Saturday, December 03, 2005

In The Interest of Science

I have a feeling some kid was probably behind that whole "attempted shoot down of a jetliner at LAX" but I don't buy the bottle rocket idea, nor the flare idea.

I remembered something from my childhood as I read the article. I remembered the good ol' days of building model rockets and launching them in the desert. Some of them managed to reach a couple thousand feet of altitude on their little solid propellant engines.

So, my theory is that somebody probably shot either a rocket or just the engine at the airliner.

I'm going to test my theory thusly.

I am going to build a missile launcher. No, really. It will "fire" solid state rocket engines. I already have some PVC and some engines and an old ignition switch and everything I need. I'm going to go out to the desert and see if I can duplicate what a missile contrail might look like.

You know, for the sake of science and all.

Unfortunately, I have to wait until next weekend since it's nice and rainy out there this weekend. Of course, the one time I get this awesome idea...

If anybody else feels compelled and has open area to try it out, give it a shot and let me know. Otherwise, I'll post my findings next week.


This is what happens when I'm stuck at work on a Saturday.

I have designed my launcher in my head. I'm going to use half-inch copper pipe for the barrel (the engines are 13mm) with a street adapter at the end. This should contain and direct the exhaust to the best effects.

I have an M16A2 grip that I'm going to fit to the pipe and try and figure out how to create a trigger assembly with the firing control. I'm going to heat shrink the ignition wires to the outside of the pipe to make them more controllable. Finally, I'm going to use a piece of smaller pipe mounted with a Beamshot mounting bracket as a sighting device.

I'm a little worried about not having stabilizing fins on the rockets. Maybe I can attach something in front that will help the aerodynamic stability, like a shaft for a dart, sans tip. Or maybe I should make a launcher big enough to contain a whole model rocket...