Sad Rocketry News

Discuss TRA/NAR/NFPA Regulations and how to make rocketry a safe and rewarding hobby!
mdutch
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Sad Rocketry News

Postby mdutch » Mon Nov 16, 2015 9:57 am

A Solemn message from the Tripoli President:

I have very sad news to report. Our hobby has experienced its first fatality. A Boy Scout Leader was stuck by a rocket and died of his injuries at a boy scout launch in California this weekend.

Please keep Michael Bentley in your prayers.

The link below has all the information I have at this time.

http://www.sbsun.com/.../longtime-boy-s ... der-dies...

Let us all review all our safey procedures especially how we inform the crowd of any "Heads-Up" situations

Debra Koloms
TRA President
Mike Dutch
URRG & MRSI Founder
TAP L3CC
"I just want to fly ROCKETS"

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patelldp
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Re: Sad Rocketry News

Postby patelldp » Mon Nov 16, 2015 10:09 am

I saw that, what a terrible occurrence. It's almost inconceivable that such a thing can happen...but it certainly can.
Dan Patell
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luke strawwalker
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Re: Sad Rocketry News

Postby luke strawwalker » Mon Nov 16, 2015 11:12 am

Inconceivable?? Hardly, methinks... I've seen FAR too many close calls from HPR rockets gone awry that have come within INCHES of killing someone... there was a pic of a guy on a dirt bike or small motorcycle that had a HPR hit and completely demolish the rear tire of his bike, WHILE HE WAS RIDING IT, just INCHES behind his back, as it fell from altitude... Also read a forum thread from some guys who went to some big Midwest launch a year or two ago and had their rocket come in ballistic and bury itself over six feet deep in soft earth, not far from where some guys were working in a neighboring farm field... they couldn't find it with their electronic finder, but they knew it was in the area, and the location where it impacted was pointed out by one of the farmers-- they then dug it up and retrieved most of it, except the nosecone which was buried too deeply to retrieve...

Don't know the size or construction of this rocket, so I'll reserve judgment, but I know that *I* have seen FAR too many "close calls" from HPR to want those activities going on anywhere near my farms... Perhaps this was just an incredibly unlucky accident with a wayward Alpha model rocket or something similar falling from altitude, which is entirely possible, but it's far more likely that it's not IMHO...

At any rate, it's very very sad and condolences to his family and friends...

Later! OL JR :)
The X-15 Cruise Basselope- THE ultimate weapon in homeland defense and only $52 million per round!!

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patelldp
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Re: Sad Rocketry News

Postby patelldp » Mon Nov 16, 2015 11:23 am

luke strawwalker wrote:Inconceivable?? Hardly, methinks... I've seen FAR too many close calls from HPR rockets gone awry that have come within INCHES of killing someone... there was a pic of a guy on a dirt bike or small motorcycle that had a HPR hit and completely demolish the rear tire of his bike, WHILE HE WAS RIDING IT, just INCHES behind his back, as it fell from altitude... Also read a forum thread from some guys who went to some big Midwest launch a year or two ago and had their rocket come in ballistic and bury itself over six feet deep in soft earth, not far from where some guys were working in a neighboring farm field... they couldn't find it with their electronic finder, but they knew it was in the area, and the location where it impacted was pointed out by one of the farmers-- they then dug it up and retrieved most of it, except the nosecone which was buried too deeply to retrieve...

Don't know the size or construction of this rocket, so I'll reserve judgment, but I know that *I* have seen FAR too many "close calls" from HPR to want those activities going on anywhere near my farms... Perhaps this was just an incredibly unlucky accident with a wayward Alpha model rocket or something similar falling from altitude, which is entirely possible, but it's far more likely that it's not IMHO...

At any rate, it's very very sad and condolences to his family and friends...

Later! OL JR :)


To clarify what I said...I said "almost inconceivable." I completely understand that it's possible and have seen plenty of close calls over the years. The thought of someone dying at a rocket launch, because it had not happened up until this point, seemed exceedingly unlikely. Truth is, we're just really lucky.
Dan Patell
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DBMcCann
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Re: Sad Rocketry News

Postby DBMcCann » Mon Nov 16, 2015 10:19 pm

I think we've been lucky to this point.


I also think HPR is safe, if done properly, and people are actually careful. Racing to launch as many rockets as possible without taking a breath.... Yea, I'm not a fan.

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luke strawwalker
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Re: Sad Rocketry News

Postby luke strawwalker » Wed Nov 18, 2015 12:43 am

Yes in all fairness you did say almost...

Sorry this is just something of an issue I've had for some time... I've attended several HPR launches and seen serious issues at virtually every one, and ALL were just waved away with a "no harm, no foul" attitude...

Now harm and come, and reading on some other forums its like God forbid anyone discuss this without a complete exposition of all the facts officially beforehand and of course everyone in positions of authority are keeping mum so it gives the appearance of wanting the whole thing swept under the rug, which in my honest opinion is totally the wrong thing to do...

But I've seen this attitude displayed before with other incidents that resulted in injuries...so I guess it should be no surprise...

Later! OL JR
The X-15 Cruise Basselope- THE ultimate weapon in homeland defense and only $52 million per round!!

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patelldp
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Re: Sad Rocketry News

Postby patelldp » Wed Nov 18, 2015 8:24 am

luke strawwalker wrote:Yes in all fairness you did say almost...

Sorry this is just something of an issue I've had for some time... I've attended several HPR launches and seen serious issues at virtually every one, and ALL were just waved away with a "no harm, no foul" attitude...

Now harm and come, and reading on some other forums its like God forbid anyone discuss this without a complete exposition of all the facts officially beforehand and of course everyone in positions of authority are keeping mum so it gives the appearance of wanting the whole thing swept under the rug, which in my honest opinion is totally the wrong thing to do...

But I've seen this attitude displayed before with other incidents that resulted in injuries...so I guess it should be no surprise...

Later! OL JR


Your points are well taken. It's human nature for people to say "don't speculate, wait for information" out of fear. At the same time it's human nature to speculate where we lack information...it's what "reality TV" is built upon and it gets ratings. We all know that it will be some time before an official report is released to the public (if ever) due to the possibility of lawsuits.

This is an opportunity for us to "strike while the iron is hot." It's completely unlike what we see in politics where tragedies are twisted into political gain for one side's beliefs...I think that is what a lot of people in the hobby are concerned about right now. We need to understand whether or not we have the safeguards in place to prevent such a thing from happening to someone in the future or decide if this was just an unfortunate occurrence. Yes, we need to understand whether or not the rules were followed, not to incriminate the victim but prevent a reoccurrence. We need to be self aware of the dangers of this hobby because that is what has allowed us to operate effectively on our own for 20+ years.

Repressing converstation and sweeping under the rug implies that someone did something wrong or there is something to hide. I don't operate that way.
Dan Patell
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Re: Sad Rocketry News

Postby DBMcCann » Wed Nov 18, 2015 11:45 am

I think much of the hesitation to discuss is for fear of hurting those close to the situation. The discussion will lead to questions of "what was done wrong" which seem accusatory. However, I believe since we're all still flying, it's something we need to discuss immediately regardless.

I've seen a photo of the launch. I've been asked not to share it and at this time see no purpose in posting it publicly. It was a drag race. The individual hit was one of the fliers. His rocket flew and recovered successfully I am told by the witness who posted on TRF. Looking at the other rocket, it is large and appears to be flying on a black powder motor. It appears stable.

I speculate, with the facts at hand, that the larger rocket was underpowered, or had too long of a delay. Doesn't really matter which- it lead to a ballistic return. The witness said all other rockets were recovering away from the pads. So, wind at the launchers back. Low/underpowered rocket weather cocked into the wind, and returned ballistically into spectators/fliers. Since it was a drag race he had been watching his own rocket, and when heads up was called he didn't have time or ability to track the incoming rocket.

I am unaware of what motor was used, or the weight of the rocket, but from information available that's what appears to have happened. I also do not know if there was an RSO to check weights and compare to motor thrust. Rod angle did not appear sufficient to promote ballistic returns away from the crowd (near vertical)

A terrible event, that hopefully we all never have to be a part of.

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patelldp
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Re: Sad Rocketry News

Postby patelldp » Wed Nov 18, 2015 12:07 pm

Thanks Dave, your post appears to be a statement of known facts with calculated and appropriate interpretations.

Truth is, there is "fault" and there is "unfortunate occurrence" at play here. The outcome is the outcome and it's tragic. What we can do is make well thought out changes to our safety codes in an attempt to prevent it from happening again, while understanding that the exact same sequence of events may have happened 1,000 times but didn't result in a fatality or even an injury.

Personally, I'd love to see drag races go away...entirely. I felt that way long before this, and I have never participated in a drag race in my 11+ years of rocketry. Understanding that many people enjoy them, this sequence of events only solidifies and validates my opinion that it's impossible for everyone in attendance to track many rockets at once. This accident involved only two non-HPR rockets. The thought of the almost two-dozen K drag race or 8 N5800 drag race in the midwest is TERRIFYING. Put an end to it.

In addition to that, I think we need to adopt a mentality much like MDRA has with respect to launch rate. MDRA is EXEMPLARY at launching a rocket, confirming deployment, and then subsequently tracking said rocket if it looks to be heading toward the crowd or launch area.
Dan Patell
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luke strawwalker
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Re: Sad Rocketry News

Postby luke strawwalker » Thu Nov 19, 2015 12:26 am

I agree completely with everything you've said there Dan! I too find drag races an infantile activity with serious safety implications, but to say it is to call down heavy criticism and be labeled a "nervous Nellie" just out to ruin others fun and such similar crap...

At least we can discuss the implications and facts as we know them here (and hopefully more information will be forthcoming), unlike some other Terribly Run Forums that label ANY discussion beyond worthless platitudes and dunning for money as "speculation" and locked the discussion down never to see the light of day... Shoo everyone back to discussing pink unicorn rockets with rainbow parachutes and other such frivolities...

They're really shameful....

Later! OL JR
The X-15 Cruise Basselope- THE ultimate weapon in homeland defense and only $52 million per round!!


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