|Manufacturer:||Art Applewhite Rockets|
Picture courtesy of Art Applewhite
Have your club launches become rather routine? Are you looking for something to get everyone's attention when it's on the ground as much as in the air? Are you looking for something that's easy to recover? What if I told you it was inexpensive too? Art Applewhite's 29mm x 7.5" Delta Flying Saucer is all that & then some!
I chose the Mirror Gold finish (as was recommended in the 18mm/6" saucer review). Inside a clear heat sealed bag was the instructions on a couple of 8.5x11 sheets of paper, 2 pieces of Mirror Gold card stock, one piece of white foamboard (to provide horizontal structural rigidity), & one piece of 29mm x 3.25" tubing for the MMT. The only difference between this saucer & its smaller siblings is that there is no thrust ring (to allow for different length motors to be used).
Only tools needed are an X-Acto knife and/or sharp scissors, white glue, & sandpaper (medium grit). Optional are epoxy (Art's instructions say you only need epoxy if you plan to fly it on a G80) & clear coat spray paint (which isn't recommended/needed for the Mirror Gold finish).
The only gotcha I ran into that wasn't in the instructions is that the MMT tube is a little snug when first inserting a motor into it. To prevent any creasing or peeling of the tube, a brief sanding with some 220 grit paper on the inside of both ends of the MMT tube to round the lip & it was much easier getting the motors in.
My experience constructing the saucer was virtually identical to the previous saucer reviews...just the parts are bigger.
I didn't plan on launching mine on a G80 since I wanted to use a motor that had a longer burning & more smoky exhaust. That allowed me to assemble the saucer entirely with white glue. Art's directions (with photos) walk you through precisely as to what should be done. Once assembled it is surprisingly rigid. Test drops from 8ft with an empty G40 motor casing onto a carpeted floor show that the aerobrake recovery is indeed enough for it to land safely with no damage.
There aren't any decals included & again, with the Mirror Gold finish, you don't have to spray it with a clear coat (which is only suggested to protect the saucer from the elements). I enjoyed the clean lines of the saucer & didn't add any (additional) decorations/stickers to it. Fingerprints show up easily on the Mirror Gold but are wiped off with a soft (dry) cloth.
Construction Rating: 5 out of 5
Any 29mm motor up to a G80 (either single use or RMS) is recommended for this saucer & ejection delays are not necessary (or need to worry much about them anyway). I would only suggest a shorter delay than a longer one so that it has a chance to pop in midair instead of after touching down back on the ground.
The smaller saucer reviews encourage use of the biggest motor you can fit. I don't disagree with that either. However I wanted motors that gave off lots of smoke & have a long burn time. I used (& would mightily recommend) the Aerotech Econojet G35-7W (or G35-4W). A little masking tape around the aft end of the motor & it snuggly slid into place with about 1/4" of motor peeking out the top of the saucer (a G40 or G80 would stick out about an inch further than that), which isn't a bad idea for those who might be skeptical about the aerobrake recovery method potentially damaging their saucer on impact with the ground.
I did get strange looks when carrying out such a small rocket to the 100' pads. The snickers turned to intrigue when the LCO announced that it was going up on a G35 though! Unfortunately, I had a problem with the first ignitor & had to use the other one that came in the 2-pack of motors. The saucer left the pad surprisingly fast but quickly slowed at the end of motor burnout. A dense column of white smoke showed it's upward path while a noticeably less but still visible trail of smoke on its downward plight leaving a sweet arch lingering in the sky. The ejection charge popped about 50ft before impact. I'm guessing it went in the ballpark of about 500ft before turning over (exactly as advertised I might add) & gently falling back to the ground a mere 25ft from the launch pad. Everyone loved the launch & the LCO's eyes lit up when I said, "I've got another motor...but I would need another ignitor..." The LCO had the perfect response: "Don't worry, we are going to get you another one!"
The second flight was even better than the first. It was the other motor in the 2-pack yet seemed to go slightly higher. I think that it was due to a little gust of wind right after launch, cocking the saucer's flight slightly. Also there was a greater effect of seeing the saucer fight the effects of air resistance. It landed within 40 ft of the pad that time. The crowd & I definitely enjoyed both flights. Something tells me that there is going to be a saucer invasion at our next launch!
I never feared that recovery would be a problem. If anything, it's just making sure that the ejection delay is short enough to go off while the saucer is still in the air (to reduce any chance of harming the ground and/or saucer). In my experience the smaller saucers tend to go into a tumble after the ejection charge but the 7.5" saucer still keeps its nose pointed downward position. After 2 launches the saucer did have a fair amount of smoke/exhaust residue however it easily wiped away with a damp cloth.
Flight Rating: 5 out of 5
To watch a motor with that much thrust (& smoke) push such a light object yet bring it back so close to the pad, it was a sight to behold. If ever you needed a small field rocket that uses a G, this is your golden (no pun intended) ticket. Yes, you can use an F instead...BUT WHY? Give this saucer everything you can fit in it.
That it was only $10 makes it affordable to the masses.
I am extremely pleased with the results of this saucer from the moment that it arrived at my door. Art offers still a larger delta saucer that uses a 38mm MMT. He advertises it as a way to get your Level 1. That almost seems like cheating to get your Level 1 (it would be so incredibly easy to do!)...but the thought of a saucer going up on a 2G Pro38 motor sure sounds like it would be a blast to watch!
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5