Even More Hawaii Launches

My Estes SLS on the left, Gary’s in the middle, and Ron K’s upscale BT-80 Patriot on the right.

A couple more launches I’ve done recently.


Waipahu District Park. I launched my Estes Mean Machine on a D12-3. Perfect flight – first time I’ve launched it without mishap. Usually a part comes loose or the chute doesn’t open, but this time everything stayed together.

HOWEVER, I also launched my much-beloved SpaceX Falcon 9 with the Demo 2 Dragon capsule, a builder’s kit from Boyce Aerospace with gorgeous 3D-printed parts. The D12-3 flight looked like it went well, but when I recovered the booster, the capsule wasn’t there! The knot I had tied in the Kevlar shock cord had come undone. I search and I searched, but I couldn’t find it. Later, while heading to my car I noticed little white pieces-parts on the sidewalk. Apparently when the capsule came off, it landed ballistic on the sidewalk and shattered into a gazillion fragments. I collected as many as I could, but there’s still quite a few missing. I ordered a replacement; next time I’m making sure nothing comes loose!

Falcon 9 launch, and the recovered pieces-parts of the Dragon capsule afterwards.

I called it a day after that.


Waipahu District Park – if you can’t tell yet, my favorite launch site on the island.

  • Started off with my Estes SLS on a C6-3. Flew perfectly but should probably use a 5-second delay.
  • Estes Blue Origin New Shepard on a C6-5.
  • I flew my old Estes Air Walker on a B6-4 because it had a nice clear payload section, and I wanted to try out my new Featherweight GPS rocket-finding system. The flight started off well, but the original cheap elastic shock cord broke. The booster came down on tumble-recovery, undamaged, as the payload second floated down gently under parachute. I used the GPS tracking app on my phone to walk over to the payload; as I walked beyond it, the arrow flip around. Successful test!
  • Flew my Estes Cherokee-E on a C11-3. Great flight; that’s a good motor for this model on a small field such as Waipahu.
  • Flew my Estes Hi-Flyer twice: first on an A8-3, then on a B6-4. Both motors worked great, although the first flight failed to fully deploy the streamer, so it was tumble-recovery.
  • Flew the SLS again three more times, on a C6-3, C6-5, and finally on another C6-5. Took some video for the first flight. Gary and I tried to drag-race our SLSs on the second flight, but his composite motor didn’t ignite. I traded him a C6-5 for the last flight, and it was a good race – although my parachute didn’t fully deploy and my SLS tumbled down undamaged. Chalk that win up to Gary!