So as many of you know a week or so ago I had this crazy idea pop into my head that we should get Alex into model rockets. I talk to Rob and he’s up for the idea too.
So later that day we head out to AVF Hobbies and look at what they have to offer. We find a good starter kit which pretty much only requires us to buy the engines separately. We pick up a package of A and a package of B engines. The bigger the letter the higher the rocket goes. Each pack also comes with 3 engines. So we are now set.
We don’t get a chance that day to set off the rocket for a few reasons. One Alex wasn’t behaving well at school and the rocket required assembly, plus our days were filled up with other things. Then the weather gets rainy for a few days so we have to wait for better weather.
So finally, today, we aren’t too busy, Alex has been good at school and the weather is amazing. Rob puts together the rocket and we set out and head to the park behind Laurier School, thinking it will do the job well. It’s big, open, no trees and no hydro lines.
We can tell the kids are excited. Alex can’t stop talking and even Ryan is making rocket noises and swinging his arms around when he does. It doesn’t take long to set up the launch pad, get the parachute packed into the nose cone and set the rocket up and get ready for launch.
We start off using the A engine, get the kids to stand back and I hold the ignition and do the countdown. After counting down from 10, I push the button and hear the tell-tale hiss, then whoosh and the rocket shoots up into the sky. It was great, it went up about 200 feet, still withing sight, you could see the cone pop and the parachute deploy and watch it the whole way down. It lands without damage about 30 feet away from us.
With a successful first launch we have to do a second. This time we go with the bigger engine. From the package it predicts to go about 600 feet. We set up, get back, do the countdown and launch!
Hiss…whoosh….! Up it goes. It goes so high it’s almost impossible to see until the ‘chute deploys. It slowly starts heading down, as it does we realize it’s going to get much further away than the first launch did. We start chasing it down the field, going, going, going. Ohoh. Even before it lands, it becomes painfully clear it’s going to go into the subdivision behind the school. We try and keep track of where it lands as best we can and Rob takes the van to try and find it.
I think he was gone a good twenty minutes before he came back. It took so long I was sure we’d lost it. But as Rob comes out of the van I see a vibrant orange thing in his hand. It the rocket! YAY!
I can’t believe he found it. Rob tells me he was quite lucky he did. He had almost given up on finding it when someone came out of their house asking if he was looking for a rocket. It had landed in their back yard.
Since we enjoyed the first two launches we decide to do one last one with the small engine again. And the kids wanted to do another one as well, even Ryan, as when we were bringing the rocket back he would run to the ignition and try to work it. Good thing it wasn’t hooked up yet and has a safety mechanism to prevent accidental launches. For the third attempt Alex asked to set it off so we let him. We explain that he has to be very careful, wait for us to tell him to start, he has to do the countdown to give everyone notice it’s going off and only push the button when it’s time.
It’s set up and I get next to Alex to help him if needed. He counts down as told and pushes the button. Hiss…whoosh! The rocket goes up into the sky for a third time. As with the first launch we see it the whole way and it only falls about 50 feet from us. Alex asks if he can run after it and get it and we let him.
The rocket has survived intact so we pack up and head home. If you ask Alex his favourite part was getting to push the button by himself. We are planning to keep doing this hobby, although we may not have any more launches this year, I can’t see the weather continuing to hold. Alex wants a blue rocket for the next one and I’m sure we will oblige. Although, if we want to shoot off the bigger engines we may have to find a bigger field!