(Contributed - by Moe Bertrand - 01/11/09)
The Goony Ghost is one of Excelsior Rocketry's line of Goony-themed rockets inspired by the original Estes Goony
Birds of the mid '70s. While many of Excelsior's offerings are Goony versions of Estes kits, the Ghost is an original
design with no specific role model. The Excelsior "kits" are marketed simply as a set of plans and a sheet of
very nice decals. The builder supplies the parts necessary to build the rocket, typically in the form of an Estes Baby
Bertha kit or similar individual components. For most of the kits, the builder is typically required to substitute the
Baby Bertha fin stock for a sheet of uncut balsa. This is because the new fins are usually not the same as the Bertha
and cannot be cut from the same balsa sheet as the Bertha die-cut fins.
As stated above, you pay for the instructions and decals and must provide all components for construction:
- 1 PNC60L nose cone
- 1 BT60 - 7.5 inches long
- 1 BT20J motor mount tube - 2.75 inches long
- 2 AR2060 centering rings
- 1 CR520 motor block
- 1 EH-1
- 1 Launch Lug
- 1 Balsa stock 3/32" x 4" x 36"
- 1 Shock Cord (your choice so long as you replace the wimpy Estes cord)
- 1 Paper shock cord mount (or mount of your choice)
- 1 Parachute (12" or your discretion for a rocket of this size/weight)
The Goony Ghost fins are pretty big so I had to provide my own piece of 3-inch wide 3/32-inch thick balsa. Unlike
many fin patterns, the only straight edge is the . The leading and trailing edge of the large, basically swept
delta-shaped fins are wavy and require a sharp blade in the hobby knife to make nice clean cuts. Sanding the edges to a
rounded profile requires patience and a light touch so you don't take too much material off and spoil the graceful wavy
effect. Attach the fins after marking the tube with the included wraparound fin marking guide. This is a simple 3FNC
assembly but the finished result is quite pleasing given the unique profile of the fins.
I went with a standard tri-fold mount for the shock cord, although I substituted a 1/4-inch wide piece of black
sewing elastic for the stock Estes shock cord. The 18mm motor mount is standard BT-20 (2.75 inch long), two card stock
centering rings, 18mm , and a spring steel motor clip. The launch lug is glued next to one of the fins. The
Excelsior instructions are logical and easy to follow.
My Goony Ghost is unpainted at the moment though it will be easy enough to paint--the whole rocket is white, however,
the instructions advise to paint the rocket any suitably "spooky" color. The Excelsior graphics for this kit
are all black and of a playfully spooky nature. They should contrast with the white paint very nicely. Excelsior
recommends you hit their decals with a decal sealing solution before cutting and applying them. I'll follow this advice
when I get to it.
Construction Rating: 5 out of 5
Excelsior recommends model rocketry's "Holy Trinity" of motors: A8-3, B6-4, C6-5. I flew my rocket three
times on January 10th, 2009, at our Rainbow Valley launch site. I went with the trinity, but in reverse sequence. We
were experiencing a 5-10MPH breeze so I went with the "powerhouse" first. I put an inch or so of "dog
barf" wadding in the tube then packed the shock cord and talcum-dusted 12-inch Estes chute in the airframe. My
nose cone required a bit of masking tape on the to get a properly snug fit. I loaded the Ghost up on my pad,
took the obligatory static photo and asked for a volunteer to press the button so I could get my launch photo. At
liftoff, the spunky little Ghost zipped off the pad and climbed straight up to apogee. I think ejection was just about
right, at the top, and the 12inch chute popped open. I had cut a spill hole to minimize drift from the breeze but I
still had a walk of a couple hundred feet behind me to recover the Ghost. Spooky was undamaged so I was able to
successfully fly the rocket two more times that day on the B6-4 and A8-3. Both flights were near carbon copies of the
inaugural, with nice straight boosts and ejection right at the top. Recovery was successful for these flights as well
with no broken fins.
PROs: Works like a charm.
CONs: None that I can think of.
Flight Rating: 5 out of 5
The Goony Ghost is a nice addition to my fleet. I have also built and flown the Apogoon two-stager, but it also needs
to be painted and have the decals applied. I also have the Goony Max plan set in the build queue. I highly recommend
Excelsior products to anyone wishing to expand their fleet with some unusual designs. As the Excelsior motto goes:
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5