Coming back into the hobby with my son.

GetMeOffThisRock

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Hello,
After a long hiatus I’m returning to the world of model rocketry now that I have a young son. Some of my fondest memories with my father were building and flying model rockets, and I look forward to creating those memories and sparking that passion in my son.

I was hoping to get some recommendations on a good mid power rocket that with minimal work could be used to certify L1? Any advice would be eagerly welcomed. I’m not so much rusty as… well entirely composed of rust. After digging through my old launch box (almost thirty years abandoned) I found a couple old Estes kits that I put together to get back in the groove.

I want an impressive rocket to inspire my son, customizable with extra tube space for gear, versatile, and loud!

thank you in advance, and thanks for having me.
 

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tsmith1315

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Welcome back! You're in good company here.

Plenty of 3"-4" diameter kits should get you in a good place to fly G's, maybe F's, and still be L1 worthy. The larger diameter will slow them down a bit and keep them lower to enjoy the smoke, flame and noise.

If you're an Estes fan, it's hard to beat the upscales like the Goblin, but the 4" version might want more than G power. Maybe someone can chime in if that sounds interesting to you. The LOC IV is a good dual purpose flyer, too. Many choices out there, tell us what you like and see what suggestions follow...
 

GetMeOffThisRock

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Welcome back! You're in good company here.

Plenty of 3"-4" diameter kits should get you in a good place to fly G's, maybe F's, and still be L1 worthy. The larger diameter will slow them down a bit and keep them lower to enjoy the smoke, flame and noise.

If you're an Estes fan, it's hard to beat the upscales like the Goblin, but the 4" version might want more than G power. Maybe someone can chime in if that sounds interesting to you. The LOC IV is a good dual purpose flyer, too. Many choices out there, tell us what you like and see what suggestions follow...
Welcome back! You're in good company here.
I like the look of that wee beastie. Thank you, great suggestion!
 

GetMeOffThisRock

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Hmmm.
My first urge is to yell wildly, “as high as I can possibly get!”
Then I think about finding bigger fields, tracking, losing rockets, the power and cost of bigger motors…
I think… respectable? Is 3-5k (ft) a reasonable amount to want, or is that already veering into, “good luck finding that buddy” territory?

-edit-
I think the show might be my primary concern, the roar, the slow and ponderous take off. Maybe 2-4K? Wider body?
 

Stewman

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Welcome to the forum! As has been said, you will be able to get lots of tips and advice from the members here. Tsmith makes a great suggestion in the LOC IV, and the Hi-Tech would also be a good choice. To get your son "hooked", I would suggest the first flight or two be at a lower altitude so he can see the entire flight. Best of luck and have fun with your son.
 

Bat-mite

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Lots of kits. My advice is to know the difference between black powder motors (Estes) and APCP motors (Aerotech, CTI, Loki) regarding retention. BP motors usually need a forward motor block inserted and glued in to the exact length of the motor; whereas APCP motors will be too long for that motor block. APCP motors use aft retention exclusively.

All that is to say, if you buy something like an Aerotech Geforce or an Estes Pro Series II kit and install the motor block, you will never be able to fly anything bigger than a BP F motor in that rocket.

Welcome aboard!
 

samb

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Welcome back to the party GetMeOff. :) I think 2k+ is "veering into, “good luck finding that buddy” territory ". So it looks like your background is similar to alot of us who flew Estes and Centuri kits with black powder motors back in the day. Moving to mid and high power means getting acquainted with composite propellant motors. You'll need to look at upgrading your launch equipment as well, most likely. Maybe also look at electronics to control parachute deployment. Any clubs in your area ? Besides seeing other people's really cool rockets fly, they will be the folks who will help get you high power certified.

For a kit recommendation, how about the Super Big Bertha ?

https://estesrockets.com/product/009719-pro-series-ii-super-big-bertha/
 

Old School Doug

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Welcome back! I'm confident you'll find a wealth of information and opinions here. After coming back to the hobby myself after a solid 40 year absence I was blown away by the changes and technological advances. This forum was invaluable in navigating all that is new and different. Enjoy !!
 

Rob Campbell

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This is a great L1 certification rocket. The kit is extremely well engineered.


Rob
 

Scott_650

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Welcome aboard! You’ve asked a much asked question and there are plenty of good choices - some already mentioned and probably more suggestions most likely coming…but here’s a slightly different take from a fairly recent BAR (I gave nearly all my rocket stuff away around 1977 or so and never built anything that flew on a motor bigger than an 18mm C until I started this craziness back up a few years ago). There are commercial kits that fit your parameters but why limit yourself to one rocket? Build some BT60-BT80, 24mm powered kits, fly those to get a feel for how D-G motors perform, then move on to a bigger rocket for your L1 cert flight. Again, as already mentioned, it’s a lot less stressful to do that L1 flight on a big heavy rocket that stays in sight the entire flight than sweating out recovery of a skybuster.

But if you’re going to do the one size fits multiple purposes rocket (nothing wrong with that and it is a bit more frugal than filling all your available space with built rockets…not that I know anything about that 😆) my suggestion is the Balsa Machining Service 29mm powered 3” School Rocket. Fly it as is, add a payload bay, buy some bulkheads and build an av bay…it’s super flexible, light enough without the options to fly on adapted 24mm Estes E12s but plenty strong enough for an L1 flight on an Aerotech H. https://www.balsamachining.com/index.asp

My other suggestion is to invest in a Jolly Logic Chute Release https://jollylogic.com/products/chuterelease/. It’s a fairly big investment but it works great and makes recovering your rocket after flying high much less problematic.
 

Donnager

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If you want to get a little taste of high power, build one of the Aerotech 29mm kits. The tubing is stouter than Estes, and they "can" take a small H. They fly very reliably on F's and G's. The G's may mean a walk to get them. The H's can send them to 2000' or more, depending on the model.

I'd lean toward a 3" or larger for a smaller field with an H. By smaller field, I mean 2000' square or less. I believe you will be testing everyones' mettle if you try to fly a 4" goblin on a G. You really have to have the weight understood and the delay right for these minimum motors.

If it was me, I'd build a stout midpower first, anything LOC 2.6 or Aerotech or similar, if you want to stay with glue and paper. After a few flights with F's and G's, then I'd get something like a LOC IV or Goblin to certify, later. Getting a chute release may give you some altitude flexibility.

Putting an H in a midpower rocket for a certification flight isn't something I'd do, unless I had a tracker and a large field.
 

smstachwick

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My local DART club has a concept called Level 0.9, which involves a relatively heavy model rocket (approaching the 3.3 pound/1,500 gram limit) that flies on a G motor but doesn’t break 1,000 ft. Heavy and draggy is the key to that, which means a big body tube. 4-inch kits with a 29mm or 38mm mount can be very suitable for this, and an Aerotech G64 or G79 (both 29mm motors) will probably get something like a MadCow 4” Little John to around 800 or 900 ft.

Upon a successful G flight, the rocket can then be flown on an H or I motor at a high-power launch to certify for Level 1. A small H like the CTI H133 in the aforementioned 4” Little John will put it around 1500.
 

BigMacDaddy

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I am not sure you need to jump all the way to L1-certification-level rockets to get your son excited. A ton of rockets that launch on 18mm or 24mm engines can be pretty darn impressive -- Big Bertha, Booster Bertha, Mean Machine are a few -- and easier to find a safe place to launch them...
 
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Scott_650

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My local DART club has a concept called Level 0.9, which involves a relatively heavy model rocket (approaching the 3.3 pound/1,500 gram limit) that flies on a G motor but doesn’t break 1,000 ft. Heavy and draggy is the key to that, which means a big body tube. 4-inch kits with a 29mm or 38mm mount can be very suitable for this, and an Aerotech G64 or G79 (both 29mm motors) will probably get something like a MadCow 4” Little John to around 800 or 900 ft.

Upon a successful G flight, the rocket can then be flown on an H or I motor at a high-power launch to certify for Level 1. A small H like the CTI H133 in the aforementioned 4” Little John will put it around 1500.
That was pretty much the path I took to my L1 - I flew mt Discount Rocketry 4” Crayon Rocket on G motors many times, with and without my Jolly Logic Chute Release, until I felt comfortable with its performance characteristics then loaded up an H for my qualification flight. The flight data recorded on my altimeter matched the sim file almost exactly.
 

cbwho

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I am not sure you need to jump all the way to L1-certification-level rockets to get your son excited. A ton of engines that launch on 18mm or 24mm engines can be pretty darn impressive -- Big Bertha, Booster Bertha, Mean Machine are a few -- and easier to find a safe place to launch them...
I agree with this statement.

Looking at your fleet so far, there is a huge world of low power that is beyond 3 fins and a nose cone.

Be sure to pick projects that your son can work directly on. Today my son and I put decals on his rocket. Being 5 he doesn't cut decals super straight but he shows so much enthusiasm. The decals went on crooked but it's a glorious rocket for us.
 
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