Little John

Little John
Length:78"Status:Active / 3 flights
Motor Mount:76mmBuild Dates:2010-09-20 to 2012-01-12

After flying lots of 4" rockets on M motors to 14,000+ feet, I was starting to get sick of walking to get them. Randy at ARR was having a sale on some 6" BlueTube, so I decided to use that as an opportunity to solve my problem. Having flown rockets for years with Todd Harrison, I elected to build a Little John; something that size would be perfect for 3500 and 6000 loads on our Indiana field, and be stout enough to shove a 7600 in, should I be feeling sporty. The result is a strong, easy-to-prep bird, perfect for flying in various conditions.


Event: Midwest Power X

Date: November 3rd, 2012

Motor: Gorilla L695

Apogee: 5,426 ft

This Carol Ryan sparky load was the last one I got from Tim's mondo Gorilla sell-off back in November of 2010. I was a little worried about it picking up the LJ, but to no avail; when the Big'un got it going, it punched off the pad with authority, crackling up into the sky at an awesome clip. Apogee was invisible against the clouds, but we caught sight of it on the way down again. Main deployment came and went without a chute, however, and the rocket bounced down, breaking off a fin. Post-mortem indicated that the charges fired but the main got tangled in the drogue lines, thus preventing it from functioning effectively. I immediately walked over to the Wildman trailer and bought parts to rebuild this bird in fiberglass; though the blue tube was nice, it was horribly dimensionally unstable, and I was getting sick of sanding/epoxying/repairing the tube at both the aft and forward ends. So really, the bounce was a blessing in disguise. It will return, soon!

Little John on a Gorilla L695

others: liftoff | in flight

Event: Red Glare XII

Date: April 14th, 2012

Motor: PPL L1400

Apogee: 6,594 ft

Last Red Glare, the entire event was spent tracking down my Competitor 4 from unknown heights. So, to fix that problem, I made up a quick batch of SuperBlue, which included a 3500 load to fly in the Little John. I figured the blue would be a nice combo with the red and white, and also provide some thrust to get it through any wind present, without putting things too high. I spent Saturday morning prepping at a leisurely pace, dealing with rail button issues and nose cone fit issues that turned out to be a combination of dirt and lack of Gold Bond, apparently. (Good thing Ryan brought that.) By the time it was ready for the pad, the breeze had picked up a bit, but the SuperBlue motor had no issue hammering the LJ to 6600 feet at 20 gees. Deployment at apogee was visible beneath the cloud deck, and at 1000 feet the main inflated for a gentle touchdown inside the field boundaries. Sweet.

Flight Summary Motor Curve Flight Curve

Little John on a PPL L1400

others: preflight | recovery

Event: Indiana Rocketry January 2012

Date: January 29th, 2012

Motor: BMW K700

Apogee: 3,253 ft

The weather had finally calmed in January for the first flight of the LJ. Since I was trying a new deployment technique, I wanted to keep things low so I could get a good view of exactly what was happening during the sequence. The weapon of choice was a nice purple 1750 motor that Vic Barlow made for me as a Christmas present (thanks man!). I made up a thermite igniter to get things going quickly. Gus Piepenburg helped me load it onto his rail for the first flight of the morning; after a quick countdown, we were off to the races. The 1750 had no problem picking up the 23 lb airframe, and the boost was nice and straight. At apogee, the ARTS fired the first deployment charge, and things stabilized under the 30" drogue chute. Everything seemed to be working so far. At 1000 feet, the rocket fell through a cloud deck; while it invisible, the main charge fired, and the deployment bag/pilot cleared the nose cone. However, the pilot was a little too small to yank the bag from the cone, and so the chute remained stuck; the rocket fell to the ground with the benefit of only the drogue and the pilot, and landed sticking straight up in the mud, with no damage except to my pride. Oh well - at least it was just a test flight :)

Flight Summary Motor Curve Flight Curve

I like to design, build, and fly rockets. PostFlight started as a project to help me keep track of them. Now I've opened it up so you can follow along, too.
I fly with:
Indiana Rocketry, Inc. MDRA
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