Aerotech - Mustang {Kit} (89010) [1989-]

Contributed by Mark Fisher

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Manufacturer: Aerotech
Style: Sport

Aerotech has long been known to high power rocketeers for their fine motors and sturdy kits, but not too many model rocketeers have used their products. They're a lot more expensive than the average entry level stuff; the Initiator start set isn't cheap (Discount Rocketry has it for a reasonable $115.95), nor is their Interlock Launch Controller if purchased separately (I paid $39.95 for mine, just a tad below DR's asking price of $45). One of my favorite local hobby shops had both the Cheetah and the Mustang for sale for $34.95, and after weeks of deliberation, I finally broke down and got the 'stang. I liked this rocket so well, I went back for the Cheetah, but it was gone. Not to worry, as I write, DR has the Cheetah in stock for just a dollar more. 

Picture courtesy of Chip Jenkins
Picture is courtesy of Chip Jenkins

The Good Points

I liked just about everything this kit showed me, but most impressive were the plastic fins and patented Fin-Lok system. The fins are pre-beveled and require absolutely no work, as did the hefty nose cone. The body tube, while not perfect, was much, much better than I'd ever seen in any Estes or Quest kit. The baffle ejection system is the only one I've ever seen that did a good job of protecting the recovery system without wadding, and the shock cord is monstrously long. The mount to the body is via a large screw eye, not my favorite thing, but a crimping lug (not supplied) prevents the cord from untying. 

This design is flexible, too, capable of flying just about every size single use and RMS 24 and 29 mm motor the Aerotech makes, including their non-standard 124 mm long singles. The motor clip is large and stiff, so careful loading is required to avoid creasing the motor mount tube or, if used, the included adapters, but that's a small price to pay for such a wide range of choices. Ingenious is the best way to describe it. 

The little points impressed me, too. The box can be made into a display stand, the plastic parts don't require any trimming to get rid of flash, and the 'chute is well sewn and rugged. 

The Bad Points

The only thing I can really complain about is the decals. They're not pre-cut and require careful work to get right. I also thought the 14" 'chute was a bit small for an 11 oz. rocket, and my first flight seemed to bear this out. 

Assembly

[Rocket Pic]

Construction is straight-forward, requiring no specific adhesives or jury-rigged tools, and with concentration, you can put the Mustang together in about an hour. The instruction manual is very good; clear, easy to follow, well illustrated and accurate. I didn't encounter a single problem building my Mustang, and other than crimping the shock cord for the body attachment, I didn't change a thing. 

Painting requires some attention, especially if you want it colored like the box art. In general, the rocket didn't seem to want to hold paint, though the white on white doesn't look too bad when it chips. The nose cone is especially slippery, and you should sand it and/or wash it before painting; I did neither, and it shows. Masking the tube and nose cone for the color breaks was nerve-racking, the paint underneath was always threatening to come off. 

For construction, I'd rate the Mustang a 4 ½ points on the Essence scale, darn near perfect, the only points off being for difficulty in finishing. 

Flight

[Rocket Pic]First flight was on a single use E30-4, and was impressive. Very little weathercocking and very stable, she went about 900' feet up, and was quick in getting there. Ejection was early (the e30- is not recommended) and recovery was very fast, with the light winds that day, we had no chance of getting under her before she touched (well, more like 'banged') down. She landed on pavement, and jarred one of the fins loose, but it snapped right back into place. I can see why Aerotech has that Fin-Lok system patented, it's sweet! Other than that, she suffered no damage, the 'chute and shock cord were spotless. 

Second flight was supposed to be on a single use F25-9, and while she did get into the air, it was only about 10 feet. A dual-endo CATO (the retaining plug and nozzle blew out) was very scary, but caused absolutely no damage to the Mustang. This is one tough little bird. I've bought another F25 and will be trying again. 

Even though I've only really seen her fly once, her endurance of the CATO makes me rate this bird a 4 points on the Essence scale, Above Average. 

Summary

While I'm going to have to repaint this rocket at some point, I plan on flying her for many years to come, and with great success. Aerotech has impressed me; they may be expensive, but you get what you pay for with the Mustang. Overall, I'd rate it a 4 ½ points on the Essence scale, darn near perfect. 
 


Other Reviews
  • Aerotech - Mustang {Kit} (89010) [1989-] By Kris Henderson

    Brief: This is a basic 4FNC kit that flies on 29mm and 24mm motors. Construction: The kit contains one thick body tube with pre-cut fin slots and pre-cut slots for launch lugs, 4 trapezoidal plastic fins with modified double wedge airfoil, 29mm motor mount, 24mm motor adapter, plastic nose cone, long shock cord, and 16" chute. THe kit des not include a payload section. ...

  • Aerotech - Mustang {Kit} (89010) [1989-] By Darwin May

    The Mustang is a single stage mid power rocket. The Mustang was my first mid power and first Aerotech kit. I opened the box to find one tube, a 5:1 ogive nosecone, 4 trapezoidal fins, and a beefy motor mount. The centering rings were made of black fiber material, very stiff. The shock cord was about 6' long. The nose was made out of plastic and was tethered to the end of the MMT by the ...

  • Aerotech - Mustang {Kit} (89010) [1989-] By Jack Caynon

    Brief: Modified to incorporate anti-zipper design. Modifications: This modification doesn't require any special tools, however, it does require an Aerotech 1.9" coupler. First, I used a hacksaw to gently cut the airframe into two parts, the lower part of the airframe with the fin slots should be 10.5" long. Then I tossed aside the engine retaining hook and used a 29mm Slimline motor retainer ...

  • Aerotech - Mustang {Kit} (89010) [1989-] By Andy Tate

    ( Contributed - by Andy Tate - 04/10/02) Brief: Single stage mid power parachute recovery kit. Construction: Kit includes 4 "Trapezoidal with modified double wedge airfoil" fins, 1.9" body tube, Aero-Fibre" centering rings, 5:1 ogive nose cone, 6' elastic shock cord, and nylon parachute. This is extremely easy to put together. The instructions are clear ...

  • Aerotech - Mustang {Kit} (89010) [1989-] By Carl Tulanko

    The Aerotech Mustang is a Sport model using a 1.9" body tube and is 32" in length. It has a four fin configuration and has been designed to handle motors from the E thru G range. Aerotech kits are like the Cadillac of model rockets and this one is no different. High quality components and rugged yet simple design are what you expect to see when purchasing one of these kits. Thick walled ...

  • Aerotech - Mustang {Kit} (89010) [1989-] By David Kneble

    ( Contributed - by David Andrew Kneble - 07/20/01) Brief: The Mustang is a rugged single stage mid-power rocket. It is easy to construct and flies on a wide range of motors from D-G. it is a perfect rocket for someone trying to get into the world of mid-power rocketry. Construction: The Mustang consists of a 24mm motor adapter tude, adapter rings, an E spacer tube, a thrust ring, ...

  • Aerotech - Mustang {Kit} (89010) [1989-] By David Urbanek

      Brief:  Good entry level rocket for Mid-Power. There's one on every shelf on every hobby shop in America. Construction:  Solid stuff through out. Thick body tube, plastic fins, plastic motor mount cage. It has a baffle and a motor clip. Initially I thought about deleting the motor clip so I could use H motors in it. Typical lack of perspective thought. I'm glad I ...

Flights

Comments:

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C.J. (November 1, 1999)
FlyingAerotech should stick to selling reloads and stay out of the rocket end of things for two reasons. First, Aerotech kits are not for a model builder. They are for someone that does not like to construct rockets but only likes to fly mid power rockets that are ready made. I bought this one for my first mid power kit and I wasn't dissatisfied until I had a problem. The E16 reload that I used caused this one to prang after 3 or 4 flights (the first several were flown on Estes D12-3's) I called Aerotech complaining about a problem that I thought was not mine. Whether I was right on my assessment or not (as to what caused the prang) was, in my opinion, immaterial. The fact that I had a problem and Aerotech was unwilling to help come to a solution left me displeased. I did go and buy the parts to repair the Mustang for less than $10. I do not think that I was being unreasonable when I asked for them to send a few replacement parts but, that's my opinion. Now, on to the better part of this. If you're going to have a prang, do it with an Aerotech kit. If this was another manufacturer, I wouldn't have been able to salvage anything. As it turned out, All I had to do was cut away the old airframe and remove the fins from the fin lock system (that wasn't too difficult) and repaint it. I liked the decals that were left on it so I taped the fins to repaint. I used some vinyl letters, taped and painted a black stripe, and I was back in business. I would have been happier if Aerotech would have been more customer oriented but, I do like the way that it turned out once I rebuilt it and I'm not going to cry about it, I just will not buy another rocket kit from them, not because the rockets are inferior (they're not).
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K.D. (January 1, 2001)
The Mustang is both solid, and sleek. Definitely my favorite Aerotech kit. It also has the distinction of being the only rocket I've ever heard scream on it's way down (thanks to a "bonus" delay). I can't believe the way this thing scoots! I like that AT baffle system so much, I've been cloning it, and installing it in every rocket I build now. Just have to remember to clean out that mesh every few flights.
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N.A. (May 1, 2001)
I think this is the most kick butt rocket I have. The first time I flew the Mustang was a disaster. The Mustang flew up perfectly fine then nosed over at apogee then it kept going DOWN!! Luckily it ejected just to get stuck in the highest branches of a tree! The next day I asked one of my friends to give me a pole and with a lot of tugging the rocket came down. It didn't have that much damage but a bent airfoil on one of the fins and a small dent in the body tube but hopefully it will fly again.
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N.P. (November 16, 2001)
I have this rocket and after 2 flights I have to say I am quite impressed. one fin did come off after the second flight but it was easily repaired by some glue. it flew straight up both times. they were both beautiful flights. they landed about 20 feet from the launch pad. I will say that the parachute provided is ok.
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K.P. (April 12, 2002)
I can't fully agree with the opinion stated on 11/99. I think Aerotech does an excellent job with their rocket kits. I would have to say they have positioned themselves perfectly as a midpower kit for those looking to graduate from Estes style kits. The construction will be familiar to anyone who has built modrocs while providing an introduction for many into some of the beefier construction techniques needed for larger motors. Such as thru the wall fin mounting and baffle ejection systems. I love my Mustang (my first mid power rocket)and have purchased several more Aerotech kits since.
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E.M.Z. (July 6, 2002)
After building and flying Estes model rockets for over 20 years, I just purchased a Mustang kit. When I first opened the box, I was impressed with the quality of the kit (detailed instructions, high quality materials, etc.) It went together easily over 2-3 days. The ejection charge baffle system is a nice feature (I can't remember how many times I had to stop countdown because I couldn't remember if I put any recovery wadding in the old Estes rockets...) I can't wait to launch it.
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P.V. (July 28, 2002)
The Mustang is a great little kit for the mid-power beginner. The only drawback that I can think of is it's price(like all AeroTech kits). I lucked out and got it for $33.50 at Hobbylinc.com just a day before they jacked the price up again. It flies great on a variety of motors my favorite being the F20, it is also good for a first RMS flight because it flies great on little reload E's plus it has positive motor retention included.
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W.L. (March 9, 2003)
I can't believe I got this rocket for $19.37 at Hobby lobby (clearance). No parts were missing. I was impressed with the quality of the parts. Assembly was not that difficult but time consuming. Being a twelve year old, I completed this rocket in two and one-half hours. Being simple does not mean easy. The fin-loc rings were very hard to get on. I used plastic cement on the fin fillets and CA to get them on. I did not expect to assemble this rocket in one day. I have yet to paint the rocket and fly it on a D12-3.
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D.B. (August 15, 2003)
The rocket was really easy to build great instructions I used cyanoacrylate like the directions stated. Primered and painted canary yellow. Looks great with the black decals. This little rocket flew great on a Estes E. I was really surprised on how well it flew on the Estes motors. I took it to are next club launch and loaded an Aerotech G64-10. The rocket shot of the pad faster then you could blink and I would say it was close to a 2500ft launch. Good recovery I'm very proud of this rocket....way to go Aerotech.
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P.T. (September 5, 2005)

Excellent kit, but it really helps to have read all these reviews first. This is my first medium power rocket and this kit is very impressive in it's quality and very rugged result. Due to limited space and gusty winds, flight has been limited to Estes E engines, but it flies great and should last a long time - however - the elastic shock card is showing some fraying and will need to be replaced which will prove very tricky. Definitely consider using a heavier (Kevlaror steel) leader from the mounting screw to the end of the body tube if you are building this kit.

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G.W. (April 28, 2006)

Great kit - the reviews are right on! I started assembling mine with CA per the directions, and I managed to permanently glue the adapter in the motor tube while installing the thrust ring assembly. I should've been more careful with my CA placement in this phase. I ended up buying a replacement motor mount kit which I then assembled with epoxy. I also made a double loop Kevlar leader which was attached to the screw eye on the baffle. The Kevlar leader stopped just inside the top of the body tube, and I attached the kit shock cord to it. I've only flown it once so far on an E15-7W, but both the flight and recovery were flawless!

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