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Epic CATO of an EZI-65 54mm CTI L-265 at Tripoli Fort Myers

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Published on May 10, 2015

May 2nd, I went to LaBelle, near Fort Myers to launch the EZI-65 using an L265. Predicted Altitude was a smidgen over 12k.

It was forecasted to be much less windy, it was REALLY windy - like near 20 MPH so I held off launching until around noon.

The wind calmed and I was ready to go.

Five... Four... Three... Two... One... Liftoff, looked AWESOME!!!! OMG SO COOL, lots of power, direct straight up flight. Then something drastic happened @ 646 feet. At first, I didn't know if I stressed the poor frame out on the glassed EZI and it failed or if I had motor failure.

What happened next explained everything. The motor re-ignited and started pumping major amounts of POWER out of a side hole near the top of the case - Motor failure, not build failure! This caused my rocket to come down, spiralling like one of those Massive Spinning Wheel rockets - but instead of going up, it was coming down.

The force of the CATO blew up so hard, it blew the entire outer shell of the main airframe (where the motor mount ended) off the rocket. It also fractured the AV bay. Oh yeah, it CATOED near the main chute - so the main chute got RIPPED from every line. (they found it, amazingly enough) in the thick grass. Even if the chute had held together, the airframe was gone... so it didn't matter I suppose.

All my pyro, even with all that hell, went off PERFECTLY, not that it helped it when it spiraled with high speed crashing directly into the roadway close to the launchpad. Motor was still belching fire and spewing stuff everywhere long after it was on the ground making doughnut burns in the roadway.

HOWEVER. The fractured AVBay held together enough to keep my iphone safe as well as both stratologgers. I have awesome onboard video of the event as well as external video - really impressive cato at least. It will be several days before I get it online. I am convinced the foam I filled the bottom of the AV bay helped save my phone from cracking.

Impressive #2: The fins ARE FINE!!! They hit the road after such a fall! NONE OF THEM BROKE! The rocket would have easily held the motor if it would have worked right.

Impressive #3: motor mount is fine and aft end of rocket up to about an inch before frontmost centering ring.

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