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NAR Reports Model Rocketry's First Confirmed Fatality.
#11
"Take Cover" would probably produce the same reaction. "Heads Up" always makes me want to look up.
I dunno what I would do when confronted with that situation. I would hope that I'd do the right thing.
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#12
+2 or 3 on this. I've felt for a long time that "heads up!" is totally the wrong call when the hazard is coming down from above. Looking down or (better) covering your head with your arms is MUCH better than looking up if you don't know exactly where the rocket is. "Take cover" seems like it would be more likely to get people to do the safest thing.

Also I've seen heads-up calls on way too many things that don't warrant it, diluting the urgency.

Edit: In the discussion on the link Ted Cochran posted, it's mentioned that the rocket in question was pretty large and may have intentionally been launched without a parachute, which would be a serious violation of the Safety Code. It's tragic to lose someone, even more so if common sense and the rules of rocketry were disregarded.
Dave Cook 
NAR 21953 L2    TRA 1108
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#13
I'd like a link to that discussion. I had not heard that speculation yet.
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#14
Here's my take on the idea that the rocket didn't have a parachute. The reporter likely got the info wrong, and passed that on to the readers. Reporters are notoriously bad at facts. Due to a number of different reasons, their facts can be distorted, misrepresented, or just plain misunderstood.

When we say that a rocket is coming down "without a parachute", rarely do we mean that a rocket that isn't designed to be a featherweight, glide, or tumble recover isn't equipped with a parachute. What we mean is that a rocket that was designed to have a parachute has had some kind of malfunction. Thus, the rocket is not operating correctly, and on a ballistic return.

I personally witnessed only one rocket launched deliberately without a parachute that was designed for one. Turned out that the guy who built it was the same $&*+head who bit the heads off of the school campus' ducks "for fun" (got him expelled for the rest of the school year). He managed to remove his parachute, and superglue his nosecone on in a deliberate act of sabotage. Then he managed to slip this past the teacher who was conducting the launch. That rocket ended up sticking in the ground four inches deep between the feet of another student. The only reason it didn't strike him was that he fell backwards when he realized that everyone in the group was yelling at him to look out. That is the only truly "without a parachute" launch I've seen. BTW: The miscreant is no longer with us, fortunately. He was killed when he fell out of the back of a pickup truck while doing stupid tricks sometime around his 21'st birthday (some 25 years ago).

However, I've had two situations where a 2-stage rocket's booster failed to ignite the sustainer, and then have had a ballistic return. I had parachutes in the rockets, but without the ejection charge of the sustainer, they came in "without a parachute".

My guess is that in the research done by the reporter, they heard someone use the euphemism "without a parachute" when the correct description of the situation was that the rocket returned ballistically. Since lots of people know what "without a parachute" means, and not so many understand ballistic return (likely including the reporter). So, when the article was written, the reporter used the term "without a parachute", and the idea that the rocket wasn't equipped with a parachute was born, and has since spread.
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NAR #100544

"The Guide says there is an art to flying", said Ford, "or rather a knack." 
"The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."

Launching is Optional... Landing? That Depends on Trees.

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#15
Ok, I've now read the comments of two individuals who claim to have been there. If they are confirmed as authentic sources, then the rocket involved doesn't seem to match with any NAR or TRA design requirements. I'm still very interested in learning what did happen, and more importantly, what lessons can be learned from this.

Prayers for All Involved.

God Bless!
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NAR #100544

"The Guide says there is an art to flying", said Ford, "or rather a knack." 
"The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."

Launching is Optional... Landing? That Depends on Trees.

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#16
I know my Big Daddy went ballistic and arcked like a guided missile. It was deep in the ground when we finally found it. And this was after several successful flights. I'd say getting killed by a rocket is about as likely as getting struck by lightning, but it does happen.
John S.
NAR #96911
TRA #15253
MDRA
Level 1, 2014-Mar-15 -- Aerotech Sumo, H133BS
Level 2, 2014-Jun-21 -- Giant Leap Vertical Assault, J240RL
Level 3, 2016-03-12 -- MAC Performance Radial Flyer, M1101WH, 13,028 feet
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#17
If even an ounce of this rampant speculation is true it looks really bad. The civil litigation will ensue and it will be a black eye for the hobby as a whole. Maybe we can all just close our eyes, click our heels and repeat "There is no place like home" and it will all go away!
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#18
(11-19-2015, 11:01 AM)Bat-mite Wrote: I know my Big Daddy went ballistic and arcked like a guided missile.  It was deep in the ground when we finally found it.  And this was after several successful flights.  I'd say getting killed by a rocket is about as likely as getting struck by lightning, but it does happen.

I'd say more like as likely as getting struck by lightning 10 times in the same year.  One poor unlucky SOB (Roy Sullivan) got hit seven times over his life.  He survived all of them, only to die by a self inflicted gun shot.  

According to Roy Sullivan's wiki page:
Quote:The odds of being struck by lightning for a person over the period of 80 years have been roughly estimated as 1:10000.[9] If the lightning strikes were independent events, the probability of being hit seven times would be 1:100007 = 1:1028.
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NAR #100544

"The Guide says there is an art to flying", said Ford, "or rather a knack." 
"The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."

Launching is Optional... Landing? That Depends on Trees.

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#19
Here's the latest from TRF on the subject, as provided by George Gassaway:

Quote:As it has now turned out, days later, the rocket was a PVC pipe rocket of about 4 inch diameter and 4 feet long, powered by a cluster of Estes E engines. It was ANGLED, to purposely crash off in some "safe" downrange area. 

Yes, the builder/flier had no recovery device in it at all, it was supposed to crash nose-first with no recovery system, not even pop off the nose.

For some reason (I have a theory but there's been too much wrong speculation about this tragedy already), despite the angle, it ended up getting vertical, then nosed over and fell vertically, near where it was launched, instead of crashing "safely downrange" as intended.

So, bottom line, if the descriptions by those who were there are accurate, it was an unsafe illegal rocket to begin with (sort of like things Jerry Irvine used to publicize and encourage, like horizontally fired bazookas, and gasoline in model rockets, documented in his magazine CRM long ago). It broke several safety code rules , as well as apparently being in violation of California's current laws for a rocket like that. 

- George Gassaway
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NAR #100544

"The Guide says there is an art to flying", said Ford, "or rather a knack." 
"The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."

Launching is Optional... Landing? That Depends on Trees.

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#20
This reply has morphed into a cold-medicine induced ramble. No guarantee it responds to, or applies to any previous post. Angel

IF that was true, the main lesson learned for NAR/TRA is just to follow the rules in place. However, things like launch rod angle and wind vector vs the flight line should be considered for inclusion. I'm sure the NAR rulers can cuss and discuss this better than I. And, I'm sure this has been discussed before.

Another thing that comes to mind is a safety check including a thrust/weight assessment. It's not clear to be that this applies here as it seems the rocket in question seems to have gone up OK. This gets murky as to whether a preponderance of the motors in a cluster should be required to be able to lift the rocket safely (eg 2 of 3). Same thing with clusters with one biggish main motor and small ones mainly for effect. If the big one is the one that doesn't light, then you can be in trouble. Best to only ignite the small ones when you are sure the main one went.

All that being said, you can't codify everything, the safety code shouldn't be as long as ObabmaCare. Maybe better to just have RSO training guidelines.

And THAT being said...it appears this is a BSA issue not a NAR/TRA issue.

Prayers again for Mr. Bentley and his family!

</endoframble>
Member of MDRA, NAR and NARHAMS;
Level-2 certified but mostly fly G and under;
Volunteer compiler of manufacturer's news for ROCKETS Magazine.
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