Richard Nakka's Experimental Rocketry Web Site

PHOTO 66 -- Flight C-16 : Sept. 16, 1979

The rocket for Flight C-16 attained a similar peak altitude to that of Flight C-14, with the parachute ejection charge "pop" being heard at t= +12 seconds. Due to an appreciable wind, the rocket drifted nearly out of sight. Luckily, its touchdown (at t = +118 sec.) was noted, and a fix obtained with the landing locator. It was eventually found in a wooded area, about one mile (1.6 km.) from the launch site!
Post-flight inspection revealed a serious breach of the motor head gasket. Escaping combustion gases had burned a large hole through the aluminum thrust bulkhead, entered into the reduction coupler (which connected the lower and upper fuselages) and burned through some of the fibreglass insulation. Most of the hot gases had been blocked, but some penetrated into the PET circuitry searing some of the wiring, but fortunately, not seriously enough to cause the system to fail! (subsequently, a steel heat shield was incorporated).

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