(Contributed - by Chris Taylor)
Plastic bag with cardboard display picture.
Lots of very nice, high-quality, thick . No skimpy stuff here.
This is going to be one tough glider!
Standard Pop-pod Glider. Basically a short, finless rocket that attaches the
nose of the glider with a one-way hook, I. e. go up and it hooks, go back and
it falls off. The motor's ejection is how the rocket "goes back" to
unhook the glider.
out of 5, as I have found with Quest and Estes kits, instructions are very
good. This is kit is nothing special here. This is kit is nothing special here.
Nothing overly hard or anything, although, there are a few points not pointed
at in the instructions that should be. More on that later.
I don't remember a huge amount of construction details, since it was rather
easy and straight-forward. The one part that sticks out is the to
Glider hook assembly. Do it right the first time. I accidentally made my
upside down and had the hook hole on the wrong side. So I had to snap
the fuselage in two just in-front of the wings, flip it over and re-glue. No
problem for me, but for a novice this could very well ruin the whole project.
Also, sand out the hook-hole really well. I also sanded the hook real fine
and smeared some on it and sanded it again (so it wont expand and get to
tight). The hook should be very loose, such that it is a pain to keep in place
if you push up on the glider. Let gravity and the hook do the job. If it is too
tight the might not separate the booster and glider from each
Different from the instructions and the name (Flat Cat) is what I did not
do, that is to leave the wings flat. I sanded them and I sanded them
aggressively! I have one mean in those wings, not just rounded leading
and trailing edges [per the instructions]. True flat bottom air-foil
(thick balsa "Rules")! I also sanded everything else, including the
Fuselage, Tail assembly, etc.
No painting. I want performance. I want performance. Painting is for looks
and robs from performance by adding weight. I did add the sticker, though, even
though they are quite heavy. They are heavy, aluminized stickers that protect
the wings from the motor exhaust. The other two stickers, I placed on the
bottom of the tips to help spot it in the air.
Trimming was easy. It is a normal glider and can be thrown like a normal
glider and performed quite well on the first toss with no trimming. I
trimmed in a little turn in hopes of trying to get it back. I also have to trim
a little up .
Motor Suggestions are, I think, the B6-4 and C6-3. Personally I say the
A8-3, B6-2, C5-3, & C6-3.
First flight on a C6-3 had a good, but slightly arching, boost. At
ejection the pod did not separate and it "Red Baroned" in . . . but
softly with no damage. (This is actually when I did the CA thing to the hook).
On another Sunday Flying day, I launched again on a C6-3 with a little more
. This lightened up that arch a bit and it was good now. Ejection
was good with the for the pod and the Glider was pure amazing until I
realized I was NOT going to get it back. I was going to get in the car,
looked up and realized that would not help either since it had caught a
and was climbing fast. I never saw it again. GRRrrrrr!
I bought another kit and built it (lost pod when I stepped
on it) same as the first. I flew this one at the PARA Launch and almost lost it
again. This time I got lucky, for when it went over some trees it hit a down
draft and a gust of wind at the same time. This inverted the glider and
it could not recover before hitting the ground. THANK YOU, I GOT it
back! But . . . I lost the booster pod to the corn field. And now, I can not
find anymore of this kit to buy. I will have to fashion another booster,
maybe a 24mm Booster so I can get "out of sight" glides every flight
. . . , that's too many gliders to build.
Maybe I better start flying on A and B motors or once I have $250 I plan to
order a radio system from Wes Technic Servos that are 2. 8 grams a piece and a
6 gram receiver. I could make the Flat Cat radio control and fly it on D
motors. That would be very cool and I would always get it back (with $250 on
gear aboard, I BETTER get it back)
out of 5 if built properly it is just amazing. If I had the pod I would
have flown for a boost at NARAM-40.
(Contributed - by Mitch Marchi II - 12/14/07)
rocket booster with streamer recovery and glider flight recovery.
Rocket booster is basically an 18mm rocket with a balsa "hook" assembly on it instead of
fins. Glider is comprised completely of balsa. Wings and stabilizer are 1/8", fuselage is 1/4" x 1/2".
The instructions were good, except that there were a few places where the pictures really didn't match what you
needed to do--I was glad that there was a detailed picture of the "hook" on the product packaging. I would
say that Quest labeling this a skill model 3 kit is accurate. Most kits go up in skill level because of intricate paint
jobs, however, this kit required real modeling skills.
The balsa in the kit was not consistent. One wing was nice, tight, strong grained balsa and the other one was
made of weak, stringy balsa. The fuselage was a nice piece of wood. I had to really trace the parts with my X-Acto
knife to get them out of the balsa stock since they were not punched all the way through.
The instructions on trimming the glider were good, but when it came to trimming the booster/glider assembly, it
took me a while to figure it out.
I built mine as a true "flat cat," only dressing the leading and trailing edges of the wings and
stabilizer. I did also massage out the fuselage per the instructions. The glider flew perfectly with no trimming.
Finishing was nothing special. I gave mine a quick sanding with 220 grit sandpaper and shot it with 2 coats of Krylon
spray paint. I figured that this would help seal the balsa and increase visibility. I did not put the stickers on mine.
out of 5
After reading the other comments about this glider on EMRR, I decided to fly mine on an A8-3 for the first flight.
The field I use is kind of small, so I wasn't going for any . I also added some clay weight to induce a spiral
in hopes of getting the glider back.
The rocket went about 200 feet and separation from the glider was perfect. The booster came down under streamer
and landed about 15 feet from the pad. I must have added too much weight, because the glider didn't spiral, it
corkscrewed down. It hit nose first in the snow and kinda rolled. No significant damage! The nose was a little
flattened out though so I sanded it round again in the field.
Second flight, I took a little bit of the clay weight off. Lift and separation were
identical, the booster dropping 30 feet from the pad. The glider did several nice and stuck its nose into the
ground softly about 100 feet from the pad. I did not have a watch, but I would guess the glide to be around 10 seconds
I didn't have an opportunity to fly it a third time. I was out of A8-3s and with the wind picking up, I didn't
want more altitude.
Recovery of the booster is fine with the streamer. Recovery of the glider is a Catch-22. If you want it back, you
will have short glide times! It is all in the trimming, and the bigger the field the better. I would really like to
play with this on a big field!
out of 5
This was a great kit and really delivers on its promises! This was the first that I have built, and it
has left me with a new respect for them. I can see the science behind it and how you could detail yourself to death
with a glider if you were trying to go for maximum glide time. Recovery is the killer on this though.
I actually had a lot of fun building this kit, especially learning how trimming it affects the glide recovery.
Honestly, I probably won't ever launch this again, but will hand toss it a bunch! It is a great glider!
out of 5
(Contributed - by Matt Gillard - 12/30/07)
A glider for B and C motors. The design is tried and tested and there are two levels of finish: one simple
one that is a quick glue together without any airfoils, which is where the flat part of its name comes from, and a
second where there is a great deal of sanding involved. Quest puts this rocket at a skill level three which is about
right for the airfoil version
Kit consists of:
- 2 inch .
- Yellow tube
- 8.5 inch white
- Blue motor
- Plastic nose cone base
- Single gripper tab
- 2 foot plastic streamer
- ¼ by ½ by 16 inch balsa fuselage
- ¼ by ½ by 4 inch balsa pylon
- 2 Balsa wings
- Balsa parts set
- Motor mount clip
- Trim clay
- 21 inch white elastic
- 18 inch yellow Kevlar
- Chrome Decal
- Instruction sheet
To build the kit I used:
- Model knife
- sand paper
- White PVA glue
The instructions are clear and straightforward. Provided that you read the instructions through a few times, there
are no real problems.
You have the two options of finish; I went for the airfoil version, which took nearly an hour of sanding airfoils
into the quite thick and firm balsa wings. This option is supposed to give up to 3 minutes of glide time. I normally
never put any lifting surfaces on rocket gliders as this usually leads to arched boosts and broken gliders. One thing
you have to do is put strong fillets on the joints. The stresses on the joints under thrust are huge and weak joints
will have the wings stripping themselves.
Once the glider is finished, it needs to be balanced. The instructions are weak here as they don't give a balance
point for the glider, which usually is one third of the wing depth back from the of the wing. On my Flat
Cat, the balance point was bang on the of the glider. I was worried about this but with several indoor
test throws the Flat Cat glided level every time although the was steeper than I would have hoped for. More
vigorous test throws outside revealed a slight and a bank to the right. I added a small blob of clay into the
cavity at the front which corrected the stall.
The hook mechanism that releases the glider needs more preparation than the instructions suggest. I have had hook
mechanisms fail on pop pod gliders such as the Fun Rockets Silver Hawk and Edmonds Aerospace DeeCee Thunder. For the
mechanism to work, the hook needs to be sanded down smooth on both sides and the rear of the hook sanded down a
millimeter or so and rounded off so there are no edges to stick.
Sealing the balsa and using very fine sand paper to give a glassy finish on the hook also helps. To make sure
separation occurs, a quick spray of silicon grease on the hook also helps. Testing the hook mechanism is as important
as testing the of the glider. If the glider does not release with a quick jerk of the booster pop pod, then
the hook needs further prepping.
Initially I was in too much of a rush to finish the glider by sealing the balsa. After some time in a tree (the
glider--not me!) I have sealed it, and the performance has improved.
The foil sheet of stickers supplied add unnecessary weight to the glider and are not needed if the balsa is
sealed. After several flights there has been no damage to the balsa with the exception of some very slight charring
that was done to the glider on flights done before sealing the balsa
out of 5
Recommended motors are B6-2 or C6-3
I used 2 swatches of Nomex
in the pop pod.
First flight was on a B4-2. Even thought this is not a recommended motor, I didn't have a B6-2. There were very
strong winds that day ranging from 10 mph up to very strong gusts. I would not normally fly in these conditions, but I
was putting on a small display to a visiting Royal Air Force Air Commodore so rocket gliders seemed to be an obvious
choice. The boost was straight, with the rocket tipping past before the glider deployed. The actual glide was
very good, with the strong wind the flat cat gained height when flying into the wind, and it gave several circuits in
the air. It did however travel a fair distance down wind narrowly missing several trees.
The second and third flights were on A8-3, which does not take the glider up very high but still delivers over a
20 second flight and a circuit or two.
When a calm day arrived I flew on a C6-3. The rocket arched on boost, deploying the glider over a narrow strip
wood of trees about 5 meters wide, I watched for a minute the glider circling above the trees before finding a resting
place in one.
Five days later I retrieved the rocket with help from one very long pole and some overnight winds. Remarkably,
despite the rains there was no damage to the glider apart from some fluffing up of the balsa. I then sealed the glider
After a few flights more with some trimming, I got a flight of over 2 minutes.
The only con to the Flat Cat is that there is a strong chance of flyaways, but that's a risk I'm willing to take.
The pop pod recovers on the 2 foot long streamer. The fall rate is a little fast, but so far there has been no damage
to the pod. By the 6th flight the Kevlar
cord had burned through. I might swap the streamer for a larger streamer and attach the cord to the outside of
the tube, which looks ugly but it stops shock cord failures.
out of 5
This is a great boost glider if you are willing to put in the time to build, test, and trim it.
out of 5
(Contributed - by Hank Helmen - 11/13/08)
This is a boost glider rocket with streamer recovery for the booster.
The Quest Flat Cat boost glider includes an 18mm body tube for the booster as well as an engine mount kit. There are
die cut balsa wings and fins. Also included in the kit is a 24" plastic recovery streamer, shock cord, plastic
nose cone and decals.
The instructions were easy to follow with good illustrations. This is an easy kit to build. You have to prop one
wing tip up in order to get the correct .
The Glider is delicate but it has to be light in order to fly well and it
does fly very well. The wings, tail and fuselage stick were given minimal sanding, just rounding off the rough edges
and smoothing out the balsa a little. There are no special tool needed. The only "gotcha" issue would be the
glider to booster attachment hook.
The glider is meant to be towed to altitude by the booster, then the shock of the ejection charge knocks it loose
so it can start gliding. If the hook on the booster mount is too tight the glider will not release! When all the glue
and paint is dry, take the glider and assemble it to the booster. Now take the "stack" and give it a vertical
shake. The glider should jump right off of the hook. If not, take some light sand paper to the booster hook to make it
smooth. This works the same as the Edmonds Deltie boost glider kits.
The main problem with any boost glider is that you would like to paint it but paint adds unnecessary weight. It will
still fly with some paint but overall flight times will probably be reduced. I added a little day-glo orange paint to
one wing of my Flat Cat in order to aid in tracking and recovery spotting. By painting just one wing the glider tends
to circle in a predictable flight pattern, keeping it in the field and out of the trees.
The booster was given an overall coat of Testors red spray enamel and a little Day Glo orange on the top. Be sure
to give your booster a bright color to help find it down . Also it is a good idea to have one member of your
tracking team concentrate on the booster and one designated "glider tracker", BEFORE launch.
Construction Rating: 4 ½ out of 5
The recommeneded motors are B6-4, C6-3 and C6-5. Our first flight was on a B4-4 which worked fine. I was a little
aprehensive about putting a C6 in the booster due to the light construction of the glider but we did and it flew fine.
The C6 motors produce an extended glide time! The kit includeds sticky backed aluminum foil type decals for the wings
and tail. I used this to help deflect the engine exhaust on the wings only. It works.
To prepare for flight install two sheets of recovery wadding in the booster, roll the streamer and then install
the motor. Hook the glider to the booster and then slide the "stack" down on the launch wire. You must use a
stop of some sort to hold the bottom of the booster. If you set the glider's tail on the pad the booster will drop down
and disconnect the stack. I use either a piece of tape or a clothes pin.
Next make sure that the glider is free to slide all the way up the launch wire with out hitting the clothes pin.
Connect your ignition wiring and then check to see that it does not entangle the glider's vertical or horzontal fin.
Sounds complicated but once you've done it, there's nothing to it.
On launch expect to see an arch perhaps even a loop. This is typical of most boost gliders. Less loop is better.
On ejection firing the glider seperates away and glide in a large graceful circle. Lots of fun!
The booster's yellow streamer that was supplied with the kit disappeared on the first fligtht! All that was left was
a of yellow plastic attached to the shock cord.
Watch your glider closely if it is undulating up and then dropping repeatedly, add a couple of 1/8 inch balls of
clay to the nose. If it dives steeply in, pinch off a little clay from the nose. If it flies straight away, add a
little paint or clay to one wing tip for a wide circle.
Flight Rating: 4 ½ out of 5
This is a great boost glider. Make a good first or in the hands of an expert it could be very
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5
It is fun to build two and have "fly off's" with someone timing the flight using a stop watch. Rubber band
airplane model builders have "postal" flight contests where they record their flight times and then send them
in to one person to "judge" the winners. Might be a good idea for EMRR to sponser a glider endurance
(Contributed - by Jim Bassham and Edie Parkhouse - 06/28/10)
The Flat Cat is a classic boost glider with a streamer-recovery pod.
- Launch lug
- 18mm motor tube
- 8.5 inch body tube
- Thrust Ring
- Plastic nose cone and base
- 24inch streamer and gripper tab
- Balsa fuselage
- Balsa pylon
- Three sheets of die-cut parts
- Motor mount
- Trim clay
- Elastic shock cord
- Chrome peel-and-stick decals
I have built several boost gliders and had wanted to try the Flat cat since
it is larger than average and it looked fairly easy to build.
I have never built a boost glider and am a novice builder (3 completed
rockets-2 in process). It was my intention to build this rocket, following the instructions to the letter and with
little or no help. This is
level 3 rocket and at first glance looked like a complicated build to me.
There were several things I didnt like about the quality of the
components. The balsa was not consistent. One wing was very soft, almost crumbly balsa and the other was very hard.
Also this is an old kit, I think the original was made by MPC in the 70s, and it has die-cut balsa parts. The die
cutting, combined with the soft balsa made for some crushed parts that required a lot of filling. The second problem I
had was with the way Quest does their motor mounts. You have to shove the yellow 18mm motor tube into the 20mm body
tube and stop before going too far. I have trouble getting enough glue on the part so that it will slide without
seizing halfway in, yet not slide past the mark. This one went in too far and seized up so that I couldnt get it
in the right depth. Still worked, but I dont like that system.
The next thing I did not like was the way the pod hook is constructed. The balsa ends up with the running
parallel to the body (Since you cut the piece from the fuselage) and I was not sure it would be strong enough not to
split during boost, or at deployment this proved to be a big problem later. One last problem I had was with the
wing mount. The instructions have you glue the wings together at the center, then sand a half-inch-wide flat spot on
the bottom of the joint to glue to the body. This would require shaving off half the joint thickness. I thought this
would weaken the joint too much, so I cut a groove in the body to accommodate the wing instead. Otherwise the kit went
together like any other boost glider.
For the most part I agree with Jim here. The balsa was very inconsistent,
not only in thickness but in quality. The die cutting on some parts was incomplete. Some sections were sturdy and clean
cut while others were chippy and weak. Balsa thickness did not match on the wings or the tail pieces.
The pod hook being cut from the fuselage causes a couple of problems. One is as Jim stated in his review, the
second is that the thickness of the hook leaves a very thin wall of balsa as a compartment for the hook to rest in.
Once the pod disengages from the glider, that empty compartment is a weak spot in the nose. If the nose of the glider
takes any impact at all on landing, it is not strong enough to take it.
A note about the instructions. For me, the assembly order seemed to complicate things. There is a definite
benefit to reading through ALL the instructions before you start (maybe a novice issue?). The illustrations and BOLD
TYPE warnings saved me.
I had thought of leaving my Flat Cat unfinished, but
the balsa on one wing was so soft and crushed by the die-cutting that I didnt think that would work, so I used
two coats of Elmers Carpenters Wood thinned with water to smooth and strengthen the wood parts. I
then was able to finish it with one coat of white and one coat of gloss white. I painted the nosecone dark blue
to match the blue stripes on the decals.
The hardest part I had with finishing was applying the foil decals. I just could not get them on straight or
meeting properly at the wing root. Because these decals are more than just decorative, but actually protect the wing
from the engine exhaust, I just decided to overlap them in the center, since I could not make the edges meet otherwise.
After all the decals were done I went to install the streamer and could not find the gripper tab. Instead I used
peel and stick reinforcement rings for binder pages and a hole punch to make my own.
I also found a necessary part of this build. If I had finished
this rocket as the instructions recommended it would have been very difficult to paint or balance and I am certain at
least one wing would have broken apart due to the poor quality of the balsa.
I found the wings and rudder to be challenging, mainly because I chose to air foil both (the instructions leave
this step optional). Precise sanding is key, otherwise nothing goes together correctly. Again, the illustrations and
BOLD TYPE saved me.
Construction Rating: 2 out of 5
I went to trim the glider and found that the balance point
for a level glide was about an inch behind the wing root, which seemed very weird, but worked. Unfortunately, there
were very limited opportunities to fly these rockets before the review deadline and we had to settle for a fairly windy
day. Winds were about 5 to 10mph. I used a B6-4 for the first flight and packed the streamer with 4 squares
of wadding. The boost was fair with the rocket arcing over into the wind so that it was almost horizontal at apogee
around 200 up. The was too long and it was all ready coming down when it ejected. The pod failed to
separate at ejection, and the whole glider-streamer-booster combo tumbled to the ground where it busted the pod hook
right along the parallel grain and knocked the tail off.
I brought it all back to the pad and got out the 5 minute to glue it all back together while Edie made her
Same engine- B-64, same four squares of wadding. The rocket took off
perfectly, straight up,arched over and went into a vertical dive that it never pulled out of. Impacted the sidewalk,
head on. No deployment, no streamer and no idea why it behaved this way. Glider flew very well in glide tests. After
landing I recovered 5 pieces. The fuselage snapped in two places, mid way between the tail and the wings,
and at the pod hook compartment. The walls of that compartment and the nose of the glider were crushed on impact. The
wing tip of one wing also snapped off along the line of the grain. Far too much to repair at the launch site.
After my glue dried, I sanded the edges off the pod mount to make it detach
easier and tried again. The up part was pretty much the same but I did get separation of the pod at ejection this time.
Unfortunately the shock cord tangled around the glider and the whole thing tumble recovered again. Upon landing, I
found that the pod hook had again broken along the grain right above the glue joint. So it was back to the epoxy again.
on my third attempt I again used a B6-4 and it went up the same, turning
into the wind. This time I got a clean ejection and the glider did a loop, then several swooping stalls to land
undamaged. The pod, however, fell tail-first and fast, hitting the ground on a paved road. The impact was so hard it
bent to flat and caused a compression wrinkle in the body tube. It is still flyable, but I think it needs a
if its going to last very long.
The recovery has a lot of cons for me. The glider does
not balance easily, and because the one wing was so light, it doesnt balance from side-to-side well. The pod
mount breaks too easily because the grain direction is in line with the sheer force. I also think the pod is too heavy
for a streamer, and needs a parachute for recovery.
My recovery was of pieces. No deployment, no gliding, no streamer.
I think I have heard it called...re-kitting?
Flight Rating: 2 out of 5
I really wanted to like this rocket, but was disappointed
in it overall. I think the kit is outdated, and needs an overhaul. If it had laser-cut parts, a parachute, and a better
design of the pod-hook, I think it could be a great kit. As it is, there are better glider kits on the market. This is
a classic, but, unfortunately, a dated classic.
I think this rocket taught me a lot about finishing and balancing detail.
The build was not as complicated as I first thought and the instructions turned out to be very well done, although in
an odd order. I enjoyed building it and think it looks cool. Sadly, it didn't fly well for me.
I think the biggest problem is the quality of the material and the pod hook seems like poor design. Poor balsa
consistency, incomplete die cuts and a weakened nose/fuselage.
Overall Rating: 2 out of 5
This is a challenging model, and not necessarily for the right reasons. With better balsa and a
little tweaking, it could be a real treasure.