Drag races add a bit to all of the excitement, not only for their competitive elements, but also because the action fills the skies, sometimes with mishap.
This Great Gizmo drag race was sponsored by Wildman Rocketry at LDRS27 in Argonia, Kansas, with each flying the same kit:
It’s a rare treat to see them all roar off the pad at the same time, and then spiral around like Keystone Cops. The sparky one at the bottom went into a death spiral and crashed into the farm dirt near me. (Since these are all the same rocket kit, I suspect the difference in flight dynamics derive from differences in nose cone weight.) This is one bank of rockets; there was a second bank off to the left launched at the same time.
Then the big birds came out, with each flying the same sparky M-size motor from Animal Motor Works:
Three rocketeers, scattered across the globe, coordinated designs over the Internet to converge for a surprisingly fair drag race (I suspect Thermite igniters). The rocket on the right came from Australia to rural Kansas for this launch.
These were a special collections of very close races. Much more typical, especially for me it seems, is to have my rocket still chuffing on the pad while the other rocket screams supersonically out of sight. Here’s an example video of a drag race of my Milk Rocket versus Erik’s (which leaves the frame before mine gets going). It’s mostly interesting for the smack-talking audio, typical of these events.
Not to be outdone by Team Numb’s Beer Keg launch, I improvised with what I had in the desert, and sent my son’s milk bottle up in his Nike Smoke rocket on a K550… and got it 100 ft. higher than the beer (6,258 ft. per the onboard HCX flight computer).
I was racing Erik’s GLR Vertical Assault flying on one of my favorite motors, a CTI L730 which burns a thermoplastic propellant from a Canadian aerospace company. He just rips off the pad and out of the frame, and disappeared into the sky.
I cut a few minutes of mystery from the middle of the video as we were looking up in the sky for our rockets. We both packed orange chutes and only one orange chute was visible in the sky… Who’s rocket was it, and where did the other one go?
Both rockets were recovered in perfect shape. My chute was in sight overhead, and Erik’s was discovered several hours later by others). I shared the “rocket milk” with Team Numb as they were having cookies on Sunday morning. The motor warmed the milk to body temperature… just like mama used to make…