Boris and Paul's Aeronautics
and Space Administration

Paul's TARC team ranks 17th in the 2015 finals out of 700 teams in the USA!


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Hot Rod Nitro FireBall
Click on any picture to enlarge

Flown on 9 to 18 engines and launched 6 second stage rockets in flight
Team project by Boris Katan and David Mackiernan

7 feet tall by 4 inches diameter.   Flight weight 14 pounds.   

Remastered Video:  flights 1 & 2: including Amazing Onboard Video - 18 engines fired, 2 stages, 7 rockets at LDRS 28!
flight 4 - Last flight:    10/2/10    CMASS    Amesbury, MA
Stage 1 - main rocket: 1x H-399 + 3x F45 RR + 3x D11-P  /  Stage 2 - 6x Nitros: 6x D12-5

Last HRNF flight, stage 1 main rocket lifted off and deployed its chutes well.
Unfortunately, the 6x stage 2 Nitros ignited but did not separate and burned the ring of fire badly. This project has been retired.

flight 3:    9/19/09    CMASS    Amesbury, MA

Stage 1 - main rocket: 1x Pro-X H255 Blue + 12x D11-P
Stage 2 - 6x Nitros: 6x D12-5

The flight was a fun one, on a clear and windy day.
My son Paul showing the business end of stage 1. David, Alan and I up to no good at the pad.

The H255 fires quickly, only half the D11s are ignited.
Ignition of the 6x second stage Nitros is exciting and mostly successful. 5 are fired and 4 fly upwards
Recovery of central rocket is good, using deployment bag and 7' chute.

The Nitros quickly filled the sky, shooting off in all directions. One even headed straight down and pranged under power. It may have been bumped, turbulence and wind were big factors too. This Nitro was the only thing damaged in the flight.

Main rocket only went up 448ft, due to a few engines not fired, weather cocking, and planned moderate impulse. Thrust at the pad was reduced 18% due to stage 1 motors not fired. The Nitro's ematches were held in place with Estes igniter plugs, usually I use tape. The plugs worked well for 5 of the Nitros, but one ematch was damaged by jamming in the plug, and that's the Nitro that stayed with the main rocket all the way back to the ground.

Unfortunately, the onboard video camera shut off before the flight took off.

Pre-Flight Planning:    
Prepped similarly to the way it was at LDRS for flight 2, except:
1) Less thrust on the main rocket. About 2/3 of LDRS flight, resulting in reduced acceleration and wind speed that the Nitros have to deal with 0.6 seconds into flight when they are ignited.
2) Stage 2 Nitros are slightly more snugly mounted to the stage 1 main rocket.

flight 2:    7/3/09    LDRS 28    Potter, NY
Fired 18 of 19 total loaded motors and all 6x second stage rocket to great effect!
Remastered Video: flights 1 & 2: including Amazing Onboard Video - 18 engines fired, 2 stages, 7 rockets at LDRS 28!

Stage 1 - main rocket:
1x Pro-X H170 Blue + 2x G71 Redlines + 4x RR G80 + 6x D11-P
Stage 2 - 6x Nitros: 6x D12-5

 great sequence of liftoff pictures by Neil McGilvray and Todd Haring

The Hot Rod Nitro Fireball project flew well at LDRS. Fired 18 of 19 installed motors, using 5 different motors from 4 manufacturers:

All motors fired by Rocketflite MF ematches boosted with Rocketflite ML pyrogen, both ejection charges were also fired by MF ematches.

Stage 1:
1x AMW Pro-X 29mm H170 Blue Streak
2x AT G71 Redlines
4x Roadrunner G80-10 (smoky motors, one of these did not ignite, usually these fire quickly)
6x Estes D11-P (at the fin tips)

The H was in the center providing the long flame tail, surrounded by the 6x G motors pumping red and black into the flame. The BP motors in the fin tips fed their flame into the AP fireball below the rocket to good effect.


Stage 2: Were the 6x Hot Rod Rockets Nitro rockets each powered by a D12-5.
Fired by a Perfectflite MT3G timer at 0.6 seconds. These all fired and went in an upward direction to cool effect.

However, they appear to have been buffeted hard by turbulence from the main rocket, and were not pointed straight up immediately after separation. We will have to "fine tune" this part for the next attempt.

Fired stage one impulse was J powered at about 840Ns. Stage two added about another 100Ns. The complete rocket weighed 14.0 lbs at RSO inspection.

The main rocket (AKA Ultimate FireBall) reached an altitude of 1272ft and deployed 3ft drogue at apogee. Second ejection charge fired at 400ft, but the main jammed, fortunately the very soft muddy ground prevented any damage from the quick landing.

flight 1:    4/29/09    CMASS    Amesbury, MA

Stage 1 - main rocket: 3x G77R + 4x F40W + 6x D11-P
Stage 2 - 6x Nitros: 6x D12-5

Pre-Flight Planning:  Initial flight weight 13 lbs.

At 0.6 seconds a Perfectflite MT3G timer will fire the 6x Nitro second stages.
The Nitros have initial separation liftoff weight of 4.8 oz and are fired by 1x D12-5 each.

Thrust curves and rocket weights appear to confirm that the second stage rockets should pull quickly away from the first stage carrier rocket. Did not attempt to use RockSim due to project complexity.

Using the online sim at webalt.markworld.com :

Separation at 0.6 seconds occurs at
> altitude: 50ft
> acceleration: 120 lbs thrust / 10Gs
> speed: 140 mph

at 0.8 seconds
> the main rocket continues to accelerate at a gradually reducing rate
> the 6x Nitros have peak acceleration of 18+ Gs quickly pulling away from the main rocket

Nitros use apogee streamer recovery. Ultimate FireBall uses proven setup of apogee drogue and main at 400 ft.

before and after flight

Lift off was slow on a column of fire, reaching only 484 ft.
Main rocket completed a clean recovery using deployment bag.

While the flight was safe, three elements of the flight failed.
> Two of the G77Rs failed to light. This had a lot to do with the low altitude. As they were both on the same series string of ematches, suspect that part of the circuit lost continuity during the complex setup at the pad.
> Two of the outboard D11-Ps failed to light. For the first time, tried using wadding under tape to hold the ematches in place, but this approach did not work well.
> The timer switch failed, so the 6x Nitros did not fire. The Nitros stayed with the main rocket until apogee drogue deployment, then they separated and fell to the ground.

Build - Spring 2009     Click on any picture to enlarge

We took the 7ft tall x 4in diameter Ultimate FireBall, built a "Ring of Fire" and screwed to the fins.
                                                                                                         David and rocket.

Ring of Fire: 1.6" cardboard tubing first stage pods with 1/8" plywood tabs that screw onto fins.
Joined and reinforced the tail assembly with 3" x 1/8" basswood strips just over 4" long.
Reinforced with 3oz fiberglass and painted with epoxy internally.
Then mounted 6x Nitro rockets to it.

In the electronics bay: Perfectflite HA45K altimeter (to dual deploy the main rocket) and MT3G timer (to fire the 6x Nitros). The banana plugs will be taped to the side of the rocket, carry ignition power to the Nitros, and later separate at apogee deployment. The dual Duracell 9V alkalines are wired in parallel and power both devices.

To capture onboard video:
Picked up an Aiptek GO HD video camera.
Cut out an opening in the PML 4" NC.
Cut dense foam padding to shape and made a basic wood frame from 1/8" ply.
Not pictured is 2 tie wraps and some tape that will pin it all together for flight.