Estes SR-71 Blackbird

Estes - SR-71 Blackbird {Kit} (1942) [2004-2010]

Contributed by Jon Revelle

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Diameter: 0.98 inches
Length: 19.00 inches
Manufacturer: Estes
Skill Level: 2
Style: Scale

This is a scale model of the world's fastest jet. Estes brought it back in 2003 along with some other military rocket kits. This one was the original vintage version that was given to me by my neighbor. He said he built it sometime in the 1970s, it was missing fins, and in need of a parachute.

Rocket PicConstruction:
The newer ones come in a bag with:

  • 1 BT-50 body tube
  • 2 shorter BT-50 body tubes
  • 1 nose cone that looks like front of jet
  • Plastic jet nozzles and noses
  • 1 18mm motor mount
  • Paper Blackbird skin
  • 2 sheets of balsa for the wings
  • Shock Cord
  • 18" parachute
  • Launch lugs

Since I didn't build this one, I cannot tell you haw to assemble it. But it did need major repairs when I got it. The balsa is pre-cut and also came with an angle chart for the tail feathers (rudders). The parachute is in my opinion too big for the body tube and looks like it could get stuck but still pops out in flight.

Rocket PicFinishing:
Spray the whole rocket flat black then applying the decals.

Construction Rating: 5 out of 5

I flew it twice. I set it up on a B6-4 for its first flight. Flew very straight and ejected the chute at perfect apogee. It did drift a bit, so I recommend getting a 15" chute or something smaller because the fit is very tight.

Second flight went about the same as the previous flight but it didn't drift as much this time on the way down. I would still go with a smaller chute.

Recovery is by an 18" plastic chute. I hate trying to stuff 18" chutes into BT-50 body tubes as I get so scared of it not deploying. It uses about 4 sheets of wadding too. It still surprises me when the chute does deploy though. The chute does brings the Blackbird down perfectly.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

This is a good kit for scale modelers. It provides a good thing to look at then fly it. I thank Estes for bringing it back to production.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Other Reviews
  • Estes SR-71 Blackbird By Hank Helmen (November 20, 2008)

    This is the Sport Scale SR-71 Blackbird Model Rocket. It is an 18mm motor with parachute recovery Estes challenge kit. The SR-71 was designed at the famous "Skunk Works" with a mission of high alititude reconnaissance! The Blackbird kit comes in a box with a color picture of the built kit on the outside. I built kit number EST-7003. It is labeled as a "Challenge" kit series with a skill ...

  • Estes SR-71 Blackbird By Eric Miller

    This is a model of the United Stated Airforce 1962 spy reconnaissance plane. Still the fastest and highest flying plane in the world. When I opened the box I was mesmerized at all the pieces to the blackbird and a few I never used before. This is a Estes Challenger level kit. An appropriate classification since it was. This kit can be built with a ruler, hobby knife and white or yellow glue. ...

  • Estes SR-71 Blackbird By Paul Altman

    Estes - SR-71 Blackbird ( Contributed - by Paul Altman)  The SR-71 comes boxed like most Estes Challenger series kits. It is a level 3 and they aren't kidding but well worth the time. First thing you should do is look at the directions very carefully and note the pictures. Very important for the nose cone to fit well. I personally did not like the way you glue the fins together in ...



D.S. (January 1, 2001)
I agree with everyone else about the construction of this kit. I found it much more satisfying to upgrade the engine to accommodate a 24mm motor. With just a tad more weight in the tip of the nose, and replacing the parachute with a streamer, it flies like a dream under D-12 power. I had much more fun flying it like this!
C.S (April 1, 2001)
This is a great kit, I am sorry it went by the wayside. I had numerous SR 71's. I added a 24 mm mount to one of mine and some corresponding nose weight and it goes great, out of site flights. Good reviews.
L.Z. (July 1, 2001)
This is one of my favorite rockets to watch fly. I enjoyed building it and flying it, The kit has only one snafu which will reveal it's self over time due to wear and tear. After repeated launches mine started to grab a bit of air where the shroud meets the nose cone. This usually happens on the initial acceleration and will result in slight, (usually less then 1") tear in the shroud. Visual effects can be interesting as the tear can cause the rocket to proceed horizontal shortly after leaving the rod. I have had this happen twice out of a dozen flights. In both cases the rocket still had good chute deployment and recovery. I am still working on a fix.
R.F. (July 1, 2001)
I had this rocket for 7 years and had a lot of launches with it. Tricky to build, but the results were very satisfying with a cool looking rocket. It did like to windcock, but was a fun rocket to launch and watch. It seemed to work best for me with C6-5 engines. One day, though, the 'chute didn't eject and the rocket was a lawn dart. the nose impacted, crushing the front body tube, which spelled the end of my favorite rocket.
M.K. (July 1, 2001)
I love this rocket. It flies straight up in to the air glides of a few seconds then comes back to the ground. The only hard part is making and attaching the wings.
G.M.K. (November 24, 2005)
Good review and many helpful tips. This is a very difficult bird to build but very rewarding when completed! Many people see it and ask if I modified a plastic model to fly. Have had four flights so far with mixed chute deployment. Have noticed that when it doesn't deploy fully the rocket body seems to go horizontal and does a flat spin on the way down. A good streamer may be the best recovery device for this one! I think I am going to try that next flight.

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