(Contributed - by Verna DeArman - 11/10/05)
My favorite movie
has always been The Wizard of Oz. With that in mind I decided to build a rocket
that could carry several passengers over the rainbow. The nice thing about
building Dorothy from the Estes Loadstar kits is that you already have most of
the materials and you will have spare fins and chutes left over.
While there are many steps to assembling the Loadstars individually, there
are 7 main steps to building Dorothy from them. I would say Dorothy is a level
4 build but anyone with average building experience can be successful.
Read this through before starting the project and refer to photos often.
- 4 Estes Loadstars
- 1 BT 55 tube coupler
- 10 #6 1/2" screws
- 2 small sheets of balsa 1/8" x 3" x 9"
- 2 launch lugs 1" x 3/16ths
*Allow glue to dry between steps and refer to the photos to help understand
1. Construct the 2 bt's and 2 boosters, per Estes instructions but
leave 1 fin off of each one.
2. Construct the core bt and booster per Estes instructions, it will consist
of the engine mount, no fins.
3. Make 6, 1" x 1/2" x 1/4" shims from scrap balsa. Place 1
shim flush with each end of both outboards and place 1 in the middle between
the bt's, to act as stand offs, then mate all 3 bt's using the shims. Make sure
the tubes are equal on all sides. When dry, attach the 1/8" x 3" x
9" balsa sheets to both sides. The sheets should be flush with the bt's at
both ends and in the center of the outboard tubes.
4. Permanently install the bt coupler to the core bt and the last Loadstar
bt. This will make the core bt 18" long without the payload section.
Install 1, 24" chute and attach the payload section to the opposite end.
5. Permanently attach a payload section to each of the outboards using #6
6. Paint and decal as desired.
7. Make 2 stand offs the same as in step 3, 1/2" x 1/2" x 1"
and attach launch lugs. Center the lugs at the top and bottom of balsa sheets
on the same side.
Dorothy will fly as a 3 engine or a 3 to 3, 6 engine cluster.
3 engine cluster options: Outboards: B6-0 & Core: B6-4 or Outboards: 2
B6-0 & Core C6-5.
2 stage 6 engine cluster options: First stage: 3 C6-0 2nd stage: Outboards:
2 C6-0 & Core: C6-5.
Dorothy has made 3 excellent flights as of 11-1-2005. The first 2 flights
were as a single stage, flying on 2 C6-0 and a core C6-5. Both were excellent
and we only cracked 1 fin when the wind caused a hard landing on the second
flight but it was easily repaired.
Our first attempt of a 2 stage flight was on a 3 C6-0 to 2 B6-0 and a core B6-4
cluster. Weighing in at 19.5 ounces when fully prepped, Dorothy is a little
heavy for 3 C6'-0s but she is very stable. Estes rates the maximum lifting
capabilities of a C6 at 4 ounces, 3 C6's shouldn't be able to lift Dorothy off
the pad but they do and quite well.
Prepped and ready to go, the button is pushed and all 3 engines lift her
straight up. Despite the weight that the 3 C6-0's are lifting, the Scare Crow,
Tin Man and Lion easily clear the pad. They reach 150' and the 2nd phase of the
flight while climbing at a pretty good clip. Without delay the staging
pops off the 1st stage boosters as the 2nd stage engines ignite. Again all 3
engines of the 2nd stage power up together as Dorothy shifts into 2nd and picks
up a nice kick. A slight angle develops as she continues to climb rapidly and
tops out about 800'.
Dorothy coasts for a few seconds then finally the chute ejects at about 500'
but doesn't fully deploy because the ejection has partially fused the plastic
chute together. At best, deployment is about 50% and the rocket goes into a
slow which actually helps to slow the descent. The field grass is
deep and she lands without any damage. Be sure to use a mylar chute!