Scratch - Blue Bird Zero {Scratch} Upscale

Contributed by Joseph Michel

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Manufacturer: Scratch
Style: Upscale

Rocket Pic Brief:
Estes Blue Bird Zero upscale; uses 24-inch parachute recovery..

The Estes Blue Bird Zero was my first model rocket. Naturally, when I became a BAR, I wanted to clone one. A quick check of Jim Z’s site revealed that there were no plans available. Not one to be deterred, I searched on. To make a long story short, I found someone through the internet who would provide me the plans and fin tracings. I decided to do a slight upscale to BT-60 from the stock BT-55 size mostly because that is what I had on hand at the time. I needed 44.5-inches of tubing for correct scale. I installed a 24mm motor mount and glued both sets of fins to the lower body tube. I then proceeded to join the body tubes. Everything was glued with 30min epoxy. (author’s note: BBZ plans are available on Jim Z’s website, thanks in part to yours truly.)

When all the gluing was complete, the entire rocket was skim-coated with thinned Fill ’N’ Finish and sanded smooth. I then proceeded to prime, and paint the blue section of the rocket first. After drying, I masked the blue section and painted the white section, then clear coat over the entire rocket. The decals for this rocket were a challenge. I ended up drawing them myself and printing them on self-adhesive stock. The decals turned out good, and the finished product looked great!

Construction Rating: 5 out of 5

I prepped the BBZ for her maiden flight on a D12-3. I installed the wadding, motor, parachute, and set her on the pad. This rocket gives a nice, semi-slow, smokey, takeoff. She went up straight as an arrow — a very stable rocket.. Ejection was near apogee, and it recovered with no damage. After a perfect third flight, it landed on the neighbors’ roof and slid about halfway down the roof the the gutter. The BBZ was OK, except for some nasty shingle rash on the edges of the fins. Flight number six would prove to be fatal. After a perfect boost and ejection, the chute did not open due to being tangled on the shroud lines. It crashed on the asphalt HARD — rest in pieces.

Flight Rating: 5 out of 5

I have to give both construction and flight five out of five. Construction was fairly easy, and the rocket flies very well.

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