Estes - Cosmic Cobra {Kit} (1262) [2002-2008]

Contributed by Bill Eichelberger

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Diameter: 1.33 inches
Length: 19.50 inches
Manufacturer: Estes
Skill Level: 1
Style: Helicopter

Rocket Pic Brief:
The Cosmic Cobra is a combination parachute/helicopter recovery rocket. The nose cone ejects and returns via a rubber band actuated, 3 blade rotor system while the rest of the rocket returns by the more conventional parachute method. While the Cosmic Cobra model itself is new, the idea isn’t, having been done previously by the Estes Heliocopter and HeliCat.

 

Construction:
In true E2X fashion, the Cosmic Cobra kit isn’t overly laden with parts. The fin unit is plastic with forward swept fins. The motor mount is actually molded into the fin unit and has a plastic end cap to keep the motor in place during flight. The nose cone and rotor fins are glued together and must have the enclosed rubber bands attached to be “loaded.” A 12 inch parachute completes the package.

Also in true E2X fashion, the Cosmic Cobra can be built in a matter of minutes. The rotor attachment is glued to the nose cone base and the rotors themselves just snap on. The trickiest part of the build is getting the rubber bands aligned so that they allow the rotors to deploy and even this isn’t that tough. Like the other rockets in the E2X flight line, it’s possible to buy this kit in the morning and still fly it before lunch. What makes this one out of the ordinary is the recovery. Kids especially will love it, but I don’t hear many grown ups complaining either.

Finishing:
Pre-colored. Black, yellow and purple have never been among my favored color schemes, but what do you want for next to nothing. One sticker-type decal completes the “look.” It’s not great, but it won’t bring up lunch.

Construction Rating: 5 out of 5

Flight:
I’ve only flown this rocket once, but it isn’t hard to get a feel for the performance based on that flight. The rotor performed as advertised and brought the nose cone down for a textbook recovery. The body section wasn’t quite so lucky. The body tube itself is fairly large, but the rotors must be folded straight down inside so that the nose cone will fit. This means that the parachute will have to be down deep and apparently mine wasn’t. The ejection charge did little more than move the whole mess, wadding, shock cord and parachute, up in the body tube. It didn’t deploy and the whole shootin’ match came down in a flat spin, landing hard in a gravel parking lot. The good news; no damage. This rocket can take a hit.

Recovery:
This is where I’d take a half point away. Everything packs very tightly in the body tube and it may take several flights before the secrets for the dual deployment reveal themselves. It could also be as simple as operator error. Wouldn’t be the first time.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

Pros: Entertainment value. It appeals to kids and adults alike. Rotor performance. Ease of assembly. Durability.

Cons: Styling. It’s kind of ugly. (Then again, I might have lousy taste.) Packing the body tube to allow both recovery systems to function may be a trial and error process. (Then again, I might be stupid.)

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Flights

Comments:

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G.A.D. (September 3, 2002)
We have had a hard time figuring out how to get a good clean deployment from this rocket. On the first flight the nosecone separated but the ?copter blades barely had time to fold out. The parachute was partially melted and failed to deploy fully. The second flight was a good one. On the third flight the combination of chute and ?copter blades was too much to eject and it lawn-darted. [Note to EMRR, I'll send a Pic] I'm considering how rebuild this for more consistent ejection. I may lengthen the body tube and use a piston of some sort.
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J.R. (December 11, 2003)
I think this is an excellent rocket. It's fun to fly and watch this rocket's recovery. Especially on a C6-5. The parachute melting annoyed me a lot though.
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unknown (December 18, 2003)
This is a great rocket. But it's basically a E2X version of the Hyper X.
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F.H. (April 6, 2004)
The picture above looks EXACTLY like mine after just one flight. Everything just packs way too tight. If Estes replaces this kit I will build it with a streamer to reduce the amount of stuff to pack into the body tube.
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B.A. (March 8, 2006)
Once you get the knack of how to lead the blades and a chute, this is a great rocket. All of the kids love it, and I've had the nosecone take over 2 minutes to come down at times.
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M.S. (October 23, 2006)
After a couple of failures using the rotors, we have scrapped the helicopter retrieval completely and added a streamer to all 3 Cosmic Cobras that my kids own. Much easier to load and higher percentage of recovery. We have flown one of the Cobras at least 15 times. They all look like they will last a long time. With less weight, a C motor makes a really nice flight!
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J.G. (June 15, 2008)
This rocket is what I refer to as a "Titanic". Very first flight was also its last flight. I read the flight logs and reviews prior to flying this, and for some reason, thought mine was going to work. It didn't. There is just too much stuff to cram into a BT-56 tube here. Others that witnessed the ballistic arc that our rocket did (when ejection charge failed to even get the nosecone out) said "that must have been a Cosmic Cobra". Tells you something. The suggestions we got were that this rocket needs to be "stretched". We concur. A longer body tube will allow for chute to be packed underneath the folded helicopter blades. Stay tuned in the mods section.
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G.P. (June 25, 2008)
I'm not sure why some people are having trouble with this rocket - I've had good recovery every time. The trick is to fold and roll the parachute in a long wedge so that it fits inside the rotors. This was my mom's favorite of all my rockets - she loved watching the rotor/nose cone deploy and autogyro down.
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C.G. (July 2, 2008)
As G.P. said, you need to fold the parachute rather flat and place it between the rotors. My daughter has one and has never had a bad deployment. However, the nose cone doesn't spin all that well in the default build; it starts to spin, then flips over, then starts to spin again, and so on. I resolved this by putting a few grams (probably around 15) of weight in the tip of the nosecone, enticing it to remain pointed downward for a more satisfying spin.
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John R, Brandon III (March 8, 2011)

  I have yet to launch my Cosmic Cobra as I refitted it...I rigged it with a piece of monofilament line running to the nose cone point and a snap swivel at the far end, attached to the shock cord. Ideally it should allow the rotating nosecone to serve as recovery system for the entire rocket!

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