Aerotech - Initiator {Kit} (89011) [1989-]

Contributed by Taylor Jessee

Construction Rating: starstarstarstar_borderstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Manufacturer: Aerotech
Style: Sport
AeroTech Initiator

Brief:
Nice mid power rocket kit that's cheap and flies great!

Construction:
It came with a 39"x 2.6" body tube, 3 fins, 2 square launch lugs, 13" nose cone, 29mm motor tube, 2 2.6" x 29mm centering rings, 17' shock cord, and a 24" parachute.

Instructions were easy to follow with good illustrations. It was very easy build with no alignment issues and everything fit well except the nose cone, which was a little tight. That was nothing some sandpaper couldn't fix though. No special tools were needed and I got most of my supplies at the local hardware store.

Finishing:
No special requirements needed here either. I like the instruction techniques they give you. The decals are nice but they could use some work. This kit was pretty easy to finish and it looks very nice!

Construction Rating: 3 out of 5

Flight:
It recommends the F20-4W and I just happened to have a package of them! So on the first flight, it had a very loud and smokey boost off the pad. That same day I flew it again on the other F20-4W in the package. That time when the motor lit though, it kicked the pad and went a little crooked before straightening out.

Recovery:
It was very easy to prep because of the mesh. That means no wadding is needed so all I had to do was put the parachute and the shockcord in.

At apogee it ejected perfectly and had a very nice landing around 10 feet from the pad on the first flight. The second flight recovery was identical to the first and only landed around 20ft from pad.

Flight Rating: 5 out of 5

Summary:
It is a very good rocket that might need a little work but nothing major... I would highly recommend this kit to anyone, especially if this is their first MPR kit.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Flights

Comments:

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B.S. (July 1, 1999)
This is a great kit. This was my first mid-power kit and love this rocket. The first time I launched it at my club on a F50, it screamed off the pad and straight up in the air. After I recovered it people ask me if I had something big in it, I said nope, just a F50. Needless to say since then I put Gs in and it just goes higher and faster.
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S.O. (December 1, 1999)
The Initiator is semi-expensive but well worth it after all how many people own about two or three ESTES kits and pay the same on those rockets after all the Initiator will last longer (if you don't lose it) than the combined life of the ESTES kits also the paint job Aerotech recommends may not be the best but it is easy and gives good results only one thing different thing I would do to my kit would to be add internal epoxy reinforcing but that isn't necessary if you don't intend to fly it on G's in a small field (reinforced so I can use a streamer and not just get parts back) I love my Initiator I think it is an extraordinary rocket and worth every penny.
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E.A.C. (February 1, 2000)
I heartily agree with the opinions of all the reviewers. The kit is rock solid when built according to instructions. The one negative comment I would have involves the fit of the nose cone. I also chose to do a custom paint scheme and when I checked the nose cone's fit to the body tube, the O.D. at the base of the nose cone was considerably larger than that of the body tube. The nose cone material does not sand easily and after a substantial amount of hand sanding with coarse sandpaper I finally resorted to the use of a belt sander to get a nice flush fit at the joint! Perhaps this was an intentional attempt by Aerotech to allow for the thickness of the decal designed to go at this point but I checked the fit with the decal(which I chose not to use) and it still would have required extensive sanding to fit flush. With the exception of this one problem I loved the kit and would love to see Aerotech offer some high power kits. Maybe they are testing the water with their G-Force, which will most definitely wind up in my fleet!
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Y.L. (April 1, 2000)
Personally, I felt the Initiator felt "cheap" as far as rockets go. It's the mid-power equivalent of an Alpha-III and is about as awe-inspiring. The major drawback of the kit is the fin design itself, since they are of the swept delta variety, they usually absorb the impact first when hitting the ground and are the first thing to break. Since they are made of plastic, they are a pain to repair. If you got it as a "freebie" with the Aerotech starter set, it's a fine "mid-power" beginner's rocket. If you're looking for first mid-power rocket and haven't bought the Initiator yet ... save your money and get yourself a LOC Graduator instead.
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J.W. (June 1, 2000)
I thought the kit was easy to build. Instructions were clear and to the point, no question about what to do next. I like the default paint scheme, but I see I am in the minority. I painted mine per the instructions. The nose cone was a PITA, and it is hard to sand. I didn't notice an overage with the body, but I probably spent more time sanding it than I did on the rest of the rocket (BTW, I used CA, as the instructions called for). I like the Fin-Lock concept, and wish more would use something similar. I did small CA fillets on the fins before I primed the rocket, otherwise it's built stock. If I were to ever build another, I'd lose the hook and install one of the other motor retention mechs. This was my first mid power rocket, and still one of my favorites. It's flown great on both engines included (I bought the RMS starter set). I didn't like the decals much. I prefer water based decals. Other than these few minor gripes, its a great kit and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to move up from A, B, C, & D engines.
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J.C. (June 1, 2000)
The engine mount hook is rather strong and makes for loading of engines a little bit tricky. You want to make sure you don't press too hard on the rocket wall below the engine mount when trying to swing the hook away. I built mine May 2000 and had no problem with the nose cone, it was a perfect right out of the box. It assembled quickly with no problems. Just make sure you test fit the fins first before you glue. Flew it once with an E15-4, probably could use an E15-7 since it drifted a few hundred feet with a breeze.
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D.L. (December 1, 2000)
I have several Aerotech kits, all have performed excellent. The Initiator was my first mid power vehicle. And as all the others have said it is very easy and quickly assembled. I do agree with changing the paint scheme. I did mine in black, white and red striping . The different colors make it very easy to track even in the worst conditions. It is my favorite out of my whole fleet because it is so versatile on using a wide range of motors. All the good reviews are accurate. I have flown mine on G's many times and never had any bulk head problems or any damage on landings. She has 22 flights behind her the worst I had to do was fish her out of tree that she drifted into.
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K.M. (January 1, 2001)
This is an Ideal First kit. I would suggest it after RTF's - even before the Estes skill level 1 or Quest kits. A forgiving design with crystal clear instructions.
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K.D. (January 1, 2001)
This was my first mid-power kit. I built it completely stock, using only CA (as recommended) for adhesive. I was a bit dubious at first, but I've got to say, it turned out solid as a rock! The only deviation I made was in finishing. I've always thought the Initiator suffered from a horrible paint scheme (to the point that I thought it was too ugly to bother buying), so I tossed the decal sheet in my spares box, and applied a custom paint job. Looks a million times better! If you're looking to move up into mid-power rocketry, you won't go wrong with this kit.
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D.P. (March 1, 2001)
The Initiator is a great introduction to mid-power rocketry. Aerotech's Fin-Lok system really makes the rocket durable and easy to build. I have launched my first E and F motors in this rocket, and there has only been cosmetic damage. A great kit.
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J.M. (April 1, 2001)
When flying the Initiator don't use an E motor with a 7 second delay.....I did and after the huge weathercock and arch it made, its nose became one with the earth. E motors should have only a 4-5 second delay and of course it flies great on F and G motors.
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S.P.S. (October 2, 2001)
I have flown this rocket multiple times on E30-4 to G80-7 and it flies great. Easy to build and can take some punishment. I used epoxy not CA to build mine. I clean out the baffle every 3-4 launches and it works fine. Easy to prep and stable.
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C.L. (January 2, 2005)
I have flown this rocket twice (F40-7W and F52-8T) and was tremendously impressed both times. It had impressive boosts (and a 20" flame on the F40), and recovered fine within 100yds of the pad. I really love the fin-lock assembly - it took all the trouble out of assembly. And it is DEFINITELY more awe-inspiring than an Alpha III. I love this kit.
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B.J. (April 21, 2006)
I have three flights on my Initiator and I thoroughly love it. But on the third flight the parachute shroud lines broke where they were looped around the shock cord. One of the finds broke in the crash, but the rest of the rocket was fine and I was able to order spare fins. From now on I will use LOC chutes with more substantial shroud lines.

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