Homemade Gyro-Rocket-Copter Thing

13 Feb 15 14 Comments

When I first saw the reference to “Insane Homebrew Rocket” I really wasn’t sure what to expect.

I’m still not sure what to think. I have to concede that it flies but I’m really not sure what to class the contraption as. A rocket-copter? One YouTube commenter calls it an orbital launch vehicle with an in-built centrifugation system which sounds a bit more serious than it looks. Or could this be the future of manned space flight?

It seems to have made it 1,500 feet off the ground, which is an amazing height for what looks like a wagon wheel attached to pyrotechnics. It’s one of the most amazing flying objects I think I’ve ever seen launched from a dirt track.

It is apparently based upon a traditional Thai firework launcher and was almost certainly part of the Yasothon Bun Bang Fai Rocket festival where teams create home-made rockets which are launched on the third (and last) day of the festival.

Rocket Festival – Wikipedia

Sunday competition moves on to the launching of Bangfai, judged, in various categories, for apparent height and distance travelled, with extra points for exceptionally beautiful vapour trails Those whose rockets misfire are either covered with mud, or thrown into a mud puddle (that also serves a safety function, as immediate application of cooling mud can reduce severity of burns).

Well, no mud for this team, their rocket is clearly an unqualified success!

You can see read more and see photographs of the festival here: Gallery: Thailand’s wildest event, the Bun Bangfai rocket festival | CNN Travel

Category: Crazy,


  • Grumpy says:
    Did these people have permission from the aviation authorities ?
    Did it infringe controlled airspace ?
    Had it been properly tested (e.g. tethered) before sending it off on a free flight ?
    Were the people who launched it insured ?

    And now we are waiting with baited breath for the copycats. Because you can bet your sweet life that someone, somewhere, will try it as well.

    Here in Ireland we had people setting off Chinese lanterns at New Years Eve.

    A lovely sight but when nearly burned out they fall to earth, or when wind prevents them to clear buildings after launch they can cause a fire.

    There is a story about a Chinese emperor, hundreds of years ago, who had himself tied to a chair with a lot of rockets attached.
    He was successfully launched but never seen again.

  • One day I can see this sort of machine will land Men on the Moon. But we have so many power cuts I will have to watch it on the TV with only candle light.

  • Bruce:
    Read “Grumpy’s” comments.
    I did not want to sound like a spoil-sport but that is exactly what I had in mind when I allowed Grumpy to speak for me. And I also mentioned Chinese lanterns, posing perhaps not a danger to aviation but certainly do bear the risk of causing a fire.
    The same would seem to apply to the rockets that have been launched during that festival with little or no thought to people and perhaps buildings nearby.
    On the other hand, we must assume that the Thai authorities are supervising the launches.
    In Valencia, Spain, a firework festival is held every spring. During the day, they set off a large number of big rockets in the city centre. They are designed to make noise, loud, very loud.
    The public is standing quite close to the launches.
    And considering the size of the rockets, if one were to explode or go off-course during launch, there would be a real chance of injuries.
    But the people love loud bangs, apparently !

  • Rudy/Grumpy: sorry, I really did read your comment: for some reason I didn’t connect the two parts though, so responded to part about lanterns and not the controlled airspace!

  • Bruce,

    The “spinning wheel” is a very clever contraption and I actually like it.

    There are obvious dangers to anything that can fly into, not just controlled airspace but any airspace that is used by airplanes.
    Uncontrolled Flying Objects (pun intended) can pose a potential hazard. Many years ago I was flying out of a small uncontrolled aerodrome. Nearby was a recreational area and often people would fly kites, not realising that during certain wind directions the kites would be directly in the path of approaching or departing light aircraft.
    I never heard that it cause accidents but on more than one occasion the wire cut right through the towlines of banner towing aircraft.
    The kites were held with thin hemp rope, the banner was attached by a fairly thick nylon rope.
    The hemp rope, as it rubbed along the nylon, caused the nylon rope to melt through and both kite and banner would fall to the ground.

    Chinese lanterns would appear to be hazardous to aviation although it is my guess that it is the kind of “foreign object” that would probably pass through a jet engine unnoticed and if not ingested, be thrown sideways by the airstream. I think it may well pass harmlessly by the airframe without even touching it. It should not necessarily pose a fire risk.

    But rockets, and even more if they are the size of the “superbangers” that are being launched at that festival, would probably pose a very serious risk.

    I would not be overly concerned about the dangers this festival would pose to aviation. I am convinced that it has been cleared with the authorities, be held well clear of aviation and pilots would be warned by NOTAM to stay clear of the area during the launches.

    What would worry me more is the danger of copycat activities by amateurs who might be launching their rockets without informing police, air traffic control, etc.

  • These spinning rockets actually appear to be quite popular at this festival. I’ve watched a few videos where they had other variations, like one with four motors instead of the eight in this video!

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