In early 2008 I decided I'd build a large version of the Estes Mighty Moe for my Level 3 certification attempt. My self-imposed timetable meant I had about 9 months to plan and build the rocket so I could make my L3 attempt at the annual Superstition Spacemodeling Society "G. Harry Stine Memorial Launch" to be held at Rainbow Valley, Arizona, in late October 2008. I have a dedicated website detailing the planning and construction of the Mighty Moe.
In summary, the Mighty Moe is an 836% upscale of the design kitted by Estes from 1986 to 1988. That model was 13 inches tall and 0.736 inches (BT-20) diameter and flew on 18mm motors. I've been called "Moe" by family and friends since I was a baby in 1964, so the Mighty Moe was a natural choice for me for this project. I selected a 75mm motor mount so I could try to certify with the M1297 reload. Dry weight, prepped for launch but without motor propellant, is about 43 pounds. The rocket is 110 inches tall and 6 inches in diameter. I used Public Missiles (PML) phenolic airframe and coupler tubing throughout as well as their plywood centering rings and bulkplates. My dad turned a custom conical nose cone from redwood. In fact, he turned four of them for me. I made the fins myself from 1/2inch birch plywood. Hardware was purchased from various local home-supply stores.
October 25th finally arrived and dad and I drove out to Rainbow Valley. The weather was nearly perfect for flying and the typical crowd was in place for two days of flying rockets of all sizes. Several fliers were attempting Level 3 certification over the weekend so there was no shortage of excitement and butterflies in the stomach.
In the end, Mighty Moe left the pad at 2:10pm Saturday afternoon for a picture perfect flight and dual-deployment recovery. Moe touched down about 1,000 feet from the flight line amidst the cheers of the fliers and onlookers. Post-flight inspection revealed no problems with the rocket and I earned my Level 3 certification.
I'm not sure when I'll be flying Mighty Moe again as the big motors ain't cheap, but it's a good looking rocket and one worthy of display in my front room.
Flight and Recovery:
I used an Aerotech M1297 reload in the 75/5120 case. It should take a 74/6400 case no problem as there is enough room. It flew to about 4.300 feet and pretty straight I might add. 100 feet of 1" tubular nylon (four 25 foot sections of Top Flite product) split 50/50 between the two recovery bays. 48" Rocketman drogue chute for apogee event and 168" Spherachutes for the main event. Recovery was perfect.