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

Contributed by Jared Elliott

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

Brief:
This is an E2X kit single stage with parachute for the body and helicopter recovery for the nosecone.

Construction:
The kit consists of a pre-molded fin/MMT unit, 12" plastic parachute, single BT-60 tube, and plastic nose cone.

This is an easy kit to assemble. Instructions are straightforward and easy to follow. Assembly can take between 30 minutes or so, depending on the modeler's abilities. The Cosmic Cobra is a very sturdy kit with pre-colored body tube and self-adhesive decals. The molded plastic fins feature an integrated MMT. The engine is retained by a twist lock retainer. Assembly is straightforward with little use for a hobby knife. I used Testor's plastic cement to assemble the fins/MMT section. You can probably use CA to assemble the unit, but I chose not to out of concern that it might be too brittle. The nose cone has a blade ring that attaches where the chute/shock cord normally would. The fins are made of flexible plastic and are easily attached. The kit comes with small rubber bands that cause the blades to extend when the NC is ejected from the rocket. I used thick CA to attach the blade ring to the nosecone. The launch lug is a molded plastic piece that is glued to the body tube at 6.5" from the aft end of the rocket. I used Testor's plastic cement to attach the lug to the body tube and after some time, I checked to see if it was adhered properly however it snapped off with ease. I then used thick CA to attach it after scraping some of the leftover cement, and after about 10 minutes, all was well. The shock cord attaches with the usual tri-fold method and connects to the chute via a loop a the end.

Finishing:
Just apply the self-adhesive decal and you are done! All left is load the motor and launch. The rocket looks good with the fins forward swept. With its black and yellow scheme, it's an eye catcher.

Construction Rating: 4 out of 5

Flight:
If moderate to high winds are normal for your area, I recommend cutting the spill hole from the center of the chute as it may drift away. I used 6 squares of wadding for my first launch and it may have been too much. First launch is with a B6-4 and an approximate altitude of 125 feet. My observation concludes that 6 squares is too much for this rocket.

The second flight was on a C6-3. This flight was perfect. The rocket went straight up and ejection was just after apogee. I estimate this flight was at around 300 feet. I used 4 squares of wadding on this flight and also placed the chute into the blades without rolling it up. I'm not sure but I think this method is not the best due to 3 shroud lines ripping from the holes in the chute.

Recovery:
I also recommend folding the blades for the nosecone around the chute due to the fact that on my first launch the chute was burned away completely and the rocket recovered without a chute. The kit is of sound structure so this wasn't a concern as it recovered without damage. It may however take damage if it were to land on a hard surface like concrete or asphalt. The nosecone recovered smoothly just like on the package, spinning fast and soft landing.

The nose cone recovered perfect each flight. On the first flight, the nosecone was tip down on descent and the second flight it was tip up. No damage to the rubber bands so far. The shock cord is holding up well after 2 flights. I replaced the stock rubber one for a longer piece made of polyester/rubber. The overall assembly of this kit is a snap. The parachute shroud lines were burned into on the first flight for unknown reasons. On the second flight the shroud lines were torn from the holes in 3 places. The chute was lost on the first flight. No melting of the chute on the second flight. The blades on the nosecone are holding up nicely. The second flight led the nosecone to land in the middle of the street with no damage.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:
This is a good kit for those who are new to this hobby. I recommend this one.

PROs: ease of assembly, ease of finishing.

CONs: the blades on the nosecone protrude into the body tube in a manner that it pushes the parachute close to the motor. If not enough wadding is used, it will either melt the chute or sever the shroud lines. Wrapping the chute in a couple squares of wadding could possibly alleviate this problem. I also recommend cutting the spill hold from the chute to reduce drift. The kit is strong enough to handle the landings.

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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