Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Published: 2011-04-15
Manufacturer: Performance Rocketry

Brief

The Mad Dog Dual Deploy is a 4 inch all fiberglass kit with classic swept fins and a 54mm motor mount that when finished, stands just shy of 8 foot tall. Its a versatile rocket, you can stuff some big motors in this bird and fly it dual deploy, or you can remove the payload bay section and fly it with motor ejection if you want. The kit looks and performs great both ways.

Components

The $149 price tag is only a starting point. This is a barebones kit: 2 body tubes: a 48" main and 24" payload bay, coupler and bulkplates, nose cone, motor mount and centering rings and 3 fins, thats it. It is all high quality fiberglass from top to bottom. You will still need a recovery system, motor retension, rail buttons, and all the hardware. I ordered an extra 9" coupler and bulkplate and had it cut in half and made a fiberglass piston. I used half inch tubular kevlar for my shockcords and a Rocketman 72" chute. No friction fitting at this level, you need positive motor retention. I called Giant Leap and ordered a 54mm Classic Slimline while I was ordering the tubular kevlar. 

Construction

There are no instructions, but this really is a easy build. The only thing that really requires any thinking is how to design your recovery system and your alt bay. I used West System epoxy for the entire build with the exception of some JB Weld to attach the Slimline. It is important to note that you need to be ready for some serious sanding with a good 60 - 80 grit sandpaper. Your going to be saying a few 4 letter words if you don't get yourself a dremel or something similar. I like to use a piston in my recovery system, so a 4 inch coupler, a bulkplate, and a couple u bolts later, I had a very nice piston and it works great. I had never injected internal fin fillets before, but a little research clearly pointed to that being the best way to handle them. Actually, I read the instructions from a Wildman Kit and used that as my guide. It really works great, no mishaps at all, and it was easy. It saves time and makes the best internal fin fillets you could ask for. West Systems works great for this and with a little chopped carbon in the mix, you have some very nice and strong fillets. For the external fillets I added some West Systems Colloidal Silica which thickens the epoxy to a peanut butter consistancy and it made easy work of the external fillets. I went with Acme conformal rail guides rather than buttons and they work just fine, just remember to tape them off before painting, they won't be smooth on the rail with a coat of paint on them. I drilled a 1/8th vent in the payload section and main tube and this rocket was ready to fly.

Finishing

The best thing about building a all fiberglass rocket is finishing it. You could paint this thing right out of the package and it would probably look good. I've seen alot of folks who just fly naked and I've seen some pretty elaborate paint jobs as well. Im in the middle on this subject so I primed with a few coats of Rusoleum Sandable Auto Primer and finished with Rustoleum Painters Touch for the color. The nosecone and the fin tips yellow, and the rest purple: I'm a Vikings fan. The Vikings were stinking it up a little last year though and I threatened to repaint it if they lost to Arizona the next day. Luckily, it's still Purple and Yellow. Any other weekend though and I would have been repainting!

Construction Score: 5

Flight

This was to be my Level 2 flight attempt. I obtained the only "J" motor I could find on this day: a Aerotech J500 Mojave Green. The weather was perfect. It was a late fall day with next to no wind, and the corn fields surrounding us that had been our nemesis all summer had finally been harvested, nothing left but some soft dirt. I loaded the motor and went to weigh in, 13 pounds ready to fly. After getting inspected, I put it on the rail and stepped back for the countdown. The Mad Dog flew fast and straight. This was a single deploy flight and ejection was right at apogee. Level 2 obtained. The following day with no "J" motors in sight, I loaded it up with a I600 Redline and took the payload section off. Another perfect flight. In my opinion, the kit actually looks better when set up this way and you could still get away with flying this bird on a "J" motor with nothing but motor ejection.

Recovery

Recovery was on a Rocketman 72 inch chute. We have a soft Midwestern field, I could have gone with a smaller chute. You can adjust the shroud lines on Rocketman chutes making the chute in effect smaller for faster descent - a really nice feature of these chutes. The Mad Dog came down gently and landed a few hundred yards away with nothing but a few scratches on it.

Flight Rating: 5

Summary

I would certainly recommend this kit to anyone looking for a good Level 2 rocket. It was fun to build and it flies great. Just remember, the price for the kit is only the beginning of what your overall expense is going to be. Luckily, my wife still has no idea!

Overall Rating: 5

Flights

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