Quest - Big Betty {Kit} (1014) [1993-]

Contributed by Dan Priven

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Diameter: 1.58 inches
Length: 23.00 inches
Manufacturer: Quest
Skill Level: 1
Style: Sport

Rocket PicBrief:
Big Betty is a fairly large 3FNC model rocket, using B and C motors. It is straightforward to construct and a snap to prepare for flight. With its enormous fins and blunt, rounded nose cone, Big Betty has a peculiar look. It looks either dated or classic, depending on whether you're a BAR or not. Estes' Big Bertha, Big Betty's obvious inspiration, is about 35 years old. For the Freudians among us, Big Betty is a cry for help.

Construction:
Big Betty is a very simple model - it could quite easily be a first model, and I would certainly recommended as such. The instructions are sufficiently simple for a non-modeler. The pieces all fit together just fine - the die-cut fins were identical, and there were no ill-fitting parts.

I had two problems with my kit, which had been ordered from Hobbylinc.com. The body tube had a slight crease to it, and the engine hook wasn't springy - once bent outward to fit an engine into place, it has to be bent back into place. I was able to minimize the visual impact of the crease by putting my launch lug on top of it.

Finishing:
My daughter and I painted our Big Betty with Dutch Boy Instant Chrome. The paint was shiny and nice, but it picked up fingerprints very easily. The kit only comes with one underwhelming "Big Betty" decal. We grabbed a few decals from rocket kits I bought fifteen years ago. Those decals, I learned, became VERY delicate. They flaked apart, requiring a bit of jig-saw puzzle work to have them look OK. After putting the decals on, we sprayed the rocket with Krylon Crystal Clear. Unfortunately, the lovely Chrome turned into Ugly Mottled Grey. The nosecone, which I didn't clear-coat, is still shiny.

Construction Rating: 3 out of 5

Flight:
My daughter and I flew Big Betty (we've named it the Silver Patriot, owing to the decals and paint-job) three times on Saturday. Preparation of the rocket was easy enough for my daughter, age 7, to do by herself. The 14" parachute fits into the 1.6" body tube very easily. We used four sheets of early-'80s vintage Estes wadding.

The first flight was on an Estes B6-2. The rocket flew straight up, about 200 feet or so. It's big and slow, so it's easy to follow, though the grey we ended up with could be lost against an overcast sky. Ejection was before apogee, and the descent was just the right rate - it suffered no damage, though it landed on some metal bleachers.

The second flight was on a C6-3. I would guess it went up 500-600 feet, slow enough to follow. Ejection was again, before apogee. The softball players in the next field were impressed with the flight, particularly when I caught it on the way down. The third flight was on a C6-5. Ejection seemed to be just past apogee. The parachute didn't open completely, and the rocket descended fast, in a corkscrew fashion. The rocket landed in a muddy field, and suffered no damage. Unfortunately, my daughter ran towards the rocket with a bit too much gusto, and slid into that same mud. Both rocket and daughter washed up nicely when we got home.

Recovery:
The Big Betty uses the "Quest method" shock-cord which has a very thin Kevlar cord tied to the engine mount. The Kevlar is long enough to stick out of the rocket tube an inch or two, where it is then tied to an 18" piece of round elastic, which is then tied to the nosecone and parachute. I am concerned about the Kevlar, because it is very narrow, and the body tube is already showing indentations at the front. Zippering seems likely if the delay is further off than I've already had.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:
I really like the Big Betty. More importantly, my 7-year-old does, too. It's big, easy to build, easy to prep, easy to track, and unlikely to be lost. I spent less than $8.00 for this rocket, which I think is a really good deal, even if the engine hook is lame. I am assuming that the creased body tube was a fluke. If I get another rocket from Quest or Hobbylinc which is damaged, I'll amend this review.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 for being a solid kit at a bargain price.

Other Reviews
  • Quest - Big Betty {Kit} (1014) [1993-] By Bill Eichelberger

    While nearly identical to the Estes Big Bertha, the Quest Big Betty has still managed to carve out a niche in the entry level market with her upgraded recovery system and lower price. While she is a pretty close copy, she does feature three fins instead of the Bertha's four, making construction marginally simpler while keeping performance right in line with her sister kit. The parts list: ...

  • Quest - Big Betty {Kit} (1014) [1993-] By Clive Davis

    Background: This spring I ran a build session for faculty kids at the school where I teach. I ended up using the Quest Bright Hawk for the 7-9 year olds and the Quest Big Betty for the 10-12 year olds. After the build session, I began thinking about the types of rockets that would make great first builds for a budding rocketeer. I wanted to select rockets to compare that had the ...

Flights

Comments:

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D.K. (August 1, 2000)
My first BAR kit. A great first kit. Easy to build, and a reliable performer. I masked the white body tube where the decal was to go, and painted the rest Rust-Oleum Sunburst Yellow. Looked great. I flew this rocket several times at every launch for about a year. A beautiful flight every time until I lost it. I just built another one.
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K.R.J. (September 1, 2001)
Look out Estes! Quest is catching up- or already has- in quality and value. When I wrote to Quest to purchase a replacement nose cone for Big Betty, Quest sent an entire Big Betty kit- for free! Now, THAT'S customer service! Quest has made me a long time customer!
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J.D.R. (May 12, 2003)
An excellent review and dead on the money. Betty is a near clone of Big Bertha and I bought one during one of Hobby Lobby's famous half-off sales as a temporary replacement for my lost 24mm Bertha. Having built Betty stock, I must say she'll probably get plenty of use even when we do build a new Bertha. Better still, the latest Betties have a new decal set, which is purple and very eye-catching, especially on a bright yellow background as the new packaging depicts the rocket as painted. It looks marvelous! Better still, it's lighter and less draggy than a Bertha with three thinner fins as opposed to four rather thick ones and it will probably go like mad on a C6.
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B. B. (June 8, 2003)
The review was accurate, but I found an additional problem. The nose cone diameter is larger than the body tube diameter, which makes this rocket slightly ugly. The first flight, on a C6-5, was quite fast. I saw the parachute come out. The model drifts quite a bit on the stock parachute, which is now used in my Estes Blue Ninja; the field I fly in is quite small.
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P.A. (October 21, 2003)
Great rocket. I launched on a breezy day, and every time it went up straight & true, and came down without a problem. Very easy to build...I am experienced, but I still enjoyed building it. Sturdy rocket....great first time larger rocket. Agree that Quest is starting to catch up with the other guys. Review is right on.
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R.F. (May 25, 2005)
A great rocket for the low price. I set mine up with a 24mm D mount & it flies awesome! It soars straight as an arrow & recovers great on a 12" chute.

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