[Courtesy of John Marshall john "at" sage-aust.com.au]
Following a fantastic weekend flying my Zagi off a slope 400KMs south of Perth Western Australia, last Sunday I decided I needed to re-live the experience, but the nearest slope with any lift is kms away!
Set the old brain thinking and although a pretty drastic idea, it sounded like fun. Why not affix a rocket motor to the Zagi to get height? Down to the hobby shop, bought one of those rocket kits, you now the ones that just have cardboard tubes and the rocket motors. Dont get much for your money, but still I was getting pretty excited about the whole concept by now. Returning to the coveted modellers shed, I duc tapes the outer cylinder along the chord so the plastic rocket cone was protruding out front of the leading edge, and the business end of the rocket was sitting just between the alerons. I used 2 x "D" size rocket motors one booster and one upper. (one egnites the other)
The day arrived. I taped an alluminium tube along the length of the rocket that was slung under the Zagi. A 1/4" arrow shaft stuck in the ground pointing skywards on a 45 degree angle. The Zagi slips over the rod and looked pretty bloody professional sitting there on the launch ramp!
A 12 volt battery connect via a 12 foot twin wire to the ignitors was all that was needed for launching.
To be honest I didnt think the rocket motor would be powerful enough to lift the Zagi, its nose wieght and everything else! How wrong I was!
As soon as the voltage was applied to the ignitor, Zagi and rocket shot into the air with an enourmas cloud of smoke, spitting embers and gases. A little down elevator soon corrected its flight path to a nice 80 degree climb out. In approx 4 seconds Zagi had reached a hieght of almost too hard to see. If it wasnt for the smoke trail, you would have had a hard time finding it in the sky. As suddenly as it started the rocket motor stopped. Then it was just sit back and glide away. The first flight lasted some 4 minutes, but sebsequent flights saw some good air and lasted 12 minutes.
I was elated!