Estes Mini “A” Heli

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

smstachwick

LPR/MPR sport flier with an eye to HPR and scale
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 29, 2021
Messages
3,937
Reaction score
3,939
Location
Poway, CA
A few weeks ago at a DART launch, I bought my girlfriend a Mini “A” Heli kit. She selected it herself, and she has the knife and glue skills to make the build happen. She’s built two full airframes and a booster before, is very neat with every project she works on, and selected the kit knowing it would pose a complex challenge.

We’ve hit a snag in the instructions though, one that’s beyond our ability to figure out, as I’ll allow her to explain in her own words.

Passing the phone now…

Hello rocket peoples! I’m Shane’s girlfriend Mindy! As he explained above, I’ve hit a small snag understanding the directions for the Mini “A” Heli build, as they’re not very clear-cut. The directions state to “prepare lower body tube,” and to “measure and mark,” which honestly isn’t super clear-cut, and after some initial confusion, I THINK I’ve understood it, but wanted to make sure.

The directions state to mark the initial body tube at 12” and then 4” past the 12”, so there appear to be three sections on the body tube prior to cutting: a 12” section, a 4” section, and a 2” section, which on the directions page has an X on it. At first, I only cut the tube at the final 4” mark, to remove the X section, and then made my fin guide markings, and that’s where the confusion came in, as I hadn’t cut off the 4” section, and didn’t know why I’d marked that.

After some anxious reading of the directions and assurances from Shane that, if I messed up cutting the body tube, replacing a BT 5 tube is simple and cheap, and hoping I understood the not clear directions, I cut the remainder of my body tube at that mark between 12” and 4”, to produce two separate body tubes. I’m HOPING that’s what I was supposed to do, but I wanted to ask the experts before doing literally anything else with this project.

So please let me know if I did the correct thing, or if I messed up. Also if any experts have any tips for this build to make it go smoothly, that would be much appreciated! Photos are included of the tube, including closeups of the length markings I made on them to make sure I did it properly.

AD335BF5-747A-4097-8A9A-2F5B8DF8B9D7.jpeg

DF084A90-1CF8-4DC6-96BA-879054082AF7.jpeg

B3378B7C-C7BD-4821-A89E-FC220F4F693B.jpeg

8F46DE4C-296F-4774-970C-74862A285BD9.jpeg



From Shane: Thanks in advance.
 
Shane and Mindy:
You are going to use only the 12" and 4" pieces.
X means "Discard".
So you did it right.
Thank you!

I came to a similar conclusion when I was looking again at the picture on the face card. Just by guesstimating, 4” looked more right.

Mindy shares her thanks too. We’ve put the rocket away for today (other things going on) but will likely return sometime this week.
 
Yup, a 12" section and 4" section, with 2" leftover. Not quite sure why it was designed that way, seems like a single 16" would work fine too. Anyhow, I built one of these a few years ago, it is a fantastic flier, the best helicopter model Estes has ever produced. It was a little difficult to get freely rotating hinges, IIRC, I peeled a little off part "C", then dribbled a bit of thin CA before sanding, to make a tougher, smoother moving hinge. I may have done a little CA and sanding on the inside portion of the hinge too, for smoother movement. It's good to check for hinge movement before gluing the 3 piece assembly on the body tube. Also, I recommend a little bit of thin CA on the edges of the vents and holes for the burn string, sanding smooth after.

Bought a bunch of these when they went OOP, it's a fine model for sport flying, and a good contest flier too. Lost my original in the NRC A Helicopter event a couple years ago, need to build another, but NRC has no helicopter event this year.
 
Let me know if yours always recovers upside down? Ours spins with the fins above the blades. This was a fan favorite to fly with my little man. Probably got a dozen launches out of it before some fast little feet accidental ran over the blades on a soccer field 😂34B4C7D3-F006-4B2A-8677-057BC201D8D9.jpeg
 
Let me know if yours always recovers upside down? Ours spins with the fins above the blades.
Mine is 50-50 so far. I'm going to keep experimenting to see if it's at all motor-dependent.

Fortunately, it still lands safely upside-down... but it really helicopters very nicely right-side up.
This was a fan favorite to fly with my little man. Probably got a dozen launches out of it before some fast little feet accidental ran over the blades on a soccer field 😂
Sounds like a good excuse to build another. :) I love building little things like this, especially when there's a good excuse not to paint. I did a Sharpie job on mine.
1677372005809.png

[edit] Thanks @CalebJ for linking my thread. :)
 
The ones I've built sometimes recover right side up, sometimes upside down. I need to get one out and try it on the just-released A3-2T and see if I can get it to stay right side up (fins down).
 
Back
Top