This article is from the Model Rockets FAQ, by Wolfram von Kiparski with numerous contributions by others.
You've just been shot down by the "Red Baron". If the pop pod
stuck, try sanding to loosen things up a bit. Or dust the
mating surfaces with powdered graphite, Teflon, or even talcum
powder. Check the action of the pop pod when
deploying. Streamers or parachutes have a nasty habit of
catching on things that you didn't want them to, like glider
Sometimes fastening the recovery system to the pop pod in a
different manner will prevent tangling. I use an external
Kevlar line that is glued to the pylon root, but use strapping
tape to fasten the line to the end of the tube just below the
nose cone so the line is opposite the glider. That seems to
help, at least for me. Ballasting the pop pod can also help,
especially if ejection occurred long before apogee.
Some pop pod systems are specifically designed to prevent this
problem, Try one of them.
One I favor particularly on smaller gliders is to skip the pop
pod and go back to a fixed pylon like the old Sky Slash and
Falcon. To keep it NAR legal, you tape a small streamer to the
motor casing, and wrap it tight before installing the
motor. Use a tube that is slightly loose inside to allow for
A mid ejection two piece pop pod eliminates the string that is
the common cause of the red baron. The down side is another
small piece to have to search for.
In the mid 70's Greg "Fat Albert" Stewart published his "Baron
Killer" pop pod. It shifts the motor back much like the
original Astron Scout, and tumbles down. Small fins on the pop
pod keep it legal for competition. He also used nested square
brass tubing to attach the pop pod to the glider, a very
positive attachment. Danger! bad ASCII art follows:
\ pod ------------------------------ ====|__________ 1/8" square K&S brass tube with 3/32" square tube inside ________ ________|______|______________ more 1/8" square brass tube \ fuselage