The Ultimate Io
Carbon Fiber Test Vehicle
Flying a 7 foot
tall, 6" diameter rocket with only Cert Level 1 and no ATFE
29mm MM...in a 6" rocket?!?
Would you put a 29mm motor mount
in a 7 foot tall, 6 inch diameter rocket? We did. We wanted to prove to the
crowd that you don't have to be a Level 2 flyer to launch big rockets. If
fact, as most people put bigger and bigger motors in their rockets, we did
just the opposite. We started off with an H-180 on our first demo to see how
it would perform. You should have seen the look on people's faces when we were
standing in the launch line. "You're gonna launch that rocket with
what??? That thing is huge, an H can't lift that!" Then I hand them the
rocket. The reactions were always the same. "Oh my god, I can't believe
how light this is!"
A normal pose...But
then, easily holding it only by the lug
The launch announcement was made
and all eyes were on the rocket. 5-4-3-2-1 The motor lit and the rocket soared
straight and true. At about 1000 feet, she arced over and
"oops", separation! Seems we had a little snafu with the shock cord.
The payload section floated down on the 44" chute but the booster was
left to free fall. Amazingly the booster fluttered down like the booster on a
toy rocket. It hit the dirt flat on it's side. There was absolutely no damage. Not
only did we prove that the Ultimate Io could fly on a tiny motor but
we also showed (unintentionally) how durable carbon could be. A five
minute fix of the recovery system was all it took to make it flyable again.
She flew just great on an H-180
Minutes later we were
loading an even smaller motor, a G75! This time the Ultimate Io climbed
to around 500 ft. and had a perfect recovery. (We do NOT recommend that you
try this flight...it's definitely underpowered, but we were out to prove a
point about large Ultra-Lite PML rockets, and prove it we did!). We also tried to track down some
larger 29mm motors, especially an I-200, but everyone was sold out. Maybe next
G75 flight went well, too
The rest of the day was spent
answering questions about our new line of Ultra-Lite carbon fiber components.
The crowd loved it.
The Ultimate Io was built as a
Ultra-Lite carbon fiber demonstrator. Every structural piece is solid carbon
or carbon foam composite. It was built to be as light as possible yet strong
enough to handle any I motor with ease. These demo flights were intended to
show how little power is required to fly a large carbon fiber rocket. But this
is just the beginning. Imagine how high you could go with 38mm motors? Just
think, you can launch an impressive 6" diameter rocket with just a Cert
level 1 and no ATFE permits!
Below is a chart showing RockSim
6.0 altitude comparisons of an Ultimate Io using standard phenolic
construction vs. Ultra-Lite Carbon Fiber construction.
photos courtesy of Marc Klinger of Klinger Photography