Tip Toeing into Mid power

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Active Member
Feb 26, 2004
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I am just getting back into Rocketry as a hobby.

I built the Estes Bull Pup 12D, works like a charm.

I built a 3 stage Comanche ( have yet to fly it, plan to this weekend )

I am in the process of building an Apogee Aspire as a tip toe into Mid power.

My plan is to next build the Binder Designs Excel JR as a first full fledged mid power rocket. And probably the mainstay that I will show people locally.

The next step would be to build a Level 1 certification rocket.

I am seriously looking at the 4" Horizon, mostly because not only would it be a good certification rocket for L1, but I should be able to use the same bird for Level 2 later this year.

Any opinions for my plans this spring? Am I heading in the right direction?
Tip Toe into Mid power - LOL.
I know exactly what you mean by that. I am c..r..a..w..l..i..n..g into mid power myself.
I can only fly low power at my house, so I joined a club to launch my mid power birds. (which I have yet to attend a launch)
I have built an Aerotech Initiator, an Aspire, my first cluster (a scratch mid powered) , and my first staged rocket, and have yet to fly a single one.

Now I plan to finish all the paint jobs, take them to a club launch (finally) and make it a day of "first's".

Good luck crossing the border to mid power! I'll be behind you shortly...I hope.
Sounds good, but I might suggest building a couple more midpower kits before jumping into high power. Not because the kits are difficult or anything, but mostly just to get used to reloads. If you're going to do high power, you're going to have to learn reloadable motors. I suggest the Aerotech Initiator as a fabulous midpower rocket that flies great on 29mm midpower reloads. Also, get a 29mm 40-120 midpower reloadable casing. Build the Initiator, get a few F40-7's to launch it on, and you'll be all set!

Sounds like you have a plan going on...good luck and keep us posted on your progress.

Oh, and Welcome back to the hobby and The Rocketry Forum!!! :)


I have not even considered reloadable engines at mid-power.

You are dead right.

I am still going to build that Excel Jr as a Mid power bird ( I like that one ) But I am going to stay in mid power a while and learn relaodable engines first before I get into the more expensive stuff.


Where do I start?

Is Aerotech safe to purchase? Will there still be reloads a year from now with all the stuff going on with them?

Can I assume that an Aerotech 24/40 would be the right hardware to start with? Or should I jump stright to the 29/40-120?

What other things should I consider?
Another good skill to learn at the mid and low power levels is kit modifying, specifically learning to put in new motor mounts and compensating with added noseweight to maintain stability. I'd suggest going with a 2.6" (BT-80 size) kit like a fat boy or a Phoenix and putting in a 29mm mount. It'll get you into the world of reloads, as well as giving you some experience with more power on a cheaper budget than going for a pre-designed mid-power kit. Making a new motor-mount mod from scratch won't take more than a couple hours, or you can even buy some kits from guys like Jim Flis (fliskits centering rings) ).

If Aerotech's not safe to purchase long-term, then we're all cooked. There's really no alternative for F & G power. Even if they go under there's probably enough market demand for someone to step up and fill the gap. Whether they come out of bankruptcy intact or under new ownership, I think their reload kits will still be out there. Not so sure about single use, as that's supposed to be a lot more expensive to produce. It's almost a loss-leader.

Reloads are not very difficult if you pay attention to detail. I did my first, an F40-4W, just the other day with no help at all. Just read through the instructions, watched the movies on AT's website, then read the instructions again as I assembled the motor.

Anyway, it made for a great flight on my Arreaux. It reached about 1800' and the delay went off just as advertised. It was a real feeling of accomplishment, like I'd finally gotten "serious". May have to pick up a second casing though, just to have two loaded motors handy. The cleanup is time consuming.
Originally posted by Dwight

Where do I start?

Is Aerotech safe to purchase? Will there still be reloads a year from now with all the stuff going on with them?

Can I assume that an Aerotech 24/40 would be the right hardware to start with? Or should I jump stright to the 29/40-120?

What other things should I consider?

Is Aerotech safe? I dunno, I hope so, I just bought the 29/40-120 myself. I sure hope they will be. And if they aren't, mid power will pretty much vanish till someone else picks it up.

Which case? It depends. Your next few rockets should decide for you. If they are mainly 29mm motor mount kits, I would get the 29/400-120. Do you already have some 24mm Estes kits? You can use the 24/40 in those kits also, as well as lighter mid power kits. What would I do? Get both if you can :) If you can't, get what you will fly the most.
Most AT kits have a 29mm tube with a 24mm adapter so you could get a 24 and 29mm case...

Or there is a 3 motor set that has the 18mm(fits in estes, puts them in orbit) 24mm, and 29mm.
Aerotech kits and reloads are some of the best for mid power...it's a good way to start and you will be happy you did so.

Thanks guys,

I don’t see the point in buying 2 of them when I can get all three for a very few dollars more.

Besides, It will be nice to have an 18mm reload kit. The old reliable Big Bertha should fly very well on the "D" 18mm reload. ( all of my model rockets are built with 100% epoxy, no wood glue anywhere )

And that will get the me 24/40 and the 29/40-120 units to fly the mid power models with.

I just flew my models this weekend.

A Big bertha ( C-6-5's ) flown twice, perfect flight both times

Comanche 3 stage ( 1st flight as a 2 stage B-6-0 , B-6-6 perfect flight ) ( 2nd flight as a 3 stage D-12-0, B-6-0, B-6-6 Boosted fine but the second stage never lit, lawn dart but built as strong as it was I just need to repair the upper body tube, all 6 fins are fine )

Apogee Aspire ( E-9-4 ) flew fantastic but it was very hard on the recovery equipment, shredded the streamer on the first flight and then totally ripped out an undersize parachute on the second. Still no damage to the rocket itself at all. Roc Sim had arrived when I got home and I loaded it up and found the problem, ejection charge delay was too short, it must have been ejecting while still climbing. Easy to repair, I will make a rip-stop nylon streamer for it. )

I am hooked now, I am purchasing that 3 Engine RMS package today.
The Aspire is a great, great rocket. One of the best performers for the money out there. Too bad I lost mine...:eek:

A light, high performance kit like that will usually need a longer delay unless the wind is just howling - in which case you probably don't want to fly anyway.

LOC/Precision is good too, kind of like Estes kits on steroids. So far I've built a Stovi and Weasel. The 'weez hasn't flown yet but it looks like fun. It's supposed to handle everything from a D12 to an H220 and only costs about $35.
Good call, Dwight! Man, you certainly like jumping in with both feet, don't you? You'll love your casings. I couldn't live without my 29mm 40-120. It's so versatile. E-G, fly anything from a Mustang (less than a pound), to my PML Small Endeavour on a G64! Good luck, and keep us posted!

I will have a look at the Loc Kits, thanks.

I am not a total novice, I built quite a few Estes kits as a kid. I should have known better on that E-9-4. Problem is I was limited to what the Hobby store has in stock. I am not doing that anymore. I am going to stop buying single use motors ( except for the Comanche ) today. Using Roc Sim I am going to pick out exactly what I want as re-loads. ( besides I have quite a stock of C-6-5's to fly the bertha with already )

I like launching the Bertha first as a "feel the air" rocket. That is still my wife’s favorite rocket, mostly because it is large enough to see all of it's flight.

Roc Sim is great and would have avoided my Aspire problem nicely. I am starting to think that I was just flying in the dark without that program. But the rocket is fine, just need to work on the recovery part. That really is a nice rocket and we were shocked at how straight and well it flew, even descending with the parachute missing ( nose cone did separate fully ) it came down with no problems..

My next kit is going to be a Binder Excel Jr. for E-G engines. Of all the kits I have looked at on the net I like that one the most.

Then someone is going to have to hold me back from buying a 3" Horizon from BSD.

I have the 3" and 4" BSD Horizons, don't hold back, go for it.. heh heh :D :D :D

Pics are on my main page if you want to click on the link below..
Tip toeing? Crawling?

I leapt right in. First mid power: F25. Half an hour later: G35 econojet. I havent looked back since!:D :cool: If I were you, I would buy an aerotech IQSY Tomahawk. Its purty when built, and flys very well.:cool: It was my first MPR rocket.:cool: :cool:
same here....I had launched some mid power stuff...then an E15 then I brought out the reload casings and started firing Gs and Fs like no tommorow....once you do it, hear the noise, see the flame, and smell that AP smell, you really get into it and cant stop
No kidding. Same with HPR if you ask me.... My first HPR flight was on Ryan's case, with an H165R I traded ryan for...:D My MSH 4" V2.... Very memorable... I still cant believe my dad missed the rocket with the camera...:mad: :kill: I *ALMOST* lost the case, rocket and chute..... But luckily we got it all back in one piece, none the worse for wear.:cool: :D :) I cant wait for the flying season, and all this talk of APCP smells isnt helping my spring feavor!:kill:
yep, very addictive, maybe thats the reason once you start you cant stop
Whenever I hear about someone leaving HPR big question marks go up in my head. When they go together, I cant understand the words "leave" and "HPR". It doesent compute....:eek: :confused: Once your in this far, you do NOT stop....:D