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Clardy Elementary Launch — May 22, 2003

Launch date and time: May 22nd, 2003.
Launch location: Clardy Elementary, Kansas City MO
Weather: Sunny and cool

Sometime late in 2002 the science teacher at Clardy Elementary School, Mrs Dailey, contacted us regarding launching some rockets in the Spring. At the time, we were a little uncertain of the future of the club, but offered to assist in any way we could anyway. After some exchanging of e-mail over the Winter, we finally were able to come up with a full plan, and round up six volunteers to come to the school during Aerospace Week and assist with a launch.

Tim gives his new assistants some instructions on “flipping switches.“ (Photo by Christian Bruggeman.)
We thought that using the clubís six-way controller in drag-race mode (two at a time) would speed the launching along well enough to get 100+ fliers cycled through. Mrs Dailey and I discussed the number of fliers that we could handle in 45 minutes, and she had set out a plan to send out a class full of fliers in intervals of about 45 minutes. Her plan worked quite well. We never had a class waiting, and had time for a question and answer period afterward to boot. I confess, when Mrs Dailey indicated that she may have as many as 170 fliers, I did go a bit weak in the knees! It turned out that we had somewhat less than 100, and that those that didn’t get a chance to fly on Wednesday would get an opportunity on Friday as Mrs Dailey had enlisted the services of one of the other clubs in the area as well. She mentioned that she thought there were about another 20 fliers left for Friday.

The classes had their rockets made, but no igniter, motor, or wadding, nor more than a vague idea of what to do with those things. So our first order of business was to have the kids pull out the nose cone and unwind the streamer. We would then explain the wadding, and why it was needed, stressing the idea that it must be flameproof. Some assistance with getting that stuffed in was generally needed. After packing the recovery system, we went over how to install the motor so that it was caught securely under the hook and why that was important. Then we covered the igniter, and how to get it installed in such a way as to ensure success. We actually had a some trouble with some of the kids attempting to shove the igniter in too far and bending up the leads. Overall, though, we had very good success with only a relative few misfires ó I had in fact anticipated a good deal more. The only other problem we had in this area was with the kids placing the plug on the wrong “side” causing the igniter to be shorted against the motor hook. Fortunately, sharp-eyed Randall noticed that while checking and corrected it before it was a problem. We watched for that in the following classes and avoided any real problems with it.

After a quick safety check, the students were sent out to the pads in groups of six, and Dave, Bob and Don assisted them with getting the rockets on the rods, and the leads connected without shorting.

Two rockets launch together. (Photo by Christian Bruggeman.)
In order to get the names of the fliers correct, I would enlist the assistance of one of the class members who didn’t have a rocket to launch. The reward for writing down all the names was getting to flip the switches on the controller. Our pads were very high tech — saw horses with three launch rods each, and an upside down stainless pie plate for a deflector with a spent motor or clothes-pin for a stand-off. We would announce the fliers on pads one and four, count down as a group, and my assistant would hold the launch switch. My assistant would then dial up pads two and five and we would do it again, and so on. All of the rockets and motors were the same: Estes Gnomes and Estes 1/2A3-4T engines. Even so, they would leap from the rods in pairs to sound of “oohs” and “awes” from the kids and fly to a respectable hight (considering our field size) with lots of smoke and whoosh! The kids all seemed to enjoy counting down together for each launch, really getting into the spirit of the thing. When the six were flown, the next six were sent out, and the just flown rockets were recovered while the next were getting ready.

After the each class was finished flying, Randall would show them some of the things we had brought for display, give a little talk on safety, and answer the numerous questions. He was really quick with the answers and the kids were often hanging on his every word.

The following table shows the order in which the fliers were sent to the pads, not necessarily the order in which they were launched. In the case of an igniter failure, the fliers would get their rocket from the pad, and bring it to the launch table for another igniter. They would then try again as soon as a pad was free. Thatís reflected in the table.

Students wait patiently in line with their creations. (Photo by Christian Bruggeman.)
The one problem that we were not able to solve was with separations. We had a 50% or higher failure rate. I’m not sure if the problem was that the shock cords werenít anchored well, or if the ejection charges were over done (more than one of us noticed that the ejection charges were very robust) or perhaps a combination of the two. We thought at first that we weren’t using enough wadding and that the ejection gases were burning the shock cords, but by the end of the day we had determined that the wadding wasn’t the problem. Another possibility might be the glue that was used — either melting or attacking the material causing failures. I think we would all agree that the cords were a bit short, and that the anchor could have been better.

In any case, the weather was perfect, so the rockets (or sometimes the various parts) were practically landing back on the pads. As far as I know, only one nose cone was lost.

So, 76 1/2A3s works out to about 82.84-Newtons, or just barely a ’G“ motor equivalent. Thanks to Bob W., Randall J., Don P., Dave B., and Christian B. for their assistance and organization. I’m pretty sure that we all had an equally good time and hope the school will invite us back next year.

Mrs. Asher
Randall and Dave answer questions. (Photo by Tim Burger.)
Helper: Kali
Flier Name Comments
1 1 Felicitie S.
2 2 Stephine W.
3 3 Kaitlyn W.
4 4 Delaney W.
5 5 Kristin R.
6 6 Susan H.
7 7 Colten M.
8 8 Lauren L.
9 9 Melissa J.

Rocket recovery. (Photo by Tim Burger.)
10 10 Brittany C.
11 11 Adam C.
12 12 Louden C.
13 13 Chase B.
14 14 Megan A.

Mrs. Elwood
Helper: Desiree
Flier Name Comments
15 1 Adrienne
16 2 Maddie

Another class gets some training in safety. (Photo by Tim Burger.)
17 3 Steph
18 4 Kari
19 5 Courtney
20 6 Cole
21 7 Drake
22 8 Allie
23 9 Katie C.
24 10 Brittany
25 11 Katie K.

Derek Misfire
26 12 Scott

Bob and Dave assist students at the pads while
rockets from the previous group are recovered
in the background. (Photo by Tim Burger.)
27 13 Chase
28 14 Jarred
29 15 Derek Second attempt successful
Mrs. Dailey
Helper: Amanda
Flier Name Comments
30 1 Sam Y.

Matt G. Misfire
31 2 Drew B.
32 3 Mark W.

Danny S. Misfire
33 4 Brooke K.

(Photo by Christian Bruggeman.)
34 5 Matt G. Second attempt successful
35 6 Danny S. Second attempt successful
36 7 Caitlin S.
37 8 Justin S.
38 9 Zac G.

Jesse H. Misfire
39 10 Ashley W.
40 11 Erin J.
41 12 Jesse H. Second attempt successful
(Photo by Christian Bruggeman.)
Mrs. Ruch
Helpers: Aaron, Zach, Natasha, Tori
Flier Name Comments
42 1 Clint
43 2 Miles
44 3 McKenzie

Andrew Misfire
45 4 Asia
46 5 Lindzey
47 6 Brandon
48 7 Rebecca
49 8 Chase
50 9 Morgan
51 10 Grant
52 11 Raven

(Photo by Christian Bruggeman.)
53 12 Alleyas
54 13 Annie
55 14 Sarina
56 15 Lauren
57 16 Sarah
58 17 Andrew Successful second attempt
Mrs. Richards
Helpers: Ali & Alyssa
Flier Name Comments
59 1 Joseph C.

Renee H. Misfire

Don assists at the pads. (Photo by Christian Bruggeman.)

Francesca C. Misfire
60 2 Sarah D.
61 3 Ethan D.
62 4 Paul B.
63 5 Glen R.
64 6 Chad H.
65 7 Laura H.
66 8 Blaire W.
67 9 Alyson D.
68 10 Gabriella S.

(Photo by Christian Bruggeman.)
69 11 Holley L.
70 12 Jessica M.

Shelbie W. Misfire
71 13 Anthony R.

William G. Misfire
72 14 Adam W.
73 15 Renee H. Successful second attempt
74 16 Francesca C. Successful second attempt
75 17 Shelbie W. Successful second attempt
76 18 William G. Successful second attempt

Submitted by Tim Burger, 78486L1.

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Page last updated on March 31, 2006.