Replacement rocket for Alpha III

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steph746

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My son and I finally got our Alpha III launched :) ...and it drifted into a tree :(

I know it's a beginner rocket, but I realize that it goes pretty high and is very light. We had a B6-6 in it as well.

Would anyone have a recommendation for a replacement rocket that doesn't go as high and is a little heavier so it wouldn't drift as far on the re-entry?

Preferably one that takes the B6-6, C6-5 engines because we have a few of those still.

Thank you!
 

Zeus-cat

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A B6-6 is made for light rockets, so you have conflicting requirements to use a B6-6 and not go high. And whatever rocket you use will go higher on a C6-5 than a B6-6.

For now, I would look for rockets that use A8-3 or B6-4 motors and save the motors you have for later.
 

neil_w

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Heavier rockets that don't go as high will probably be better suited to using motors with shorter delays, particularly at the B class; you're probably not going to find a heavier rocket well-suited to a B6-6. C6-5 will work, but likely still go pretty high.

Are you comfortable with wood fin construction, or do you want to stay with plastic fin cans?

In the plastic zone, the Estes Savage could be good flown as a single-stage rocket on a C6-5. It'll still go reasonably high though.

Maybe even better, if you don't care about doing any assembly at all, is one of the Estes Crayon rockets. They're discontinued, but still available online here and there. They should stay in range on a C6-5. Again, B6-6 *not* recommended.
 

zog139

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If you want to use the motors you have. Change to a streamer for recovery. Remove your parachute and use a Happy Birthday banner to cut a streamer that is 2" wide by about 25-30" long. Tape a piece of carpet thread across the bottom and tie the other end where your parachute was attached.

My son and I finally got our Alpha III launched :) ...and it drifted into a tree :(

I know it's a beginner rocket, but I realize that it goes pretty high and is very light. We had a B6-6 in it as well.

Would anyone have a recommendation for a replacement rocket that doesn't go as high and is a little heavier so it wouldn't drift as far on the re-entry?

Preferably one that takes the B6-6, C6-5 engines because we have a few of those still.

Thank you!
 

BEC

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Jim beat me to it. Get another Alpha III, replace the 'chute with a streamer. Or, reef the 'chute by using a bit of masking tape wrapped around the shroud lines between halfway and two-thirds of the way up the lines toward the canopy so that it can't open all the way.

With its plastic fins an Alpha III can stand a fairly rough landing without damage.

Slightly lower peformance but similar build: Generic E2X.

An Alpha III on a B6 will go to 500 feet or so.
 

neil_w

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Oh hey I forgot my other favorite advice: always bring at least two rockets to a launch. :)
 

DaveW6DPS

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I really like the Estes Big Bertha. Impressive flights for a model rocket, but don't go especially high.
 

BEC

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Following up on that....on a calm day a C6-5 will work in a Big Bertha, but I can't think of any circumstances where a B6-6 would be appropriate. That's not even a good choice in the sustainer of the two-stage Boosted Bertha.

An Alpha III can really hit 1100 feet on a C6-5, but a Big Bertha will, with a little luck, get to 400 on one.
 

steph746

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Thanks very much everyone for the replies. For now, we'll probably stick with the plastic fins and work our way up to the wooden ones. However the Big Bertha does look like a good option. Although we do have a number of B6-6 engines. When you say the B6-6 is not appropriate for the Big Bertha, is that because you don't think it will go very high or work at all?

What's the main difference between a C6-5 and C6-7?
 

neil_w

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The last number indicates the number of seconds delay between motor burnout and when then ejection charge fires. Ideally, you want the ejection to be at or close to apogee. A delay too long means that the rocket could be plummeting to earth at rather high speed when ejection happens, which is not good for the parachute or the rocket. Worse, if luck is against you, a too-long delay could result in the rocket coming in ballistic with no parachute at all, which is not good for humans or property in the area.

Motors with longest delays in their impulse class (e.g., B6-6, C6-7) are often intended either for very light/low drag rockets (e.g. Alpha III), or else the second stage of multi-stage rockets.

So a B6-6 is not appropriate for a Big Bertha because it will be ejecting the parachute way too late.
 

CalebJ

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The last number is the delay in seconds. Ideally the delay matches the time it takes from end of engine burn to the rocket turning back towards ground (apogee). A big rocket like the Bertha has more drag and a lower velocity so the coast phase to apogee is much shorter. By the time a long delay has passed, it might have already impacted the ground.

Edit - Neil beat me to it and explained it better.
 

steph746

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Thank you for the engine explanations. What do you think of the Baby Bertha?
 

neil_w

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Thank you for the engine explanations. What do you think of the Baby Bertha?
It's fine, as are pretty much all the Estes beginner and intermediate offerings. Get what looks good to you. That'll be a good low flyer on A8-3 and B6-4, and still manageable on a C6-5.
 

steph746

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Both the Big Bertha and Baby Bertha are listed as Intermediate Skill 1. Would you say the difficulty is about even? Seems like the Big Bertha will give a more dramatic lift off...
 

neil_w

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They're equivalent builds. Baby Bertha is just smaller.
 

Back_at_it

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As others have said, you should replace it with another Alpha 3 but fly it on A8-3 motors until you are ready to step up or have a larger flying field. There are a number of great rockets that fall into the beginner category that can be flown on the A8-3 motors.


If you want to try another brand, here are a couple of options that all fall under the easy to build and fly on A8-3 motors.

As far as recovery goes. For rockets with plastic fins you can swap over to a streamer for recovery. This will bring the rocket down quicker but harder. You can also cut a hole in your parachute. When looking at an Estes chute, you will notice that there is a large black circle in the center of the chute. For rockets with plastic fins, go ahead and cut out the entire circle.
 

neil_w

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You can also cut a hole in your parachute. When looking at an Estes chute, you will notice that there is a large black circle in the center of the chute. For rockets with plastic fins, go ahead and cut out the entire circle.
I do this for all my plastic parachutes. I find Estes parachutes are usually a bit larger than needed anyway, at least if landing on reasonably soft surfaces such as grass.
 

steph746

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Thank you all again for your suggestions and recommendations. I went ahead and purchased a two-pack of Alpha III rockets and some A8-3 engines. I will cut out the black holes on the parachutes as well.
 

Woody's Workshop

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The Estes Big Bertha would be good on the C6-5's, but not the B6-6. It would hit the ground before chute deployment.
The last number in the engine code is delay between thrust and ejection charge. Usually on a lower thrust like the B's and a high delay number like the 6, your going to be looking at a light rocket most likely with streamer recovery. If your worried about fin damage on recovery, you can always leave out the engine hook (if it calls for one) and make the engine a friction fit by wrapping masking tape so it just fits snug, not tight. It will then eject itself along with recovery deployment and make it lighter. But that will also leave it more at the mercy of the wind. The Viking and Wizard are good old true light weight rockets I have used for years.
There are many others, just go to the Estes Web Site and look through skill level 1 rockets.
Good luck and have fun!
 

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