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REV 2.4 - Mon Feb 21 17:11:02 2011

FlisKits
Frick-n-Frack
6 Jennifer Drive
Merrimack, NH 03054
(603) 494-1145
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SPECS: 5.5" x 0.736" - 2.3 oz
ROCKSIM FILE: MISSING - please submit here
SpaceCAD FILE: MISSING - please submit here
REC'D MOTORS: B6-0, C6-0

Rating
(Contributed - by Bob Cox [Who's Who Page] - 07/04/07) FlisKits Frick and Frack

Brief:
One of the few two-stage saucers on the market, Frick-n-Frack takes off like a fairly conventional 6-sided saucer. At motor burnout of the first stage, the saucer separates into two sections, each with 3 drag-plate fins. The booster section (Frick) tumbles gently to the ground while the sustainer section (Frack) continues to burn, often with a nice spinning action.

Jim Flis showed the prototype for this at NARCON 2007 in February. Since I am a big fan of Art Applewhite's saucers, I immediately fell in love with Jim's Frick-n-Frack. Jim refused to sell me one in February, so I had to wait until the official release at the National Sport Launch in June. I ordered mine from JonRocket.com shortly after NSL and was pleased to receive production kit #84.

Construction:
Parts List:

  • 2 2.75" BT-20 Body Tubes
  • 3 Laser Cut Balsa Fin Sheets, 2 fins/sheet
  • 3 Laser Cut Plate Sheets, 2 plates/sheet
  • 1 Engine Block
  • 2 1/8" Launch Lugs
  • 1 Fin Alignment Template
  • 1 Assembly Instructions
FlisKits Frick and Frack

The laser cut balsa parts are very precise with very narrow cut lines. Like many Fliskits models, this one does not include any decals, leaving the decorative creativity to the builder.

Instructions are professionally printed on two sheets of 11" x 17" paper. Assembly instructions cover 20 steps, each of which includes a clear line drawing. Four additional drawings describe the flight preparation process and a full page drawing shows the unique two-stage flight profile.

The first step involves gluing a spent engine casing to the center of a full-page cardstock template. This template is used for all alignment steps. A body tube is placed over the spent engine casing so that the fins may be glued in place in later steps.

Step 2 suggests sealing the balsa since it will be much more difficult once assembly is complete. This is a good idea. I used a heavy coat of Kilz primer, which I later mostly sanded off. (Hint: The directions don't mention it, but the fin roots and locating tabs should be left bare to allow the glue to penetrate properly.)

Steps 3-7 cover gluing the sustainer fins to the body tube. A unique feature engineered into the kit is a stop tab on the fins. This tab allows accurate vertical placement of the fin. After the glue has dried, the stop tab is cut off flush with the end of the tube using a sharp knife.

FlisKits Frick and Frack I had mixed feelings about the stop tabs. They are a great idea when building according to the directions, and most builders should fine them quite useful. For builders like me who like to paint their parts before gluing them together, the tabs made some of the dry-fitting steps more difficult.

Step 8 repeats steps 3-7 for the booster section fins.

Steps 9-14 cover the attachment of the stabilizing plates to the tips of the sustainer fins. At each step, the plates are taped to the fin or to the template for proper alignment while the glue dries.

Steps 15-18 cover the attachment of the stabilizing plates to the booster fins. The booster plates must fit precisely between the sustainer plates so adjacent plates are taped together while the glue is drying.

After all the plates and fins are glued, a total of 24 fillets are applied while the parts are still taped together.

For the last two steps, launch lugs are attached to each stage and an engine block is installed in the upper body tube.

I am sure that the method described in the directions would have worked quite well and resulted in a very sturdy model. I wanted to do a three-color paint scheme that would have been a bit tricky after the parts were assembled, so I cheated a lot on the directions. I tacked each of the stabilizing plates to their respective fins using medium CA and a square to ensure that they were perpendicular. I then filleted each fin to its plate. After the fillets were dry, I painted all the fin assemblies.

I also primed the body tube before gluing the fins on. Normally when I do this, I use narrow masking tape to ensure that the fin contact area remains bare for good glue adhesion. I was on vacation when I built this kit so I did not have my usual assortment of tapes with me. I skipped the masking step, which later proved to be a mistake.

After all the paint had dried, I sanded each of the fin roots bare and tacked the fins to the tubes using medium CA.

Afterwards, I used Z-Poxy brand 5-minute epoxy to create fillets between the fins and tubes. This was the first time I have used Z-Poxy, and will probably be my last. Two days later, the epoxy was still sticky. In addition, the heat from the engine was enough to make the epoxy soft and flexible at the end of each flight.

Finishing:
I started by coating the raw balsa and cardboard with Kilz primer and sanding most of it off. I then painted each of the fin/plate assemblies with Valspar enamel in three patriotic colors (Berry Red, Gloss White, and Pacific Blue). Normally I would use Rustoleum paint and I would have repeated the primer/sanding steps until the grain was eliminated, but I was on vacation and did not have all my usual finishing supplies with me.

No decals were provided, but the kit looks fine without them.

Construction Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

Flight:
FlisKits recommends any combination of B6-0 and C6-0 motors for both the booster and the sustainer and suggests B6-0 under windy conditions to avoid weathercocking. The manufacturer does not recommend it, but any minimum-delay motor (B6-2, B4-2, or C6-3) motor should work fine in the upper stage.

For my first flight, I used the recommended B6-0/B6-0 combination. Preparation consists of taping the two motors together using a single layer of clear tape then friction fitting each motor into its respective stage using masking tape. I found it somewhat tricky to get just the right fit in each tube, so that the stages would separate cleanly at first-stage burnout but each engine would remain firmly within its respective section. No wadding is required and no engine hook is provided.

Takeoff looked normal for a saucer of this size, going straight up to about 40 feet. When the upper motor lit, there was a loud pop. All the booster fins tore loose from the lower body tube and fluttered separately to the ground. Meanwhile, the upper stage continued up to about 100 feet with a slow spin. After burnout, the upper stage descended safely to the ground with a slow spin.

Post-flight examination showed that when the fins pulled loose from the lower body tube, they took the primer from the tube with them. Lesson learned: Always glue to raw material, not to a painted surface.

Flight #2 used just the upper stage with a B6-2 motor. This time it took off with a rapid spin and rose to about 50 feet.

After burnout, it arced over and tumbled for a while before settling into a gentle spin. The ejection charge fired about 15 feet from the ground. One fin broke loose on landing, again because the primer peeled off the tube. The loose fin was quickly repaired with a line of medium CA.

FlisKits Frick and Frack Flight #3 flew with only the upper stage and used a C6-3. This time it spun quickly on the way up to about 100 feet, arced over and spun on the way back down. The ejection charge fired at about 50 feet. The landing was gentle with no additional damage. The heat from the motor did make the epoxy soft and flexible though.

Flight #4 again used a C6-3 in just the upper stage. The flight was a near-clone of flight #3, with apogee at 100 feet and ejection at about 75 feet on the way back down with similar spinning on the way up and down.

Recovery:
Even as a single-stage, Frack is a great flyer on a C6-3.

I have since repaired the booster, so I will be interested to see what a B6-0/C6-3 or C6-0/C6-3 combination looks like.

It might also be interesting to drag-race the upper and lower stages side by side. Not many rockets allow that as an option. (Note: Try this at your own risk. Stability of the lower stage by itself has not been tested.)

Flight Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

Summary:
This is a very fun kit both to build and to fly. Getting all the parts aligned properly will require patience and care, but the precision laser-cut parts and templates make it possible to do a very good job.

PROs: Unique 2-stage saucer design. Wild spinning flights. Low-altitude staging works well in small fields. Well-written directions and quality components.

CONS: Friction fitting the motors is a little finicky, and the staging is rather violent. A slightly larger body tube or a vent might tame it down.

Overall Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

[Submit your Opinion]

GUEST's OPINION:
05/09 - "This is a great kit! It is a fun night flier when adorned with LED "finger lights". " (W.T.M.)

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[Enter Flight Log]
Date Name Motor Ejection/
Altitude
Wind Notes
11-11-2008 John Bergsmith Est SU B6-0/Est SU B6-0 None - Tumble Calm - Great flight with both stages boosting straight. Staging was at about 50 feet which is really cool. Nice heli decent with no damage.
11-07-2009 John Bergsmith EST SU B6-0/EST SU C6-0 None - Tumble 5-10 mph winds Event: Family Site
- Flies best with this motor configuration. This is a blast to fly!
07-16-2007 Donald Besaw Est SU C6-0/Est SU C6-0 None - Tumble 5-10 mph winds - Great flight, staged maybe 60-70 feet up. Rapid acceleration and spin from sustainer. This rocket is so much fun to fly. Thanks Fliskits.
10-07-2007 Donald Besaw Est SU B6-0/Est SU C6-0 None - Tumble 5-10 mph winds - Awesome first flight. Took off rather slowly, staged about 40-50 feet up and the sustainer accelerated and spun rapidly. Both sections recovered very close by. No damage.
07-10-2010 Bernard Cawley EST SU B6-0/EST SU B6-0 None - Tumble 0-5 mph winds Event: July Launch at Club field
- Straight first stage. Second stage arced west. Both spun on way down and landed nearby. What a hoot!
07-10-2010 Bernard Cawley EST SU C6-0/EST SU B6-0 None - Tumble 0-5 mph winds Event: July Launch at Club field
- Cool! Long straight first stage and curved second stage flight. Again both stages landed very nearby.
08-14-2010 Bernard Cawley Est SU B6-0/ Est SU B6-0 None - Tumble 5-10 mph winds Event: August '10 club launch
- Similar to prior flight. Spat booster motor. Little rotation going up, lots coming down. Both stages landed very close.
09-18-2010 Bernard Cawley EST SU C6-0/EST SU C6-0 None - Tumble 0-5 mph winds Event: Rolling Thunder 15
- Typical F-n-F flight. Amused the crowd a bit. Spit the motor from the booster. Both stages landed nearby.
05-10-2008 Edward Chess EST SU C6-0/EST SU C6-0 None - Tumble 5-10 mph winds Event: May 2008 Club
- This is one of the best crowd pleasing rockets out there. Great performance and fun recovery.
08-10-2008 Edward Chess Est SU C6-0/Est SU C6-0 None - Tumble 0-5 mph winds Event: FVR-August 2008
- Windcock caused second stage to descend under power, but no damage to sustainer.
08-22-2009 Edward Chess 2x Est SU B6-0 None - Tumble 5-10 mph winds Event: August Club/Davis Park
- Even with the breeze, FnF flew well enough.
07-10-2010 Edward Chess Est SU C6-0/EST SU C6-0 None - Tumble 5-10 mph winds Event: July Launch/Kishwaukee Park
- Windcocked, but boosts okay. Lower stage spit engine despite tape.
01-17-2009 Ron Coffee 2x Est SU B6-0 Didn't Record 0-5 mph winds - Fun rocket. First stage reaaly weather cocked, and second stage flew nearly parallel to the ground, but it was high enough there was no danger.
07-01-2007 Bob Cox Est SU B6-0/Est SU B6-0 None - Tumble 5-10 mph winds Event: Rodeo Grounds
- First stage took off normally to about 40 feet. At staging, all the lower stage fins stripped off. The upper stage continued up about 100 feet with a slow spin. After burnout, the upper stage spun slowly to the ground.
07-01-2007 Bob Cox Est SU B6-2 None - Tumble 0-5 mph winds Event: Rodeo Grounds
- (Upper Stage Only) Takeoff with a fast spin to about 50 feet. Arced over and tumbled, then settled into a spin. Ejection charge fired about 15 feet from ground. One fin broke loose on landing.
07-01-2007 Bob Cox Est SU C6-3 None - Tumble 0-5 mph winds Event: Rodeo Grounds
- Fast spinning to about 100 feet, then spinning on way down. Ejection charge fired at about 50 feet. Beautiful!
07-01-2007 Bob Cox Est SU C6-3 None - Tumble 0-5 mph winds Event: Rodeo Grounds
- Fast spinning to about 100 feet, then spinning on way down. Ejection charge fired at about 75 feet. Beautiful!
07-28-2007 Bob Cox Est SU C6-0/Est SU C6-3 None - Tumble 0-5 mph winds Event: Maple Island
- Long boost with strong weather-cocking; nearly horizontal at first-stage burnout. Upper stage zoomed away quickly, then settled into gentle spinning descent after burnout. Ejection charge fired about 40 ft from ground. Fun!
07-28-2007 Bob Cox Est SU B6-0/Est SU C6-3 None - Tumble 0-5 mph winds Event: Maple Island
- Short boost, then staged pretty low. Upper stage went much higher and faster, with spin. Gentle spinning descent.
08-25-2007 Bob Cox Est SU C6-3 None - Tumble 5-10 mph winds Event: Maple Island
- Frick vs. Frack Drag Race (FRICK): Both halves went straight up at matched speeds and altitude. Frick spun quickly on way up but came down not spinning. Landed safely about 60 feet from pad.
08-25-2007 Bob Cox Est SU C6-3 None - Tumble 5-10 mph winds Event: Maple Island
- Frick vs. Frack Drag Race (FRACK): Both halves went straight up at matched speeds and altitude. Frack went up straight but spun on way down. Landed safely about 75 feet from pad.
09-09-2007 Bob Cox Est SU C6-3 None - Tumble 5-10 mph winds Event: Century
- Straight boost with fast spin. Flipped over and spun nicely on way down. Ejection charge popped about 60 feet up. Cracked fin joint on landing, but easily repairable. 10 sec
09-21-2008 Bob Cox EST SU C6-0/EST SU B6-2 None - Tumble 5-10 mph winds Event: Schmidt
- Quick takeoff, then arced hard into wind. Staging was horizontal, with upper stage leaving the booster like a slingshot. Upper stage then helicoptered down nose first. GREAT!
05-24-2009 Bob Cox Qst SU C6-0 None - Tumble 5-10 mph winds Event: NSL2009
- (FRICK ONLY) Frick vs. Frack vs. Frick vs. Frack 4-way drag race against Lyle from MASA. My Frick was last to ignite, then span like crazy on the way up and down. All recovered.
05-24-2009 Bob Cox Qst SU C6-3 None - Tumble 5-10 mph winds Flight PictureEvent: NSL2009
- (FRACK ONLY) Frick vs. Frack vs. Frick vs. Frack 4-way drag race against Lyle from MASA. My Frick was last to ignite, then span like crazy on the way up and down. All recovered.
08-19-2007 Peter Davidson Est SU B6-0/Est SU C6-0 None - Tumble 0-5 mph winds Event: Dandenong Wetlands (AUSTRALIA)
NSL 2007 Frickasee - One hilarious maiden flight!!! VERY low textbook staging, sustainer powered upwards at around 45 degrees with a truly awesome spinning effect. Both sections recovered very nicely close to the launch area, no damage.
08-19-2007 Peter Davidson Est SU C6-0/Est SU C6-0 None - Tumble 0-5 mph winds Event: Dandenong Wetlands (AUSTRALIA)
NSL 2007 Frickasee - Second flight, some weathercocking into the wind during boost stage. Very pronounced weathercocking upon staging with sustainer travelling nearly horizontal again with very fast spinning. Slight paint chipping evident on booster upon retrieval.
02-08-2009 Ben Genn 2x Est SU B6-0 None - Tumble 5-10 mph winds RIPEvent: Members Launch - Launch Site 2
- Second stage went unstable and disintegrated. Status: Not Repairable
06-19-2010 John Kelley C6-0 boost, B6-0 sust None - Tumble 5-10 mph winds - Turned almost sideways on boost, but the sustainer straightened out. Boost motor ejected. Cool flight.
06-19-2010 John Kelley Est SU B6-0 None - Tumble 5-10 mph winds - Only launched sustainer. Flew great, flipped and spun down.
06-19-2010 John Kelley C6-0 boost, B6-0 sustain None - Tumble 5-10 mph winds - Went almost straight up this time. Everything went great, but snapped a fin off sustainer on landing. Should be able to repair.
04-09-2010 Dale Marshall 2x Est SU B6-0 Apogee - Perfect
(unk ft)
0-5 mph winds Flight Picture - The maiden flight of my Frick-n-Frak was perfect - the booster separated and spun down and the sustainer did the same. Perfect with a soft landing on both very close to the pad. What a great rocket!
04-09-2010 Dale Marshall 2x Est SU C6-0 Apogee - Perfect
(unk ft)
0-5 mph winds - The second flight was a mirror of the first except it went higher with the C6 engines. I'll enjoy this rocket for a long time!
04-10-2010 Dale Marshall Est SU B6-0/Est SU C6-0 None - Tumble
(50 ft)
5-10 mph winds Event: Alamo Rocketeers Monthly Launch
- Wind was pretty strong and it really weathercocked into the wind. But it was a beautiful flight nonetheless and it came right down next to the pad.
04-25-2010 Dale Marshall 2x Est SU B4-0 None - Tumble 0-5 mph winds - Quick launch for the Two At Once photo contest. Launched late so the photo didn't take. Some damage to one fin and the booster launch lug. But overall a clean flight.
04-25-2010 Dale Marshall 2x Est SU B6-0 None - Tumble 0-5 mph winds Flight Picture - Quick launch for the Two At Once photo contest. hooked up using a clip whip so the launch was perfect. Good flight, sustainer landed in the fence but no damage.
05-31-2010 Dale Marshall Est SU C6-0 / Est SU C6-0 None - Tumble 0-5 mph winds - Memorial Day launch at the airfield. Perfect flight, staged correctly, rocket recovered without damage.
06-19-2010 Dale Marshall Est SU B6-0 / Est SU B6-0 None - Tumble 5-10 mph winds - Another great flight, but it hung up on the rod a little due to a slightly melted booster launch lug. The boost was low but the sustainer took it way up there - it's still a GREAT rocket.
08-24-2007 Mark Van+Luvender Est SU C6-0/Est SU C6-0 Didn't Record 0-5 mph winds - Another great flight by a great rocket. Love this one!

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