Lil Nuke

Lil Nuke
Length:27.5"Status:Active / 16 flights
Motor Mount:29mmBuild Dates:1997-09-01 to 1997-10-01

My first LOC/Precision rocket kit was a Lil' Nuke that I purchased when I was 11 years old. I kept it a big secret from my dad as I started working on it, but I think my mom might have tipped him off behind my back, because he magically showed up when I was having serious trouble getting the fins on straight, and showed me how to do it right. The end result has been an excellent finished product that has been a reliable and solid flyer; though the launch lug is on crooked, its motor retention system is sketchy, and it badly needs a new paint job, I love it to death and never intend to change it!


Event: Indiana Rocketry September 2013

Date: September 29th, 2013

Motor: AT F40

I figured that the Nuke on an F40 would be a good way to get back into the swing of things after a quiet summer. Loading was pretty quick (cleaning out my toolbox the night before helped here!) and I headed to the pad. Of course, I neglected to bring extra igniters, so after the first copperhead refused to light the stubborn old motor, I was kind of up a creek; luckily, I managed to scrounge some nichrome from the lid of my toolbox (which I *didn't* clean out) and a slice of propellant from an old grain. This got the motor lit right away, sending the Nuke on a nice flight over the farm. It landed about 200' from my car for an easy recovery!

Event: Tripoli Indiana June 2010

Date: June 13th, 2010

Motor: AT F22

Vic walked over and handed me a bag of reloads for the 29/40-120 case, explaining that he didn't own one and didn't plan to buy one. THANKS VIC! I dug through 'em and found an E23, two F22s, and a G64, all with long delays. I quickly loaded up an F22 for the Lil' Nuke and drilled a few seconds off the delay, figuring it'd be a nice, gentle flight to about 1500 feet. Boy, was I wrong. The Nuke took off the pad like a bullet on a thick, straight trail of dark smoke and disappeared into the sky. I definitely let out an "uh oh" as I lost sight of it! Luckily, deployment made the rocket visible, and she bounced down just north of the pads. Excellent flight!

Event: Tripoli Indiana February 2010

Date: February 21st, 2010

Motor: AT F40

Apogee: ~1,800 ft

For the first flight of the morning, I wanted to see what the upper level winds were doing. I quickly loaded up an F40-7W for the old reliable Lil' Nuke (my favorite motor for it) and headed up to the launch table to fill out my flight card. After retrieving a 1/4" rod from the trailer and installing it in the pad (with a wet corncob standoff), I hooked up the Copperhead igniter. Vic Barlow gave it the once-over at the pad, pulling the nose cone off to make sure I had a chute in it, before giving the go-ahead to Gus Piepenburg to push the button. The Nuke soared off the pad with a little bit of rod whip, but flying a very straight trajectory. After burnout, it became invisible to me, but soon the chute was spotted, and the rocket descended to a soft landing in the next field over.

Lil Nuke on an AT F40

others: ignition | recovery

Event: Turkey Shoot 2002

Date: November 30th, 2002

Motor: AT F21

Well, the motors came in a two-pack, and the last flight was way cool, so I figured I might as well do it again. This flight essentially duplicated the first -- fast, high, and loud. Not a bad deal for a $9 single use F motor!

Event: Turkey Shoot 2002

Date: November 30th, 2002

Motor: AT F21

I picked up a package of F21Ws from RocketSilo - they were fairly inexpensive, and their thrust profile would allow for decent flights of heavier rockets while staying beneath the cloud deck. Though it was raining, I hid under the LCO EZ-UP with Les Derkovitz, friction fitting the first motor into the 'Nuke with a LOC MMA-1. I took it to the pad with a Copperhead in it, and Les called out the count. The motor lit right up and sent the Nuke perfectly straight into the sky on a crackling white flame, with ejection just before apogee. Nice flight!

Event: ROC April 2002

Date: April 11th, 2002

Motor: AT F40

My second flight of the day was the Lil Nuke on an F40W. After a couple of igniters, we finally got the motor to light, and the Nuke went on a good flight.

Event: LTR February

Date: February 5th, 2000

Motor: AT F40

For the second flight of the day, I put up the Lil Nuke on an F40. At one, the Copperhead popped and the motor started belching smoke. The rocket flew off the pad and arced slightly to the east. F motors are awesome from 30 feet away! Ejection was nominal at apogee and I had a nice jog to recover the rocket.

Event: LeT'R ROC

Date: August 28th, 1999

Motor: AT F40

It took five tries to get the stupid Copperhead to go, but on the 5th try the Nuke had a great flight. (Note to self: I think the alligator teeth on the ROC system poke holes through the gold foil, shorting it out.)

Event: ROC March 1999

Date: March 13th, 1999

Motor: AT F52

I had an F52T reload meant for our original Aerotech Arcas that was now orphaned as a result of the big zipper in it, so into the Nuke it went. Boost was fast and smokeless, and the 8 second delay ejected the chute at apogee.

Event: LDRS 17

Date: August 6th, 1998

Motor: AT G40

For my first LDRS flight, I put up the classic Lil' Nuke on its biggest motor yet -- an Aerotech G40. Prep was fast with the single use motor, and the flight was rail straight and really high.

Event: ROCStock VII

Date: June 14th, 1998

Motor: AT F40

The Nuke made another appearance on an F40W as my final flight of ROCStock VII.

Event: ROC December 1997

Date: December 13th, 1997

Motor: AT F40

For my first flight of the morning, the Lil' Nuke went up on the now-classic White Lightning load. After a misfire (I think the ROC system's alligator clips "chew through" the Copperheads), she was on her way slightly to the east, perhaps due to interference from the ignitor cap. No matter, the delay was spot on, and the rocket was recovered with no damage.

Event: ROCStock VI

Date: November 8th, 1997

Motor: AT F40

This was a nice flight on the F40.

Event: ROC August 1997

Date: August 9th, 1997

Motor: AT F40

Since the F25 flight was so nice, I decided to try it again with the reloadable equivalent: the F40. I was excited, as I had never seen one of these motors before, in person, in photos, or on video. It did not disappoint, sending the Nuke fast and high on a big, bright white flame. The chute appeared at apogee and she landed with no damage.

Event: ROC July 1997

Date: July 12th, 1997

Motor: AT F40

This was to be another flight of the Nuke on my favorite motor for it - the Aerotech F40. However, things went south after apogee when the delay ran about 5 seconds long, causing the rocket to separate. Amazingly, the shock cord mount held up, and the only damage was a torn shock cord; a quick knot and she was back in business.

Event: ROCStock V

Date: June 28th, 1997

Motor: AT F25

This was the first flight for my "secret project" Lil' Nuke, and I was determined to get it in the air despite the wind. The flight was good with a bit of weathercocking. I upped the chute from the stock 14" to an 18" red nylon chute from my Estes Impulse, which resulted in a nice descent rate, albeit at the price of a bit of a walk. Success!

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I fly with:
Indiana Rocketry, Inc. MDRA
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