Some days, the rocket Gods win. Today they must have been dancing the cha cha.
I have a steadfast rule that I snap a pic of every one of my rockets before launching them on their first flight, the thought being that it may be the only memory I ever have if something goes wrong. Today, that rule sadly proved itself a wise move. Yeah, rocketry can be a maddening hobby at times.
It’s not just loosing a new rocket that bothered me so much. Or the video camera that has a nice flight recorded on it. Or that last minute altimeter I decided to tack on so I could also get some data.
What’s frustrating was that this was a replacement rocket for an old favorite of mine, an Estes 36 D squared that finally had one too many flights and was no longer worth the repairs it needed after 19 flights. This is a dual cluster rocket that has curved fins, exposed motor mount tube and three transitions. Not your average bread and butter rocket design.
Finding a replacement, was extremely hard and I soon learned after searching that it was no longer in production. Then, I happened to find an online school supply store of all places, that not only carried a few but at a bargain price. But a few days of trial and error navigating their website and their support personnel, neither of which we’re designed or accustomed to Canadian orders, and I finally got them to ship the rocket… to New York where I had to pick it up across the border.
When it arrived I not only decided that I would put everything into the build (coats of polyurethane for the fins, fine finish, primer, fancy paint job, decals, rail buttons for that future dual E flight, all topped off with some nice clear coat to give it that extra shine and protection), but I would also mod it to also be capable of flying it on E’s some day and really put her up there, sims putting an E flight at 1500ft. But that would have to wait for a nice windless day of course.
But today was a bit windy so I only dared a D cluster flight. And it flew beautifully. I could already anticipated a nice video when I got the rocket back. As it was descending, I knew right away that this was going to be a long walk. But I got a pretty good bead on it and even saw it go down. But As I walked the ‘line’ I had I knew that I was approaching the 2nd of two ditches at our launch site and beyond it was dense, tall weeds and shrubs. I spent over an hour searching in front of the ditch making sure it wasn’t lost somewhere there and after a long sigh, I knew I had to tackle the other side, which wasn’t even easy to get to. Spent more than an hour there, until I just had to give up. Over 3 hours of searching in total.
Barring a miracle that someone else finds it, it’s a goner.
But there is one silver lining in all this. When I realized that this was a rocket that was going to be hard to find in the future, I was at least smart enough to by TWO from that online source. The last two they had in stock. So the 36 E squared will be back! someday, but I’m too tired to even think about that now.
And now, I’ll just go in a corner and cry for a while if you don’t mind. We rocketeers are also a fragile bunch at times.