Flight Log - Fiesta Island

It was a cool and overcast morning, had rained hard the night before, but the conditions were excellent for flying when I arrived at about 9:00 a.m.  The DART folks were really nice, explaining details about hooking up the motors, securing the ignitors, explaining launch protocol and generally helping me (and one another) get their birds up. I'd like to thank them all again for making the day so successful for me.

I decided to do all lo-res movies on my first outing with the Arreaux Rocket Cam on the  notion that I would learn more from a long duration movie than a short one.  Later when I get good at it, I will switch to hi-res movies of shorter duration.

Summary: After reviewing all the films the biggest problem is the rapid rotational and chaotic motion of the rocket.  I'd like to find ways to (a) slow down the spinning during takeoff, (b) get a more stable platform under chute, and (c) try to time hi-res 7 second movies at apogee.  The shots from the lo-res were good, but the hi-res could be spectacular.  We'll see how it goes next time!

Click HERE to see the 4.4 MByte MPG movie taken from flight #4 (Arreaux Rocket Cam G4-10W)

Flight #1 - Arreaux Rocket Cam #1 (E15-7W)

I was a little nervous as I hooked up my first rocket for the first time.  There were some minor problems getting continuity to the ignitors, but once everything was lined up, I did the count down and pressed the button.   Whoosh it was gone! .....  I would estimate that it took about 4 seconds to reach 300 or so feet.  It didn't go straight up, but arched over behind us and the flight line.

I wasn't that surprised that it flew well, but it made me feel quite relieved nonetheless to see the parachute deploy for the first time.   I guess I was  nervous enough, however, that I forgot to throw the 'arming switch', so when the rocket finally came down and I examined the payload, there were no pictures on the camera.  I wasn't exactly sure what happened, but since the flight went well, and the rocket was still intact, I decided to try again.

Flight #2 - Arreaux Rocket Cam #2 (F23-7FJ Econojet)

The second flight I took a little more care when attaching the triggering wire.  The launch went successfully with a nice plume of black smoke.  The rocket flew nearly straight up to well over 1000 feet. The parachute deployed nicely and the rocket came down.  I retrieved the camera and downloaded the images to my laptop making my first movie.  A number of people asked about the innards and how it worked.

The movie was fine, not the best of the day, but it was there and a success.   At the start of the movie I had "pre-triggered" the camera ... there was a film of me hooking the camera up, then it was stopped, and the film started from lift off.

Flight #3 - Arreaux Rocket Cam #3 (F23-7FJ Econojet)

The third flight was getting to be old hat.  Another shot, another movie.  However, I must have done the same thing while arming the rocket, cuz there was another partial film of me hooking up the camera.  Also, I was starting to pay attention to the launches a little more.  The rocket is spinning very quickly and "spirals" up into the sky.  Not good.  Can't decide if its miscentered mass, or a fin problem.  Also, under chute it spins nearly chaotically so the pictures are a little hard to understand.

Flight #4 - Arreaux Rocket Cam #4 (G40-10W)
Click HERE to see the 4.4 MByte MPG movie of this flight!

Since time was running out, I decided to crank out the big gun.  The G40 really pushed the Arreaux fast and high. Even with the spiraling, I'd guess the flight approached two thousand feet.  You could not see the rocket when the chute opened.  I was sure I had a parachute failure, but I didn't.  The camera worked flawlessly (again!) and this was the best movie of the day.  In spite of the spinning during takeofff and chaos under chute, you can still tell what's happening.  There's a particularly nice part in the movie as the rocket reaches apogee and zero-g and tumbles slightly.   You can make out many of the sights of San Diego's Mission Bay. Here are some individual frames I extracted from the movie:

Here's a shot showing the southern end of Fiesta Island from 2000 feet or so.  You can clearly see the entrance road at the top.

Here's a shot looking west at the exit of the San Diego River into the Pacific Ocean.

Here's a shot showing the bridge on Ingrahm blvd between Sea World and Vacation Village.

Here's a shot looking down at the rocket body dangling below and the launch pad in the distance directly below from near apogee.  The little white dots in the middle of the picture are our cars parked in the miiddle of the field.

Flight #5 - Arreaux Rocket Cam #5 (F25-9W)

I was the first and last person to launch today.  I really wanted to get one more flight in, so I stuffed the F25-9W in the rocket, loaded it up and fired it off.  Funny how it seemed to know I was rushing, as there was a premature chute deployment while the rocket was still going very fast (at about 800 feet).  The movie is extremely chaotic at that point, but no harm was done. I packed it all in the back of the truck as it started to rain, and we cut out.