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REV 2.4 - Wed Dec 29 17:25:11 2010

Tiny Pterodactyl
6030 Paver Lane
Jeddo, MI 48032
(810) 327-1710
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SPECS: 25.5" x 2.1" - 18 oz
ROCKSIM FILE: Right Click to Download
SpaceCAD FILE: MISSING - please submit here
REC'D MOTORS: 29mm; (PML website has specifics)

Rating(12/01/01) When I saw the new release of the Tiny Pterodactyl I had to get I did. It arrived 1 week before a planned trip to Michigan where I was going to be flying at 3 Oaks. So I had a short period of time to build it. But that was all I needed with the ease of this kit.

I also did a comparison on Mid to High Power Starter Rockets - See Here.

This was my third PML kit, but only my first using Quantum Tube. I have been very pleased with my Callisto (Level 1 Cert Rocket) and Phantom so I was expecting nothing less. In addition all three rockets are based on the 2.1" airframe and all have the exact same nose cone.

Rocket PicThe Tiny Pterodactyl is the hatchling compared to the large 7.5" Pterodactyl and the 3.9" Pterodactyl Jr. As stated it has a 2.1" airframe and stands 25.5" tall. It comes configured with a 29mm motor mount.

The kit includes a pre-slotted 2.1" diameter Quantum (QT) body tube. It uses three (3) 0.062" thick G10 fins with through-the-wall-to-the-motor-mount tabs. It has a standard (sturdy) PML 2.1" Nose Cone. A standard PML Piston Recovery system with a Piston, a 3' Piston Strap, a 9' Tubular Nylon Shock Cord, and an 18" PML parachute. A 29mm motor tube and two 3/16" plywood centering rings. Two (2) 3" Brass Launch Lugs for a 1/4" rod. And lastly a single peel-n-stick decal.


There are seven (7) 5.5" x 8.5" pages of instructions with the kit, plus an insert for the Dura-Chute (preparation and folding), an insert for Do's and Don'ts of Quantum Tubing, an insert for the Piston Recovery system, and an insert for tying Tubular Nylon. The instructions are thorough and include illustrations to assist in every aspect of building the rocket. The CP is identified in the instructions along with instruction for dealing with CG.

First, PML recommends the use of epoxy for the assembly of this rocket. I wanted to try something different. I had purchased some ProBond Polyurethane Glue. It is called "The Ultimate Adhesive", "Bonds Virtually Everything", "Super Strong", "Sand Easily", "Water Proof", and "Stainable/Paintable". The outside cover said that it is the strength of epoxy without the mixing. So I went for it.

Glue ComparisonIn general, I found the glue easy to work with exception for one primary issue. It expands in volume after being applied. (notice in the picture the difference from the wet on left to fully cured on right) This was not a problem for attaching the centering rings to the motor tube and to the inside of the body. It was fine for attaching the strap to the motor tube and to the piston. It was fine for mounting the fins through-the-wall to the motor mount. It did not appear that it would work well for the fin fillets so I didn't use it. I did fillet the rear centering ring and piston (see below) and it did okay there. The main problem is that you just don't know how much it is going to expand on you. Once dry it appears porous, but it does sand easier than epoxy and I had no primer interactions.

Construction is very straight-forward on the Tiny Pterodactyl. I did alter the construction process in a couple of ways and will touch on those below.

The instructions initially have you install the rear (notched) centering ring onto the motor tube and then to slide the piston strap through the notch to glue to the motor tube in the next step. I reversed this process only because I saw myself having trouble sliding it through the notch afterward. I had to sand the inside diameter of both centering rings slightly to get a good fit. The ProBond Polyurethane glue performed very well here and may be a good alternative (and cheaper) than epoxy.

The fins fit perfectly both into the QT and all the way to the motor mount. For internal fillets, I used the Polyurethane glue by squeezing it onto the joint between the motor tube and fin and then holding the rocket at a downward angle until the glue had run to the end of the fin tab, I then set it horizontal to stop the running. This worked well, too, with one exception. I got a run that found its way out of the fin slit and ran across the fin. I was able to clean this off of the G10 fin using a razor blade.

I used epoxy for make the fin fillets since the Polyurethane glue expands.

ProBond on PistonIn building the piston, the Polyurethane did fine but since it takes much longer to set than 5-minute epoxy I had to tape the little tab on the strap back to the bulkhead. The piston also required a lot of sanding to get it to fit and move smoothly in the Quantum Tube. This is different than my previous experience with PML kits. The Callisto didn't require any sanding and the Phantom only required a little.

Two other changes I made were the adding of blind T-Nuts to the rear centering ring before gluing in place and the use of Rail Buttons instead of Launch Lugs. The latter is a bit concerning because of the piston that slides inside of the airframe. The Rail Buttons had to be mounted so as not to interfere with this piston. I mounted mine at 1/2" and 7 1/4" from the rear. The one at 7 1/4" leaves plenty of room for the piston, parachute, shock cord, and nose cone without hitting the screw that protrudes into the airframe.

Finishing was fabulous with QT. I used 320 grit all over the entire surface of the rocket and fins. I used 220 on the nose cone. I then primered with Plasti-Kote Sandable Primer. I used a thick coat on the nose cone. I sanded everything again with 320. Primed a 2nd time. I sanded and did the nose cone 2 more times to fill in a slight mold line. I ended up using some left over Rustoleum Hammer-look Gold paint. (just like this stuff, but really took away from the smooth finish the QT would allow). I then applied the decal. I should have then used a clearcoat to seal the peel-n-stick decal, but I was already in Michigan a day before the launch.

Overall, for CONSTRUCTION I would rate this kit 4 ½ points. The parts were of great quality and the fit of the fins was perfect. Motor retention would be nice and there is definitely room for it. The biggest disappointment was the amount of sanding I had to do on the piston.


PML recommends motors ranging from the F37 (810 feet) to an H55 (4432 feet) and everything else in the 29mm range.

The altitudes above are based on a finished weight of 18 ounces. Surprisingly my finished weight was 17 ¼ ounces. This is surprising because my finished kits are usually so much off of the manufacture's finished weight. Some heavy, some light, just never this close.

My first flight was on an F40-7 (left), which PML says should get 1639 feet. The F40 I was using had failed to light 7 times with various ignitors, so I also used a QuickBurst Slim Gem which I had to build into the motor because it was slightly too large to pass through the nozzle. It lit. It launched. I barely got the picture and it was a great flight despite the high winds. It landed about 50 feet from the pad. F40's and Econojets will be good launch companions with this one (although I have G25-10 that might find its way into the Tiny Pterodactyl).

I felt that the descent was very fast (although it was appreciated with the wind on that day). Parachute size calculators suggest that the parachute should be 30" in diameter. PML provides an 18" with a 3.5" spill-hole. It comes down fast. PML does offer a 24" parachute option (for regions with hard landing surfaces...can you say desert?).

2nd Flight on E28My next flying opportunity required a 24mm adaptor so I could fly it using my 24mm RMS system. I flew it three more times on E28-4's. RockSim says 606 feet with my rocket's weight. This is great for the small field.

The first flight (right) was straight and true. Ejection was with a "pop" as the piston "popped" out of the tube. Descent was fast and it was recovered without damage.

The next flight (same day), I couldn't get the piston back in to where it was nor did it slide easy. I pushed it in and twisted it back and forth and up and down. When it came out it had black stuff on it. I didn't have sand paper with me, so I scrapped the piston lightly with a hobby knife until all the black was removed. Repeated that process again before it slide nicely in the tube. Then I launched it.

This time is seemed to come off the pad at a slight angle. It looks like (from a picture) that my ignitor leads went up with it and pulled off just as it was leaving the rail. Let this be a reminder to self and all reading to secure those ignitor leads at the base of your launch pad. The flight was successful, just at an unplanned angle.

PistonThe fourth flight (3rd on E28-4) was the next day in absolutely perfect calmness. I had the same trouble with the piston (right) so I sanded it to remove all the black stuff before going out to the launch field. The flight was as the first E28. Straight and true with ejection at apogee. This is a good small field motor and rocket combination. PML should advertise it with 24mm motors E30 SU, E28 RMS, F24 RMS and F39 RMS. I'll be flying it on the 24mm F's too. I don't expect too much more altitude (200 feet) since the 24mm RMS F's are only 10 newtons more than the E' F's so to speak.

For FLIGHT/RECOVERY, I would rate this kit 4 ½ points. I'm really not sure why I'm having so much trouble with this piston system. I have never had trouble after getting the initial fit. I'm wondering if the Quantum Tube attracts more soot than the PML Phenolic tubing. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the piston systems! This one is just taking a little more work than the rest. Descent rate is flier's choice, but the 18" with 3.5" spill hole is fast. RockSim says 19 feet/sec but another calculator says 25 feet/sec. It's fast. The rocket is tough and can take the landings though so maybe it's a blessing in disguise. The remainder of the flying experience is great. This is a stable rocket and possibly the only one by PML that can fly on 24mm E motors. Why would PML want that? To reach some additional fliers. Get a couple of designs under 16 ounces and they will, no doubt, have new customers.

Recovery System Overall, the Tiny Pterodactyl is a nice addition to the PML and my flight. I'm glad I built it because it had been a long time since I built a PML kit and to experience Quantum Tubing. I would recommend this kit to anyone wanting to try a mid-power kit. I would suggest getting the 24" parachute option and also building up a 24mm adaptor. Remember, it doesn't have to be out-of-sight (literal) to be an out-of-sight (slang for cool) flier. Quality components and unique looks makes this a nice rocket to add to the fleet. Then start thinking about the Pterodactyl Jr. or even that ultimate 7.5" Pterodactyl. I give the kit an OVERALL rating of 4 ½ points.

[Submit your Opinion]

02/07 - "I've had a Tiny Pterodactyl for five years and have flown it on everything from F to H. It's a great little kit and very tough." (P.B.)

12/01 - "Nice little sport rocket. Works well with EconoJets and other engines in the F - G range. Modifications I made were to add a larger 'chute, aeropac motor retention, and I went without the piston." (B.C.C.)

[Enter Rocket Specific Tip]

"" (x.x.)

[Enter Flight Log]
Date Name Motor Ejection/
Wind Notes
03-14-2009 Tim Bearden AT RMS G76-10 Didn't See Calm - First Flight, Dragrace, first off the line.
03-14-2009 Tim Bearden AT EconoJet F20-7 Didn't See Calm Flight PictureEvent: petr
- 2nd flight
03-21-2009 Tim Bearden Est SU E9-4 Very Late Calm - Ejection at 20 feet above ground, not enough time for chute to fully deploy. Nosecone bent (hooked like a real pterodactyl). Lost lounch lug. New nose cone and LL instald and ready to fly. Will not fly on so small an engine again.
04-17-2010 Tim Bearden AT RMS G67-10 Apogee - NC Down Calm Event: Pony Express
10-19-2002 Stephen Corban AT RMS F52-8 Apogee - NC Down 10+ mph winds - Notes
11-17-2002 Stephen Corban AT RMS F52-8 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds -
11-08-2003 Bill Dreyling AT RMS H165-L Didn't See 5-10 mph winds - Very fast flight with this motor (H165R). The rocket shot off the pad to approximately 3,000' and then I lost sight of it. Recovered in good condition. I'll have to try an H238 next time...
11-10-2001 EMRR AT RMS F40-7 Apogee - NC Down 10+ mph winds - Nice 1st flight. This was the motor that after 7 attempts used a Quickburst ignitor. It took off. Fast descent. Everything in good shape.
11-21-2001 EMRR AT RMS E28-4 Apogee - NC Down 0-5 mph winds - This time it came off the pad at an interesting angle and was arcing over before ejection. Fast descent, no damage.
11-21-2001 EMRR AT RMS E28-4 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - I was impressed at how well the E28 popped this rocket off the pad. Not too high (Rsim ~500 feet), but definately a good match for my small field. Fast descent too.
11-22-2001 EMRR AT RMS E28-4 Apogee - NC Down Calm - Another excellent combination between this motor and this rocket. Great for small fields.
12-08-2001 EMRR AT RMS F24-4 Apogee - NC Up Calm - A tab bit early, but a nice flight.
05-27-2002 EMRR AT RMS E28-4 Apogee - NC Down Calm - Another excellent flight.
05-27-2002 EMRR AT RMS E28-4 Apogee - NC Down Calm - Perfect flight.
10-11-2003 EMRR AT EconoJet F23-4 Apogee - NC Up Calm - Excellent flight. Loud pop upon ejection. Landed in gravel road and gained a small paint chip.
04-07-2005 James Felix AT RMS H165-6 Apogee - NC Down 0-5 mph winds -
04-07-2005 James Felix AT RMS H165-M Just Past (1-2sec) 0-5 mph winds -
05-13-2005 James Felix AT RMS H220-M Apogee - NC Down
(4240 ft)
0-5 mph winds - streached the bird by 9 inches for electronics bay. flight was good clear day with light winds form north, needs smaller chute hang time is very long 60+ seconds on chute to ground very long walk to recover bird
11-22-2003 Taylor Jessee AT EconoJet G35-7 Didn't See Gusty - Small field Went through the clouds.5min.later Saw coming down in a tree.Luckey to get out of tree
08-03-2003 David Logan AT EconoJet F20-4 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - Perfect flight on one of the new Econojets. Good motor for this bird. Recovered on a 22 inch Aerotech chute about 40 yards from pad.
08-12-2003 David Logan AT EconoJet F20-4 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - What can I say? A great flying little bird. Recovered about 100 yards out on a 22 inch chute. Piston and interior body tube will need cleaning very soon.
05-01-2004 David Logan AT EconoJet F20-4 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds Event: Southern Thunder 2004
- Great flyer as usual, used the stock 18 inch chute for perfect recovery.
06-27-2004 David Logan AT EconoJet F20-4 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - Nice high flight. Chipped lower edge of piston, but not enough to effect flying it. Recovered using stock chute about 100 feet from pads.
08-07-2004 David Logan AT EconoJet F20-4 Apogee - NC Up 0-5 mph winds - Got more altitude than normal this time. Used stock 18 inch chute for a fast recovery. Nose cone landed on a rock, knocking the paint off the top quarter inch of the nose.
04-12-2003 David Luders AT RMS H128-10 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds Boy Scout Classic - Performed great as my Level 1 Certification rocket. Had to add some nose weight to ensure stability. Rail buttons did not interfere with piston. A compact L1 bird! Cert Flight: L1
04-13-2003 David Luders AT RMS H128-10 Apogee - Perfect
(2816 ft)
5-10 mph winds Boy Scout Classic - PICO Altimeter measured 2,816 ft. Had to add 1 oz. of noseweight in PML Intellicone (in addition to the altimeter) to ensure stability. This rocket is durable.
04-20-2002 Gary Singer AT SU G80-7 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - Fast take off and out of sight. Very Impressive. Lots of WOW's from spectators.
03-25-2007 Mark Van+Luvender AT RMS F40-7 Just Before 5-10 mph winds - Great flight! Only counted 6 seconds of delay before ejection - full 7 would have been perfect, but it was still really close to apogee. Great motor for this rocket!

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