My Level 1 rocket, single stage, single deployment, altimeter deployed parachute.
Building was very basic. The instructions that were included were not for this rocket. Ky had just released this kit and did not have a set of instructions for it at the time I purchased the kit. However even though this was my first high power kit I had no problems with construction. Assembly was very intuitive and parts fit was precise. Ky made the comment to me if you have built any Estes kit you will have no trouble with the Thunderchicken, and he was correct. I used epoxy throughout. I felt that the included shock cord was too short so I added 10 feet of 5/8 inch tubular Kevlar.
A few highlights regarding the kit compnents:
Finishing the Thunderchicken was straight forward. I filled all the spiral grooves with Elmers wood-filler and applied 2 coats of primer, sanding between coats with 300 grit sandpaper. This was enough to make the spiral grooves disappear. My final coat was Krylon metal-flake blue. The finish came out very nice. I did not use the included decal since I went with the blue finish and called it the Blew Goose. The unique fin shape always draws comments at the flying field.
Construction Rating: 4 out of 5
Prepping the Thunderchicken is a little tricky with the extra shock cord that I added. It makes for a tight fit with the wadding and chute. Since I am using altimeter deployment it requires placing the ejection charge in first followed by wadding, shock cord, and chute. It all fits just fine but requires a nice tight chute fold. After loading the recovery equipment, I install the altimeter in the payload section. The Aerotech H128 motor is retained by a couple of homemade clips with #10 machine screws screwed into tee nuts in the rear centering ring.
The flight was picture perfect from a BlackSky Rail. The altitude according to my Olsen M2 altimeter was 1026 feet. No wobble and very little weathercocking despite a gusty 15 mph wind.
Rocketman kits come with a very short shock cord due to the VERY soft opening of his chutes. However it is the force of the nose cone snapping the cord tight that worries me. This is why I added 10 extra feet of shock cord to the 4 feet that are included in the kit. The Rocketman chutes are incredible. They open so soft that the shock on the rocket is minimal. With the altimeter deploying at apogee the deployment was very soft. The rocket came down a little fast but this was my fault, as I had reefed the shroud lines some to cut down on the drift in the high winds. Even though the rocket bounced up about 4 feet on landing there was no damage to the G-10 fiberglass fins.
Flight Rating: 4 out of 5
In summary the Rocketman Thunderchicken is a very well built kit that is easy to construct. When properly built it will be a tough kit that will take a lot of punishment and still be there for you. The only thing I feel you should consider changing on your kits is adding some more shock cord to aid in a soft deployment.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5