Is model rocketry safe?
Estes model rocketry is one of the safest outdoor activities in the world. Over 315 million model rockets have been launched since 1958. Estes has provided over 50 years of education materials and innovative and breathtaking fun to people of all ages. Whether you are into flying rockets at school, for fun or competition, Estes rockets offer a truly rewarding experience.
Is model rocketry expensive?
The initial cost to get started is less than might be expected compared to many other outdoor activities. Once you have acquired an Estes Launch Set, which includes a rocket or two, launch pad and electric launcher, your cost for your classroom is the additional Estes rocket and engine bulk packs.
How high can a model rocket fly?
Because of the variety of rocket designs and engines used, the height of rocket flights varies. Estes has model rockets that can fly from 100 feet to several thousand feet and all are reusable. Many Estes rockets have secondary features like payloads and multi-stages.
Can I fly my Estes rockets more than once?
Estes model rockets are designed to be flown over and over. After launching and recovery, simply repack the rocket with wadding, refold and insert the parachute or streamer, remove the used engine casing and insert a new engine, igniter and igniter plug. Now you are ready for another exciting mission!
Where can I fly my model rockets?
For launch information, look at the "NAR Model Rocket Safety Code". You should always check with your local city or government for any special regulations that may apply to your area. Generally speaking, you can fly most Estes Educator model rockets on school property in a clear area the size of a football field or soccer field. Launch in little or no wind and make sure there is no dry grass close to the launch pad or in the flying field.
What should I do if the engine fails to ignite?
If the engine fails to ignite, remove the safety key and wait one minute before approaching the launch pad.
|A.||If the igniter worked, the igniter wasn't touching the propellant. Install a new igniter. When you insert the igniter, do not bend the wires at all. With the igniter wires sticking straight out, insert the correct sized plug for your engine (color-coded). After the plug is firmly seated, you may then bend the wires. If you bend the wires prior to plug insertion, the bending action has a tendency to draw the igniter tip up and away from the propellant resulting in a misfire.
|If the igniter did not work:
What can I do if the rocket lifts off slowly or gets stuck on the launch rod?
For a slow liftoff or rocket that hangs on the launch rod:
|A.||Clean the launch rod with steel wool. Exhaust residue can build up,
preventing the launch lug from sliding over it easily.
|B.||Check the launch rod joint. If the connecting joint has a rough edge, it will catch the launch lug and prevent the rocket from passing that point. Lightly sand the rough edge until smooth.
|C.||Check the launch lug(s) on the rocket.
What problems can happen with recovery wadding?
Recovery wadding problems are:
|A.||Scorched parachute. This occurs when the recovery wadding is crumpled
into tight little balls and then inserted into the rocket's body tube. This leaves gaps around the wadding permitting hot ejection gases to slip around the wadding. The correct way is to loosely crumple each sheet into a ball before inserting them. This fills the air gaps properly. To visually check the wadding, look down into the body tube to see if any light can be seen around the edges. If light shows through, repack the wadding.
|B.||Substituting tissue paper. Absolutely do not do this! Recovery wadding is specially treated to be flame retardant. When the ejection charge goes off, it produces hot expanding gases to push the parachute out. Recovery wadding provides a physical barrier between the ejection charge and the parachute to prevent the hot gas from melting it. If ordinary tissue paper is used, it will catch fire and burn as it floats to the ground.
My parachute did not deploy. How can I fix this?
There are several things that can cause recovery system failures:
|A.||Nose cone doesn't come off— possible problems are:
|B.||Parachute/streamer fails to open:
Even when flying within the wind limits, lightweight rockets can drift significant distances. To reduce the effects of drift beyond what can be done by tilting the launch rod, the recovery system needs to be modified to descend quicker. Various methods are:
|A.||Cutting a spill hole: The top of Estes plastic parachutes have a circle that can be cut out. This allows air to flow through it quicker, increasing the descent rate. The drawback is that the modification to the parachute is permanent.
|B.||Reefing the parachute: Gather the parachute's shroud lines together at the mid-point and wrap a piece of tape around it. This prevents the parachute from opening fully, thus increasing the descent rate. For calm days, remove the tape. This modification is temporary.
|C.||Switch to a streamer: Streamers generally descend quicker than parachutes. If the rocket has a parachute, remove it and attach a streamer. Using snap swivels is a great way to make recovery systems easily interchangeable.|
What can I do when the standoff won't keep the rocket from touching the blast deflector plate?
When this happens, the igniter will short out. Many rockets don't have swept back fins that support the rocket on the launch pad. Here's two ways to fix this:
Make a stand off: Place the rocket on the launch rod and hold it about four inches above the blast deflector plate. Take a piece of masking tape and wrap it around the launch rod just below the bottom launch lug. The rocket will rest on the tape, preventing it from bottoming out.
|A.||Use spent engine casings: Slide a few spent engine casings over the launch rod to create a taller stand off.
The balsa fins won't stay on my rocket when I glue them. How can I keep them on?
To keep the fins on until the glue dries:
|A.||The best glue to use is carpenter's wood glue. This glue will dry quicker.
|B.||Fin gluing techniques.