I attended Champlain Region Model Rocket Club’s 9/18 launch with AerospaceNU.
Beanboozler (above) flew on a J285-Classic to 4225ft. The purpose of the flight was to train new Avionics team members on rocket assembly, verify software for our custom rocket flight computer, and test an upgraded onboard video system.
The FCB (our club’s custom rocket flight computer) successfully transitioned states and commanded pyros to happen at the right times, but the drogue did not come out at apogee and the main deployed when traveling downwards at >100 m/sec. When this happened, the drogue shock cord (which attached the motor section to the rest of the rocket) snapped at the figure-8 knot used to attach the dogue parachute to the shock cord.
Dense corn (so much corn!) confounded recovery efforts. The electronics section + nosecone had a GPS transmitter, and was relatively easy to locate. The motor section was found approximately 3 hours later after a through grid search of the corn field along the path of the rocket’s flight.
Failure of the drogue parachute to separate was narrowed down to either a leak in the bulkhead between the drogue parachute bay and the motor bay, or insufficient black powder. Why the same configuration was successful two previous times is unknown. Mitigations for next launch include confirming a good seal in the drogue bay and performing additional ground tests.