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IT'S A MAN THING

About 2 weeks ago, I was looking around the Web for the BIGGEST sky
rocket that I could get shipped to me via common freight carrier.
I located a fireworks importer in Wisconsin who had this mondo sky
rocket--biggest thing I had ever seen--called
a SkyDragon. These things are 48 inches tall and are mounted on a
1/2-inch wooden dowel.
Pure aerospace engineering.

I plopped down a bunch of money and had him send me two cases of
these things. They arrived at the freight dock a few days ago and I had
to drive the van over to pick them up. Two boxes, each 2 feet by 2 feet
by 4 feet in size containing 80 rockets each. The 'Class 4 Explosives'
sticker on the side of each box was a real bonus.
I am gonna have to save them for the scrapbook.

That night, me and the kiddos had a gen-u-ine rocket launch ceremony.
I placed one of these beauties in a liter-size glass bottle and the bottle f
ell over. Hmmmm- this thing was waaay too big. I looked around the shop
for a pipe to set it in, but realized that the only dirt I could drive the pipe
into was in plain sight of my neighbor's house. I knew he was a cool guy,
but I didn't want him to call the cops. You see- 'projectile-type' fireworks
are totally illegal in this county. I was surprised that the Buncombe
County Sheriff Department wasn't waiting for me at the loading dock when
I picked these things up. Anyhow, I finally rigged a launch pad by prying up
one of the driveway drain grates with a crowbar and sitting the stick into
the deep pit. Looked sorta like an ICBM silo with its hardened lid slid aside.

I asked which of my three kids wanted to light the fuse, but all took a few
steps back and politely declined. Chickens. Kids just aren't made the
same nowadays. They fulfill their danger quotient by shooting bad guys
in video games. About as far from real danger as you can get, if you ask me.

I told the little weenies to stand back as I bent to light the device with a
Bic lighter.

The lady at the fireworks importer promised me that these things would NOT
make any noise. I told her that they HAD to be relatively quiet so I could
shoot them off in my neighborhood without causing 'undue alarm'. She said
I wouldn't have any problem. I emphasized the particular legal problems I
would have if there were any type of loud report at apogee. I emphasized
the fact that I lived right next to a National Park and that any type of firework
that was discharged or assumed to be discharged on that property would get
me sent before a FEDERAL judge right before I got sent to the COUNTY judge.
She again assured me I would have no problem.

That lying witch.

That rocket engine had a burn time about as long as any I had EVER seen,
and the ascent echoed off the surrounding trees. Diamond shock pattern
extended from the back end. It kept going and going and going.
When it hit apogee at about 1000 feet, the rocket disintegrated into a
huge shower of silent red sparks. Pretty cool, I thought......until the shower
of sparks burned out and suddenly transformed into a cloud ofextremely bright
and loud explosions. The kids scrambled into the back door 'Three Stooges'
style (ie: where all three try to get through the same closed door at once) and
left me standing in the smoking haze waiting for the cops to arrive. The dogs
that live along our street were all barking their heads off at the apparition they
had just witnessed in the night sky

That ended the fireworks test for the night.

The next day, my oldest son Doug and I decided we were gonna 'neuter' one of
the rockets so it wouldn't make any noise. I took him into the closet where I store
the gardening tools and he saw these two huge cases of fireworks standing
there. The kid went nuts. He wanted to open BOTH boxes so he could see what
all 159 rockets looked like lined up next to each other. This kid has promise.
I told him: "Since mom only thinks I have a few of these things lying around,
maybe that wasn't such a good idea." He mulled that over for a few seconds,
then gave me a real big smile in agreement.

We pulled one of the rockets out of the box and re-locked the closet door.

He and I both sat down on the driveway and proceeded to take it apart.
It was a standard issue big-ass Chinese sky rocket. I bet they used these to
kill people 500 years ago. As I sat there taking layer after layer of paper off,
his brain was filling with the details of construction. Tissue, cardboard, plastic, fuses...etc.
Realizing that he was mentally storing the design for some future project sorta
made me shudder.
All I was thinking was the fact that this thing was probably put together by a
political prisoner in a hellhole somewhere who is probably gonna get 'executed'
so they can sell his internal organs on the transplant market.

Probably not too far from the facts, but I managed to do a bit of explaining
to him from the standpoint of aerospace engineering regarding how the
thing worked.
Doug is probably the only 4th grader in the U.S. who can now describe the
principle of thrust using a control volume model.

The rocket was pretty simple. It had a very large booster engine topped
with a warhead that contained the red sparkly things that exploded.
Removing the warhead was as simple as giving a quick twist, and I
assumed the neutered rocket would fly higher without the payload.
I was correct.
Doug and I did a daylight 'stealth' test and were able to add about 50%
to the altitude attained the previous night. We decided to modify four
more rockets and put them aside in the closet for easy access.
When this was done, Doug had a jar full of stuff that came out of the
warheads including:
12 fuses about 3-inches long each, some paper, 4 plastic nosecones and a
big handfull of these little black balls about the size of 12-gauge buckshot
that turned out to be the 'red sparkly popper things'.
It appeared that the outer layer was a simple gunpowder coating designed
to quickly burn off as red shower of sparks. I surmised that the inner core
had some kind of magnesium thermite that gave off an intense white light
and a loud bang. Pretty cool if you ask me. Lots of energy packed into one
teeny little ball.

I didn't want to see the popper thingies go to waste, so I told Doug we
were gonna put them in a hole in the ground and set them off. He gave me
another big smile.

It's amazing how kids think alike...even when separated by 30 years.

As I was digging a shallow hole with my hand, Doug asked if it would be
alright to put an army man next to these things so that "When they go off,
it would look like
he was getting shot with a machine gun". Dang....exactly what I was thinking.
I agreed and he ran off to his room to dig something out of the mess.
He returned in about 3 seconds, out of breath and holding a cheap plastic
imitation of Robert E. Lee on horseback and a Civil War cannon. I pointed out
that they didn't have true machine guns in the Civil War, but we would
overlook this for the purpose of the demonstration. He handed me the
action figure and I placed it and the cannon next to a rather large pile of
black beads from which a few of the fuses extended.

I figured that three inches of fuse would take 2 seconds to burn, so Ihad
at least that amount of time to stand up and take a few steps back.
I neglected to recount the night before.....when the warhead ignited
IMMEDIATELY upon reaching apogee. Tricky Chinese. They had installed
extremely fast-burning fuse in these things and that fact totally escaped me.

I squatted next to Robert Lee and gave a short eulogy. Doug laughed.
I took the trusty Bic lighter and placed it next to the fuse.One flick got the
lighter going and THIS IMAGE IS ONE I WILL REMEMBER FOR A LONG TIME.
My hand holding a lighter next to a pile of explosives.

There is usually a short but noticeable mental pause that occurs immediately
before something bad or really stupid happens. It is where that little voice in
your head says: "You dumbass."

The fuse burn time was in the 1/1000ths of a second range.
The pile of little popper thingy's immediately ignited into a tremendously
brilliant ball of fire. All I could think was .."...th....th.....thermite..."
Unfortunately, when they are viewed at ground level, these little popper
thingies become REALLY BIG POPPER THINGIES and have a tendency to jump
up to 15-feet in every direction from their point of ignition. I instantaneously
became engulfed in a ball of fire that sounded a lot like being in a half-done
bag of Orville Reddenbacher's popcorn.

It was all over about as fast as I could snap my fingers.

After the smoke cleared, Doug started laughing his butt off. That meant I was
still in one piece. Doug does not laugh at dismembered limbs. He said I jumped
about 10-feet, an action that I do not remember.
I checked my clothes for burn marks, and found none. He checked my back
to make sure it was not on fire. No combustion there. The driveway was
peppered with black holes where the concrete had been scarred from these
things.

A close one. Another REAL close one. My mind ran the tapes again to re-hash
what it had seen. All I remembered was being inside something akin to a
30-foot diameter......flaming dandelion. Whew.

We examined Ol' Robert E. at ground-zero.

Instead of a machine-gun peppering, he got nuked. He and the horse he
rode in on.......and his cannon too. One side was untouched, but the other
side was arc-welded. Real warfare. Doug examined it real quiet-like and
then started laughing again.

I assume he will remember the finer points of the lesson as he grows older.
When I now speak of 'almost being burned beyond recognition' he will have
a slightly better understanding of what I mean. I hope that this vivid image
tempers the knowledge he now has regarding rocket construction. O well.
After all, if your dad isn't gonna teach you how to get your butt blown off,
who will?
 

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1982 naked gl1100
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I have now reinforced my coworker's beliefs that I am totally nuts as I sat here and laughed to the whole thing.

LMAO

Good one!
 

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Excelent story.:cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1:
 

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that was a tough read through the tears and laughing so hard i had to stop reading to catch my breath:cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1:
 

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:shock::cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1:
 

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:dude::cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1:...Reminds me of the time I attempted to teach my oldest son the proper way "NOT" to throw a lighted match into an open bucket of gasoline !! :realshocked:

:doh:We BOTH learned a valuable lesson that day !!:cheeky1::cheeky1:



GREAT STORY !!!!!!!! :clapper:
 

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Back in the 70's my Dad was a railroad man. He would bring home the signaling caps the railroad used to signal a disabled train ahead. When a Engine would run over it it would explode loud enough to be clearly heard inside a operating engine, so they were quite loud.

Me and my Teenage buddies were allowed to play with these things. First we would unwrap them and spill out the sulpher mix into little piles and hit it with a hammer. Great fun but not quite enough bang. We struggled for quite some time to figure out a way to hit them hard enough to set off a whole one without risking loss of limb.

We built a Ramp!! Then we set one down at the end of the ramp on top of a cynder block. The thought was to run the steel yard roller we had up the ramp and drop it on top of the "Cap' and have it go off. Great idea!!

Well it took several tried to get the speed of the roller correct and the allignment of the cynder block just right and then it hit. BOOOM!!

A huge BOOM and cloud of explosive gas and I look up and the 300 pound yard roller is 10 feet in the air!!!! The cynder block was in hundreds of peices!! All the neighbors come screaming running out of their houses expecting to see a plane crash in the backyard.

Needless to say that when Dad got home from work that night he confiscated the rest of the caps. We did have to do it once more that Summer on 4th of July but Dad surpervised that time. He thought I was lying about the Yard roller flying but he saw it with his own eyes!!
 

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And I thought blowing up armymen with firecrackers was the most fun a boy could have..................
 

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Great story!!!!

It's illegal to have anything that goes airborn here in Fla. too.

But thereare big firework stores everywhere that make you sign a statement that you are using the fireworks to scare birds on your farm. :baffled:Then they sell you anything you want. Rockets, small mortars, bottle rockets, firecrackers, the whole works.

This Fourth of July they had a big fireworks display set to go off in one of the local towns. If I remember right, it got rained out.

They were talking about some special mortar shells they were going to use. Never been seen in Florida before.

These monsters were 16" in diameter. I would love to get my hands on a few of them!!
 

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I once 'inherited' a large pile of part used cans of smokeless powder, along with a bunch of other stuff.

Being rather particular about my safety I did not want to use the powder, so my two boys and I decided to burn it up.

We poured each can in to a little pile on the driveway, and dribbled from the next can to its pile and so on, we had about 2 doz cans.

We did this after dark.

Have you ever seen 15 pounds of powder go off almost instantaneously?

Well I have, and for a while I thought it would be the last thing I ever saw.
 

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My uncle was a ships captain and one New Year brought some out of date parachute flares to the party. At Midnight we went out to the front yard and everyone was out singing and doing the usual stuff (no not sleeping). You know the way those things work, you pull the tape off the bottom and the metal lever drops down and you point the rocket upright and then swing the lever up and then THUNG the rocket fires off. Well just before the rocket fired my uncle tipped my elbow, saying the angle was wrong, and the rocket shot across the road shot up my neighbours roof, zig-zagged all over the roof and blew up on the apex and the four or so red parachutes flew in all directions.

To this very day they are convinced they had been visited by aliens and I hadn't the heart to tell them the truth.
 

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Over 40 years ago, I found a book of formulas, dated 1934. In it I found the formula for black powder, which seemed to be missing from our high school chemistry books.

I showed it to my best friend, and we set about getting the stuff we needed to mix it up. We end up with a rather crude lumpy black powder, and it burned rather slow, but we made it into a home made version of a m80.

We set the thing off in a horse pasture behind his house. HOLY C#*P :shock:that thing made a fire ball about 3 feet around, and the concussion broke a window in his dads house!!

We had told no one about what we were doing, but about 15 seconds later the phone rang, and a friend of ours, simply asked, What the He## were we doing?

He knew that if any thing really strange happened in that area, who would be involved
 

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Oooooooooo.................................Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.......................
 

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Whiskerfish wrote:
Back in the 70's my Dad was a railroad man. He would bring home the signaling caps the railroad used to signal a disabled train ahead. When a Engine would run over it it would explode loud enough to be clearly heard inside a operating engine, so they were quite loud.

Me and my Teenage buddies were allowed to play with these things. First we would unwrap them and spill out the sulpher mix into little piles and hit it with a hammer. Great fun but not quite enough bang. We struggled for quite some time to figure out a way to hit them hard enough to set off a whole one without risking loss of limb.

We built a Ramp!! Then we set one down at the end of the ramp on top of a cynder block. The thought was to run the steel yard roller we had up the ramp and drop it on top of the "Cap' and have it go off. Great idea!!

Well it took several tried to get the speed of the roller correct and the allignment of the cynder block just right and then it hit. BOOOM!!

A huge BOOM and cloud of explosive gas and I look up and the 300 pound yard roller is 10 feet in the air!!!! The cynder block was in hundreds of peices!! All the neighbors come screaming running out of their houses expecting to see a plane crash in the backyard.

Needless to say that when Dad got home from work that night he confiscated the rest of the caps. We did have to do it once more that Summer on 4th of July but Dad surpervised that time. He thought I was lying about the Yard roller flying but he saw it with his own eyes!!
Brings back memories of an RR engineer that lived nearby. He had some of the caps and would break off little pieces the size of a pea, wrap them in waxed paper and hit them with a hammer just to amuse us kids. He'd probably be arrested as a terrorist today.
 

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Great stories and everyone of these stories bring back memories of my younger hellion days growing up and "playing" with fireworks. We had horses, those poor horses and the trauma we put them through, and about 4-5 sq miles of piney woods in direct flight path of Houston's Intercontinental (nowdays it's the George Bush) Airport to play in. The planes would be coming in for a landing ONLY 500-1000 feet above our heads. 8-10 of us kids would get together and have "play" war. Looking back, I don't think it was really "play" war. We "played" with bb, pellet guns and all different types of fireworks including the biggest aerial fireworks we could afford. We would form "sides" and literally shoot at each other with both the guns and fireworks. Several times the woods burn down as I was growing up. If the kids tried that now were we "played" at, they would be brought up on terrorist charges.
 

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Yep all good stories.I put a full can of black powder in a open fire one time and didn't know it until it light up man what a flash and you talking about a sun burn without any sun ,WOW
 
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