(Contributed - by Bryan Penfold)
This is the second kit available from Mile High Rockets. It is listed as a
Skill Level 3 kit and utilizes unique fin rails and a tube fin setup.
Components are mostly high quality and include one cardboard body tube, one
motor tube, three motor rings, an engine hook, plastic nose cone, 24"
cord and a 14" Kevlar
wrapped shock cord, three cardboard fin tubes, three balsa fins, 9" of
"easy-mount" fin rail, launch lug, decals and a 12.5"
flame-resistant parachute kit (unassembled).
Instructions were comparable to Estes instructions, four pages with easy to
follow illustrations. There is also an instruction sheet for the parachute kit.
Assembly order was typical; not all that difficult for a Level 3 rocket. Pieces
fit together well. I felt the balsa fins were of strange quality, but they
sanded fine and are covered by decals in the end. I liked the balsa fin rail
material which was new to me. It helped in attaching the fins to the body. I
did have some trouble understanding how they were to be shaped with sandpaper,
and I'm still not sure I did it right. The directions and illustrations seem to
conflict in this area. I also had some trouble mounting the tube fins to the
balsa fins. One needs to install all three of them at about the same time to
assure vertical alignment, and this was somewhat difficult. I don't know if I
like their flame-resistant parachute so I substituted a 12" mylar chute
for the one provided.
Finishing was standard primer and paint. I used my own color selection and
added only a few of the decals that were included. I didn't care for the decals
much, they were a very heavy plastic and the adhesive seemed to ooze from them.
After I was finished, I applied several coats of clear coat.
out of 5
I have flown this only once as the body tube was severely damaged in flight and
it needs repair. Preparation is typical for rockets using wadding. First flight
was on an Estes A8-3. It went straight up to about 400' and landed about 100'
from the pad. I would recommend a slightly longer delay.
The recovery system is attached to the motor mount with the two Kevlar
cords. I feel that the Kevlar
cord sticks way too far out of the tube and I expect the rocket to zipper
before long. The directions indicate that the nose cone be attached to the
middle of the elastic cord and the parachute attaches at the end. I modified
this, tying the nose cone at the end and the parachute to the nose cone as I
would for an Estes rocket. During the first flight, the! end of the body tube
was crushed, I'm not sure if it was trying to zipper or the nose cone rebounded
out of 5
- Creative styling and unique materials, mostly high quality.
- I really liked the fin rails.
- The decals could be much better quality.
- Rocket was damaged in flight.
This is a decent second effort for Mile High Rockets. I will try them
out of 5
(Contributed - by Layne Pemberton - 08/14/05)
Explorer 1 is a single stage, futuristically styled, sport rocket and is one of
two kits available from Mile High Rockets. While rated skill level 3 by Mile
High, I would put it at a solid 2. Fin tip tubes and the unique fin rail
mounting system, which speeds fin attachment, add a bit of flair.
The kit was supplied with:
- 1 plastic nose cone
- 1 BT-50 0.097" body tube
- 1 18mm motor mount
- 2 centering rings
- 3 laser cut 0.0625" fins
- 1 length of fin mounting rail
- 3 BT-5 tube fins
- 24" Kevlar
- 1 12.5" heat resistant parachute with snap swivel
- 1 Stubby 9" Kevlar
wrapped shock cord
- Positive motor retention hook
- 1 tiny launch lug
PROs: The easy to follow instructions are on two 8.5" x 11" pages,
printed front and back, and sprinkled with helpful illustrations throughout.
The fin mounting rails, which are a great idea, needed a bit of shaping to
conform to the curve of the body tube, but the slots mated up snugly with the
laser cut fins. Fin alignment was a breeze and all tubes were well cut with
only minor fraying. No real "gotchas" surfaced during construction.
was a welcome addition.
CONs: The supplied fin alignment template is a bit small and provided
little help. The Kevlar
wrapped shock cord was way too short (at only nine inches long) and the
supplied parachute proved to be just a tad large for this body tube diameter.
PROs: The balsa fins sealed easily enough and with just a minor amount of work.
The fin mounting rails can be made to blend beautifully with the fin and
airframe. A single base color is all that is needed, Mile High suggests silver
but I went with gloss white.
CONs: The vinyl decals supplied with the kit leave a lot to be desired.
Their thickness makes them an eyesore and the poor color quality spoils the
look of the kit. The fin decals and the Explorer 1 logo were the only ones I
found to be usable. None of them adhered well to the painted surface.
½ out of 5
The first and only flight was on a C6-5. Instead of wadding, I attached a
section of Nomex
cloth from Pratt Hobbies to the Kevlar
thread. The rocket cocked hard into the wind after leaving the rod but was
PROs: Weathercocked into the 10mph breeze but still achieved ~1000'
altitude. Appeared to be very stable but I will never know for sure as it
landed in cow dung and is now buried in a shallow grave.
CONs: Besides weathercocking and the stench, the only flight was a success.
PROs: The 12.5 inch chute is perfect for this kit. It came down less than 200
meters away even in 10mph winds and no heat damage was observed, so maybe the
chute is really heat resistant. As far as I could tell, the stubby shock cord
did not cause any body damage due to rebound as expected but I would like to
see a much longer one included in the kit.
CONs: After a call to Mile High Rockets, I was informed that the
manufacturer is not responsible for damages received from landings in animals
droppings, fresh or otherwise so I will have to buy and build another one.
½ out of 5
PROs: Goes together easily, parts were of good quality, prefabricated fin
mounting rails are a great idea, full length Kevlar
wrapped shock cord, heat resistant parachute, and good instructions.
CONs: Shock cord is way too short, vinyl decals are too thick, lack depth
and color and don't adhere well, and parachute is a bit thick for BT diameter.
½ out of 5