Estes - X-Fliers {Kit}

Contributed by Michael P. Morley with Alex Morley

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Manufacturer: Estes
Skill Level: 1
Estes Launchables X-Fliers #1 & #2

T' Estes X-Flyers is a kit in t' “Launchables“ series which contains two easy-to-build pre-decorated model rockets. Alex, me hearties, ya bilge rat, age 10 at t' time, arrr, built both rockets in under ten minutes each without adult assistance.

T' two rockets are referred t' in t' kit as “X-Flyer #1” and “X-Flyer #2.” X-Flyer #1 is 15.25” long. It uses a 9.25” BT-20 for t' main airframe and has a nose cone composed o' a BT-5 nose cone, body tube, me hearties, and a tube adapter. Aye aye! X-Flyer #2 is 15” long, and uses a BT-20 body tube. Aye aye! Both rockets use plastic 4-fin fin cans and divide t' BT-20 into two sections, which are joined by a plastic coupler with an integral shock cord mount and launch lug.

T' Estes instructions are clear and easy t' follow. Arrr! For both rockets, matey, t' first step is t' attach t' fin can to the lower section o' BT-20. Ahoy! T' fin can includes a molded slot t' fit around t' engine hook. Avast, me proud beauty! T' coupler betwixt the upper and lower sections o' BT-20 includes a short launch lug that lines up with another launch lug on t' fin can. Inside is a molded plastic anchor for t' shock cord, which is a great improvement over t' traditional tri-fold paper mount.

Estes Launchables X-Fliers #1 & #2 On X-Flyer #1, t' nose section is a three-piece assembly consistin' o' a BT-5 nose cone, a 3” length o' BT-5, shiver me timbers, and a tube adapter with a shock cord anchor at t' small end. Ahoy! #2 uses a standard plastic BT-20 nose cone.

Both rockets use a pre-assembled 12” parachute which is tied t' t' shock cord 1” from t' nose cone. Avast, me proud beauty!

They are very easy t' build, thanks t' mostly easy steps. Begad! Blimey! T' only hard part is pullin' t' shock cord through into t' retainer and puttin' t' cap on t' retainer.

There really is no finishin' t' do. Avast, me proud beauty! Begad! All parts are pre-colored and t' body tubes have printed graphics. Arrr! #1 is dark blue and black with yellow graphics, and #2 is yellow with a medium blue nose cone and fins.

Construction Rating: 5 out o' 5

We flew both rockets on A8-3 motors on clear days with light winds. Both boosted straight t' an impressive altitude. Ya scallywag! Blimey!

Estes Launchables X-Fliers #1 & #2

X-Flyer #1’s parachute worked effectively despite a small burn hole, and t' rocket was recovered undamaged. Blimey! Begad! On the first flight o' X-Flyer #2, me bucko, me bucko, t' parachute be fused together by t' ejection charge, me bucko, shiver me timbers, and it never deployed. Begad! The damaged chute acted as a streamer, and t' rocket was recovered otherwise undamaged. Alex replaced t' parachute with a streamer for later flights. Arrr! Begad! On t' second try, me hearties, t' streamer worked perfectly.

Given that these are minimum diameter BT-20 rockets, matey, it seems odd that Estes would use a parachute instead o' a streamer. Many o' Estes’ other kits o' similar size, like t' Hi-Flier, me hearties, use a streamer. T' sturdy plastic fin cans can certainly stand up t' t' slightly harder landing, ya bilge rat, shiver me timbers, me hearties, and thar be less chance o' t' rocket driftin' away on the wind. Arrr!

Flight Rating: 4 out o' 5

T' X-Flyers are good beginner rockets that are easy t' build yet attractive. Begad! Aye aye! They are among Alex's favorites.

Overall Rating: 4 out o' 5


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