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rocket powered flight

Old 06-14-2010, 08:02 PM
  #1  
airborn737
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Default rocket powered flight

Has anyone ever tried to attach an Estes Rocket to an RC plane, ignite the rocket engine and then takeoff? It would be horizontal thrust, but you use your normal flight controls to keep it under control.

I have a Parkzone Trojan, and I'm thinking about building some kind of an attachment to secure the rocket engine, as well as protect the aircraft from the rocket flames. If you are familiar with Estes Rockets, you simply attach the electric ignition to the rocket while it's on the launch pad, and when lit, the rocket separates from the spark wires. I would use the same concept here, except it is horizontal on takeoff (instead of vertical), and instead of a rocket, it's an RC plane.

Thoughts? Could make for a pretty cool video.

Ideally, I would like to build a Bell X-1, but maybe that's later.
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:13 PM
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Larry3215
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Its been attempted quite a few times. There have even been a few successful ones

The first trick is to keep from setting your plane on fire.

The second trick is to find just the exact, correct alignment for the rockets - on the very first attempt.

If the thrust line is off even a tiny amount the plane will be completely uncontrollable until the rocket motors burn out.

Remember that once lit, you cannot throttle down or turn them off until they run out of fuel. The model also tends to accelerate way way faster than normal. Often a lot faster than the pilot can react.

The motors tend to still be burning several seconds AFTER the plane has crashed because the pilot had no control over the model wanting to loop or dive uncontrollably during the first moments of flight

You will want to be very careful with the design of the model you choose and how you mount the rockets.

Id start with the lowest power rocket motors Estes makes and work up sloooowly. You will also want a relatively heavy model or one you can balast with extra weight to begin with to minimize the rockets effects until you are sure the thrust line is correct.

Keep us posted on your progress and be 100% sure to get video of every take off attempt. The ones Ive seen tend to be short but very entertaining
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:52 PM
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It does make for a good video, check out some of the video sites and search for rc rocket. it may also give you a good starting point for your own. There's even a great scale project with a B29 and X1 if you want to see the extremes: http://www.google.com/search?q=rc+b2...ed=0CDMQqwQwAw
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:55 PM
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Yes, this concept has been done quite a bit already. In fact, there are RATO gliders out there that use rockets to get to altitude.

Some friends of mine at the club used a foam Alpha Jet EDF and did some rocket burns both on take off (did not go vertical, just used rockets for additional thrust) and during level flight. Worked pretty well too.
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:02 PM
  #5  
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I have an Estes, Sweet Vee kit, rocket powered glider that I've never put together. Been thinking about converting it to pusher electric....lol. Its a pod and boom and may be fairly easy to convert. Just been too busy with other stuff. then again, may just do the rocket program. Still have the igniter and several rocket engines.
CC
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:03 PM
  #6  
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I do a lot of rocket power flying but the rockets I use (Rapiers) are long burning (20-25 seconds) and low thrust. they are intended for lightweight freeflight type model so dont have enough thrust for anything but the very smallest/lightest RC model.

The problem with Estes type rockets is they have a very short burn, a second or less in the case of the smaller types.. which is rather limiting.

Steve
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:41 AM
  #7  
airborn737
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Thanks for the responses. I think my vision here was to basically do some kind of an "afterburner"... I thought about it, and what I thought I might do is purchase a small estes kit (rocket with 1"-2" diameter), shorten the cylindrical fuselage and still use the nose cone and engine nozzle (the bottom of the rocket that holds the engine). All I would need to do is figure out how to attach the short rocket to my plane.

Also, I'll have to do some testing with the "heat shield".

Another thought of mine: You know the traditionally yellow launch box that you get with estes rockets? The button you push on the yellow handle control that launches the rocket? What if I stripped down that yellow box and just had the wiring and the ignition button inside of the fuselage of my plane, and installed a servo with an arm to push the button mid-flight? Does that make sense? Then you could fire the afterburner at any point in the air. How cool would that be?
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:44 AM
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Or you could rig the igniter directly to a servo wire plugged into the receiver on a spare channel. I believe the 5-6 volts to the RX is sufficient to light the ignitor. Put the wire on a channel assigned to a toggle switch.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:26 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by crxmanpat View Post
Or you could rig the igniter directly to a servo wire plugged into the receiver on a spare channel. I believe the 5-6 volts to the RX is sufficient to light the ignitor. Put the wire on a channel assigned to a toggle switch.
I don't think I'd trust my RX power bus to power a high-load like an Estes igniter, especial how many times I've seen the wire fall together after launch. The cheap way is as the OP described with a mechanical link from a servo, the nice way would be an RC relay, a switch that plugs in to the RX, best opto isolated.

For this type of 'fun', I seriously would either get or make a cheap switch with it's own power system (battery) that is triggered by a servo. I wouldn't even mess with the estes launcher, those are usually a couple of electroplated contacts into the molded case and will be a pain IMHO vs a small toggle switch mounted with your own circuit.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:57 AM
  #10  
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Hi
Check out these videos
Do enjoy
[media]http://www.metacafe.com/watch/228529/rc_me163_rocket_plane/[/media]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?search=...&v=828HJzN2pgY
Take care
Hank
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Old 06-15-2010, 04:05 AM
  #11  
Larry3215
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This is what usually happens on the first few tries if your planning is off

[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lf_TH5kjQ1I&feature=related[/media]
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Old 06-15-2010, 04:07 AM
  #12  
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Those crazy Germans!
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Old 06-15-2010, 05:19 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by MaxAdventure View Post
I don't think I'd trust my RX power bus to power a high-load like an Estes igniter, especial how many times I've seen the wire fall together after launch. The cheap way is as the OP described with a mechanical link from a servo, the nice way would be an RC relay, a switch that plugs in to the RX, best opto isolated.

For this type of 'fun', I seriously would either get or make a cheap switch with it's own power system (battery) that is triggered by a servo. I wouldn't even mess with the estes launcher, those are usually a couple of electroplated contacts into the molded case and will be a pain IMHO vs a small toggle switch mounted with your own circuit.

Dimension Engineering PicoSwitch
http://www.dimensionengineering.com/PicoSwitch.htm

There's your huckleberry
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:21 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by kenchiroalpha View Post
Hi
Check out these videos
Do enjoy
[media]http://www.metacafe.com/watch/228529/rc_me163_rocket_plane/[/media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?search=...&v=828HJzN2pgY
Take care
Hank
Impressive stuff but perhaps not so practical when you look at the facts..

The motor looked like an Estes 'E9' type or something very similar. The burn time of these motors is a little over 3 seconds. I'd guess with a scale model like the Me163 you might get a total flight time including the glide descent of 30 seconds. Cost for each flight is $23 (the cost of the rocket).. assuming you dont crash!

$23 for a 30 second flight, you could easily spend $200 on a days flying and still have only 5 minutes air time.... You would attact a big crowd but the novelty would soon wear off or you would run out of money.

Steve
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Old 07-24-2010, 07:06 AM
  #15  
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If you check the Flying Models plan site, I think they may still have the plans for a .19 powered RC plane plane that did use an Estes type rocket for RATO boost on take-off. If I remember the original article they had some drawings showing that the thrust line of the rocket not only needed to be lined up with the ventral center line of the model, but also needed to be lined up so the projection of the thrust line on the side view passed through the CG of the plane. It should be easier to do today with the availability of plugged motors that don't have delay and ejection charges. There are also some fairly powerful reloadable motors tha can be assembled with just the propellant grain, leaving the delay and ejection charges out. Aerotech also has two different sized reloadable motors specifically for RC that let you use up to G sized composite loads. Bit more power than the Estes E sized black powder motors. Different motors have different thrust curves, some buring with a very heavy initial thrust pulse for a very short time, others with a lower initial pulse but a longer burn for a longer time. The Aerotech website shows thrust curves for all their engines. I think they all do, in fact.

Also, if you do this, please be aware that the black powder rockets are ignited from the nozzle end, while most of the composites use a longer igniter that starts the burn higher up.

Rocket powered RC is a lot of fun, and the launch can really keep you on your toes.
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Old 01-07-2015, 02:41 AM
  #16  
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Sadly it seems Flying Models is no more:
http://flying-models.com/
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2318675
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Old 01-07-2015, 01:30 PM
  #17  
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A nice scale C130 with JATO....that would be awesome!
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Old 01-07-2015, 07:58 PM
  #18  
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Default Bell X-1 maiden flight

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmXH61g-NXU

This is my test firing of the Bell X-1 I designed. 2 years ago, I designed a shuttle for my transport and dropped it successfully. I am in the process of adapting the Bell X-1 to the transport so we can take it high, release it, and let it come down, point nose high and go for a ride.

Any questions, I will try to answer.
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:25 PM
  #19  
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The Chinese have all the fun.
This is sweet!!!
Click here: Amazing rocket launch!
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by dahawk View Post
The Chinese have all the fun.
This is sweet!!!
Click here: Amazing rocket launch!

Wow that looks like fun, and your right they do have all the fun.

Here is a GreatPlanes Patriot 40 twin rocket assisted.

http://youtu.be/k3uOT-X6uRI

Last edited by gramps2361; 01-08-2015 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 01-08-2015, 05:15 AM
  #21  
BroncoSquid
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The strange weird wonderful ways of a forum.......
Someone digs up a 4 year old post on rocket powered flight to post about a magazine going out of business. COMPLETELY unrelated, and now the thread is alive and well as if the post that dug this thread up was never posted. Seems that I am not the only one who more skims than reads....
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Old 01-08-2015, 07:16 AM
  #22  
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Lol! Glad I'm not the only one who noticed.
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Old 01-08-2015, 02:11 PM
  #23  
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If you have a brushed ESC lying around, you can use that to send power to your rocket motor ignitor. Connect it to a unused channel.
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Old 01-09-2015, 05:39 AM
  #24  
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Just thinking that something similar to that rocket wheel was in a Flying Models mag or Decade of Designs #2 a few years ago. It was built for a pair of Jetex 50s, IIRC. I have the motors, but need to save the fuel and fuzes for the occasional competition.
I miss Jetex and those later Rapier black powder rockets from Europe.
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Old 01-09-2015, 06:30 AM
  #25  
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Wow, this is an old resurrected thread!

Years ago, I watched a club member fly a rocket launched sailplane. If the elevator or ailerons were touched during the rocket firing, the model arced into the ground in a second or three.

If the pilot got a decent launch, his model wound up at a few hundred feet, about the same as a decent hi-start. And, one rocket launch cost about the same as that hi-start.

Even a lousy propeller driven electric launch system will result in longer flights than a rocket launch.

Last edited by kyleservicetech; 01-09-2015 at 08:35 PM.
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