Full Scale Sandia Sandhawk Build

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Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2016
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Ok, have been holding off on this one but have finally kicked off hoping to finish for Red Glare this year.

Some Back story: I built an 8.25" Sandia Sandhawk exactly 20 years ago in 1997 as my level 3 project. This was before 8" filament wound fiberglass was prevalent so sono tube was used as it was available and cost effective. Some may remember this photo as it was used on the cover of Tripoli's High Power Rocketry magazine.


Another unique aspect of this project was that I completed all three levels in one day soon after my 18th birthday and when the certification process was still young. Utilizing three different vehicles capped off with the flight of the Sandhawk on an M1419 and 4 x I211s. These flight were performed in Cedarville, NJ the home of the original RATS launches. To my knowledge this was the first time all three levels had been completed in one day and I believe it has been done since. Probably not the best way to certify but I say that now 20 years later. An 18 year old thinks it's a great idea!


Fast forward to today and I am older and like most of us not as lean as I used to be. So why not build a bigger not so lean Sandhawk.

The performance rocketry 11.675" V2 cone is the perfect shape so no making cones this time around. Ok so it's not quite full scale at around 11.75" diameter with the actual Sandhawk being 13" dia but this is typically close enough for this hobby.

Things are going well as all of the fins have been cut from 1" euro birch plywood laminated with phenolic on each side. Cap the fins with half round molding for a nice radius surface (not going for extreme detail)


Was going to go with 4x 98mm tubes but as a risk reduction went to one six inch mount. Will build a 98mm adapter to house the new Aerotech O5040X


Have also been working some of my own 6" hardware


This should be a fun project!

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I am as well regarding sounding rockets. Love and have a few full scale Arcas, have a nose cone and parts ready to build a full scale iris, and have built a variety of black brants. Our first Sandhawk was actually a 5.5" dia Rocket R & D kit that flew great on aerotech j415s and K550s

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This is going to be amazing! 1" plywood fins. Wow! Any idea what the final rocket weight will be?
Not to derail the thread, but since you asked ... think "500 pounds, O motor, Space-X landing, how are we going to get this thing onto the pad?"
You got one of those? Can't wait to see that one at the field.

Its my long term build project once I get my L2 and finish the Aerobee I started on. I am hoping that I will have it ready by the Sept 2018 TRC launch, but I doubt it.


But not to hijack this awesome thread!


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Should be a great Red Glare with some really big stuff, know Tom C. Is working hard right now!

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Tom gave us great advice while we were building our upscale Dragonfly, he seems like a really nice guy. His rockets are amazing - he recently sent me a couple of photos that blew me away. Tom is the master of ridiculously large rockets....

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Fins are on and being filleted (is that a word?)


Good thing I measured my doorway before adhering the fins or I may be unsure Of getting this thing out of the basement!

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Looking good! Looks like the Sandhawk is in good company!

Is that a T-33 I spy in the background in the first photo?
Do not have motor files for the Aerotech O5040 but using comparable motors I am looking at 6000 to 6500 AGL. Should be a great easy coat flight

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Bill you gotta get this bird on the air . I had a identical project 10 years ago . Mine was cardboard and fiberglass that was stored improperly and was destroyed . 20190220_230028.png