Thrustline Aerospace Star Hauler

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Well-Known Member
Jan 19, 2009
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This is the Readers Digest version of the Thrustline Star Hauler review (the full review with pictures will be up on EMRR soon):

The Thrustline Aerospace Star Hauler is a "payload" rocket with some appealing looks, at least to me. Interesting, even since seeing it, I wanted to build it. Not because it was a payloader, but because of looks.

I think the most appealing thing about the Star Hauler is the number of transitions it has: three. It also uses a red see-through plastic payload section to be a bit different.

The instructions are printed on 3 ½ pages (single-sided) of 8½ x 11" paper. There are black&white photos throughout to assist in the assembly of the kit. There is also two fin templates and two tube marking guides on another single page. Lastly, there is Mylar parachute assembly instructions on another single page. The rocket is fairly easy, but would probably be considered a skill level 3 kit.

Eight fins are cut out, matched and airfoiled. That takes the most work in building this kit (I take that back, finishing is the most work). There is plenty of 1/8" balsa for this.

I did find a mistake in the instructions, which I reported and Thrustline has fixed. In step #8, it says to place the upper fin guide on the 4" wide body. This should be the 2.1" section according to the pictures. This also makes the template too wide. I was able to resolve this by cutting the template to size and wrapping it around the 2.1" section of tube.

Since this rocket uses solid balsa transitions, the separation point is at the BT55 (largest lower tube) to BT50. The transition gets a washer and an eye-screw attached. The elastic is tied to the Kevlar® tether and then to the eye-screw. The parachute, with swivel is attached to the eye-screw as well.

The instructions are descriptive and fairly easy to follow. Cutting your own fins can turn some away, but I'm okay with it. However, in this case there were eight fins to cut and it was a note paper template. Why not cardstock? The quality of the parts were fine and everything fit well. The recovery system is excellent. No decals.

I decided to fly it for the first time on an A8-3. After loading in three sheets of wadding, and putting in the parachute, it was ready to fly.

The payload section is simply friction fit and I didn't have to add any masking tape for it to be tight. I didn't have a payload.

This was a front yard launch and I got a couple nice pictures. I didn't expect it to be still going up at ejection, but that was the case with the A8-3. Perhaps an A6-4 would be in order. At ejection the parachute did not unfurl. This is probably because I had rolled throughout finishing and never unrolled it prior to flying. No damage and I would consider it a good first flight.

I will fly it a few more times and then wrap up the full review.
Nice paint job...makes me think I should do another...or strip the first.

Nice job and...Thank You.