arced over the top and came down with no ejection! Luckily it landed far, far away from the flight line. After a couple of hours of searching, Brandon finally found it in a rather compressed fashion. The ejection charge was still in the well... It just hadn't lit!

Entry #32: John Erickson
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Here's my LOC Caliber ISP (modified with onboard video and dual deploy). The before picture is it's second to last launch on the day of it's demise. The final flight was on a J500G. Learned a valuable lesson that when going dual deploy with high thrust engines, well, umm, make sure that the battery on the altimeter is adequately secured. Rocksim estimates that the rocket was going in excess of 300mph when it impacted. With the red tracking chalk, this has alway reminded me of a crime scene... Needless to say, the video did not survive the impact...

Entry #33: Brian Nessing
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When you see your rocket shooting smoke and fire from both ends, you know something has definitely gone terribly wrong.

How about a nice limerick for the occasion............

There once was a man from Missouri
Who built his rocket motor in a hurry
When the thing finally lit
The motor case split
And he found himself in the state of misery. least it was short!

Entry #35: Leonard Diamond
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This was my first cluster rocket, a Thrustline Aerospace Mike IX. Its first launch was for a Cub Scout pack and succeeded on 3 C engines. This launch was on the main athletic field in town and an adult softball league game was going on using the center field. We set up at the north edge of the field and launched about a dozen rockets during inning changes. The finale of the session was the Mike IX. The ballgame had just ended and I got a great countdown from everyone. The rocket, with 3 D12 engines took off and slowly arched about 50 feet overhead right into trees the backyard of adjoining houses. We next heard a loud crash and a few seconds later some popping noises. My daughter ran over to look and announced to all, "It's on fire". I grabbed the fire extinguisher, sprinted to the 4 foot flood wall and vaulted over it into the back yard. The rocket was hanging from the lower branch of a tree on fire with a section on the ground, also on fire. A few blasts from the extinguisher put both sections out and at that point a man and woman came out of the house and started yelling at me in an unknown (to me) language. I apologized profusely, grabbed both pieces of the rocket and beat a hasty retreat.

The autopsy showed that only one engine ignited at take off and the ejection charge ignited the other two engines while it was hanging in the tree. The igniters and plugs were still in the 2 engines. After an appropriate mourning period I did build another Mike IX which at its first launch lawn darted but it is repaired and still flying!

Entry #36: Mark Alterio
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Here is my Mars Snooper clone. I spent much of last winter researching, procuring parts, cutting balsa & shrouds, filling fins. You know the routine.

I finished it the morning of the May CMASS launch, the paint was literally still wet on the cooling fins. I set it up to fly first. Prepped, loaded a B6-4 and woosh. I guess the transition was to tight because the motor ejected out the back and it can in ballistic! OUCH! I guess I put in about 30-40 hrs on research/building/finishing.

Entry #37: Joshua Joung
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My Fat Boy was one of my favorite rockets. I would usually fly it first at my private launches to test the wind, and it has served me a great deal of fun and usefulness. Unfortunately, bad decision making brought the (temporary) end to the rocket. Here's the story - I was at a friend's house and then we decided to fly some small stuff in his yard. I had my Fat Boy with me so I decided to fly it on a Quest A6-4, which was a horrible choice. There was a layer of snow on the ground so I figured that a hard landing wouldn't hurt it since the snow would cushion it. We set up the launch pad on the side walk by the road. Well, I went ahead and launched it and it was a nice slow lift off but then as it hit around 50-75 feet, it arced over and started a dreadful death dive. Now of course, the rocket just had to weather cock towards the road, the road which was plowed clear from snow. The Fat Boy hit hard on the asphalt with a tormenting smack and a second or two later, the motor's ejection charge blew. The damage was a large zipper and a shattered nose cone. I was lucky that the repair would be simple, all that was needed was a replaced section of the tube and a new nose cone.

Entry #38: Bruce Sexton
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This is my tried and trusted 3" diameter BSD Horizon that had over two dozen flights logged before it met its untimely demise at NARAM 50 in Virginia this summer. The flight was to have been on an AeroTech G38-7FJ motor but upon ignition it spit the nozzle and engulfed the rear end in flames. I was too far away to get a picture of the "flaming candle" but did get up close as a member of the range crew doused the flames with plenty of water - oh my!

Entry #40: J. Stuart Powley
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It was a great feeling to finally put my newly finished Starship Enterprise on the pad. Even though the model had been out of production for several years, I found a couple at a local store. Now all of the struggle with overly thin vacuformed parts and honkin' big "atmospheric probes" was about to pay off. The count down went smoothly and it seemed that Kirk, Spock and the rest of the gang were in for a nice peaceful ride. Suddenly, as the launch button was pressed there was a thunderous explosion (or so it seemed to me). Obviously the Klingons had sabotaged the mighty starship! When the smoke cleared, she was a smoldering shell of her former self. Still, she was put into spacedock and lived to fly another day. Mr. Scott would have been proud!

Entry #43: Len Bryan
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This was my CAR L2 project. CAR L2 requires the flier to fly a rocket on an "I" impulse motor. Oh yeah! One must also successfully recover the rocket and be able to fly it again having retained the motor etc. It's all the usual stuff just I = L2. CAR L3 requires the flier to fly a J to L impulse rocket and do the same. I brought both a Little Lunar Express and the big brother, a 54mm Lunar Express. I flew the little one on a CTI I350SS and you can see the result in the photo. After a shred at Max Q, it came down in a shower of silver confetti. Once the cheers died down, everyone wanted me to go ahead and fly the big brother on a K445 (OUT AT THE AWAY CELL!!) Hmmm. I later certified CAR L2 and L3 on another rocket but I kept the large Lunar Express in the car. I still haven't flown it as I want to strip the paint off it and perhaps add a layer or two of CF on those HUGE fins. People with more experience than I were pretty convinced the rocket would re-kit itself. The rocket was a total loss but the motor casing came back O.K. It was a good lesson learned. BTW, both rockets had beautiful automotive quality paint jobs done by a friend in the business. They had several layers of paint and also about 5 layers of clear coat. The paint job hadn't finished outgassing so I now have a spare set of decals. I bought another Little Lunar Express but haven't started it yet. I insist on getting this rocket right. I wish I'd read some of the tips on EMRR before I built this one!

Entry #45: Scott Tyrrell
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The before and after here are about 2 seconds apart, this is a Nighthawk with a camera payload, it's a 4" diameter 7 motor cluster rocket which boosted on an H180 and then airstarted two Rocketflite F50 Silverstreaks. One of the Siverstreaks suffered a spectacular cato right after ignition, blowing the aft end apart and the fins off. In the after picture you can see the aft end lifting away and the fin to the lower left moving away. The burned chute deployed, saving the camera payload. The Nighthawk was rebuilt and has flown many more times.

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