Sunday, December 11, 2022

A Side Trip...To SPACE!

 Well, this week's blog was going to naturally flow from last week's blog like milk from a honey comb...or...something... However, the item that was going to be the focus of above mentioned blog has not yet arrived, and although I have done a lot of the ground work already, it seems a bit of a cheat to proceed without it. 

Therefore, I had to come up with a Plan B- and it had to be quick! Of course, I had pretty much nada. Then I remembered Chuck's comment from last week about a certain U.F.O. Mystery Ship model, and my response to it and I realized- I have a (sort of) post!!!

You see, I turned that glow in the dark, plastic model into an actual flying model rocket for a contest! And I still have it! In (sort of) one piece! Yay!

Ok, a bit of groundwork. You see, there is an official contest in model rocketry called "Plastic Model Conversion" (or PMC for short). It's also called "Plastic Death," "Plastic Insanity," "Oh My God What IS That Thing Coming At My Head???" among other things less fit to print. 

The rules are simple. Convert a plastic model of an aircraft or spacecraft to actually fly and be recovered safely. ("Safely" is a relative term. It usually means ambulances were not involved.) The entries are judged on craftsmanship, difficulty of conversion, and flight characteristics (again, no ambulances).

The main trick in getting a PMC to fly is to simply balance it correctly. You see, the Center of Gravity must be (and stay) in front of the Center of Pressure. You get that licked and you got a good 'un! That means there is usually a heck of a lot of weight in the nose of these birds. That, coupled with the fact that they are pretty much plastic bricks to begin with makes recovering them in one piece...problematic.  There's usually not a lot of room for parachutes, you see...

Anyway, here is mine...

Well, most of mine. The nose has a shroud that goes over it that survived the flight, but not the 10-12 years in storage. I have it somewhere... I think... Other than details, I left the plastic "glow in the dark." This did NOT impress the judges. I didn't win, but I think I placed.
I also wanted to rig the parachute to come out the hanger doors, but didn't have time to engineer a solution for that. I just had it pop out of the top instead.

This was the big selling point of the design. Three engines arranged inline in a cluster. These are still there from the day of the flight!

On the underside, you can see the bit of "straw" used to guide the model up the launch rod. You can also see my (required on contest birds) National Association of Rocketry member number, which explains my blogger handle.

The parachute comes out thusly. Or, maybe I should say "The horribly undersized parachute." It didn't do much to slow down the "return to earth" phase, and, in fact, shredded. Because the thing is build like a tank, and landed in mud, it survived.

I took the engines out! They are C6-3s, which means the total power on the model was in the "small E range." (C+C=D, D+C= small E) It needed more, but looked good anyway.

There they all are! I put them back in after the picture because...well, why not?

So there you have it! A post written about some junk I had in the garage inspired by a comment. In other words, a pretty typical Stu's Attic post!

Hopefully next week we'll have the post that was supposed to be for this week! I'll keep going to the mail and searching for treasure!


  1. So cool! Now I wish I'd joined the Rocketry Club in junior high school.

    1. It's fun! and sometimes terrifying!

  2. My gosh, I want to see that spaceship (space plane?) LAUNCHED!!

    1. I had one picture of it just clearing the launch rod, but I can't find it! Other than not killing anyone, the flight was pretty unspectacular. About 100 feet up, a shiny parachute pops out and doesn't slow it down at all, and then splat into the mud!


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