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AVI Astroport???

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Larry

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My wife is going through our attic trying to sort things out, to keep, to throw, and to sell. She came across a box of my stuff. Inside were some old B-day cards. An Estes Altitude computer, a 1969 Estes Cat. and a couple of catalogs(1975-76) from a company out of Mineral Point, Wisconsin. called AVI Astroport. They had lots of their own rocket kits plus sold Centuri and Estes kits. They also had their own rocket motors.

Does anyone know anything about this company? They had some neat stuff by looking through the catalogs. The catalogs are like newspapers and not the small book size most are. I knew these were here somewhere. I remember ordering a couple tissue paper hot air balloons from them way back when;)

Also, somewhere, someone in another thread talked about the Space 1999 model rocket. Well here it is, or at least a picture of it. Those fins sure look familiar:)
Larry
 

Stymye

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not sure but wasn't avi astroport originally MPC?
 

astronboy

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The below is a collection of model rocket lore and internet rumor that I have collected over the years. I find the story, the kits and the personalities interesting. I may have a few dates or details slightly out of place, but this is how it went down as I understand it:

In approx 1969-1970, Mike Berginske (SP) started MRI. They made a few balsa and paper non-descript kits that used metric sized body tubes (15mm, 20mm, 25mm, 30mm, 40mm). They also had an 18mm motor machine.

Then the plastic model company MPC decided to get into the rocket business and bought out MRI (1970/71?). MPC also hired G Harry Stine, and he designed some real neat paper and balsa kits like the Flat Cat and the Pipsqueak. MPC also designed some kits with plastic nosecones and fin units. MPC continued the 18mm motors, but also manufactured new long 13mm motors from 1/4a all the way up to B3. These were awesome high altitiude contest engines, but I have heard that the B3 may have also catoed a lot.

These 13mm motors caused ESTES to drop their 18mm 'shorty' engines and bring out the 13mm motors we still have today, along with the 'mini-brutes'.

Anyway MPC dumped the rockets in like 1973, and Mike bought the stock and motor machines back. His new company was AVI. They sold old MPC stuff at a huge discount, and made some awesome BP motors from teeny tiny 18/a to Es. They limped along until like 1976 or so, and disappeared.

In the early 1990's, the plastic tooling and reportedly the engine making machine were bought by QUEST, who still use much of the tooling and the metric sized tubes. I have heard that the motor machine was a real problem and kept breaking down, so QUEST motors have been made by several contractors ever since: FSI for a time, a german company, and some other place not yet identified.

A few QUEST kits are identical to old MPC kits (Flat Cat), although the Pipsqueak is not, It is now 18mm, not 13mm.


I have included a picture of some motors:

left to right:

a 1971 ESTES B8-5 for reference

an ESTES 18mm 'shorty'

a 13mm MPC B3-7 long burn high altitide!!

finally an early quest motor made on the old MPC machine
 

KenParker

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My gawd did that bring back some memories.

I had *completely* forgotten about Estes shorty 18mm engines until I read your post. They used the 18mm shorties in their Sprite, didn't they? We used to get crazy when we had three or four Sprites and we would stick a full length 18mm in one.... YOWZA !!! Goodbye, Sprite !!!!

Thanks for the memories, Astronboy.
 

Initiator001

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Originally posted by astronboy


In the early 1990's, the plastic tooling and reportedly the engine making machine were bought by QUEST, who still use much of the tooling and the metric sized tubes. I have heard that the motor machine was a real problem and kept breaking down, so QUEST motors have been made by several contractors ever since: FSI for a time, a german company, and some other place not yet identified.

Very nice overall synopsis.

G. Harry Stine and his son, Bill, were searching for all the old MPC/AVI equipment in the late 1980s. They had a lead on all of it and were able to recover the plastic molds. The molds had been well cared for and properly stored.

They were too late and were beaten to the MPC motor making machines by FSI. Rumor has it that FSI tried to convert one machine to make F100s but they didn't have the engineering drawings on how to hook up the varous air & electrical lines which resulted in one of the machines being ruined.

Bill did have the drawings. I guess he worked out a deal where he'd help FSI set up the motor machines in return for FSI supplying motors under contract for what would become Quest. FSI did produce 18mm diameter motors for a short period of time in the 1990s. I flew many and they worked fine.

In your picture, you displayed a MPC B3-7m. I see that date as "26 July." That wouldn't happed to be "26 July 71" otherwise known as "Kaboomjets"?
 

astronboy

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Yes, these are 'Kaboom jets', well known for cato-ing. That is why I have a few in my collection, and do not fly them.

I heard that after AVI folded, all of the leftover stock of kits, motors, and parts were stored in tractor trailer containers... somwhere in the mid-west, subject to about 10 years of freezing winters and hot summer sun. This is a total recipe for a cato!! I would not suggest that anyone actually fly an MPC motor unless they know the history of the motor and know for sure that they were correctly stored over the years, and not in the above mentioned conditions.

All of the MPC motors that I have, exhibit considerable swelling of the propellant, and I am sure they would cato.

It is a shame, I would LOVE to have a long burn 13mm B3 contest motor..... and a 18mm B14. That is all I ask....
 

astronboy

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Apogee used to offer a C4 18mm motor with a 2.4 sec burn time. These were produced by Aerotech, so they have been out of production for some time. I have heard that they are 'on the way' production -wise...
 

Larry

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I think this is a picture of their motor making machine. On the back page of this catalog they tell about their motors. They mention the AVI Minijet motors. The B3 was made from B3-0 to B3-7. 13X75mm(0.50X2.25 in) 1.86 sec duration. 4 motors, five ignitors and wadding for $1.25.

I notice that Quest must have ended up with this stuff as quite a few of the rockets in the AVI catalog reseamble the Quest rockets.
Larry
 
A

Austin

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Man, I really miss not having one of those "closets" or "attics"...my parents sold their house many years ago, and cleaned out the storage years before that, when I was in New England. Lost alot of memories to the trash I wish I would have had.

Carl
 

shockwaveriderz

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Heres a picture of the current state of the art as far as BP engine making machines goes.... This is from Saxony Fireworks In Germany the company that Quest uses to make their engines...


Saxony Fireworks have come out with some new engines that may see the USA...D7-0/D7-3 12 ns a b4-0
 

shockwaveriderz

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carl:
same here... 8(

I was invited to leave home at age 17......
but I left behind in a storage shed, over 200 engines from 67-72, at least 2 dozen kits including an original estes Saturn 5, a centuri saturn 1b, cox saturn 5/1b,etc..

My mother moved while I was away in the service and she threw all of it away....except for my old Model Rocketry magazine collection from 68-72... which I sold in 1988.......


I'm still pissed about this.....B(
 

Initiator001

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Originally posted by shockwaveriderz
Heres a picture of the current state of the art as far as BP engine making machines goes.... This is from Saxony Fireworks In Germany the company that Quest uses to make their engines...


Saxony Fireworks have come out with some new engines that may see the USA...D7-0/D7-3 12 ns a b4-0
That machine looks very similar to the one COX used in the late 1960s-early 1970s.

There has been rumors of Quest coming out with a 'D' motor for many years. Maybe with the new ownership...
 

Rocketboy25

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Hi together,
I think that the Quest D-Engine would be the D7-3 motor.Wich is originally produced by Sachsenfeuerwerk for the german market.But a the moment SF is in trouble withe the motorcasings ,here in germany we´ve got a lot of catos with Sf D7-3 and Held5000 (BP E 7-0 motors also prod. by SF) . At the moment it seems not possible for Sf to fix this probleme.
Regards,
Jochen
 
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