(01/16/01) The Aura was my first
rocket from LOC/Precision and I would consider it their entry level kit
considering the size, ease of build and price. It is a basic
three-fin-and-a-nose-cone (3FNC) kit with a 29mm motor mount.
Although the kit comments indicate that the "kit is
recommended for those with previous model rocketry building experience",
it is a very easy kit to assemble. The experience is required due to limited
illustrations in the instructions and probably due to the 29mm motor
The kit includes a plastic nose cone, a section of body
tube, 3 pre-cut plywood fins, motor mount materials, a launch lug and the
The kit comes in a plastic bag with an insert displaying
a picture of the Aura and the specifications. On the back of this 4x11"
insert are the instructions. There are only two small illustrations. One
showing the rear view and another cut-away showing the side view motor mount
and fin alignment. The instructions are straight forward and in a logical order
allowing the builder to assemble this straight-forward 3FNC rocket.
For ease of assembly and alignment, the fin lines and
launch lug lines are pre-drawn on the body tube. A nice touch. touch. This and
the simplicity of the rocket make it go together quickly. LOC recommends using
epoxy (6 or 20 minute) and I used 15 minute.
The recovery system is assembled from its own set of
instructions. It consists of a length of braided nylon cord which is knotted at
both ends, and knotted with a 1" loop in the center. The two knotted ends
are taped to the inside of the body tube with the knots on the far side of the
tape. Then it is coated with epoxy to completely cover the tape and the knots.
The top of the nylon with the 1" loop sticks out of the top of the rocket
and is used to tie the elastic shock-cord to.
The motor mount consists of a 29mm tube and two centering
rings. The kit relies on friction fit for motor retention. retention. I added a
piece of spring steel (from an old windshield wiper blade) to make a retention
hook just like an Estes kit.
Finishing was also quick, by choice,
since it was two days before -40 and this rocket was going along. I used
Plasti-Kote primer for sealing and
filling. I then painted the entire rocket with some left-over red paint, then
masked and added silver paint. I lastly hit it with clear coat. Aura does
not come with any decals so the finish is entirely up to you.
Overall, for CONSTRUCTION I would rate
points.It is easy to build and therefore similar to many other 3FNC
rockets. The instructions were clear and the addition of the shock-cord
instructions ensure a successful attachment. It would be nice to see a decal
with the name of the rocket and a positive motor retention system.
The Aura is a bit deceptive. Its size and looks may make
observers think it is an Estes-type kit weighing in at 2 - 3 ounces. However,
with the motor this kit weighs in around 12 ounces.
The Aura was launched at NARAM-40, as planned, on an
EconoJet F20-7. Out of sight flight, with simulation indicating greater than
3800 feet. It came down very fast as the nylon streamer was spinning and
wrapping itself up. It landed only 50 feet from the pad it was launch from.
Upon inspection, one fin had broken completely off taking all of the epoxy
bonded areas with it.
Later I tried using the streamer from the Aura on an
Aerotech Mustang, only to find the same type of rolling and tangling on its way
down. Maybe it was all the humidity, but the streamer did not seem
The fin coming off may be something to watch out for,
because I have read several posts on regarding the Aura indicating the same
thing. I think using the technique of pin holes along the alignment line would
be recommended. I use a variation to this technique by using a hobby knife to
cut 1/4" slits across and perpendicular to the alignment line, spacing
them about 1/4" apart. This allows the epoxy to flow into the body tube
and gives it better hold. This was done when reattaching the fin.
After replacing the fin, I flew the Aura on an Aerotech
RMS E23-5T. Simulation indicates that it should fly to about 1550 feet. It was
a beautiful launch and very straight flight. Watching it arc and start to
scream toward the earth was not expected though. though. Neither was it
slamming into the ground somewhere out of sight and not to be found. Total loss
included the $20 rocket, the $35 casing, the $14 parachute (I should have had
that streamer in there) and the time to get this rocket ready to fly.
The meaning of Aura is:
1.a distinctive and pervasive quality or
character; air; atmosphere: an aura of
2.a light or radiance claimed to emanate
from the body and to be visible to
certain individuals with psychic or
3.a sensation, as of a glowing light or an
aroma, preceding an attack of migraine
I think the 3rd definition was
appropriate considering the migraine that ensued after realizing the
"cost" of that flight. Of course it was not a rocket design or kit
For FLIGHT/RECOVERY, I would rate this kit
points.The streamer seems to be the main issue and because RMR postings
indicated experiences of losing a fin and then it happened to me, there is
probably reason to consider its recovery system as the reason. Also, motor
retention would be a bonus.
Overall, this kit is easy to build and is a nice flyer
which can give very high altitudes. Consideration on fin attachment and
streamer usage will need to be taken by the modeler. I give the kit an OVERALL
LOC - Aura
- by Moira Jean Whitlock
Single-staged, three-finned rocket designed for speed and altitude using 29mm
motors. LOC states that it was computer designed.
Construction:It was securely packaged, all parts there, no defects.
The nose is the LOC PNC 1.6 and is hollow plastic, but thicker than the
standard plastic of the other larger nose cones of the LOC line. The body tube
is 15 inch length of LOC MMT 1.6, a thicker airframe than standard airframes,
because it's also suitable for 1.5 inch engine motor tubing. Two wound paper
centering rings are provided to center the 29mm motor tube. The fins are
pre-cut plywood and affix right to the body tube, but not through it. The
launch lug is wound paper, and is a 4 inch length of 1/4 inch rod stock. The
streamer is 60 inches of 4-inch wide orange plastic material. The shock cord is
48 inches of 1/4 inch flat white elastic and it is tied to a 3-inch loop of
nylon cording that will mount to the folded paper mounting inside the body
The instructions were illustrated and clear, and the body tube was
pre-marked for fin placement. I definitely recommend all-epoxy gluing for this
bird, for strength, as it goes up fast and might land hard.
Finishing:There were no decals, but that's no problem for me. If I
get them, I use them. If I get them, I use them. If not, I play. If not, I
play. Here, I spray painted the rocket with enamel orange paint. The fin faces
were silvered with Testors enamel paint. To further enhance visibility, I
placed two silver mylar adhesive strips on the body tube. It looks colorful and
½ out of 5
Flight:I don't recall specific motor recommendations except for just
F and G class. [editors note: recommended motors on package are D12-3, E30-7,
F50-9, G40-10] I myself have flown this rocket over 10 times with three types
of motors. One has been the NCR F62-6. One has been the NCR F62-6. That worked
well, except the delay was a little short, as the shock mount was strained and
needed repair. So I tried Aerotech G35-7 and G40-7 and G80-7. All worked great,
with VERY high flights. All worked great, with VERY high flights. I have
contemplated giving the model a chute for visibility, but so far I haven't lost
it. Then I dared the Apogee F10-8 and it went slow, but so high that I was
scared that it was gone. Luckily, and through my own stubbornness (it was 110
degrees outside) I searched until I found it half a mile downrange. Despite its
obnoxious coloring, it was STILL hard to find!!! I lucked out, I think. This
has been dubbed my lucky rocket as a result.
Three sheets of paper wadding is good during the prep, which is easy. The
streamer fits easily into the tube, not tightly. And the nose cone fits just
right, not needing tape or sanding.
It flies straight and loudly every time. This is reliable and a good first
rocket for mid power.
This Aura is actually number 2 for me. Its older brother was the same only
the fins were black. It too flew 8 or 10 times with Aerotech engines. It's
still flying, as it was given away to inspire a new young rocketeer into the
hobby at a science fiction convention in Casa Grande last year. He was really
excited about rockets and was dying for one of his own. I made him the deal
that if he could find it, that it would be his. his. It was found, intact,
except that the engine mount had come loose. It was easily a quarter of a mile
downrange. (Do epoxy this one.) I was still learning at the time and had used
Recovery: Recovery is just about right. Recovery is just about right.
It doesn't really need a chute, but that would be for my benefit, as I'm
terribly astigmatic and don't sight in on far things well unless they move
slowly and are bright. That's the reason for the craft paper and mylar bands I
put on my fleet. The sun shines off them and provides me with a flash to sight
The model is slightly scratched but quite flyable and has never lost a fin.
Of note is that the first one had a cracked paint job at the fin joints. This
is where the paint went over the putty used to smoothen the fin joint to the
body. I wasn't too happy with it because it flexes and the paint chips there.
So, this Aura doesn't have putty, but instead has large epoxy fillets. If it
had had through the body tube fin attachment, I might have been more
comfortable with less epoxy. But this works.
½ out of 5
Summary: Easy to make, reliable to fly. Easy to make, reliable to
fly. Sturdy and durable. Maybe a chute might prevent loss in less lucky
fliers. I definitely recommend this one.
½ out of 5
(Contributed - by Nick Aberg - 11/24/06)
The LOC/Precision Aura is a tough, quick building, inexpensive, midpower model
rocket with streamer recovery.
The kit came in a bag with: 1 heavy duty body tube, 1 thick plastic nose cone,
3 pre-cut 1/8" ply fins, 1 shock cord mount and elastic shock cord, 1 5ft
long streamer, 1 29mm MMT tube, 1 1/4" launch lug, and 2 paper centering
The kit goes together fairly quickly as the instructions are on the header
card that comes with the kit. The instructions have only the steps you need in
order to build the kit, meaning they tell you the order and "odd"
steps that are not normally in a kit. I do not like the shock cord mount--it is
a nylon braided string that you fold, stick a piece of tape to, and epoxy into
the airframe. You can use the streamer only if you peel off the glassine layer
of the body tube and fiberglass the fins on tip-to-tip. I didn't do this and I
now have to reattach the fins every time I fly it. (I tried using a chute, but
it just gave me a long walk.) The fins go on easy and the body tube is
pre-marked. Everything fits and it is the sturdiest thing around when complete.
Finishing is easy until you get to the nose cone. I sprayed three coats of Kilz
primer on, then flat white, then orange on the body, and yellow on the fins and
nose cone. The nose is annoying because the paint doesn't stick!
½ out of 5
For a rocket's first flight, I either deck it out or go soft. I went soft with
I put on a LOC 18" chute, but the lines burned away and it just fell
to the ground. Damage was not bad as the nose just stuck in the ground and a
fin got buried and snapped off. It made 8 more flights then tried the chute one
more time. It just gave me a long walk over a fence and into a parking lot
where a car almost ran it over.
The recovery is fine, and it is just like how Tom Wolf describes the failure to
deploy the parachute after the ejection seat fires in a jet fighter: it begins
to be so fast that you'd think it is a missile! The kit needs mods to survive.
The kit would get a 5 for flight/recovery, but the streamer takes that away.
out of 5
PROs: It gets up there fast and is very sturdy.
CONs: It gets down fast and the shock cord should be mounted to the rear
out of 5