Estes SR-71, anyone?

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Well-Known Member
Apr 12, 2009
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Hi all,

Just saw the re-released Estes SR-71 kit in the local store today and wonder whether anyone here has built one yet? I'd love to hear anything about tricky bits in the construction, finishing, whatever.

Thanks much.
the area where the nosecone goes into the bt/chine area can use a good dose of Cya to keep it from weakening.
NateF, built one...with my prodding...and it came out BEAUTIFUL.

As for flight...they all seem to go a bit horizontal, but that looks so COOL!

After all, it's a plane not a rocket!

Is it just me or would anyone else be DYING to turn those engine pods into motor mounts??? After all, that's what Lockheed put them there for...

I have one of the new SR-71 kits, but I've promised myself that I will finish what's on my bench (+my next Vostok) before getting sidetracked on other stuff.

It does, however, appear to be identical to the previous releases, only the packaging is different.

I kinda like the idea of putting 13mm motor mounts in the engine nacelles. I will DEFINITELY put a 24mm mount in for the main, this time around.

I have always wondered if the SR-71 could be mod'ed with a rear pop-pod MMT, and pop-up elevons, so it would glide back down. Anyone know if this has ever been done?
i built the first version. came out nice and it was the first rocket I ever built. I remember my uncle had one and we launched it when I was really little. it left the rod, turned 90 degrees and flew across the feild fast. It was a scale flight I guess, no damage though which was lucky.

Does anyone reinforce the paper around the NC? that seems to be where alot of damage occurs
Hmm...horizontal flight would look great...until my model flew into the Bay!

We fly on an island here in San Diego, you see.

Anyone have any idea how far downrange one of these "realistic" flights will take this rocket? The island's a good size...but still.

Any tips for keeping it going vertical would be helpful as well.

Thanks much.

I built a SR-71 years ago. This was long before I knew about filling body tube spirals, sealing the balsa, and using Cya to strengthen paper. I built it according to the instructions with no modifications. It flies great on a C6-3, and does a slow roll on liftoff. I have talked to other people that have the same experience. Mine is slightly dented around the nose cone, but otherwise in great shape for the 10-20 flights so far. It is one of my favorites and is a great show rocket since it flies pretty low. Do not use a "B" motor! the ejection charge fires halfway back to earth for some heartstopping action.

The only reason that it would go horizontal is if there is a wind gust that would catch the main wing and flip the model over. There is plenty of nose weight in the kit to keep it flying straight. Just launch it in very calm winds.

Our SR-71 has flown a number of times, and it sometimes depends on how strong the wind is as to how vertical it will go. This is not one to launch in much wind unless you want it to go horizontal. We did one at a launch once with it quite windy and it was a scary flight.
In light winds have the bottom facing into the wind. It seems to help it go more vertical............Larry

I have the old version
Thanks very much for the advice Larry. I'll give it a try if I spring for one of these. Sure is a nice looking rocket...but I have SO many nice looking rockets to build already...

Thanks again.
I love my SR-71. I built it about ten years ago, and she's starting to show her age. The chute has always been kind of a tight squeeze, the nc/bt connection is a little loose, and I've had to repair part of a fin - but I've always kept it flyable. Might build a new one so I can give this one a decent retirement. :) Not to mention how fun it is to build. Fully agree with the others' assessment of the flight characteristics. Never even tried to fly it on a B. Just seems too heavy.

I built the original release and it turned out great and flew really well. After launching several times I gave it to a kid that was just getting into rockets. I saw the re-release and bought one. It's the same kit (mostly) and I'm looking forward to building it. I would definitely use the cya to strengthen the paper. I remember my old one denting easily. It's a pretty straight forward build.
If Estes could keep releasing more of this kind of stuff it would be great. This a beautiful looking kit when completed. I only have two gripes/questions.

1. Does Estes think kids/kids at heart are too stupid to put together their own parachutes? They include those prebuilt things with the fuzzy looking shroudlines. It would be cheaper letting us put them together. What's the deal with that?

2. They replaced the waterslide decals (which weren't that good to begin with), with the peel and stick kind. They did the same with the Mercury Redstone re-release. Again do they think kids can't handle them or won't buy a kit with waterslide ones?

If I'm going to buy a kit to build do they think I'll send it back once I find out I have to put my parachute together and actually use water to put on the decals? Oh well, enough ranting about Estes.

Mark Schnell