I am getting back into the model rocket hobby and had some questions.
The places available for me to launch are not well suited to high
altitude - high power rockets. What rockets would make good
low-altitude crowd pleasers. Years ago I had an estes mean machine
that was my Mom's favorite. Short and fat rockets are my personal
favorite. I am not that familiar with what is available these days so
any recommendations are greatly appreciate.
Welcome back to the hobby, Scott.
There are LOTS of us "BAR"'s (born again rocketeers) out there.
If you're looking for a short fat rocket in the "model rocket" class
(mid- and high-powered rocketry are popular now too) then look no
further than the Estes "Fat Boy". Available at many Wal-Marts for
under $10. Local hobby stores may carry a wider selection, including
the Mean Machine (it's still made) and the "Big Daddy", a short, fat
"D" powered rocket with an ogive nose cone and swept fins. This is
a crowd pleaser too.
Oh, and join a club - there are LOTS of them out there, it's a great
way to meet fellow rocket enthusiasts and learn about the current
state of the hobby.
"Scott B." wrote:
You'd be surprised at what you can fly for high power. Just because a
rocket is high power doesn't mean it has to fly out of sight. You can fly a
4" rocket on a J350 that's built really heavy duty and only hit 1900'.
Obviously you need to check the NAR safety code for site dimension
requirements and safe distance (
), but when
those are met, you can fly HPR. Where there's a will there's a way. The
guys on the east coast that came down to LDRS even commented that they build
everything like a tank. They build them durable and heavy so the keep the
altitude low and their rockets last a long, long time.
If you want to get into HPR later on after you get your feet wet again,
check out the LOC Mini Mag (
) for short and
fat. One of the fliers out here has one and loves it. It's a great rocket,
and simmed out on an Aerotech H123 with short delay only does 950'. That
would be a great crowd pleaser flight.
The biggest crowd pleaser I have is the Aerotech Mirage. This thing is a
beast, but on a G only hits 1000 feet. At the top it sort of lays on it's
side, then when it kicks, the front and back halves move gracefully away
from each other. It comes down in 2 pieces and this is the cool part, it
looks like a dance where they're both spinning slightly under chute what
seems a foot apart. Recovery is almost always within 5' of each other. My
nose half has an extra 17" and an extra coupler which the extra weight may
change the decent characteristics. Unfortunately, it is currently in dry
dock due to a crash which snapped one of the fins. Not an easy fix.
The Sumo is a short n fat favorite, but not crowd pleaser. I almost always
hear comments after the Mirage, but it takes a while to prep. With the
piston in the Sumo, I can almost be ready to fly by the time I've walked
back from recovery. Unfortunately, it too has a snapped fin due to a bush
Estes side, Fatboy and BigDaddy.
Short and fat rockets are my personal
I'd suggest that you check out LOC for thier "ONYX" which is a great beginner
rocket for mid/high power. I've flown mine on E15's and E30's at a local park
(with hombuilt 24mm adapter). On the E's it will only go about 800ft or less.
Grandkids love it. Great rocket for learning about using epoxy, plywood fins
Another good rocket is the Binder Design "Thug".
For the smaller stuff, the Estes "Big Daddy" (24mm D motors) is a great choice.
They have a listing for most of the major players (LOC, Binder Design, PML etc)
Great for learning about using epoxy
"Born To Fish - Forced To Work!!!"
I recommend getting a few sheets of balsa, and some bt-80 tubes, nose cones,
I few a bunch of Estes stuff,, starting with the high flyers, and found
that I was losing more then 1/2 so I went to the Estes sliver comet, and
then the big daddy. It was great to fly D and E Estes motors and go only 500
to 800 feet. I flew both of these and rebuilt them many times (still do),
But at some point I found I wanted to fly something new, so I began to
build my own.
These are a bit taller then the kits you find, and fly good. They are slow
and low. with great Big slow take offs.
I built a few to take the stress of a G flight, and I lost it. But the
other has flown 6 times this year.
To help with recovering your rockets, Try putting everything on its own
chute, or better yet streamers, and they will fall faster, but be lighter on
landing. I've broken very little using up to 14oz with streamers.
My Re-entry into rockets started as a way to explore Videos in rockets. and
these big, but inexpensive rockets let me focus my $$ on electronics to put
For commercial stuff, the flying saucers are perfect for low and slow. THe
Quest Area 51 saucer and extes Snitch can be flown in even small school
yards with ease.
The Sputnik and similar draggy odball rockets work wel. As do the converted
badmitton birdies. And I've made lots of rockets out of aol cds, with sundae
lids, flat plates, and spools. ALl fly low, slow, and noisy. ASNd of course
thee's my Happy Meal...
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD"
>>> To reply, remove the TRABoD!
1900' is high for a model rocket and will require a decent size field.
It will go only about 600' on a G80-4.
If you want to keep it really low, try a saucer. Art Applewhite Rockets
sells several sizes for motors A-I
Great suggestion! That got me thinking,... classic,... Mars Lander
in anyone's book!
As I turn around and look at the pile of crap on the floor, Crayon rockets.
have crayon banks and pen holders that are about 1' long which will make a
great modelrocket sized rocket.
Then I looked at the Styrofoam hollow basketball. Sputnik styled rockets
which are made from craft balls that you decorate like a soccer, basket, or
You notice a common tread in those last two links? Poke around
rocketreviews for a while, you'll see some cool stuff.
This month's Sport Rocketry has some plans for a cool glider/rocket which
has 2 hoops for fins/wings. Check it out.
I used to keep my rocket as low as I can, used an EZI-65 and H-128 kept the
rocket below 2000 ft, easy level 1 that way. The thing even flies well on a
G80 too! Too bad I cant do HPR in taiwan... just watching people setting off
a long chain of firecrackers every once in a while... now if I could make my
Les Paul clone fly on a J350...
Spool is all you need to know about crowd pleasing waste of a
motor........hit t he Home Depotty when the spool of electrical wire is
emptly and you're on you way, just find a MMT and a chute and your good
to go for about a buck and a half
> ALl fly low, slow, and noisy. ASNd of course
>thee's my Happy Meal...
> Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD"
> >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD!