X-24 Bug - Squirrel Works Special
 
When Don Magness at Squirrel Works introduced this clone of the old Centuri X-24 Bug, I was chomping at the bit, and got the first copy,  #1.  I immediately began work on it, but soon stopped, hung up on finding the right orange for the nosecone.  After many weeks of procrastination, I finally got it painted only to have many more months of delay before finally finishing it October 1, 2004.

Having never built one before, I wasn't aware of the key pitfalls.  As it turned out, I got the wrap on crooked with the result that the three fins were all out of position about 3 degrees.  Looking at it from the back, I was reminded of a woman with her skirt on crooked 

Since its advent, the X-24 has been replaced in the Squirrel Works lineup with the X-RV.  It's similar but not a clone.  And this means that my Bug was the first of only 100 built, quite an honor for me.  (And a bit embarassing since I got the wrap on crooked.)  That's why I call it a "Squirrel Works Special" - it's special 'cause you can't get it anymore.

Anyway, I hit up Don, and he came up with an extra X-24 wrap, so I bought an X-RV with the intention of building a second Bug without the flaws. 

In the mean time, the crooked one was taken to a launch.  Surely it could still fly, but would likely spin on the way up.  No big deal.  It could still be used.  

Sometimes life's like that; we need to accept imperfection and make do.

Photo courtesy of Tim Sapp

In the photo above, you can just see the up aileron Dave put in the left wing.


On Sunday, October 3, 2004, we headed out to fly.  With the help of master glider guru Dave Schaefer, the Bug went up and was successfully recovered on a B4-2.  Then a C6-3 was used for another successful flight.

Thinking a C5-3 wouldn't be too much, I tried it.  Against Dave and Don's advice.  Ouch.  The added drag forces due to the C5's higher thrust caused the aft airframe to collapse...into the motor's exhaust.  Double ouch.  Major burn-shred.

As can be seen in the photo, the upper and left fins were burn-shredded during the C5-3 flight



The rocket lost two fins and was destroyed.  I'll keep the pieces for sentimental value, but I learned a big lesson.

Fortunately, I got the extra wrap from Don and have the parts to build another one. And I'll likely build the newer X-RV as well.  These lifting body gliders are lots of fun, and are easy to prep and fly over and over.

We were particularly pleased with the paint.  I was able to get a near perfect match between the nosecone and the (pre-printed) wrap.  I hope I can find where I put that batch of paint )





Here's another shot showing the damage.


And here's a shot of me before the damage 
Photo courtesy of Tim Sapp



Having recovered the two burnt off fins, I reattached them and mounted the rocket on a stand.  It now decorates my office at work. 




Here are the replacements I built for the burnt Bug. 

At top is the current X-RV model.

On bottom is another X-24 made with the extra wrap I was able to get from Don.

View of the two new Bugs from the other side.


Doug's Rockets Homepage
8-30-2010