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REV 2.4 - Tue Aug 17 08:36:02 2010

Flight Systems (FSI)
Echo I
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ROCKSIM FILE: Right Click to Download
SpaceCAD FILE: MISSING - please submit here
REC'D MOTORS: Booster:D18-0, D20-0; Sustainer: B6-7, C6-7, D18-6, D20-7, E5-6

(Contributed - Reviewed by Tim Wood ) 

[Rocket Pic]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 motors. 

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 on 
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 wind. 

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 
Recommended engines: 
first stage: D18-0, D20-0; 
second stage: B6-7, C6-7, D18-6, D20-7, E5-6 
Price $12.15 
Likes: Versatility 
Dislikes: none 

[Submit your Opinion]

07/99 - "If you do happen across an Echo, I strongly suggest using a 24mm (BT-50 or HBT-1090) motor mount tube in both stages. You'll need to widen the holes in the centering rings slightly. You can save the RT-8 motor mount tubes included with the Echo and use them as sleeves to adapt the increasingly rare FSI motors to the 24mm tube." (S.J.)

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