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REV 2.4 - Wed Sep 1 00:04:27 2010

Aerotech
Mirage
2113 W. 850 N. Street
Cedar City, UT 84720
(435)-865-7100
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SPECS: 7'-3" x 2.6" - 31 oz
ROCKSIM FILE: Right Click to Download
SpaceCAD FILE: MISSING - please submit here
REC'D MOTORS: F40-4W, F52-5T, G64-4W, F50-4T, G35-4W, F38-4FJ, G40-4W, G80-4T

[Picture](06/01/98) The Mirage was the second medium-power rocket and the first Aerotech kit that I built. In addition, this kit is the largest rocket that I have ever built, towering 87" (that's 7'- 3"!).It is 2.6" in diameter and weighs 31 ounces.It flies with 29mm motors. In a nutshell, it's a whole lot of rocket!

The kit comes with three body tubes with couplers, plastic nose cone, and launch lugs. Due to mid-separation, it comes with the hardware necessary to attach two 8 foot shock cords and two nylon parachutes (one 22" and one 30"). The motor mount hardware includes a LABYRINTH cooling mesh and ejection baffle, which eliminates the need for wadding, as well as a motor retention hook. There are three large plastic fins with tabs for mounting in Aerotech's FIN-LOK system through a pre-slotted body tube. Lastly, there is a large Miragedecal.

The Aerotech web site indicates that this kit comes with a 24mm adapter. My kit did not and quite frankly due to size and weight the only 24mm motors I would use would be F24 and F39 and then flights would be less than 400 feet. I think its a misprint on the web site because the catalog does not indicate a 24mm adapter.

There are six pages of clear, illustrated instructions. There are a couple of breakouts which provide a location guide for the motor mount and a detail of the fin. The remaining illustrations provide adequate information for assembly. The instructions also provide clear warnings on use of glue, such as, not putting it on the shock cord since it will weaken it and to avoid getting glue into the FIN-LOK ring's. The instructions are in logical order and can ensure a successful assembly if followed. [Picture]

The instructions suggest using medium viscosity CA, however, I used 5 and 30-minute epoxy. In doing so, I had to wait a few extra minutes between steps, however, I still built the entire kit in about one and a half hours.

The assembly of this large rocket was very easy and there were no problems. All of the parts fit and went together as described. The most difficult part of this rocket is dealing with it's height. If you're not extra careful, you will certainly hit the ceiling a few times. Also dealing with it's size adds a challenge to finishing.

During the finishing stage I decided to not fill the body tube grooves with anything and just build it up using Plasti-Kote primer. This was not the best decision. This was not the best decision. It took about 5 coats, sanding inbetween each one, before the grooves were filled. The nose cone was one of the biggest problems due to the molding grooves left on each side.

Once fully primed, I chose to paint the rocket with a deep maroon metallic automotive lacquer. I painted the entire rocket this color. Then I took a can of chrome paint and sprayed the nose cone and the upper section of the rocket, not protecting anything from over spray. I think this gave a nice "fade-in" look.

The kit comes with one decal with the name Mirageon it, however I did not choose to use it at first. I have since gone back and used it. I followed the directions completely and cut out the decal, peeled the back off, dipped it into some soapy water then applied it to the body. I adhered nicely.

Overall, for CONSTRUCTION I would rate this kit 5 points. I didn't find a single problem.

The Miragehas a mid-separation design which releases the upper five foot section to descend on it's own 22" parachute. The second 30" parachute carries the bottom, fin and motor, section down.

The kit uses two launch lugs. One is on the upper section and the other is on the bottom section. These two need to be aligned to allow for a smooth launch off of the guide rod. The last page in the instructions are the "Operation Instructions" and they indicate that "a 1/4" diameter metal launch rod at least 36" long (as measured from the top of the blast deflector)" should be used. This can not be correct and must be a blanket operation instruction for other Aerotech kits since the top launch lug is about 38" from the bottom of the rocket. I used a five foot rod and even that seemed a tad bit short.

[Picture]The maiden voyage was on an Aerotech Single-Use F25-6. Excellent slow and loud lift off. Excellent slow and loud lift off. The F25 powered the Mirageto a fully observable apogee (wRASP says about 675 feet), then about 2 seconds after apogee the ejection charge pushed the upper section away and both parachutes deployed. The upper section came down faster than the lower section. The lower section drifted more than the upper section, so it would be good to have a flying partner to help in retrieval.

The second flight was supposed to be on a G80-7, however, after 4 puffs this motor was not going to ignite. So the second flight was on an Aerotech Econojet G35-7. This flight was also great to watch with separation at apogee.

The LABYRINTH ejection gas cooling system did exactly what it claims to; "The ignition of the ejection charge creates a burst of hot expanding gas which is cooled by the permanent metal mesh . . . The cooled gas flows around the baffle, pressurizes the parachute bay and ejects the nose cone (or payload bay) and parachute." I had no damage to my shock cords or parachutes.  

One other interesting fact about the Mirageis how well suited it is for many different motors. According to wRASP, the Miragewill have excellent flights (with ejection very near or at apogee) on Single-Use motors, F20-4, F25-4, F50-6, G80-7 and RMS motors, F52-5, G33-5 and G64-7. I'm sure the North Coast Rocketry Darkstar F62-6 would also give a nice flight. I look forward to using some of these other motors!

For FLIGHT/RECOVERY, I would rate this kit 5 points.

Overall, for the price and ease of build, the Mirage is a great kit for someone looking for a very large, mid-powered rocket with little experience. I give the kit an OVERALL rating of 5 points.


[NAR][Sport Rocketry]

The following excerpt is from "Sport Rocketry". The intention is to allow guests to get a basic feeling about a kit. We strongly suggest that you get a copy of the referenced Sport Rocketry and read the entire article. Inside you will find many helpful hints in construction as well as other useful information. For more information, use the two links above.



Aerotech - Mirage
(Sport Rocketry - Sep/Oct 1996 - page 42 - by Douglas Gardei [Who's Who Page]

[Picture]"The Mirage is a tall, attractive model standing 87" tall and 2. 6" in diameter. " 
"Her features are the Labyrinth ejection charge cooling system, molded plastic fins, through-the-wall fin mounting, dual parachute recovery, large decal sheet, and complete instructions. " 
"Flights with the F40 were very interesting. Liftoff was slow, but then the Mirage picked up speed. " 
"The Aerotech Mirage is a very nice kit to get started in higher power rockets. " 
"She is a large, good looking kit that is very easy to build and fly. " 
"On a scale of one to ten, this model deserves a ten. " 

The entire article gives the impression is that this is an excellent kit for a beginner/intermediate modeler.

[Submit your Opinion]

GUEST's OPINION:
08/10 - "I just launched it at WOOSH 2010 using a G75 Metalstorm. Major recommendations: Use 5-30 ton epoxy instead of CA if you ever want to fly this on lager motors. Spend the time to fill in the spiral and sand. Finish off with Future acrylic floor polish--it will look great. Last but not least, I tied the two chords together for a great recovery. I may turn this into a dual deploy and up the motor size to I200. This rocket can really take a beating." (A.Z.)

GUEST's OPINION:
06/08 - "I did not like what I perceived as reliability of the rear ejection with dual parachutes. I extended the motor tube to accommodate the length of the I200. Primarily will fly on G75's and H97's. Extending the motor tube took up all of one body tube so I used a forward ejection. I did use one body tube as a payload section. Also I did foam the empty fin areas for added strength. This rocket flew beautifully on G75 even though the delay was long. My son was excited about flying this rocket since it is his anyway." (S.A.)

GUEST's OPINION:
12/05 - "I love this rocket! This was my first Areotech rocket as well as my first g powered rocket. It's only like this because I’m 14 years old. Anyway, this is one nice rocket. I flew it on a g38-4fj at the local high school. It flew nice but the delay could of been longer. Also the instructions were weird about the 2 peice recovery. I just made it one piece and used the 2nd shockcord on my Estes Executioner. Apart from the recovery system, I recommend this rocket." (J.S)

GUEST's OPINION:
01/02 - "I love this rocket. I got it for 68 dollars and it was well worth it. it goes really high on a g64-4W engine and works like a charm. buy this. the only problem was the couplers. They were hard to get apart (well to hard for the ejection charge to get apart. it took tons of sanding before I got it to slide in nicely." (N.P.)

GUEST's OPINION:
"I agree with everything that the reviewer said, but I found one problem in construction, which was that the tube couplers where almost impossible to get into the body tube sections because they where so tight. To get them in, I had to use a hobby knife to make a tapered edge on them, then push like heck on the thing. In fact, I couldn't get the rocket apart at the place that it splits. I had to get my dad to pull on the nose cone while I pulled on the fin end to get the thing to come apart. I have since sanded that coupler down. Over all, it really didn't cause me that much pain. The review was very accurate, and I agree about using epoxy over CA. I have had bad experiences with CA." (J.B.)

[Enter Rocket Specific Tip]

SPECIFIC ROCKET TIP:
01/05 - "I am not very fond of the 2 piece recovery at all! So on all that are like that I usually get a longer shock cord and chute and have one piece recovery. those who don't like the same thing I do I hope you take my advise." (T.J. )

SPECIFIC ROCKET TIP:
08/04 - "To prevent chasing two parts I attached a 20' piece of parachute rigging cord (550 cord) to both parachute risers. It works great. Both pieces come down together within feet of each other." (M.L.B. )

SPECIFIC ROCKET TIP:
03/02 - "One hint on parachute packing: I was not to happy with the original instructions and have good success when I fold the parachutes to form a spike, put one chute on the other (lines on opposite ends of the stack), z-fold the chutes and roll them in, before wrapping the pack with the lines of the upper chute. This way, both chutes have to come out..." (J.T. from RMR )

SPECIFIC ROCKET TIP:
02/02 - "Hint for excessively tight AT couplers: locate the end of a spiral groove on the coupler, and pry up the VERY OUTERMOST layer with a hobby knife. Then proceed to unwind/peel the shiny glassine layer from the whole coupler. This will leave a smooth, slightly "fuzzy" surface. Test fit in your airframe. If it's still too tight, wrap some 320 no-fill paper (the white stuff) around it and sand lightly until it fits the way you want. Then use low-viscosity CA over the whole surface (do this outdoors!), quickly wiping off the excess with a tissue (wear gloves!). When it's dry, sand again to get rid of any imperfections, and you'll have a perfect coupler. " (S.M. )

[Enter Flight Log]
Date Name Motor Ejection/
Altitude
Wind Notes
05-31-2008 Steve Anderson AT RMS G75-M Very Late 5-10 mph winds Event: Pony Express Test Range
Wesley's Rocket - This rocket has been modified with a longer motor tube to accommodate an I200. I primarily did this fly on G75 and H97 as I don't think a G80 is quite enough for this rocket.
06-21-2008 Steve Anderson AT RMS H97-10 None - Nose Cone Stuck 5-10 mph winds Event: Pony Express
Wesley's Rocket - The nose was a little tight and did not eject. The rocket however came down horizontally and broke only one fin. This has been repaired by pinning with music wire pins. It will fly again at Hellfire.
07-31-2008 Steve Anderson AT RMS H97-M Apogee - NC Down 0-5 mph winds Event: Hellfire XIII
Wesley's Rocket - Drilled delay to make about 2 seconds shorter and was just about right. Perfect flight lots of black smoke. Broke corner of fin upon landing on the salt. Pinned repaired fin held nicely.
07-31-2009 Steve Anderson AT RMS I200-M Apogee - Perfect Calm Event: Hellfire XIV
- I finally decided to fly this on the I200 since the motor tube was modified to do so. A perfect flight.
08-02-2009 Steve Anderson AT RMS H97-M Apogee - Perfect Calm Event: Hellfire XIV
- Parachute did not fully eject from airframe. Minor damage by breaking off a fin tip--easily repairable.
05-17-2003 Donald Besaw AT SU F50-4 Just Past (1-2sec) 0-5 mph winds - Another club president reject. Nice slow flight. No damage.
07-19-2003 Donald Besaw AT SU F50-4 Just Past (1-2sec) 0-5 mph winds - Very nice flight. Recovered close by. No damage.
09-20-2003 Donald Besaw AT RMS F52-5 Just Past (1-2sec) 5-10 mph winds - Nice low and not all that slow flight. Moderate walk for recovery. Landed on a road breaking off the tip of one fin.
07-31-2009 Lloyd Chumbley AMW RMS I195-Altim Apogee - Perfect
(2677 ft)
0-5 mph winds Event: Hellfire 14
-
04-27-2006 David Culp AT EconoJet F42-4 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - Maiden flight. Nice slow boost to appogee, straight as an arrow. Great flight, seperated at apogee, both chutes opened and both halves landed within a few feet of each other and about 30 yards from pad.
04-27-2006 David Culp AT EconoJet F42-4 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - Second flight. Nice slow boost to appogee, straight as an arrow. Great flight, seperated at apogee, both chutes opened and both halves landed within a few feet of each other and about 30 yards from pad. Altitude about 300-350 feet.
05-04-2006 David Culp AT EconoJet F42-4 Apogee - Perfect Calm - Great flight. This rocket flies slow and low on this engine, probably around 300-350 feet. Deployment at apogee. Great rocket and motor combination.
05-04-2006 David Culp AT EconoJet F42-4 Apogee - Perfect Calm - Fourth flight and disaster struck. Upper section deployed fine, the booster section the chute never came out and core sampled. Repair took five minutes, rocket now six inches shorter.
05-05-2006 David Culp AT EconoJet G38-4 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds - Fifth flight, rocket 6 inches shorter from repair. Onboard booster vision camera. Great flight with a bit of spinning. Alt about 600 feet. Long walk for recovery.
04-25-1998 EMRR AT SU F25-6 Just Past 5-10 mph winds - Excellent flight. Top section descends faster than lower section.
05-22-1998 EMRR AT EconoJet G35-7 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds - Lots of noise, separation right at apogee. Top section free fell until about 200 feet when chute finally opened. Lower section flawless
05-22-1998 EMRR AT SU G80-7 None - Underpowered 5-10 mph winds - pop, puff, puff, puff - no flight
06-05-1998 EMRR AT SU G80-7 5-6 seconds past apogee light winds - same motor as 5-22 ignited with NCR igniters. Didn't count total delay, just seconds past apogee . . . thought I lost this rocket
06-06-1998 EMRR AT EconoJet G35-7 1-2 past apogee 15-20 mph winds - Used NCR igniter. Excellent flight and recovery. A real crowd pleaser!
07-18-1998 EMRR NCR SU F62-4 at apogee 5-10 mph winds - Had to tape the F62 since the length is a bit larger that AT F and I didn't have a good adapter. Lot's of black smoke and great flight. The top section hit concrete and damaged the tip of the nose cone.
11-07-1998 EMRR AT RMS G64-4 nope 5-10 mph winds RIP - This was to be the Mirages last flight before being cut up and made into a tube-finned kit. Well, it became the last flight due to no ejection! She's dead! Status: Lawn Dart
07-10-2004 Jack Gelfand AT RMS H123-10 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds - Modified fin can for 38mm. Tied front and rear section shock cords together and used one 24 chute. Whooosh. Went up straight as an arrow about 2000'. Came down 1/4 mi away.
04-13-2002 Taylor Jessee AT EconoJet G35-4 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds - Chuffed on pad
08-12-2002 Taylor Jessee AT EconoJet G38-4 None - Parachute Fail 5-10 mph winds - Failure ejectionFirst Flight
03-10-2007 Geoffrey Kerbel AT RMS G77-10 Apogee - Perfect
(WAY UP THERE ft)
5-10 mph winds Event: Club launch
Camera rocket - Really high flight. Added second chute to cut down on the swinging for better video but didn't help much. Still twisting on the way up and video is still close to seasick time.
02-17-2002 Gary Meakin AT RMS H220-10 Didn't See Calm - My Level-1 attempt. The Mirage leapt off the launch pad and cruised up to about 2500'. The chute appeared around apogee and earned my L1. A good crowd pleaser. Cert Flight: L1
04-21-2002 Brett Phillips AT EconoJet G35-4 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds - This rocket flies beautifully on this motor. Big rocket looks slow on boost but plenty of thrust to avoid weathercocking. This motor is short. Engine block cut from spent SU G-80 casing.
04-21-2002 Brett Phillips AT SU G80-7 Apogee - Perfect 10+ mph winds - Winds had picked up so I flew on a fast burning G-80. Man that thing cooked! I love this rocket! Lotsa altitude and a really, really long walk!
05-20-2000 Steve Ruane AT RMS G64-4 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - Two flights - Very fast and high. Perfect
06-24-2000 Steve Ruane AT RMS F40-4 Apogee - Perfect 10+ mph winds - Low flight, fairly high wind.
07-22-2000 Steve Ruane AT RMS F40-5 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - Very nice flight
09-25-2004 Mark Squire AT SU F50-4 Just Before Calm - About 800 feet, cool slow liftoff. Good flight.
02-23-2002 Richard Valenti AT EconoJet G35-4 Apogee - Perfect Calm - Second flight.Big rocket drew quite the crowd. Smoke, flame, noise!! About 8-10 people. Launched perfectly just about out of site. Ejected the top half chute but the bottom half came in hot(no chute). 3 of tube crumpled.
10-01-2006 Bill Walters AT RMS F52-8 Just Past (1-2sec) Calm - Blue Thunder Motor lanuched quick and into wind. Ejected a little late and landed about thirty feet from pad. All in all a good flight. Ready for farm fields to get havested then i'm going to G motor
08-28-2010 Alex Zoghlin AT SU G77-7 Apogee - Perfect
(2332 ft)
10+ mph winds Flight PictureEvent: ECOF 2010
- G75 MetalStorm. Perfect flight in very high winds (25 MPH) - one parachute tangled, but everything recovered with only a small dent in a fin. had a long run to recover the rocket.
   

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