Estes - Firestreak SST {Kit} (806) [2004-2008]

Contributed by Chris Tarpley

Construction Rating: starstarstar_borderstar_borderstar_border
Flight Rating: starstar_borderstar_borderstar_borderstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstar_borderstar_borderstar_border
Diameter: 0.86 inches
Length: 10.20 inches
Manufacturer: Estes
Skill Level: 1
Style: Sport

Rocket PicBrief:
This rocket from Estes is a "Simple Snap Together" kit that can be quickly assembled and flown. It is a single stage, streamer recovery rocket.

Construction:
There are few pieces to this rocket. There are two body tube halves, one motor tube, four fins, nose cone, shock cord, motor retainer and streamer.

I purchased this rocket one Saturday morning to cure boredom. I was looking for a small, low altitude rocket that would accommodate the small fields I have available for launching. This rocket was very simple to assemble. The nose cone, body tube halves, fins, and motor retainer were all made of purple plastic. The two body tube halves snap together around the motor tube. Fins fit either between the two body tube halves or in slots. The nose cone is also two halves which snap together. There are 3 pre-cut holes in the motor tube. One is for the shock cord and the other two are for lugs that protrude from the two body tube halves into the motor tube that act as the motor stop. After rocket construction, the application of a peel and stick decal is all that is required to finish.

Note that though this kits claims to require no glue for assembly, it will be necessary to glue some things.

Finishing:
This rocket kit has some problems and they will need to be addressed to keep this rocket flyable.

Construction Rating: 2 out of 5

Flight:
After assembling this rocket I headed out for launch. Rocket preparation was simple with the twist lock motor retainer. The first flight was powered by an Estes 1/2A3-2T. The rocket flew straight up and when the ejection charge fired, it burned the streamer together in places. That shortened the streamer. The rocket landed without damage. The second flight was with the same motor, producing another straight flight that again returned the rocket undamaged. Note that I had a problem at this point with the nose cone. The two halves tended to come apart. This isn't a problem for recovery as the shock cord is tied to both halves. Some CA should cure this problem. The third flight was powered by an Estes A10-3T.

This flight didn't seem much higher than the previous two on smaller motors. The flight was straight, but at ejection the shock cord separated and the body lawn darted. The body wasn't damaged and the nose cone and streamer landed ok.

Recovery:
While CA should be used on the nose cone, it should not be used on the two body tube halves. They WILL need to be separated in the event of shock cord failure to allow another to be attached. Note that close inspection of the two motor stop lugs should reveal that they will crack. Mine revealed these cracks which didn't result in total separation of the lug. I used CA to reset them. Some CA fillets might cure this.

Flight Rating: 1 out of 5

Summary:
While this rocket did provide a diversion for my boredom, it really didn't do much to wow me. Maybe I expect too much. Problems with part separation, motor stop lugs, and the shock cord ended it's flight after 3 launches. I was glad I carried another rocket with me to finish the day with.

Overall Rating: 2 out of 5

Flights

Comments:

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D.C. (March 28, 2004)
This is not a very good rocket. It does fly nice, straight and high on A103T's but the shock cord keeps getting ripped out inside. First time I used their through-the-side knot method but on the second launch it yanked that right out. Nose cone was lost for a few days while I looked for it.. Next time around I used a tri fold inside that tiny body tube. First launch ok, second one it just broke the cord where it goes into the fold mount. This launch also resulted in the engine blocking lugs breaking loose. Rocket is under repairs at this moment. I don't think I would recommend it to anyone.
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M.M. (November 7, 2004)
My 9 yr old purchased this rocket on the way to a launch. He assembled it in the backseat of the car (no gluing allowed back there!) and only needed help with extra pressure on the main body tube snaps. He flew it on A10-3Ts in a 10mph wind and had a great time. The two items he found to be a problem: the retention piece was too tight for him to secure and the wadding, streamer, shock cord had a tough time fitting inside the tube and having the nose cone fit securely on the body.
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L.M. (May 7, 2007)
Discontinue this rocket, Estes.. Don't they test these things? I bought it so my son would have something he could help me build, but I ended up doing all of the building myself. When I was constructing it, it looked so flimsy and weak I knew I would only get 3-4 flights out of it, so I bought a pack of A3-4t's. I ended up getting about half a flight. One of the little notches in the side of the inner body tube (that the plastic tabs poke through) was forced open by gases from the ejection charge, causing the rocket to explode. I'm mailing the remains to Estes.

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