Category Archives: NEFAR Launches

The YouBee’s Last Flight

I launched my YouBee, a 12-foot tall upscale of the Odd’l Rocket’s Break Away rocket, on a CTI L1115 motor at NEFAR’s Bunnell Blast on November 9.

The rocket reached about 5000 feet in altitude.

Unfortunately, the main parachute deployed at apogee. The rocket was designed to break apart, like the Break Away, then fall in a “Wacky Wiggler” style for a few thousand feet before the parachute opens.  Instead, the 10-foot Top Flight parachute came out at apogee which caused the rocket to drift about two miles before landing in some tree tops.

YouBee in a TreeThe rocket spent almost six weeks in the wild before a couple of local hunters found it and returned it to me.

YouBee in an ATVAt first I was pleased with how good the rocket looked after spending weeks outdoors including days of very heavy rain.

I left the rocket in the garage to dry out for several weeks before I finally got around to taking a closer look at it.  When I did, I discovered that the wetness had dissolved the glue holding the layers of paper together in the cardboard tubes.  The tubes can be easily unraveled, peeled open like the wrapper around a can of Pillsbury refrigerator biscuits.

YouBee RecoveredWhen I opened the electronics bay, I found that the inside was still very wet.  I removed the battery. The clips in the battery holder snapped off.  They had rusted through.  I wiped off the altimeter then set it aside to dry.  When it was dry, I hooked up a new battery to it, but it wouldn’t turn on,

I was able to remove the tube from the fin section leaving the fin can intact.  That’ll give me a head start when I decide to rebuild the YouBee.

But, I’m going to retire the YouBee, at least for now.  Instead, I’ve decided to build a 4″ diameter upscale of the Break Away which should end up about eight feet tall.  It’ll be easier to prep and launch than the big one and will fly on smaller, less expensive motors.  Eventually, though, I may decide to rebuild the YouBee.


Photographing the December, 2013, NEFAR Launch From the Air

NEFAR Launch

Saturday’s NEFAR launch was plagued with high winds most of the day. I didn’t have any rockets ready to fly, but looked forward to capturing still photos and videos of the launches using my Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter. Unfortunately, the day began with high winds, gusting to 25 mph.  Together with the overcast skies, this limited the number of people who showed up for the launch and the number of rockets they flew.

The high winds made me nervous about flying the helicopter, so I started off slow. I powered up the ‘copter and flew it up to about 25 feet in altitude. I let it hover in place as was amazed at how well it help position in spite of the strong and variable wind.

Having built up some confidence, I flew the helicopter out into the range.  Because of the wind, I decided not to fly too low or too high. and I didn’t try to maneuver too much.  For the most part, I just put the helicopter in a position to record a launch and let it keep itself in place.

Between each rack of rockets launched, I landed and either let the helicopter idle to preserve battery life or I replaced the battery with one I had been charging. The wind made landings challenging. I tipped the Phantom on pretty much every landing and even flipped it completely over once. There was no damage to the Phantom, though.

After tipping the Phantom over on landing for about the twelfth time, I decided to practice landings for a few minutes.  I realized that I was using “CSC”  (moving the two control sticks simultaneously down and to the center) to force the motors to shut off immediately as I landed.  But, the Phantom was skewing a bit as the control sticks moved which was causing many of the tip-overs. When I shut the motors down by just holding the throttle down for a few seconds, the landings were more successful.

The stills and video I captured on Saturday aren’t as impressive as I had hoped.  The wind made the Phantom bounce around too much and few larger rockets were launched.  But, I managed to produce what I think is a pretty good video of the day’s fun.