Your favorite "A" burner...

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Apr 22, 2009
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Growing up my friend Tim and I had our favorite 18mm minimum dia. rockets. His was the classic Wizard (purple) and mine was the conical nosed Yankee with the classic red/white/blue scheme. We flew those rockets on everything from 1/2As to C6-7s. To this day I have no idea how we retrieved those rockets when we used C's.

I recently adopted a new favorite - the Semroc Skyhook. Although I probably wasn't around when the original Skyhook was a favorite, looking at this rocket and building it somehow brought back nostalgia from my days as a mini-rocketeer. I'm planning many flights with this rocket. A8-5s will more than likely be the norm for this bird as I don't care to lose it. Hopefully this will be the kind of rocket that logs many flights. I suppose I don't understand the usage of a 'chute in this small rocket, but I guess it adds character to the model.

So what's your favorite "A" burner? How many flights do you have on it?
Excellent job with the Skyhook! Right now I'm working on the Semroc Goliath (built as a 3x18mm cluster) & I'm very impressed with their kits!

My favorite 'A' burner has got to be the FlisKits Midnight Express. I've built 4 or 5 of them & only had one make more than one flight but I'm always blown away by their performance of those rockets on a A8-3! They've got a "can't be beat" price too :D
Don't know if I have a favorite, but I can tell you my longest serving A burner is my good old (and I do mean old) Alpha III. This came with my Range box as a starter set, and it is still flying some 25 years later. I have no idea how many flights but I'm sure it's at least 15. (It sat in my closet for most of those years!) The parachute is burnt and held together by tape, the body is discolored and dented, the points of all 3 fins cracked off, what can I say, it's no beauty, but it has a purpose. At our club's monthly launch, it's always my first one to fly as a wind tester, because at this point if I lose it I don't care. It has been treed a few times, but was always low enough to rescue with our club's pole.

I hear you about flying some of these smaller birds on C's. Last month I flew my vintage Wizard on a B by mistake and lost sight of the thing, luckily I caught sight of it on the descent. I couldn't imagine flying that or the Alpha III on a C!

Well, I have two... :)

The Midnight Express. The most flights I've ever gotten out of *one* was about 12 before it got too ratty to fly anymore (for a free rocket, when it takes more time to repair than to print and build new.... :D )

However, over the past 15-20 years I've probably seen over 1000 ME flights...

My hands down favorite has to be my Sprint. Built in 1973 (31 years old now), she is still flying and has logged her 403rd flight (flight 401 was launched by Vern Estes). With the exception of the shock cord and streamer, she is fully stock and original. I've been debating whether to retire her or push her to 1000 flights before retiring...

Good bird.

I like the Estes Wizard. The rocket weighs almost nothing, is cheap, simple, and readily availible. It is hard to go wrong with any minimum diatemer rocket to get the most out of an A.

Both of the Wizards I built are currently stuck in trees. The last Wizard I had went up on a C6, I was *this* close to recoverying it right at the edge of the field, but we all know how those branches can reach out and grab rockets... :p

I am planning to try a Semroc min diameter rocket soon. They look nice and are even cheaper than the Wizard.
My favorite when I was a kid was a Centuri Javelin with
the plastic NC. Flew it til it didn't come back.
I now have a Semroc Javelin with the balsa NC.
Haven't flown it yet.
So I haven't lost it. ;)
I have to go with the Midnight Express also.
I just looked around and although I do have lots of 18mm rockets, I haven't flown them near as many times as I've flown the ME.

But you've got me wanting to build a Skyhook because yours looks great. Nice job.

The K 27 Honest John. I cloned this one a couple of years ago and it loves A motors.
My personal favorite is my Estes Echo. Elliptical fins, little rocket, performs amazingly well on all from a-c's. It was the second rocket I ever built, and I still fly it on occassion. Has probably 30-40 flights on it.

My favourite is the Fliskits Flea. Although I don't fly it on A's :D I also put a Fliskits Pop Lug to get every inch of altitude out of it!
I think I have about 10 flights on it now.

Lately the Startlight Queeze-Bee has become a favorite. It has spin fins so you always get an interesting smoke trail on the way up.
For me it is plain old Vanilla: The ALPHA.

My first rocket loss as a BAR was an old 1970's Alpha, and my firs build as a BAR was an ALPHA. I launch that one as the first flight on every launch, just to see what is going on 'upstairs'.

I even collect ALPHAS. I have old ALPHAS, 'kid built' ALPHAS, ALPHA IIs, IIIs, IVs, Maxi, Mini, Quasars, Phantoms, and even a German ALPHA!!

All that I need now is a 1967-1968 Pre-Damon Alpha kit.....

Some are pictured on my personal website:

Originally posted by eugenefl
I suppose I don't understand the usage of a 'chute in this small rocket, but I guess it adds character to the model.

Try one of Rocketheads 10" chutes in it, or one of his well made streamers. I like my rockets to drop as quickly as possible w/o damage, but I can understand how young kids might like to see them float down as gently as possible. :)
I agree with Jim about the Sprint. (Great talking with you at LDRS, by the way!) I lost mine a while ago and have a couple cones from BMS sitting on the bench for some clone action. The elliptical fins and tail cone make this one a great performer.
Similar is the Custom Fiesta. And my son always wants to put up his tube-finned Custom Razor, which is a real straight flyer and a good wind-tester.
By the way, I'm glad to see there are still rocketeers who can enjoy themselves without having to burn mass quantities of AP.
All of this Alpha talk is making me want to build my Alpha III. I lost my first Alpha III on its 2nd flight, I never got to enjoy it :(
I downscaled my Sprint to a BT-20 size and fly it on 13mm motors.

Unbelievable flyer on a 1/2A motor.

An A3-4 is unreal! On an A10...GONE! Like a Mosquito!

I use up my A's in my Edmonds CiCi and other gliders that would shread on B6 or higher.

Scored A10-3T for 3 bucks a pack at Micheals today!:)
My favorite A-burner is definitely my Gyroc clone. Gets great altitude on A's, crowd-pleasing recovery, and super-easy to prep for the next flight - just pop in the new motor and go! :cool:

Not to mention the fact that you have to be on your on your toes with this thing. I've had a few close calls with the ejected motor casings, which often provide more entertainment than the rocket itself! :p
My favorite A flyer is my good ol' Estes Mark II. I love this rocket - mid separation, great performance. I have *no idea* how I was able to track it on a C6-7 not once, but on two different occasions.

Great flyer on both A8-3's and -5's. I've since sibstituted the shock cord for a long length of kevlar and ditched the streamer, because the streamer usually gets caught up in the upper end of the rocket anyway.

My Mark II has flown at least 40 times. At least. And it shows - it now has lots of "character" - but still flies great!
Originally posted by shinbone
- snip -
By the way, I'm glad to see there are still rocketeers who can enjoy themselves without having to burn mass quantities of AP.

Most definitely. When I first joined TRF I had to check twice to see that Carl Tulanko was the same guy posting online. Here's a rocketeer that was building L3 rockets like they were going out of style yet the man invested a ton of time into designing and building an MMX MEGA Pad with a fleet of MMX rockets. I was a bit confused...

I suppose the ritual of prepping a rocket with its recovery component, motor, and finally placing it on the launchpad for a countdown is the common bond that makes us honest rocketeers.

Wow. I honestly didn't expect this amount of response. Thanks for all of the suggestions, kudos, and stories. I'll be your park flyer buddy anytime. (Yes Jason - when I get a chance I WILL head over to St. Pete to do some Azalea flying!)
The Alpha. Small enough for high flights on an 'A', and just big enough to warrant a parachute. I'm also fond of the Custom Freedom. Need to finish it with the decals, and the 2nd one will be all set to go! The first one had a B6 bend the engine hook (this one didn't come with an engine block) and continued to shoot up through the body tube.
I have to agree with Fore Check - the old Estes Mark II.

I have never flown it with anything bigger than an "A". I used to like the A5-4 when they made them because the rocket was slower off the pad and you could follow the flight easier.

But you needed a light rocket.

I also had a skyhook, it was my second or third kit.

I believe it had a 12" parachute. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING!

I put a C6-5 in it and saw a small dot drifting away forever.
Well, not my favorite, but my son's. We have had one for quite awhile
and the rocket refuses to die! On it's first flight, the entire MMT kicked out.
Repaired with epoxy. ;)

Sometime after that, the shock cord gave out and we nearly lost the
nosecone. Repaired with a tri-fold mount.

A couple of times, the motor kicked and it tumble recovered- no damage.

We've started using this bird as a wind tester at the park.

I do have to admit this thing is growing on me... Earlier this week,
I was looking at the rocket on the shelf and eyed the scratch pile...

One thing led to another and now we have a 2.2x upsize version! :eek:
We dont really use them... the only time I really used them was when I wanted to shoot my Deuce's on a really windy day, and on my Alpha II
Mine is the Custom Aztec

Not a pure "A" as I have to use a B6-0 Booster, but I always use an A8-3 for the sustainer,

Verrrrry close second is a Quest Pip Squeak. I usually like to launch this early on as I have a 6' mylar streamer that I can pack and use to see what the wind is like. Sort of my own weather sounding rocket.
My favorite A burner is an Estes Reliant. I have my first all Teflon parachute in the one I built, so no wadding required! The cardboard fins on this kit don't need filling and the decals are great.

Bruce S. Levison, NAR #69055
To tough to choose...I guess it would have to be a toss up between my X-Ray (the real estes X-Ray, not that stinking plastic thing) and my Black Shadow. Which I must say, is a real good value (Shameless plug)
I gotta cast another vote for the Alpha - it was my very first rocket (of any kind). I love the lines of that rocket - the fins are just the right shape and the body tube is just the right length!

I'm getting ready to turn a stormcaster into a BT60 Alpha, and I've got a spare Executioner to built into a Maxi Alpha.

Love those Alphas!

I seldom fly A's but for some reason I always liked to fly my Nike-Apache on A8-3.

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