Level 1 Cert Rocket Choices

Discussion in 'High Power Rocketry (HPR)' started by Vdutel, Jan 16, 2020.

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  1. Why you like the kit

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  2. Have you built any of the 3 chosen kits

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  1. Jan 16, 2020 #1

    Vdutel

    Vdutel

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    I am in the researching a variety of Rockets available for Level 1 Cert.. There seems to be a lot & I am sure each one are excellent... I am still finding myself unsure as I am looking at several things when it comes to the right choice for me personally

    1. Reviews from other builders - Quality of kit, Build and Flight
    2. Kit contents for price you pay
    3. Building Instructions/Videos from Manufactures
    4. Design I like - Does it appeal to me
    5. Up gradable from single deployment to dual later on

    I started out liking the Initiator Starter Kit as Mid Power and have decided to hold off as I found a Club that can launch Model/Mid/High Power so I do not need my own Launch Stand at this time.

    Here are the final 3 Rockets I have come to Like and if you could please give any input on these pictured below as I want to start this build within the next month or two...

    1st Choice - Apogee - Zephyr
    2nd Choice - LOC - LOC IV
    3rd Choice - SBR - Fusion

    Thank You in advance... Victor
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Jan 16, 2020 #2

    timbucktoo

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    LOC-IV pretty common L1 bird. That was mine. Pretty simple to build, doesn't fly too high on H motors so you can see it at apogee.
     
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  3. Jan 16, 2020 #3

    swatkat

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    I have a Loc-IV and it's a nice steady flier and would be great for L1. Simple design and easy build. Flights on a baby H (H128/H165R) would be in the 1500' range so no fancy deploy is needed, just pop the chute with motor deploy and watch it coast down.

    FWIW, Mach 1 has a sale now on their Level 1 kit. It's 15% off and is Fiberglass, a little more build technique required, but it'll be very rugged if you have a field that is hard-pan/rock or has "water hazards". :)

    https://www.mach1rocketry.com/store/p266/Thunderhawk_65_SR-2.html
     
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  4. Jan 16, 2020 #4

    dr wogz

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    Victor, this question comes up a lot. Use the search and search this forum (as well as 'the watering hole') and search for "level 1". Take your time. lots has been said, and lots of choices.

    Once you get to HPR, there are a myriad of kits & choices to make. They all, pretty much will build the same. And, they pretty much all, at this point, include the same parts and miss out the same parts: typically the chute, motor retainer, and shock cord. Once you get to this level, these items become a personal preference, or, we already have the item, and will switch from one rocket to another. Cost alone, for this matter, isn't a direct comparison. You might find a kit you like, but it's $150, compared to another at $80. The $80 one might be missing all these items, and adding these can bring the $80 to $175 total due to choices made..

    And, once you've reached this point, it's also understood you've built a few rockets, and understand how they go together. Don't expect an extensive / detailed set of instructions. You're luck to get a few pages of written instructions!

    A lot of the kits that feature an 'AV Bay' can be made to be dual deploy, or flown single deploy. A lot of kits without an AV bay can have one made, or one can be made form additional components from the supplier.. Some have the AV bay as an option.. But, if I were you, plan for one or the other.. Plan this one rocket as your L1 without dual deploy. For your next rocket, make the choice for an AV Bay & build it for dual deploy.. Think about a Jolly Logic Chute Release. Probably on of the best investments you'll make at this point in your rocketry career..
     
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  5. Jan 16, 2020 #5

    K'Tesh

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    I've got a Fusion on my shelf in eRockets, I'd like to score a Zephyr... LOC uses good materials too Option 4: Aerotech Mega Initiator, have one here in China with me.
    Option 5: Binder Design Excel with dual deploy option.

    All are good choices, and all come from vendors with a good history. I personally own 3 of the 5.
     
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  6. Jan 16, 2020 #6

    richP

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    Of your choices. the LOV-IV would probably be the best suited for L1 certification. Another option is Madcow's DX3 series of rockets. I had also looked at the Zephyr, but was not a fan of the way the trailing tips of the fin went unsupported; just something else to worry about.
     
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  7. Jan 16, 2020 #7

    58pan

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    I haven't built either of your 3 choices but of the three I would suggest the Fusion. Why? Because of the fin design.
    The LOC IV and especially the Zephyr have the fins at or below the bottom of the rocket. This makes them much more likely to break a fin on landing.
    With the Fusion fins angling up they are much more likely to survive a hard landing with the rocket swinging under the chute.
    For a Level 1 you want simple and survivable so you don't have to do it over. For that reason I also don't recommend a chute release. Seen to many come down tangled.
     
  8. Jan 16, 2020 #8

    DeepOvertone

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    I agree with richP regarding the zephyr about the fin tips. I’d recommend a rocket that has fins at least flush with the aft end of the rocket(like a patriot kit), if not set forward or angled forward of the aft end(like a Nike smoke).

    If you haven’t checked it out, I’d like recommend the 3” or 4” black fly from MAC performance rocketry. It’s a little more complicated since it has 5 fins and a tail cone but in my opinion they are ideal. You can definitely upgrade them to dual deploy later on if you wish which is what I did for my L2 with the 4”.
     
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  9. Jan 16, 2020 #9

    DeepOvertone

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    I forgot to add, the fusion does have the type of design I was speaking of with the forward set and angled fins... however I have purchased one of his kits as well as seen many at my club and I’m not super impressed with the fit of the nose cones. They are a loose fit as well as smaller in diameter than his body tubes so it creates a shoulder at the cone to body transition. At least that’s been my experience as well the others in my club.
     
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  10. Jan 16, 2020 #10

    Lukun7

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    I chose the EZI-65. It's 117 dollars for a great, dd-upgradable kit that comes with the recovery system included and a 54mm mmt.
     
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  11. Jan 16, 2020 #11

    DAllen

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    4" LOC Goblin

    /thread
     
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  12. Jan 16, 2020 #12

    Rocket501

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    I'm a massive fan of the Binder Designs 3" Excel, Single Deploy with 38mm motor mount. I originally was going to get an Zephyr (and still want one), but I love my Excel. It flies great even on J motors, cost about $80 including shipping, comes with great instructions, rail-buttons, and a chute, and in general is just wonderful. I think it even has a form of motor retention.

    I got both my L1 and L2 on it (I lost my main L2 rocket into a cornfield). It flew to a mile and broke mach on a J and survived unscathed. I'm not sure if I'd recommend this, as it drifted quite far away and I don't really believe that you should try to use the same rocket for multiple levels.

    I have an EZI-65, but didn't like it quite as much. It's a bit harder to build (still very easy), didn't come with rail-buttons (minor, but still relevant) and I felt the fins were a bit flimsy for its size. I don't regret buying it, it's just not the rocket I'd recommend.

    I like the LOC-IV, but you still need some supplemental parts and the instructions are good, but not as good as the excel. I still think it is one of those rockets everyone who does high-power should have at least one of.
     
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  13. Jan 16, 2020 #13

    Scott Hala

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    The LOC IV was my L1 rocket. It's a very sturdy and forgiving rocket.
     

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  14. Jan 16, 2020 #14

    SecondRow

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    SBR kits come with very detailed instruction booklets that have full color pictures. It’s like a set of old school Estes instructions. Plus the kits already come with the necessary hardware and chute.

    Although I would suggest the SBR Horizon instead of the Fusion because it is a little less complicated to build.
     
  15. Jan 16, 2020 #15

    Nytrunner

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    Any of those 3 you mention will work. They're simple paper/plywood kits. Titebond II woodglue for the win!

    Binder Fusion comes "complete" with everything and that fancy camera bay, so if that's your thing, it's a decent deal. (plus the parts are supposed to be 'perfect fit')
    Zephyr is from Apogee so it probably comes complete too. Additionally, any kit on Apogee's "Kits for Level 1" page will work too.

    I chose the Madcow 4" patriot package from Apogee back when I did L1 (vv signature) because it was an upscale of the first rocket I built on my own (estes patriot)

    Pic one you like the look of. Maybe be adventurous and try something you haven't done before (with plenty of research. Hush KISS crowd, there's more than one way to do things)
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
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  16. Jan 16, 2020 #16

    Serac

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    I'm very happy with my Zephyr. It is a very well thought out build. The way the fin tabs lock into the centering rings, and the fact that the centering rings have then own spacers makes the rocket easy to build, mitigates fin warping, and aligns the fins. It's bombproof! I certified with the Zephyr on its maiden flight, and have pushed it slightly with a large 80% I motor.
     
  17. Jan 16, 2020 #17

    Chad

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    i was biting my tongue given that the search had been narrowed to those three but I really love the 4" cardboard DX3. It's an awesome L1 (and L2) rocket.
     
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  18. Jan 16, 2020 #18

    Vdutel

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    Chad:

    Please feel free to list away, I have learned a lot from the previous posts about some areas to think about such as fin above/below lower end of rocket and understand Im still researching. I have gone and looked at some kits mentioned and I have found some to be edging me to expand some on kits.

    I have gone back into priors Level 1 questions and started reading their as well and some just go off the deep end for me.

    My goal will be get a kit that I can enjoy to build,fly and talk about at club shoots with people... I also want to keep this rocket as a Level 1 shooter.... I will build a different rocket with dual deployment and other things I want to adventure into when I get more experience under my belt..

    Thank You for posting as I value everyone's opinion as others may have built a kit I have not looked at and it is a good choice..

    Victor
     
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  19. Jan 16, 2020 #19

    rocketman328

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    My wife has a LOC IV, I have a Zephyr, in my opinion, the Zephyr is a better design, very well made, the fins are very stout. I also agree it's best to keep it simple and survivable.
     
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  20. Jan 16, 2020 #20

    K'Tesh

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    Nice thing about the Aerotech Mega Initiator, The body tube is pre-slotted, and there are slots in the centering rings that ensure that the fins are at perfect 120 degree spacing. Instructions are a bit Spartan for my taste, but there are good images.
     
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  21. Jan 17, 2020 #21

    Vdutel

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    rocketman328-

    I watched the build video for both LOC IV and Zephyr both seem to be straight forward.. Im currently looking for videos for other rockets mentioned today... Found tons of flight videos just need to see build...
     
  22. Jan 17, 2020 #22

    MikeyDSlagle

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    So far I have had four kits with the long 4" nose cones like on the Fusion, from four different rocket companies and all fit as you describe, with the one from MAC fitting a tad better. I do have the shorter nose cone on Wastelander and it fits a bit better. Leads me to think that most folks all get nose cones from the same place...except PML, theirs fits perfectly.I

    Of those in the OP I'd do the LOC IV. I've had good experiences with their customer service and I already have the decals. Fusion looks better IMO but is a bit pricey and I don't know much about Apogee, though the Zephyr appears to be the better bargain. But the LOC IV is elegant and beautiful in its own right.

    Others have mentioned MAC, Madcow, and Binder, I'll throw in Public Missiles as another option to aid in your indecisiveness. :D
     
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  23. Jan 17, 2020 #23

    Steve Shannon

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    I’ll second Public Missiles. Their instructions are excellent.
     
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  24. Jan 17, 2020 #24

    58pan

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    As you see everyone has their favorite. And any rocket with a coupler and payload section can be converted to dual deploy. I do know the Madcow Torrent from Apogee has everything needed except electronics, and he also has a video series on building it which could be followed to build any rocket for dual deploy.
    https://www.apogeerockets.com/Advanced_Construction_Videos/Rocketry_Video_61
    Whatever rocket you pick, take your time, dry fit everything, and any questions someone here can answer.
    You have already got a good start by picking a 4 inch. I've seen to many pick a 2.6 inch for a L1, launch it into the clouds and never see it again.
     
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  25. Jan 17, 2020 #25

    Eljay

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    That's what I've been recommending. Easy to build, good flyer, isn't too expensive.

    That being said people really overthink this. If you're pretty comfortable flying G's flying a baby H isn't some radically new thing. If you're not comfortable flying G's, do that first.
     
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  26. Jan 18, 2020 #26

    dwightr

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    Zephyr fins do extend below the body tube but they are 1/4" plywood and I haven't broke one yet.
    Did my L1 on a basically stock Zephyr, then added an ebay for dual deployment and did my L2 on a J270.
    Landing looked a bit hard but it turned out okay, just some scraped paint.
     
  27. Jan 18, 2020 #27

    rocketaholic

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    All of your picks look great however I think the Apogee Katana could be a cool kit for level 1 and for level 2. It does describe it for level 2. You could fly it at level 1 without the electronics bay section.
     
  28. Jan 18, 2020 #28

    MikeyDSlagle

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    My L1 was 2.6" and went a bit over 1200' on an H123. It is fiberglass but still 2.6" . ;)

    One of my favorite rockets is the Madcow 4" Cowabunga. It's probably my most flown rocket. It swung on a power line over night once and recently survived a failed launch on a faulty Pro38 motor. Straight flyer, and inexpensive, especially in Black Friday. For $12 you can add a payload kit to stretch it out and go dual deploy. I have a nose cone bay in my for apogee deploy and use a chute release. Madcow never seems to have them in stock though. You have to add the chute as an extra.

    Don't get too crazy size-wise on the 4" kits. It's easy to make them too heavy for smaller H motors. An L1 bird that only flies on I motors is missing out on a LOT of fun with H motors. I know, my L1 is a solid I eater.
     
  29. Jan 18, 2020 #29

    SeanW78

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    I have a Madcow Super DX3 that has a couple and payload that is available for dual deploy (Level 2 cert.). I may do both qualifications on the same day.
     
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  30. Jan 18, 2020 #30

    Arsenal78

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    Honestly? Go with something unique. Everyone and their mother chooses the LOC-IV because it’s a classic but it’s also very generic. Get a kit that you want to be remembered with. I’d suggest the BSD/SBR Thor or hell even the LOC Goblin. Be different and don’t follow the herd. If you’re more into scale stuff, look into PML’s stuff. Their Mini BBX is a showstopper if done right.
     
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