Sunday, February 13, 2011

Rocket Man!


The Georgia Southern Rocket!
 My first memory of shooting rockets was at my Grandparents house.  My uncle Vaughn had those types of rockets that you filled with water and used a pump to build pressure inside the rocket.  You would release a lever and off she would go leaving a vapor trail of water as the little rocket would easily top the tallest pine trees in the yard and then fall back down to earth.  I have always got a kick out of things that went high into the air!  When I was older I received a bonafide real rocket kit!  I remember it sat in my Daddy's shop for the longest time before I convinced him to put it all together.  The day finally came for us to go and shoot the rocket.  We loaded it up in the truck and Daddy told me to get some batteries for the launcher.  We drove about ten miles out into the country and found a large field that should do the trick.  We hooked up the rocket and did the count down.  Off she flew high into the air!  The parachute opened and the little rocket slowly descended back to earth right into the middle of a brier patch.  As I retrieved the rocket, I tore the parachute to shreds.  We decided to shoot the rocket without it.  We loaded up another engine, hooked up the launch controls and mashed the button for GO!  Nothing happened!  You see, I had robbed the batteries out of my TV remote control and little did I know that they would only be good for one launch.  Home we went.

I'm not sure if I can remember ever shooting that little rocket again, but I will never forget that ONE day and that ONE launch!  I still think it is pretty cool to shoot rockets, so as soon as Reid was old enough to understand what was going on, we started shooting them.  Sunday was a beautiful day with just a little wind, so I loaded up the gear and off we went.  We only have to go about 1/2 mile from the house to an open field in the middle of a new subdivision.  All the neighborhood boys have come out to watch us at one time or the other.  I brought three different rockets with us and we had enough engines to shoot each one twice.


Good Ole USA rocket!
I use a C class engine which will propel these little rockets to heights of about 1200 feet.  When the parachute pops out, the rocket will be a long way from you, but if you played your cards right and bet on the right wind direction, you can expect to land the rocket within 100 yards of where it started.  Notice in the picture that this rocket is tilted into the wind.  It came back down within 50 yards of where we were.  This rocket is a little heavier and easier to control.

Now for those of you who have never shot one of these little rockets, I am happy to provide you with a little vidoe taken from my photo camera.  It is not the greatest video, but I am very surprized that I got as much of the flight as I did.  I lost it in the frame as I was trying to see if I had guesed the wind direction right.  What you cant see is the few second pause before the chute blows and it starts to come back down to us.  This is what 1200 feet looks like!

video

That's pretty cool I don't care who you are!!!

Rocket shooting is just one of those ways that I try to spend time with my son while keeping myself in a younger state of mind.  You can not feel like a grown up while you are chasing rockets across the sky.  I encourage anyone to take up this neat little hobby!  It doesn't cost much at all and you can pick up a beginners kit from Wal-mart.  You can purchase the rockets already assembled or you can order a kit and put it together yourself.  The rocket in the first picture was bought at Amazon and put together by the both of us.  It is kind of like putting together an old model.  We gave it a Georgia Southern Theme by painting it blue and white and listing the National Championship years on one side, with the GSU logo on the other.  The possibilities are endless and...

the memories of your son saying  "Oooo boy!" are priceless!!!!!

6 comments:

The Downeast Duck Hunter said...

Pretty neat, you don't have a southern accent... ;)

Trey said...

DEDH, even I have trouble putting a Southern accent on the words "alright, go". Spend a few minutes with me and I'm sure you will change your mind!

The Downeast Duck Hunter said...

Lol, somehow we've managed to eliminate the l and the r which leads to "aight"- pronounced "ight"...

CHERI said...

Great video! And that sure is a cute kid with you:)

Ashlee said...

That's great! Makes me think of Hank!

LB @ BulletsandBiscuits said...

OH WOW! I forgot all about those rockets....my brother and I used to shoot them all the time. Man, those things were a blast. Now, I have to go text him to see if he remembers them too. Thanks for the jogging the ol'memory on those!