Estes Saturn V Tower - Fly with or without

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Jun 19, 2015
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Just curious if those who have built and flown the Estes Saturn V (I'm building the recently released version) have flown it with the tower attached or left it off. If you have flown it with the tower attached, did you recover it intact?
I seen one that flew twice this past weekend with the tower on. It flew great and came back all intact. Here is the video of the launch it was the first rocket and was launch again half way through.
Thanks guys. Just wanted to see what the prevailing wind happened to be. I'll be permanently mounting mine. I'll probably only fly it once and then retire it to display.

Thanks again.
I have an unbuilt one, so it gave me a pause to think of what I might do.

FWIW, what I think I will do is create a "Flight Version" which would be a scratch-built duplicate, and a "Static Version" which would be the original kit.

I fly mine without the tower but am thinking of flooding the tower with Lucite to strengthen it up, then fly with it.
Well after working last night on the fins and fairings I decided the fairing are just too flimsy and ordered an Oldin Moldies tower and fairing set from SiriusRocketry. At least if I decide to fly it on anything bigger than the planned AT E28-4 I'll be a little more confident of it returning unscathed.
My Saturn-V was built-in May of 1970. I retired it with 139 flights all with the tower attached. Actually in my version the Apollo Capsule and tower come down on it's own 8" Chute.

001a01b-sm_Saturn-V & Grantry 1st flt 2pic_05-18-70.jpg

Saturn-V flt 126c_ 3 chutes_10-11-97.jpg

Saturn-V flt 139-c_Goddard SFC 2pic_07-18-99.jpg
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The Moldin' Oldies heavy resin Apollo capsule is a must for a flying Saturn V model.

The Sat V usually needs additional nose weight for stability so i epoxied about 6 quarters into the capsule, making it a heavy little sucker and pulling the CG up a few centimeters.

The flipside of that is while using the Moldin' Oldies fin fairings definitely makes the rear end of the main stage more rugged and durable than the fairly flimsy stock styrene kit parts, it also brings a lot of weight to the rear of the rocket. The resin fin fairings are much heavier than the kit parts, thus you have to do some additional fiddling with the CG, which adds weight.

You still need the bridle-shock cord chute configuration to make sure the cone and LES don't hit the ground first on impact, which will usually result in the Apollo SM body tube getting crunched or severely dented.

If you hang the bridle so the model descends almost laterally under the chute, the airframe itself puts up a lot of drag and the rocket comes down pretty gently.