Estes - Alpha {Kit} (25) [1966-]

Contributed by Ted Phipps

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Diameter: 0.98 inches
Length: 12.30 inches
Manufacturer: Estes
Skill Level: 1
Style: Sport

[Picture]The Alpha has been around a long time. Combining simple construction (skill level 1), good looks, and great flying characteristics, it is considered a classic. 

Like most Estes kits, it comes in a plastic bag. Our kit had some pretty poor quality balsa, but some careful work with sandpaper and Elmer's Fill 'n' Finish resulted in a good looking rockets. The instructions and diagrams were up to Estes usual high quality, and the only other complaint is the (always) too short shock cord. By all means replace it with sewing elastic at least twice the body length.

To give an idea of how old the Alpha design is, our package recommended at least three motors that Estes no longer makes.  Still available motors are the 1/2A6-2, A8-3, B4-4, B4-6, B6-4, B6-6, and the C6-5. The Alpha flies great on the smaller motors. If you ever find any A8-5s, try comparing the flight with an A8-3. The Alpha makes great use of that extra two seconds of delay. Pick your motors carefully, or you might never see it again. 


Estes shock cords are too short!


Great altitude and stability, lots of motor choices

Other Reviews
  • Estes - Alpha {Kit} (25) [1966-] By Joshua Finn (February 9, 2010)

    Brief: Estes classic Alpha is your standard 3FNC LPR model, probably in continuous production longer than any other model rocket in history. It is a simple, straightforward build, listed as a skill level 2 build. Compared to the model airplanes I fly, it's something a newbie could take on as a first project, especially if he or she had a little guidance. With its wide selection of ...



P.B. (July 1, 1999)
This rocket is a great rocket. It is easy to build and it flies great. I would recommend a streamer instead of the parachute, or a parachute with a large spill hole.
D.S. (September 1, 2000)
This rocket is the reigning king of model rocketry. It's over 30 years old and still a hot seller. I have contributed a reinforced Alpha to a national project that has survived over 20 launches to date and is still going strong. I love these birds, there's always one ready to take to launches in my stable and a kit on hand too! Do yourself a favor, if you've never built a standard Alpha, go ahead and get one. One of the sweetest flying, most attractive modrocs ever. Very accurate review! My experiences and opinions with Alphas basically mirror Ted's.
J.H. (July 1, 2001)
The Alpha has probably been the best kit I have had. I've been flying for about a year now and it has always done well. It screams off the pad and requires many spotters on a C. I put a B in it and it flew up and over across woods, a creek, more woods and to a highway never to be seen again. It was my first rocket loss. Man that hurt but you must move on. I was thinking about another one but I spent more and got a Redstone. I would highly recommend this kit. Shoot it in a big field with a C and it will impress EVERYONE.
T.J.C. (September 17, 2001)
What can you say about the Estes Alpha? My first rocket back in the late 60's. My son's first rocket in the 90's I have built dozens of them! They last several launches but will drift quite a distance. A smaller chute or spill hole usually leads to broken fins. Will fly on any A-C motor. The Alpha looks like what a rocket should look like a true classic design. Simple ,reliable and fun. Build a hundred of them and paint them every color of the rainbow!
M.B.H. (October 18, 2001)
This was my first rocket. It was an easy build and flies great on As to Cs. I've flown it on all of these. The As and Bs are good for football field flying, while the Cs should be saved for a larger field, such as two football fields side-by-side. This rocket is very nice, and I've made a simple conversion or two since I've gotten into rocketry. This is the sole rocket I got into rocketry, it flies great, looks good, and is easy to build. Not to mention the nice sight of your first rocket lifting off.
A.B. (November 18, 2001)

Great rocket. I used it for a movie this summer on a 1/2 A8- Something or other. I got some nice flights out of it, but on its last flight it had a motor mount separation and also a fin pop. The parachute never opened so I recommend putting only a little bit of recovery wadding. Anyway it was a good experience. I just last week dusted off that dirt. I rate this rocket an A+. Have fun times flying:)

B.B. (June 2, 2005)
This is the most reliable rocket known to man. I have launched mine 5 times perfectly. My science teacher is going on 40 perfect flights with A, B, or C engines. It's easy to build and perfect every time.
W.C. (June 14, 2009)
The Alpha is a great little rocket. It's a true classic and one merely has to fly it once to see why it's lasted so long. Construction is a breeze and respectably high flights are very possible on the recommended motors. I'd estimate that I got more than 20 flights out of mine before the inside of the tube got so charred that the shock cord mount pulled off. The inside is so sooty that I didn't try to re-adhere it and retired the rocket. I'd recommend this kit to anyone just getting into the hobby.

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