Quest Pulsar, Nike-K, RTF

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Well-Known Member
Jan 27, 2009
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Went to the first local club launch of the year with my seven year old son and we had a really great time. The weather was pleasant with steady 5-10 mph winds.

We had three serviceable rockets to take. First is a Quest Impulse that my son (mostly) built one afternoon as a project to occupy him and a cousin. (The cousin built a Quest Aries.) This had previously flown twice before, once on an A8-3 and once on a B6-4. It is not quite a small rocket but close enough to have snappy performance with a B6. I was a little dismayed to find the larger body tube glued to the plastic fin can had come loose today. So before we left for the field I smeared some super glue into the joint and hoped for the best. It was the first rocket we loaded at the field and it worked loose again! I wiped the surfaces clean again and slugged it with some more super glue and let it rest while launched the RTF Millenium instead. Later, the joint seemed solid so we sent it up on a Quest B6-4 (from the RTF kit) and it did great. The streamer recovery worked well in the breezy condition. Two more flights followed, another Quest B6-4 and an Estes B6-4. It weathercocked some into the wind but only enough to make the walking distance easier. Again, a fine performer on a B6 and I'm not entirely sure I would want to use a C6 on it. The forward rake of the fins protect them from damage due to the fast streamer recovery. The Quest motors seemed to have more oomph than the Estes. Oddly, the last flight went fine but we found the fin can strangely damaged, as it if overpressurized and a seam split and bulged and partially pushed out a fin. Most of the fin root still seemed solidly glued despite looking partially popped out. The forward body tube to transition joint was also loose. Could this be the famous Estes "shotgun" ejection charge? Anyone, after five very nice flights this particular Pulsar is honorable retired, with perhaps some part donations in the future.

The Quest Millenium is a RTF. I picked up the entire kit (pad, RTF, engines, etc.) on closeout at hobby lobby for $15. It flew very nicely on two B6-4 flights today. The body tube spirals were kinda big so I had practiced filling them and got the rocket in primer and that's as far as I've gotten. It has a one-piece fin can unit, and appeared to fly with little to no spin. Surprising, the thin Quest "trash bag" chute seems to be holding up well. It appears to be a durable "go-to" rocket.

The Quest Nike-K is an older kit with the one-piece fin can unit. It had three C6-5 flights today, all very nice with moderate weathercocking on two flights. On the middle one, I don't know if it had better speed off the rod, or hit the sweet spot on the rod oscillation, or the winds lulled at that moment, but it had an arrow-straight ascent. As with the Millenium (and the Pulsar too), there was very little or no spin. This is even with a slight warp to the outboard trailing edge area on one of the fins. Excellent looking flights.

These are really my first experiences with Quest as opposed to Estes. When I was a kid, it was all Estes and I never had any recovery problems with the tri-fold/elastic band setup. I've had much more problems with that setup as a BAR. I've read many good things about the kevlar string anchored to the engine mount and these Quest rockets seem to bear that out well.
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Nice write-up, privateer. It sounds like you and your son had a great time. I'm envious - I've really got to get out and put a rocket up into the sky! It's been way too long since I've done that...

Even though I have done it about a million times now, I still pack the wadding in a little too tightly every now and then, and subsequently get just a partial ejection of the recovery system. It is always smaller diameter rockets that are involved - BT-20 and BT-5 sized, but I even did it in a BT-50-sized rocket once - or ones with odd-shaped tubes (e. g., triangular tubes). Could tight packing have been a factor with the tube bulging in your Pulsar?

My son wanted to load the wadding for the Pulsar, whose top body tube is a small diameter. He had the concept down, but I got a little nervous about how tight they looked. Before we loaded the engine, I ended up using three pens and quite a bit of effort to push them out. :)

I usually am careful about the wadding being able to slide along with not much force. The strange thing about the bulged fin can is that you would think it would blow a body tube off before the fin can gets damaged. And indeed the upper body tube was loose, but the streamer had deployed.

Joining the local club seems like a good idea. In addition to the ease (having launch pads set up) and access to a nice field, the fixed dates on the calendar will encourage us to actually get out and launch some instead of relying on lazy weekends that don't seem to really happen anymore.
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I am beginning to write launches into my calendar and plan them ahead of time with my wife. This avoids needless conflicts with the "honey-do" list...:D