Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Manufacturer: Estes
Estes Speed Freak

Brief:
The Estes Industries Speed Freak is a starter set with a ready to fly rocket with an electronic digital speedometer capsule. Also included is a Porta Pad II launch pad, Electron Beam launch controller, 2 piece 1/8" launch rod, two motors (B6-4 and C6-5), ignitors, plugs, wadding, button cell battery for the capsule and instructions.

Construction:
The only components for the rocket included the following:

  • Ready to fly rocket body
  • 12 inch parachute
  • Speedometer capsule
  • Battery for capsule

Since this is a ready to fly (RTF) rocket, practically no assembly is required. Right out of the box, I noticed my rocket had a partially broken fin which I was easily able to repair using CA. All you do with the rocket body is tie a loop at the end of the shock cord and attach the parachute. For the capsule, you need a small Phillips head type screwdriver to unscrew both screws that hold the capsule body together. Once the capsule is apart, you carefully loosen the screw holding the battery hold down strap and insert the provided battery. You then tighten the screw, snap the capsule body back together, and carefully tighten the screws. Do not overtighten or you may strip the threads. Lastly, the foam nose cone is then slid back into place.

PROs: No construction required, battery included for capsule.

CONS: None noted.

Finishing:
Since the rocket is pre-finished with a chrome fin can and cool holographics, no other painting or finishing is required.

PROs: Pre-finished, looks great for an RTF. No additional finishing of any kind required.

CONs: None.

Construction Rating: 5 out of 5

Flight:
The reccommended motors for the Speed Freak is the B4-2, B6-2, B6-4, C6-3, and C6-5.

I first prepped the rocket for flight by inserting the included B6-4, attached the retention cap and inserted the ignitor. I then inserted about 5 sheets of wadding to protect the chute. I then loaded the rocket on the pad, hooked up the clips, and turned on the speedometer capsule. When the capsule is turned on, it displays 4...3...2...1...000. At this point, it is armed and ready for flight.

On the first flight with the B6-4, the rocket took off straight and climbed to maybe 250 feet or so, arched over and ejected the capsule and parachute. Upon recovery, the capsule indicated a speed of 61.0mph.

For the second flight, I used the other included motor, the C6-5. Like the first flight, the rocket took off straight and flew to maybe 550-600 feet or so, arched and deployed the capsule and parachute. Upon recovery, the capsule indicated 70.7mph. I find this rather hard to believe though as the rocket looked like it was going much faster than that during the boost.

PROs: Flies great.

CONs: Unit should not be expected to give totally accurate speeds.

Recovery:
For recovery, the rocket body uses a 12 inch parachute and the capsule recovers on a streamer. The instructions specifically advise you not to remove or change the length of it. It definately helps to have an additional tracker, especially on C motor flights: one to watch the capsule and another to watch the rocket.

Overall, the recovery components are aduquate and work well.

PROs: Recovers well on included recovery components.

CONS: None.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:
I really liked this kit. Although the speedometer capsule should not be expected to give totally accurate readings, it does give you somewhat of an idea on how fast the rocket flew. I was also very pleased that a battery was included for the capsule as these button cell type watch batteries are rather expensive. I was also very impressed with the appearance and flight performance of the rocket as well.

Main PROs: RTF, looks and flies great, and battery included.

Main CONs: None, unless you think the capsule should be totally accurate.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

Flights

Comments:

avatar
M.P.M. (June 11, 2006)
How does the capsule measure speed? Also, what size body tube does it use?

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