5th Bradford South Scouts Launch Rockets

By Mike Crewe, NSRG #6, Assistant Scout Leader 5th Bradford South

It all started when we were planning our Spring / Early Summer Programme. The Scouts wanted to do a proficiency badge. We had 'done rockets' a couple of years ago, but not with these lads, and they had heard about it and were interested. A decision was made. One meeting to cover a bit of theory and design some rockets, a couple of meetings to build them, and a final one to go out flying.

There is no specific 'Rocketry Badge' in UK Scouting, so we decided to take the Modeler's Badge, and use the 'any similar project' rule to modify the requirements.
We decided that to successfully complete the badge, each Scout would have to design and build a rocket, then prep and launch it successfully. Basically just like the Level 1 Certification flight test.

Initially, each rocket was designed on paper, than I took the designs home and ran each one through Rocksim to check the designs stability. Some minor modifications in airframe length were then agreed upon to tweak stability into the acceptable region.
You can grab a zip of the Rocksim files here

The rockets were constructed from various parts scavenged from some Quest kits acquired from the "Great Beatties Sell Off". Standard (white glue) construction was used, and each rocket was swing tested before flight.

So there we were, Monday June 11th, 6:30pm.
The rockets were ready, I had my launch equipment, and a 'Blast Off Flight Pack', Binyameen and Shazard were waiting, where was Daniel?
"He does know we're meeting at 6:30, and not 7:00?"
"Yes, I rang him up and told his mum."
"Well, he should be here soon then."
6:55 - After a quick phone call, Daniel arrives, and we're off to the top field at Blackhills Campsite TO FLY SOME ROCKETS

When we got there, the wind had picked up quite a bit, so the first thing to be done was to get rid of the 'chutes and replace them with some streamers.

Putting on the streamers

From left to right we have Daniel, Binyameen, Mick (the Scout Leader), and Shazard, busy fitting the streamers. On the extreme right, Anne (Mick's wife, and Cub leader) looks on and offers helpful advice (as always) :-)

The plan now was to go through the 'Blast Off' pack, with everyone launching at least one of each motor type (starting with the A8).

Firstly, I showed everyone how to prep and load, using my 'Queasy Payloader' (built from the same parts supply), and then went through the launch procedure.
Some people may say that this one is underpowered on an A8, I say it is perfect for a demo flight as everything happens at a low altitude, and all the flight phases can be clearly seen!!

The first Scout up to launch was Daniel, with his 'Firestorm 3000'
After a little bit of ignitor trouble, it lifted off and had a perfect flight, with quite a close recovery.

Queasy Payloader

Mike's 'Queasy Payloader' on the pad

Daniel loads the pad

Daniel loads his rocket onto the pad

The third flight of the evening came from Shazard
Another perfect take off, coast and deployment. Unfortunately, even with the streamer, it drifted quite a lot, and eventually ended up in a tree :-(

After discovering how high up in the tree it was, we decided to leave it up there!

Shazard is ready to go

Shazard loads up

The rockets is in a tree!

The rocket's up in the tree

Now it was time for Binyameen to launch his rocket. Once again, we had a nice clean flight

For the final flight in the 'A' class launches, Mick launched his rocket for another good flight, which was recovered about halfway to the tree-line.

Binyameen's Rocket

Binyameen's Rocket

Mick installs an engine

Binyameen 'helps' Mick load the engine

So far, so good. We had five flights, all successful. It looks like the Scouts have got their badges!

Now it was time to move up a power level, and break out the B6's.

Daniel was first to go again. This time not so successfully.
After clearing the pad, his rocket did a couple of cartwheels, and then straightened up during the coast phase. After recovery is was found that it had shredded two fins on opposite sides.

Shazard's rocket was still up in tree, so I let him prep and launch my rocket. As expected, it was another perfect flight

Binyameen flew next, for a very high flight. Unfortunately this drifted a lot, and was seen to be descending behind the tree line

Once again, Mick provided the last flight in this engine class. It looked like this was going to be another 'tree recovery', but it came down just short of the trees in long grass

Daniel folds the streamer

Daniel preps again

Mick connects the ingitor leads

Mick wires up the ignitor

As time was now getting on, and we had rockets to search for, it was decided that we would call it a day. I packed up the launch gear, while the rest went out searching

Mick's rocket was found, Binyameen's wasn't, and Daniel climbed the tree to get Shazard's back

We got them back

Mick and Anne sped off into the sunset for a Wedding Aniversary celebration (theirs), and I took the lads back home to base

On the way back, there were various comments such as:
"That was really cool!"
"I've realy enjoyed tonight."
"Can we do it again?"
I think the answer to the last one might just be yes!!!