L3 experiences, advice, or just general ponderings…

Forums Knowledge Base L3 experiences, advice, or just general ponderings…

  • This topic has 79 replies, 13 voices, and was last updated 10 years ago by John A. Wilke.
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  • #41146
    Bret Packard
    Participant

    There is obviously alot to think about when deciding on how to go about building a L3 project. I wondering what some of you have given consideration to, what you learned, what you might have done differently, or what you were really glad you did. I’ll list some of the things I’m thinking about below, and I appreciate all comments.

    Size, Cost and Altitude are three main considerations. An size in and of itself isn’t that important, but more how it relates to the other two. From an altitude perspective, while going high is obviously sexy, I feel like I want to see the recovery system work, wich means I need a reasonable chance for it to come down relatively nearby, and for it to be big enough that an M motor doesn’t put it way too far out of sight. Of course a bigger rocket is going to cost more too, and M’s aren’t cheap regardless. On the other hand, if I did something bigger that could handle a really big motor down the road, maybe it’s worth putting some more money and effort into it. Do alot of people fly there L3 birds for fun after cert? Or is it really more of a single purpose build?

    Anyway, all thoughts are appreciated.

    #53430
    Bruce R. Schaefer

    Do alot of people fly there L3 birds for fun after cert?

    Only flew mine (to the left) once, now all 12 foot of it stands between two floors on the stairs. And, Brett, as you know with Homer Hickum’s autograph on it, it’s a static display now. In a way, it’s sad that it never flew again. But wanted to keep it intact, so I can look at it, smile, and remember. I just built the Intimidator 5 (Crimson Comet) for fun and flight. I took a year to build my L3.

    #53431
    Jeffrey Joe Hinton
    Moderator

    My advice, as a long time happy L2, is KISS for your Cert. Nail that then you can go wild. Big, dumb and in-sight is a great way to go. Build for a specific Baby M for your 3 but leave room for a bigger M later. If cost is an overwhelming concern, then progressively build while playing with L2 flights perfecting deployment and strength issues and recovery factors. Expect budget overruns and weather delays and other life issues getting in the way. Remember, the whole process is still supposed to be fun.

    #53432
    Bruce R. Schaefer

    Remember, the whole process is still supposed to be fun.

    Our Prez nailed it. Remember to get your L3 TAP(s) or NAR guy(s) first. While they will not tell you how to build an L3 rocket–my L3 NAR guy (good friend) said it’s not my job to tell you how to build an L3; if you’re not ready… then hold off. They may give you suggestions. But it’s like taking your first driving test. If you ask the cop, “Should I stay on the right side of the road?” Unless this is England, then it’s probably not time. Brett, it’s just a bigger rocket, same rules apply–though the construction techniques are stronger and less forgiving. That’s a helluva weight going up and coming down. I will give one experienced mention. My primary charge did NOT separate the booster from the chute section, even though Art and I ground tested it, and the charge worked fine. Shot that sucker almost to the harness length, give or take, hey, it was 60 foot, gimme a break. When I used the MWC R/C device, while I wasn’t there, JW told Jim Amos that his R/C device just paid for itself. And, I was thinking that at the same time! I thought about what I wrote earlier, and I kept thinking tell Batman to keep it simple. Joe’s right on that, too. I gotta tell ya there are so many things to be said on this, and you’re about to hear them… this is a really good thread.

    #53433
    John A. Wilke
    Participant

    This is indeed a great thread. For my part, I nailed my L1, had a perfect L2… and then failed two L3 attempts. In the end, I took a deep breath and built a kit — it was a Dynacom Aggressor. I was a pretty seasoned flyer, but after stumbling twice I went to the drawing board and built the Aggressor. I renamed the project “Argos”. I L3’d successfully on my 3rd attempt.

    FWIW, “Argos” was (ironically) VERY similar to the Intimidator 5… Same height, 5″ diameter x 98mm motor mount, etc. I flew it about a dozen times over the years, and then I gave it to a young member of our club. The rocket has flown on very large N’s, hybrids, little-girlie-boy M’s 😀 , EX, etc. It is a horse. It has been over 20K a couple of times, and it still sees some airtime with the new owner.

    So… in the end, I went back to the drawing board, did a kit, and executed it well on my third try. For the record, I had 13 consecutive successful M, N, or O flights after my L3. I believe it was because I finally decided to keep it simple. Even a “Big Dumb Rocket” will go very, very high with the right propulsion!

    #53434
    Steve Jensen
    Participant

    I am eyeballing a L3 Cert, but it’s a couple of years away. I still have much to learn.

    I took four tries to get my L2. I want to drop this number for my L3. No rush. Joe is right, approach it slowly.

    I do like these threads, as they give me ideas. There is a lot of knowledge in the collective experience of NCR.

    #53435
    Bruce R. Schaefer

    I took four tries to get my L2. I want to drop this number for my L3. No rush. Joe is right, approach it slowly.

    Well, as my record shows it took me five attempts to get my L1… very humiliating, YET I learned so much then. I’ve been flying rockets since 1965, earlier if you include before finding out about model rocketry. Good thing I did. Too dangerous the other way. I did things in getting L1 that I had never done before: first attempt, blew the nose off (wasn’t supposed to), then zippered, then shredded my chute, and finally broke my harness. By that time I was really disgusted with myself. I think it was Joe who said, “Don’t give up.” I remember looking for my handmade hemispherical chute–my wife showed me how to use her sewing machine after I asked her to sew a chute for me. She said, “I know you, you’ll want more, so you’ll do it yourself.” So, while I was out looking for the nose section that was by then nearing Cheyenne with the first chute I ever made–worked too darn well :), I heard the distant roar of rockets, a number of M’s, etc. I turned and looked back toward the range, thinking, “I’m home.” Went back and bought a GLR Vertical Assault. I got my L2 in two attempts. The first one failed because I was in a hurry and it was cold and crammed my chute inside. Well, it didn’t come out. My own fault. Never hurried again, never safe to do that. L3 in one attempt M1315–not a whimpy M, JW:), and followed by another successful CTI M 1065, I think… now, THAT is a motor! After my L3, I remember Art telling Mr. Ed, who asked about my flight… “Textbook.” One of the proudest moments in my life. I think after all my failures at L1, people were wondering… But let me make one thing very clear, no ONE does it alone, without help from friends in this club. Altough Art did all three in one day on his 18th birthday. But that’s Art… 8)

    #53436
    Bret Packard
    Participant

    I’ll have fun with it, no doubt. I enjoy the planning and building aspect of this hobby as much as anything, so there’s no pressure for me to rush it. That’s why I made this post in the first place. I’ve thought this thing through forwards backwards and inside out, twice :P. But the fact remains that I’ve never done it, so I’m sure there are parts I haven’t properly considered. Thanks for the responses.

    #53437
    SCOTT EVANS

    Do alot of people fly there L3 birds for fun after cert?

    Only flew mine (to the left) once, now all 12 foot of it stands between two floors on the stairs. And, Brett, as you know with Homer Hickum’s autograph on it, it’s a static display now. In a way, it’s sad that it never flew again. But wanted to keep it intact, so I can look at it, smile, and remember. I just built the Intimidator 5 (Crimson Comet) for fun and flight. I took a year to build my L3.

    Bruce
    Thats a good place for it. Greg flew his Homer Hickum signature Rocket again and destroyed it. 😥
    If I had to do it again, I would have attended and had him sign one of mine! 8)

    #53438
    Bruce R. Schaefer

    I know, and he helped me get my signature from Mr. Hickum, too. Ask Art about one of the few things left of his L3 that he flew again. A priceless signature from one of the only two of our original seven astronauts, Scott Carpenter. I was there with Art, and his distress is personal, and I won’t talk about it. Private, as some things are. Fly it, get your cert, then put it up for your display, or put it to the Fates. I don’t have anything left from my L1 or L2 certs, same GLR Vertical Assault rocket. Gone, except priceless memories. More L3’s should have more to say, at least, technically. With all the help from others, there should be more we can pass on. ??

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