(12/31/99) We haven't heard much
from Nordic Rocketry in a while and they have stopped advertising in Sport
Rocketry Magazine, however, they are still preparing to release some new kits.
I was fortunate to get my hands on one of them called the Phaze. This bird is an entry
level kit designed to fly on 18mm motors with a projection of 300 feet on a
B6-4 motor. It is 17.25" long, 1.22" in diameter, and weighs about
2.1 ounces without a motor.
The PhazeÔ uses a single body tube that is thicker
(1/16") than your normal rocket kits. This makes it a more durable model.
Also, something new that Nordic Rocketry is doing that must get noticed is
their new LaserLineÔ.
Previous kits from Nordic utilize the technique of punching holes along the
edge of the fin mounts to allow the glue to seep in creating a "glue
rivet". Now Nordic is making great use of their Laser Cutter and they put
the holes in the tube for you.
They also provide precision laser-cut fins and centering
rings cut from 1/16" plywood. Add a balsa nose cone, two 1/8" brass
launch lugs and a the necessary motor mount hardware with retention and the
Phaze become a nice
little bird. For recovery, the kit includes a piece of 1/16" Kevlar that
is tied to an eye-hook on the upper centering-ring which is then ties to a
36" long piece of 1/4" elastic shock-cord. This is tied to another
eye-hook on the nose cone. Then a red 9" hexagon Rip-stop nylon parachute
is added to complete the recovery system.
There are 9 pages of instructions with plenty of
illustrations to allow the builder to complete the kit with ease. They are not
as basic as Estes instructions so a younger person (such as my 9 year old
nephew) woudl need adult supervision if they had never built a rocket before.
They are in logical order and provide details such as, needed tools and
supplies, fin shaping, sanding and sealing, painting and flying
suggest that yellow wood glue should be used for construction. I took this as
another opportunity to use a glue that I have lately discovered; ProBond
Weather Resistant Wood Glue for exterior use. What I like about this glue is
that it contains wood fiber which adds to its "no-run" formula. This
helps keep the glue in place and it seems stronger than white glue. Also, it
grabs quicker. Put a thin coat on the root edge of the fin and place it on the
body tube. Press and hold for just a couple of seconds and let it dry. It
doesn't slide or tilt like when using white glue. For the Phaze, you really want to just
use a thin coat for this initial attachment so as not to cover up any of the
The ProBond is such a thick glue that doesn't run easily,
so I changed to epoxy for the fin fillets. You could use other wood glues that
are thinner. The idea is to allow the glue to flow into the LaserLineÔ holes. A couple of coats of glue are needed for
the fillets because the first coat ends up with little divots where is has
flowed into the LaserLineÔ holes. This is a good thing! The second coat
makes the fillet nice and smooth.
As mentioned above, the fins and centering rings are
laser-cut plywood. You can see the clean cuts on the fins (pictured). The
centering rings were just as good. These fit perfectly around the motor mount.
They had a small hole for starting the recovery system eye-hook on the upper
centering ring. They even had the small notch laser-cut on the lower centering
ring to allow the motor retention hook to work properly. Very nice, making
assembly a breeze.
Finishing was typical
for me. I used Plasti-Kote primer,
sanding between coats, until everything was smooth. Then I hit it with a Teal
paint that was left over from another household project and accented it with
gold. The Phaze came
with a black "Phaze" self-adhesive decal, but I choose not to use it
Overall, for CONSTRUCTION I would rate
points. Considering the quality of the parts, I expect to have this
bird flying for a long time!
For launching, Nordic advises you on preparation of the
rocket. Nothing, special. Motor is retained, add wadding and fly away. I used a
piece of Rogue Aerospace's
Perma-WaddingÔ for the
wadding and prepared to fly the Phaze on an A8-3.
The flight was fast and short and the ejection was
obviously early. But it was the first successful flight.
The A8-3 is listed as a recommended motor but
interestingly, the B6-4 is listed as the first flight. This is interesting to
me as usually the smallest motor is the recommended first flight motor. I think
that due to the weight of the rocket, and observing my first flight, the A8-3
is probably not the best motor to use.
So, up she went on a B6-4. Again, it was another obvious
early ejection. Descent is swift on 9" parachute. Recovered with no damage
Last flight for the day was on a C motor. Nordic
suggested a C6-5. However, upon observation of the A and B flight, I choose to
go with a longer delay. I used a C6-7. An excellent all-around flight occurred,
including ejection just past apogee. This is a good match.
Looking into this
flight performance a bit further, I designed this bird in
Apogee's RockSimÔ. You can download it here. My actual model weighed in
at 2.25 ounces, so I simmed it at that weight. The A8 said 112 feet with an
optimal delay of 2.37 seconds. So that confirmed the early delay I observed.
The B6 simmed to 354 feet with an optimal delay of 4.09 seconds. So this is why
Nordic recommends this motor as the first flight and good match. The C6 simmed
to 875 feet with an optimal delay of 5.57 seconds.
Another point for those that want some altitude. Nordic
recommends a D21-7 and an E25-7, too!