Estes SR-71 Blackbird

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

Contributed by Eric Miller

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

Rocket PicBrief:
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. I recommend yellow and white glue but more on that later.

The reason this rocket is so challenging is that it is a airplane design not a rocket design. The two most frustrating features for me were the paper shroud and the fin alignment. The paper shroud is what makes the rocket look like the Air Force plane. There are actually two shrouds. One goes over the top of the rocket and the other the bottom. My trim job on the shrouds was were I messed up. Use white glue after you trim the shrouds because yellow sets up to fast and you need to micro adjust the shrouds to get a good look. Since I trimmed the shrouds too much I had gapping were the left and right nacelles went. The fin alignment is also tricky because you cut out a little piece of paper from the Estes instructions and that's all the assistance you get. Make sure to use yellow glue on this part for faster set up. Also be cautious joining the balsa fins the body tube and nacelles to ensure proper alignment. Also be extremely cautious trimming and sanding balsa parts or you will get gapping.

The rocket is not yet finished. I am dissatisfied with the looks. I have primed the rocket grey and need to fill in some gaps with wood putty. I am going to fly the rocket before finishing to see if the Blackbird is stable.

Construction Rating: 3 out of 5

Rocket PicFlight:
The SR-71 flew great for all the balsa hanging off of it. That really surprised me, that's why I left the paint job off of it, I thought for sure it would be bottom heavy. But I did put plenty of nose weight in the nose cone. Because of all the wood on it it really reacts to weather cocking.

I had two excellent flight for this bird but I gust of wind carried it into a pine tree on the second flight. A unbelievably nice gentleman climbed the pine tree to get it back for me. I should have gave him a reward.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

If you like building challenging and historically accurate aircraft then the Estes SR71 Blackbird is for you. Very challenging to build , but some very rewarding flights, plus the bonus of having in your rocket collection the fastest plane on earth!

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 Jon Revelle

    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. The newer ones come in a bag with: 1 BT-50 body tube 2 shorter BT-50 body tubes 1 nose ...

  • 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.

comment Post a Comment