- Reviewed by Tim Wood )
Flight Systems calls their Echo 1 "an advanced
two-stage bird capable of flights to extreme altitudes." I can vouch for
the extreme altitudes.
Flight Systems and the Echo have been around for some time, but I didn't
discover the company or the rocket until my "BAR" experience about
one and one-half years ago. FSI has some unusual motors which feature
interesting thrust curves. The Echo I was my introduction to those
The rocket is advertised as 20.5 inches long, but with payload section and
booster stage, it's a few inches longer. It has a body diameter of 1.34 -
equivalent to the Estes BT-56. You could use it to fly an Astrocam 110 or an
Eggspress payload section (if you used adequate standoffs for the launch lugs.)
The standard motor mount is for FSI 21 mm motors; however, it comes with an
adapter for 18mm motors.
Fins are pre-cut balsa - not die-cut. You do not have to liberate the fins
from a sheet of balsa. The root edge of the fins are colored red, a nice touch
which can help you avoid a big mistake. Assembly is straightforward. The
parachute includes a snap swivel.
I flew my Echo several times in single-stage configuration. I used motors
ranging from a B4-2 to an FSI E5-6. The FSI D20-5 provides a very quick liftoff
and a healthy dose of noise. The E5-6 is a different animal, giving a slower
liftoff but 4.5 seconds of thrust. The rocket flew well on both motors.
After about 10 flights, I decided to paint the rocket and try it as a
two-stager. I picked a blue and white scheme that approximated what I saw on
the package and in the catalog. There are several colorful decals included.
With the paint and decals, it was an impressive-looking rocket.
At a Dallas Area Rocket Society launch in March, I prepped the rocket to fly
with a D20-0 booster and an E5-6 upper stage. No multi-stage instructions
came with either the kit or motors, so I used the Estes method of taping the
motors together with transparent tape and friction-fitting them in their
respective mounts. I've found that Aerotech Copperhead igniters work well
the D20s, so I used that instead of the included thermalite.
After ignition, the D-20 seemed to burn longer than its advertised
six-tenths of a second. Staging was successful and that E5-6 just kept going
and going and going .. and so did the rocket. Unfortunately, I lost sight of it
and was unable to find the upper stage. A DARS member recovered the lower stage
for me. I plan to buy the parts to build a new upper stage and fly it again as
a two-stager, but perhaps with a smaller parachute and on a day with less
The FSI Echo I is a very versatile rocket. It became the favorite of my
fleet. The FSI motors are unusual and can provide a different type of flight
profile. I recommend the kit to anyone with some rocket-building experience,
preferably multi-stage experience.
Facts:Length: 20.5 inchesBody diameter: 1.34 inches
Weight: 3.5 ounches
first stage: D18-0, D20-0;
second stage: B6-7, C6-7, D18-6, D20-7, E5-6