The Ultimate Io Carbon Fiber Test Vehicle
 
Flying a 7 foot tall, 6" diameter rocket with only Cert Level 1 and no ATFE permit required

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 time.

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.

All in-flight photos courtesy of Marc Klinger of Klinger Photography

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