High Power Cluster Motor Rocket "Lawn Dart" Disaster Averted at 400 Feet- 3/19/2011
Monthly TTRA launch at Varn ranch, Plant City FL. CINEMA 5 rocket had (2) G80-10 Aerotech motors and had flown successfully several times before. Igniters were tested for matched resistance and even taped individually to the motors so that they would not be pulled out by ignition of either motor.
Only one motor ignited, and rocket veered into a ballistic trajectory, achieving only 459 feet in altitude. Thankfully, the rocket contained an altimeter set for main chute deployment at 400 feet (drogue chute was supposed to be deployed by the 10 second motor delay).
Both chutes were connected through the nosecone so that the Aiptek camcorder would be oriented to the ground during descent. But since the main chute deployed first, and because the main chute actually opened above the tail of the rocket which was in "lawn dart" orientation, the shock cord for the drogue was forcibly pulled out of the rocket body tube, "zippering" it. You can see the zippering occuring in a few of the vidcaps provided.
Rocket landed safely, but the body tube will need to be replaced.