"It's a great flier"

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lakeroadster

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Random Friday observation: In many, many threads about some particular kit, someone is bound to succumb to the temptation to say "It's a great flier". I have been guilty of this myself. It's funny because in a pretty large percentage of those cases the rocket in question is a 3FNC or 4FNC. Shouldn't we expect pretty much *any* 3/4FNC to be a good flier?

Now if someone says "It's a great flier" in a thread about something like the Cosmos Mariner or the Outlander, then *that* would be newsworthy.

If
it's a "kit", and If it's a "3FNC or 4FNC", and If the builder follows instructions, sure we should expect it to be a great flyer.

It's all those If's that make this hobby so much fun.
 

boatgeek

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My inner RSO says NEVER to anything considered Funny Looking. My outer oddroc flier is down at the pub nine to the dozen telling tall tales.
On further reflection, it might also be good to distinguish "It's a great flier" (ie reliably flies straight and true) and "It's really fun to fly" (ie any of your fantastic creations). I love them both, though we all know which the RSO prefers to have show up at the table!
 

fyrwrxz

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missed the opportunity of a lifetime when I could have literally reached out and grabbed an HPR coming off the rail unstable and crossing the flight line. It was head high and still coming up to thrust. Instead I bobbed and turned sideways instead of fielding the pop fly. It was still literally within arm's reach. Damn, I coulda made history! Did get a buddy kicked off the range that day. (After I posted, I literally realized I like the the word 'literally' literally too much. And umlauts, I like umlauts, too. Literally speaking, of course.)

(edit: literally removed umlauts)
 
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Daddyisabar

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If it's a "kit", and If it's a "3FNC or 4FNC", and If the builder follows instructions, sure we should expect it to be a great flyer.

It's all those If's that make this hobby so much fun.
If it is a scratcher and if the fins and motors are on top and if the builder sketched it out on a napkin from the local tavern, sure we should expect it to be a great flier... :)
 

jqavins

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Is it a three stage?
I think I'll keep "It's a great flier" in mind for a future rocket name.
Maybe a kit called "Flier" (or "Flyer"). Then, when someone builds and finishes one especially well, that's "a great Flier".
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Any rocket we launch should have a positive static stability margin, positive by more than just a little bit, and preferably over 1.0. As we all know, too low and an unexpectedly strong gust could make it unstable, but too high and it will weathercock excessively. So, does getting it in the sweet spot (1.25 to 1.5, I think, but what to I know?) make a great flier? Mmmaybe.

There are actually a lot of dynamics to consider, including conning, which has already been mentioned. Spinning has also been mentioned already, but that one is not always undesired. Also, when the flight is perturbed and (because the rocket is stable) returning to straight, how quickly does it return? How much does it oscillate as it's straightening out, and how long do those oscillations last?

If a rocket gets all this stuff "right", and the design has some tolerance for an imperfect build, then it will give a good straight flight every time. Then I would call it a great flier.

If one asserts that the term is too liberally applied, granted to rockets that do not meet all of these criteria, I would have no cause to dispute that assertion.
 
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60" span R/C Rocket Glider on an F13.

It's a great glider.



Just not a great booster. The fiberglass tailboom was too flimsy, it pitched down during boost and no amount of full up elevator could prevent it from crashing nose-first into the ground. Went to much stiffer, carbon fiber, tailbooms after that.

 
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BEC

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Dr. Zooch Space Shuttle is a great flier…


and a crowd pleaser!
Thanks for that, Glen. Indeed Kirk Skaggs was very excited in the background when the Shuttle did its thing, wasn't he? (And too bad we can't fly there anymore. The new site across the road isn't nearly as good, but it IS a place to fly.)

On reviews in model airplane magazines: I have written several for MAN, and at least one for Fly RC. I also had some equipment reviews in Fly RC and one in Model Builder (Jomar SC-1 electronic speed control, when MOSFET-based ESCs were brand new — and the first time I got paid to write an article). So I've heard all opinions about reviews just being long ads. While there was some pressure, sometimes, to not go too hard on issues with a build or flight characteristics, in general I was able to say what I wanted to say. My reviews on RC Groups (back when it was ezonemag.com) were a little more open ended, but towards the end of the time I was writing for them it was too much "get it in quick, make it short" and that's just not how I work when I'm writing a review or anything, really. [can you tell? :)]

And then there was the time that I had a review killed altogether because of my comments about how the airplane flew (Davey Systems Eindecker). That's what happened to the lousy fliers or the ones with too many build issues. They just didn't get published.

I don't think I ever submitted a piece to RC Report....they were pretty late to the electric power game and I was all electric from the very early 1980s up until BAR-dom pretty much pushed airplanes out of my life.
 
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mbeels

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And then there was the time that I had a review killed altogether because of my comments about how the airplane flew (Davey Systems Eindecker). That's what happened to the lousy fliers or the ones with too many build issues. They just didn't get published.
I had the impression that is mostly what happened, if a review wasn't sufficiently favorable, it just didn't get published (I think R/C Report was possibly the only exception to that). I had to look up the Davey Systems Eindecker, I didn't remember that plane. Forum posts about that plane include the phrase "It was a dog", so you weren't alone in your assessment.
 

smstachwick

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Random Friday observation: In many, many threads about some particular kit, someone is bound to succumb to the temptation to say "It's a great flier". I have been guilty of this myself. It's funny because in a pretty large percentage of those cases the rocket in question is a 3FNC or 4FNC. Shouldn't we expect pretty much *any* 3/4FNC to be a good flier?

Now if someone says "It's a great flier" in a thread about something like the Cosmos Mariner or the Outlander, then *that* would be newsworthy.
Some rockets just seem to have the most stubbornly undesirable flight characteristics. I had an Estes scale model of a Starchaser Thunderstar that would routinely thrash around if, for whatever reason, that second motor failed to light, and that happened plenty of times. The Estes Big Daddy is also infamous for lawn darting if the nose fit isn’t just so. Too loose and you actually get gas leakage and failed ejection.

A lot of authentic scale kits with no fin enlargements have marginal stability at best. Others are underpowered. Some are both.

Speaking of under-powering, there is the Estes MIRV to consider. The sustainers are too heavy and there isn’t a commercial booster motor strong enough for safe flight. Getting a larger booster motor in there like a C11-0 isn’t really possible. Fingers crossed for a C5-0 soon, that might fix it.

Then there are rockets that just seem to be cursed for one reason or another. Whether this be specific airframes that have too much “personality”, multiple attempts at assembling a particular kit/design by a given builder that never seem to go quite right, or even an entire product line that is just too easy for rocketeers everywhere to mishandle.

So in most cases I’d consider a “good flyer” to just not have prep or flight characteristics that would make it a “tricky flyer” or just a garbage bird.

And then there are a few that look all wrong but are in fact safe, reliable rockets that perform reasonably well. The Fliskits ACME Spitfire, for instance. That is a good flyer.
 

BABAR

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Some rockets just seem to have the most stubbornly undesirable flight characteristics. I had an Estes scale model of a Starchaser Thunderstar that would routinely thrash around if, for whatever reason, that second motor failed to light, and that happened plenty of times. The Estes Big Daddy is also infamous for lawn darting if the nose fit isn’t just so. Too loose and you actually get gas leakage and failed ejection.

A lot of authentic scale kits with no fin enlargements have marginal stability at best. Others are underpowered. Some are both.

Speaking of under-powering, there is the Estes MIRV to consider. The sustainers are too heavy and there isn’t a commercial booster motor strong enough for safe flight. Getting a larger booster motor in there like a C11-0 isn’t really possible. Fingers crossed for a C5-0 soon, that might fix it.

Then there are rockets that just seem to be cursed for one reason or another. Whether this be specific airframes that have too much “personality”, multiple attempts at assembling a particular kit/design by a given builder that never seem to go quite right, or even an entire product line that is just too easy for rocketeers everywhere to mishandle.

So in most cases I’d consider a “good flyer” to just not have prep or flight characteristics that would make it a “tricky flyer” or just a garbage bird.

And then there are a few that look all wrong but are in fact safe, reliable rockets that perform reasonably well. The Fliskits ACME Spitfire, for instance. That is a good flyer.
Lol, I read your first paragraph and my first thought was the Estes MIRV, then kept reading and realized great minds think alike. How that made it through testing and into production…..well, let’s just say it’s one of the exceptions that proves the rule Estes makes great rockets!
 
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