The Oracle is a large, mostly preassembled model rocked intended for video capture of launches. The rear looking video unit connects via USB port to standard PCs. the resulting 30 video clips can be viewed with Windows Media Player.
THe tail is a Plastic one piece unit with four fins and bayonet motor mount rear retention.
Two coupled 12" body tubes with "Oracle" graphics make up the body tube. The launch lugs are integrated into the tail unit and comes with a styrene tubing coupler
PROs: This unit is almost completely preassembled. The only real assembly is the gluing of the front body tube to the coupler and insertion of the shock cord mount. Assembly of the chute and battery insertion, which requires a small diameter Phillips screwdriver and single AAA battery, completes the assembly. Tie on the nose cone, loop through the nylon high-quality parachute, and you are ready to fly when the glue dries.
CONs: Not for anybody interested in a challenge or in applying their own graphics. Depending on personal choice, one might want to replace the all rubber 1/4 in elastic with other material.
The shiny red-black-silver graphics on the pre-finished rocket are attractive.
Construction Rating: 5 out of 5
I used a D 12-5, which was the largest motor recommended. We set it off under conditions of very light winds and got an almost completely straight launch. The bird rotated about one and half times on the way up.
Note that the video is a mirror image, due to the way the rear looking digital video nose cone is set up. I clearly saw myself and son in the photo although the shadows helped. The D engine and large size of the bird drew some attention from some tennis players about 100 yards away. There was no appreciable weathercocking in the light breeze, which made for better video quality.
Delay was just about perfect with a damage free ejection just a few moments past apogee. The nylon bright orange chute deposited the bird abut 100 feet from the pad.
I had already loaded the software onto my PC and kept the switch in the "on" position until I was able to load the video into my PC.
Editor's Note: The video's are 65Meg in size. Here is a reduced length and size video as an example. In addition, we have provided some screen shots. CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO (425K WMV)
Everything worked uneventfully and without damage to body tube, chute, or shock cord. The unusually well constructed high visibility nylon chute (for Estes anyway) deployed perfectly. If the impact occurred on tar, it might have chipped a fin. As it was, there was absolutely no damage of any kind.
Flight Rating: 5 out of 5
This is a crowd pleaser for several reasons. The video can be replayed at half or high speed, the D engine makes a loud roar by low power standards, and the components work together well. Indeed, we got the attention of everybody in the area.
If you are feeling adventurous, you could easily adapt the nose to any compatible body tube. Remember, however, that you only get about 30 seconds of video. For this rocket, that is more than enough time. The video is better if you can reverse it left to right, via software.
At least one of these should be shot at any rocketry festival. The video is a bit choppy but it is amazing for the price. I got the rocket for just under eighty dollars. In my view, Estes has done all their homework. I got usable video on my first launch and I didn't exactly read every line of the instructions.
But I have to wonder what would happen if I flew it on a 24mm reload? Hmm...
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5