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REV 2.4 - Tue Aug 17 08:39:04 2010

OOP
Quest Aerospace
Apollo
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SPECS: 26.88" x 1.18" - 2.0 oz
ROCKSIM FILE: MISSING - please submit here
SpaceCAD FILE: MISSING - please submit here
REC'D MOTORS: A6-4, B6-4, C6-5

Rating
(Contributed - by Dave Stout [Who's Who Page] - 11/25/00)

Rocket PicBrief:
The Apollo is a scale-look sport payloader.

Construction:
The Apollo comes with three of Quest's nice white glassine body tubes, a motor mount assembly, some Kevlar thread, and an assortment of plastic pieces- nose cone, two transitions, four fins, and two special rings that mount the fins OUTSIDE the body tube. I was not pleased to see that there was no elastic shock cord material... more on that later. Parts quality is very good.

Instructions are typical Quest, which is to say well-illustrated and easy to understand. After reading through them, I saw a potential problem with the build. No provision is made to paint the lower section where the fins attach. They are held on to the lower section of the rocket by two rings, one that is a simple ring with clips, the other a ring with a bulkhead, a motor mount clearance hole, and a cutaway for the motor mount clip. The fin rings are to be installed on the bottom section, using plastic model cement, after the decals are in place. A test fit revealed that the fit with NO paint or decals is already tight. Fit with the stick-on decals would be impossibly tight. To remedy this, I test built the fin assembly with no glue. Then, using a pencil, the location of both rings was laid out on the outside of the tubes, then masked off with 1/4" modeler's tape. The decals were trimmed to shape but left on their backing. Then they were laid in place and any part laying over the masking tape was removed. Next the tape was peeled,then the rings were installed and masked. The fins were installed AFTER finishing. The paper centering rings looked very fragile, so they were soaked with thin CA. After drying they were sanded to accept the motor mount tube.

All the motor mount parts are color coded which makes it simple and quick to build. The motor mount tube and the end of the main body tube were coated inside with thin CA, then sanded smooth to toughen them and reduce friction. The motor mount was then assembled using thick CA, and installed using the same.

The payload section can look a little scary- it's composed of two different tube diameters, two transition sections, and a nose cone. However, the instructions are very clear and it builds easily. I only deviated from the instructions in that it was built using thick CA for plastics and the plastic was sanded to remove any mold release.

The plastic fins attach via a very clever snap mount system much like Aerotech's, except it is external. It looks fragile, but makes a fairly strong assembly once the glue has dried. After the finish was shot, the masking was removed; fins were simply snapped in place; then a bit of liquid plastic cement was run into the joints. A pipette was used to control the cement flow. You only want enough glue to wet the joint, no more!! Given the methods required, any spillage could wreck your paint job.

This rocket had excellent fit and finish, but due to the lack of provision for painting and fiddly assembly, it was quite a task to get built. Quest was definitely off the mark calling this a level 2 kit; it's a level 3 for sure! For your efforts you will be rewarded with a very sharp looking bird.

Finishing:
The finishing requires several different colors order to look like the photo on the stuffer card! No provision is made for painting of the tubes or adding roll patterns to the transitions. (They do suggest painting the payload tubes after assembly.) The rocket was painted white overall. The upper payload was given a 2" wide silver band, then the transitions were given black and white roll patterns using standard masking techniques. After painting, the tedious task of trimming out the stick on decals commenced (A gripe with many Quest kits). They were applied by dunking them into a bowl of water with a drop of dish detergent added. They are made of tough plastic and look good. After painting and decaling were completed the fins were glued on as described.

Construction Rating: 3 ½ out of 5

Flight:
Quest recommends A6-4's, B6-4's, and C6-5's. Given this bird's weight, I figured the slight extra thrust of an Estes A8-3 would be more appropriate. The bird kind of crawled off the pad, gained a bit of speed, then popped the 'chutes an instant after apogee. The altitude was not much to crow about, but would be ideal for a really small field.

Next, I stepped right up to a Quest C6-5. The Apollo again "walked" off the pad but climbed out swiftly to a nice altitude. Ejection was about at apogee, as nearly as I could see. It fell for a bit before 'chutes unfurled. It landed without incident, but I was certainly spooked!

Another C6-5 was loaded and the Apollo racked and launched again. The flight was pretty much identical to the second, but without the parachute scare. All 3 flights were very straight despite the slow takeoffs.

Recovery:
The only materials provided for recovery were 2 Quest 12" chute kits and 21" inches of Kevlar cording. Quality of the parts is great, but the technique is questionable. The Kevlar is tied to the motor mount tube before gluing on the upper centering ring, thereby retaining it. A loop is tied in the opposite end of the Kevlar. When the motor mount is installed in the body tube, the Kevlar loop extends out the end. One chute is to be tied onto this, the other is simply tied to the bottom of the payload. I dislike this techique because it gives you the chance of losing 2 separate pieces. Also, there is a substantial risk of zippering your body tube or damaging a 'chute due to the high stresses involved!

The 'chutes were modified by installing the Grippers as normal, then cutting off the tab that extended past the canopy. Then a hole punch was used to put a hole through the stick on section and canopy. The lines were tied through these holes. This prevents the overhanging tabs from hanging up inside, important in a narrow BT with double 'chute recovery!!

Rather than install the 'chutes separately, I added 3' of 1/4" sewing elastic. This was tied to the end of the Kevlar loop and the other end was attached to the bottom of the payload section. The 'chutes were attached about 10" from the payload section using snap swivels to minimize tangling. All of this was a very close fit after the necessary 4 squares of wadding was added, pack carefully!! The double 'chutes recover the bird well and look very "NASA-like" as it's coming down.

Flight Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

Summary:
The Apollo is a very beautiful bird that's encumbered by a lot of unnecessary hassles. The build is a lot more difficult than a level 2 if you want to paint it, and the centering rings look flimsy. The recovery system as supplied is just plain asking for trouble. However, all these problems can be solved by any experienced modeler using straight-forward techniques. The Apollo was an enjoyable and challenging build, and flies very well. I recommend it to modelers with some experience, but feel it should not need so much rework to get right. The part quality is great and if not for the fragile centering rings and building troubles I'd give the Apollo 5's across the board.

Overall Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

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[Enter Flight Log]
Date Name Motor Ejection/
Altitude
Wind Notes
02-14-2004 Luke Berry Qst SU C6-5 Very Late 0-5 mph winds - Apollo II: Flew straight, just as the rocket it replaced, climbed to about 600ft, after a fall of about 100ft the ejection charge went off. Parachutes both were tangled, no damage though.
04-24-2005 Luke Berry Est SU C6-5 Apogee - Perfect Calm Apollo II - Perfect flight, landed 20m away from pad
02-07-2004 Luke Berry Est SU C6-5 None - Nose Cone Stuck 5-10 mph winds RIP - Perfect lift-off after a slow start, flew pretty straight but for a bit of wind restsiance. At apogee- nothing, cone was stuck. Went like a dart into the ground. Status: Lawn Dart
08-20-2005 Brad Bowles Est SU C6-5 Just Before 0-5 mph winds RIP - This is a two parachute sytem. The payload section is so light, the 12 chute caused it to thermal away. A small streamer would probably work better. The rocket flew fast and straight. Status: Lost
03-24-2007 Tyler Dionne Est SU B6-6 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds -
08-28-2004 Andrew Grippo Est SU B6-4 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds Event: SOLAR Monthly Launch
- Maiden flight. Ejection at apogee, good recovery.
10-01-2005 David Logan Qst SU B6-4 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - Good flight, chute tangled, landed right next to pad and broke one fin off.
06-24-2006 David Logan Qst SU B6-4 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - Nice flight, payload seperated at the upper transition, but it was easily found. Recovered with a 12 inch chute about 15 yards from the pad.
05-25-2003 Michael Majeski Est SU C6-7 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds RIP - Perfect takeoff, went almost out of sight. From what I could see, ejection looked perfect. The dual parachutes looked nice too. Drifted into a tree. Apollo II already compltete. Status: Tree/Roof
02-26-2001 MikeyR Est SU B6-4 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds -
04-08-2001 MikeyR Qst SU A6-4 Very Late 5-10 mph winds - Under powered. Broke fin.
04-26-2001 MikeyR Est SU B6-4 Just Past (1-2sec) 0-5 mph winds - Broke a fin again.
09-30-2006 Mark Muir Est SU C6-5 Didn't Record 0-5 mph winds - Did well in the early morning drizzle.
07-22-2001 Ed Scientist Est SU B4-4 Just Past (1-2sec)
(90 m)
Didn't Record - Perfect flight straight up. Firts record using alti-track
08-05-2001 Ed Scientist Est SU B6-4 None - Parachute Fail Didn't Record RIP - Nice flight quest chutes suck. Lost one of the plastic fins. Status: Retired
12-29-2003 Hans Southlaunch Qst SU A6-4 Very Late 0-5 mph winds - Not a good launch. The rocket nearly hit the ground, before ejection.I donīt recommend this engine for this rocket.
02-21-2004 Hans Southlaunch Est SU B6-4 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds - Nice fly despite of the windy conditions on ice covered sea in Sweden. The two parachutes also give a good impression, but they must be small. Otherwise they wonīt be ejected.
02-28-2004 Hans Southlaunch Est SU C6-5 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - Great launch on ice covered lake in sweden. Nice with two parachutes.
   

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