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Need A Kit Recomendation (L1 and L2 Capable)

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JasonF

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I recently got back into the hobby with the Aerotech Initiator, and while I like it I need something else. I'm looking for a 54mm kit that can take me through L1 and L2 certification. I have some specific needs, of an easy to assemble kit thats extrememly tough. I have some arthritis issues with my hands, that make things like glassing tubes and large amounts of sanding challenging. I like the Giant Leap Firestorm 54, but the altitude that thing can hit worries me. I'd like to see my rocket again ;). Is there something like the LOC EZI-65 that has a pre glassed or non paper tube, and simple to attatch fins? The fin canister on the Firestorm realy appeals to me. Basicaly I need something that can be abused, and come back for more. Thanks.
 

wwattles

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I just bought a LOC Minie Magg for doing both my L1 and L2 certs. I also got some modified centering rings for it, so it's now a 54mm vice the stock 38mm. Should do quite nicely!
It's a very simple design (3fnc), fairly compact, and not terribly expensive.

WW
 

cls

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if you want to punch some altitude let me recommend the LOC Caliber ISP. it flies great on H motors and goes nearly out of sight on I161s, and since it's 54mm mount you could put some really nice Js in there. add a LOC altimeter bay kit for $25 and you are set.
 

Bobrogg

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I just L2 on a LOC Minie Magg using a PRO 38 J330 motor, the only mods I made were replacing the cardboard launch lug with brass and adding 16 oz of lead to the nose cone to keep the center of balance forward of the center of pressure. It flew straight as an arrow and top out at about 4k. It would make a great L1/L2 project for you.
 

havoc821

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You could get the BSD 54 Horizon. I have the 4 icnh Horizon that has a 38mm mount (29mm adaptable) great rocket and it can handle L1 and L2 (with 38mm Js). Other than that I probably would do scratchbuild. I like to make my own designs and watch them fly. :) Here is a liftoff pic of it on a H128W.
 

JasonF

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I'm leaning towords the PML Tethys at the moment. Can someone recomend me a good payload bay for it? I mainly want it to hold a beeper and possibley an altimiter. I'll go ahead and use timed ejection for this build. I'll save electronic for the future.
 

Dr. Don

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I am really quite satisfied with the long term performance
of my PML bird! The 4" Amraam has flown countless times
with the only mishaps being my own goofs!
At the last launch at Ellsberry, Mo. I recovered the rocket after it had been floating in a creek for a couple of hours....
I flew it again the next day on a J 350 !!!!!!
The quantum tubing can really take a beating, although it is not totally indestructable.........
Care must be taken to rough up the areas to be glued with coarse sand paper for good bonding. My favorite benefit is the
slick grey finish that can look great without any glassing or painting!!!!!
It is important to add epoxy fillets to the fin roots:
Dr Don
 

JasonF

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It is important to add epoxy fillets to the fin roots:
Is this just a bead of epoxy along where the fin joins the body?
 

wwattles

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Yes and no. It is indeed a bead of epoxy that runs along the joint. It's also shaped to be some sort of a transition from the fin to the body tube and reduce aerodynamic drag. But the primary purpose is to strengthen the joint.

Go out to a MPR or HPR launch, and you'll see the old-timers checking out each others filleting! It's almost a greeting - like dogs sniffing each other or something...

WW
 

loopy

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I would also recommend PML for a bird that can do both L1 and L2. The Endeavour would be good (great on I's, handle's a J pretty nicely as well to around 4,000 feet on a J350), or an Eclipse. Durable tubes and easy build. I really like the Eclipse, and am considering that for my L2 (a few years from now, when I can clear it with my financial manager). Many here have the Amraam 4 and love it. Really, PML is the way to go if you don't want to glass your tubes.

Loopy
 

llickteig1

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Jason,

You said the following:
I like the Giant Leap Firestorm 54, but the altitude that thing can hit worries me.
With that in mind I might ask, “Why are you in such a rush to get to Level 2 certification?" I suggest building a good solid rocket which will be good for level 1 certification and then build a couple more level 1 rockets so that you are confident you understand HPR building techniques. I don’t think a person can understand how to properly build a rocket capable of handling the thrust and G-forces of a J350, J420, 6-grain Pro38 or other popular level 2 certification motors unless they have progressed up to it through the increasingly powerful H and I motors.

While there are many rockets that are "capable" of flying level 1 and level 2 range impulse motors, think for a few minutes about your goals in HPR? Why not take it at a pace where you can prove to yourself that HPR is really for you? Be assured, if you want a level 2 capable rocket that doesn't go very high, it will need to be pretty big. If you jump into HPR building a pretty big rocket without the experience of building and flying < ~5 lb. rockets, you're cheating yourself. I don't intend to tell you what to do, but I think it makes more sense to build your Level 1 rocket to perform well and to learn HPR building techniques. And then practice those techniques on a few more level 1 type rockets. When you get to where your nerves can stand high altitude flights or you naturally progress to building a bigger rocket; then do the Level 2. You’re planning on building more that one HPR rocket anyway, right?

With your desire to limit sanding and fiberglass work, the PML kits are a good idea. It takes less of those skills to get good results with PML Quantum Tubes and G-10. Be sure you follow PML’s instructions about roughing-up the tube and fin surfaces to get good adhesion. Also, a 4” rocket like the Tethys is a good choice because there are fewer tight spaces to work in than the 2.1” or 3” birds. A stock Tethys would be a nice Level 1 certification rocket.

You can also use the Tethys as a basis for growth. I used mine for my first dual deployment flight and my Level 2 with added electronics bay and payload. It was up to 6’ tall and 8 1/2 pounds by that time, though, which was a good size for Level 2. See my Tethys info at http://members.cox.net/rocketry/cert2.html. To add a payload section, simply purchase an extra chunk of 4" QT and a coupler assembly to extend the rocket. To add electronics, you can design your own electronics bay or purchase a "Paper Phenolic Avionics Bay" kit from Giant Leap.

I see you’re in the Okla. City area. If you’re up for a road trip, come on up and check-out KloudBurst 14 this Saturday and Sunday at Argonia, KS, which would be about 2 1/2 hours drive for you (see http://www.kloudbusters.org).

Good luck on your quest, --Lance.
 

mikeyd

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Jason, I tend to second what Lance had to say, and must say that the Kloudbusters is a great group to fly with. I Certified Level 1 and Level 2 with Nar at their Argonia field at LDRS99 for Cert 1 and LDRS22 for Cert 2. They have a lot of knowlegable people, and are more than willing to help! I did my Certs with scratch built rockets, and am more than willing to assist you as well since we live so close!
Here is a link to my level 1 flight, and my Level 2 rocket.

http://members.cox.net/shortckt4/Rockets1.html#crayon if this does not take you right to it look for the Crayons, on my web page.

Happy Flying!
 

firemanup

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Just a note.. you don't have to glass tubes to go level 1 or 2.

I'm sure many of the other brands are the same but the 4" BSD kits are paper tubes, easy to construct and handle level 1 and 2 motors just fine.

I'd say the BSD kits are a little friendlier than the PML kits in the way of modifying them for electronics if you ever get to that point, it at least leaves the option open.

The PML kits will do electronics but the electronics upgrades they sell for them (cpr systems) are quite expensive.

I've got a 4" PML Amraam and a 4" BSD Thor that I'm taking to Whitakers this month and the Thor will be going up for my Level 2 flight, just due to the fact that I'm a BSD nut and have many of their birds that have flown well. (sims to 3k)

The PML Amraam will go up shortly after the cert flight on a High end I motor or a J if I can get my hands on one. It will also serve as a backup bird for my Level 2 cert if I have trouble with the first one.

There are way too many options to say any one is the best, really comes down to me to your preference on the looks and what you want to do with it, or may want to do with it later.

Many of the kits mentioned will fly fine on the H, I, and J motors and could serve your purpose just fine...

I think anything you fly for level 2 you'll probably want to have through the wall fin mounting so I'm not sure what you are meaning by "easy to attach fins"... if that's easy enough for you there are plenty of options.

The PML kits probably have a hand up on that aspect as I believe they already have fin slots cut..

MY .02
 

JasonF

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With that in mind I might ask, “Why are you in such a rush to get to Level 2 certification?" I suggest building a good solid rocket which will be good for level 1 certification and then build a couple more level 1 rockets so that you are confident you understand HPR building techniques. I don’t think a person can understand how to properly build a rocket capable of handling the thrust and G-forces of a J350, J420, 6-grain Pro38 or other popular level 2 certification motors unless they have progressed up to it through the increasingly powerful H and I motors.
Mainly because this isn't my only expensive hobby (try saltwater reef tanks sometime). If I can do more with the same rocket, so much the better. I'm also going to find launching areas challenging, so a larger rocket that doesn't go as high is a bonus. My plans are basically to stop at level 2. My job requires me to work every other weekend (hospital), so certifying at all is going to be a challenge. I have to make sure I'm off when the local club is flying. As far as motor size, I'd planned on certifying with the smallest ones I could get away with, then work my way up to larger later. I liked the Firestorm for it's fin system mainly. I had decided to rule it out because of the altitude issue, and go with a larger diameter rocket. The quick switch engine system and Quantum Tubes of the PML, is what drew me to them.

You’re planning on building more that one HPR rocket anyway, right?
Yes, but again time is an issue. As time goes by, my hands get worse.

You can also use the Tethys as a basis for growth. I used mine for my first dual deployment flight and my Level
2 with added electronics bay and payload.
Was this added during the original build or retrofitted? I'd love to have the option of adding a dual recovery later. If I need to add the bay at time of build, so be it.

I think anything you fly for level 2 you'll probably want to have through the wall fin mounting so I'm not sure what you are meaning by "easy to attach fins"... if that's easy enough for you there are plenty of options.
Through the wall is the plan, I mainly just needed both the body tube and fins, pre cut. The Initiator went together pretty easily, only problem was pushing in the finlock system. Certain angles of force really smart in my wrists. As I'd mentioned above, the fin can was my main interest in the Firestorm kit.

I'm off to go paint my Initiator florescent orange, so I can find it easier (my knees aren't that great either). Thanks for everything and I'll check back later.
 

maxq2244

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Jason F.,
Can you make it to Kloudburst 14? if so I can show you a new Tethys kit and my streached Tethys with dual deployment. Plan on flying it on a K695. I even got a piece of 4" QT I will give you for a payload bay if you plan on getting a Tethys
 

JasonF

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Can you make it to Kloudburst 14? if so I can show you a new Tethys kit and my streached Tethys with dual deployment. Plan on flying it on a K695. I even got a piece of 4" QT I will give you for a payload bay if you plan on getting a Tethys
As long as the wife says ok, I'll be there :p . Call it a 75% chance, I just need to make sure she doesn't have plans that require me this weekend. I was going to try and get off for the Sayre Shootout (I work that weekend), but it's as far from me as Argonia. Might as well hit the bigger launch.
 

llickteig1

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Jason,

It sounds like you have thought through the why's and wherefore's and that your manual limitations will be a consideration, so good job there.

I build my rockets very modularly, including my Tethys, so my whole rocket is a big modification. :D If you build per the instructions, you should still be able to add the payload bay and/or electronics bay either during your original build or later. The only thing you would have to do is to cut the ends of the tubular nylon off the piston and nosecone to attach to your added piece(s). If you use tubular nylon with loops and quick links you won't even have to do any cutting.

Look me up if you do make it to Kloudburst. I'll show you my Tethys. I might even fly it on a K550. I'll be wearing my TRF t-shirt on Saturday.

--Lance.
 

swimmer

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I'll also be wearing my TRF T shirt at Kloudburst this weekend.

With Level 2 in mind, I will be looking at all your modified and stretched Tethys and deciding what mods to incorporate in mine.
 

Donaldsrockets

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I got my level 1 certification with my BSD "3" Sprint with an H128W with a medium delay. I'm willing to bet that the altitude was in the 1,500 foot range. It also uses a nice high quality 30 inch nylon chute that brings it down nice and slow without a lot of excess drift.

It also flies great on G64-7W's and G80-7T's too and it's a good bargain at $54.99 including shipping direct from BSD's website.
 

KermieD

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Binder Design also makes a number of nice rockets with some neat designs that are capable of handling both L1 and L2 motors.
 

Thrasher

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I used a Public Enemy "Extreme Performer" dual deployment kit that cost me $74. Size: 4" X 6.5' and 6 pounds. Level one: I195J. Level two: J350W.
 

Neil

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PML!!!!!

I have a PML 1/4 scale Patriot in the mail right now... It has a 38MM motor mount, but I am sure you could put a 54 in there. I think it can take J570s, J350s, and J420s and other stuff like taht. Also Is ETC. maybe a few Hs too... I dunno...

But I bet that would do you fine for L1 and/or L2.:)
 

Len B

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My cert rocket was a LOC Minnie Magg as well.
(Canadian certs. are a bit different. We make H= L1, I = L2, J,K,L = L3 and M,N,O for L4)

I used the Minnie Magg for L1,L2 and L3. This would be the same as L1,L2 for NAR or TRA of course. I didn't do that by plan though. My L1 launch was with an Aerotech H112. The deployment was quite early but the tubular kevlar was nice and long and did not zipper me. It was 2 1/2 years before I could try for L2.

My first L2 attempt absolutely shredded. It was a PML Lil' Lunar Express that I should have built differently. I had the Minnie Magg with me and can only get to a very limited number of high power launches in a year so I flew it first on a CTI I-350SS and then on a CTI J-295. The beauty of that is that the I and the J use the same 5 grain motor casing. Very economical for me.

I did change the rocket between the H flight and the others though. I glassed the fin can area which gave me that experience and also means that I need a beefy H to loft it from now on. I built this rocket with the J420R in mind. Some day, I will launch it on one, once they are approved (and delivered) in Canada.

Good luck on whatever you choose and enjoy the process.

Len Bryan
 

MattV

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Well, since I enjoy building almost as much as I do flying, I'd recommend building an L1 rocket, and then an L2 bird... but that's just me ;)
I did my L1 on a BSD 4" Diablo, and my L2 on a 4" BSD Thor...but if you really want one bird that would handle both certs, the Thor is certainly up to the task.... Fly it on a I161, I211, I285 etc for the L1, and then turn around and throw it up L2 on my favorite motor so far.. the J420R....
It's up to the task, and it's a purty bird as well!!
 

JoJo

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an AMRAAM 3 or 4 cause there so pretty.
 

llickteig1

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I think Jason has his plan worked-out for his cert bird, but for anyone else's benefit ...

I would try to dissuade one from considering an Amraam for a cert bird because there are too many fins (8) to knock off and/or fillets to be cracked. Amraams are nice, but KISS applies for cert birds, and the simplest of all rockets is a 3FNC. 8 fins vs. 3 fins, don't ya know. Or 16 fillets vs. 6. Yikes!

Build a nice pretty Amraam after gaining a little experience with something one notch down on the complexity scale.

My $0.02, --Lance.
 

JasonF

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Yeah, I'm building a zipperless modified PML Tethys. In another few weeks I think I'm going to order a PML Sudden Rush also. Give me something to ease my way into turning the Tethys into dual deployment. I'm learning more every day as I work on my assorted projects. I even had to pull some 20 year old geometry out of my head this weekend.:p My level one attempt should be the fourth weekend in June, so wish me luck.
 

llickteig1

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That sounds good, Jason, and good luck. Will that be down at the Sayre site or somewhere else?

--Lance.
 

JasonF

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Originally posted by llickteig1
That sounds good, Jason, and good luck. Will that be down at the Sayre site or somewhere else?

--Lance.
That launch is at one of the Sayre fun flys, although I may try and hit Argonia on July 10th. Still a ways off, so I'll see how much my wife will let me out :D .
 
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