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REV 2.4 - Wed Aug 18 09:46:48 2010

USR
Banshee
Box 1242
Claremont, CA 91711 USA
 
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SPECS: 43" x 2.25" - 10.5 oz
ROCKSIM FILE: Right Click to Download
SpaceCAD FILE: MISSING - please submit here
REC'D MOTORS: 29mm

Rating
(Contributed - by Peter Clay - 12/10/01)

USR BansheeBrief:
Single stage with payload

Construction:
The Airframe is two 17" tubes with the separation point at the center. There are 4 fins, made of light ply, and slotted into the MMT. The MMT is 29mm x 5.5", with a 24mm adapter included. Recovery utilizes a 5/16" x 6' elastic shock cord. The rocket is topped off with a Balsa ogive nose cone

The instructions are good, nicely illustrated, but needing some proofreading. Two steps are mis-numbered, instructions for mounting shock cord are omitted, and there are some errors in instructions for cutting fin slots.

The construction is sturdy, but the thin tubes may not be up to H motors after a flight or two.

USR is in transition, barely in business at present, but plenty of inventory exists. Easiest to access via Jerry Irvine, 01Rocket@GTE.net, who accrues orders, ships about once a month, and will accept an order on ship now, pay later basis in most cases.

Finishing:
The builder cuts the fin slots; otherwise construction is very simple and straightforward. Peel and stick decals are included. Appearance is clean, simple, and sleek.

Construction Rating: 4 out of 5

USR Banshee Flight:
So far this rocket has only had two flights. I've used an E18-6 and a D12-3, and both flights were nominal. The E18 put up a very nice flight and I expect the Econojet F20 to be the ideal motor for this rocket. I'll post that flight report when available, probably in April 2002.

Flight preparation uses wadding for ejection. It uses masking tape to retain motor; I added T-nuts to facilitate motor retention when I use an RMS 29mm motor.

Flights were straight and as clean as the design.

USR BansheeRecovery:
Body tube and shock cord are lighter than most HPR people would prefer, but worked well in these two flights. Slight damage to coupler and one fin when one section landed on the other on a packed road in the second, D12, flight. Prep and recovery are very standard and simple.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:
The biggest advantage and disadvantage are both found in the lightweight construction. It likely will not hold up under a large number of G and H flights, but should be adequate as long as tubes are undamaged.

The rocket is so light that it might fly on a baby H without so much as a NOTAM. Careful preparation would allow an H128 flight at just under one pound.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5


Rating
(Contributed - by Lance Alligood [Who's Who Page] - 07/01/04)

Brief:
The US Rockets (USR) Banshee is a 4FNC MPR with a 29mm MMT, TTW fin attachment, large payload bay, and streamer recovery. The kit also includes a 29-24mm motor adapter allowing this lightweight design to be flown on motors ranging from a D12 for small fields to H motors by the exceptionally brave. The Banshee would make an excellent first MPR kit for someone looking to make the transition from LPR. It is also lends significant proof that many people (myself included) often overbuild our rockets.

US Rockets Banshee

Construction:
USR excels in communicating with its customers. I received a confirmation email within 30 minutes of submitting my order and then another less than 48 hours later stating that my order had been shipped.

The kit includes:

  • 1 2:1 ogive balsa nose cone
  • 2 18" x 2.25" body tubes
  • 1 coupler tube
  • 1 6" x 29mm MMT tube
  • 1 3/32" poplar plywood bulkhead plate
  • 2 3/32" poplar plywood centering rings
  • 1 1" x 3/32" plywood disc
  • 1 screw eye
  • 1 tri-fold paper shock cord mount
  • 1 7' x 1/4" elastic shock cord
  • 4 3/32" poplar plywood fins
  • 2 1/4" launch lugs
  • 1 5' x 3" plastic streamer
  • 1 29-24mm motor adapter kit
  • Decals
  • Instruction manual
  • Advanced Information Report (AIR) #1 -- Motor Installation

All parts were present and in good shape. Kit is packaged in a long plastic bag with hang tag that is on par with other kits you would find in your local hobby shop. I was particularly impressed with the thick, strong, and nearly spiral free glassine coated body tubes. The nose cone is dense high quality balsa, which is unusual to see in an MPR kit. The fins, centering rings and bulkhead are all on the thin side (made of 3/32" poplar plywood) but should be sufficient for a rocket of this design. Two of the fins also had knots in the wood, making them a little unsightly, requiring some extra effort to get a smooth fin surface during the finishing process. All documentation included with the kit contains a lot of useful information, especially the AIR document explaining how to prep motors for rockets that do not have thrust rings. That seems to be a common point of confusion for someone new to MPR/HPR rockets. Instructions are thorough, easy to follow, and include pertinent data such as CP, Cd, and motor recommendations.

Before beginning the build of the Banshee, I contacted U.S. Rockets (USR) to find out any recommendations and/or advice they might have regarding what kind of adhesive to use along with seeing if there were any potential "gotchas" while marking and slotting the tubes (which you have to do yourself), getting a smooth finish on the balsa nose cone, or painting the Banshee. There weren't any gotchas to report, but USR did encourage the use of aliphatic resin (yellow wood glue) in place of epoxy. The recommendation was backed up by a link to http://www.rocketmaterials.org/, where there is test data comparing different popular adhesives used in rocket construction.

The first order of business is to glue the centering rings onto the MMT tube followed by gluing the MMT into the body tube. Next, the body tubes come unmarked and have to be slotted for the fins. That might seem like a daunting task, however, it is made easy if you remember 2 rules: 1) Measure twice; cut once, and 2) Use a new blade and take your time. I had only used white glue, CA, and epoxy previously but was willing to give USR's recommendation a shot. Using Elmer's Carpenter's Wood Glue along with roughing up the glassine covered tubes with 220 grit sandpaper, I found the wood glue to be as easy to apply (and clean up!) as white glue while rivaling the strength of wood-wood and wood-paper joints that epoxy is capable of. The thin fins made me nervous when I first opened the kit, but they were held firmly in place and have almost zero flex after being attached to the MMT tube followed by wood glue fillets. I chose to glue the coupler into the payload tube but the nose cone is held in place by friction fit. (The Banshee could also be easily built with a zipperless design thanks to the generous payload tube.) Even with some minor editorial issues in the instruction manual, the build offered no surprises until I was coming down the home stretch. The kit includes a 29-24mm motor adapter, which consists of 2 short pieces of tubing--one fitting inside the other and then both slide inside the 29mm MMT tube when ready for action, however, this step was left out of the instruction manual. I fired off an email off to USR, who replied in a pleasantly short turnaround time with the appropriate information for me to continue the build.

The recovery system is simple and contributes little weight to the rocket. A self-tapping screw eye (the kind designed for screwing into wood and having no nut) goes though the bulkhead and a small wood disc (glued onto the bulkhead), providing plenty of strength from having it ripped out under a rough ejection. A generously long (7') piece of tough elastic is tied on to the screw eye. The other end of the elastic is attached to the booster body tube with a heavier stock version of the Estes tri-fold paper mount. While some may frown on this seemingly dated method, I think that it falls under the if-it-ain't-broke-why-fix-it? mind set. I also feel that the 5' long streamer is a good choice for recovery. Even with a small chute, the rocket is so light that it would be vulnerable to drifting.

I made 2 minor modifications to the kit: 1) installing rail buttons in place of the launch lugs and 2) drilling small vent holes in both the payload and booster tubes to relieve air pressure (preventing premature separation) during high altitude flights. The launch lugs are made of the same material that come with Estes rockets, just bigger. Although certainly more susceptible to damage than brass or heavy paper lugs, I think they would still work sufficiently with the overall lightweight design of the Banshee kit.

Motor retention, as covered in the included AIR #1 document, is provided by masking tape. Seeing how I pretty much stick to single use F and G motors, which is what I planned on flying the Banshee with, and have had plenty of success with the friction fit method, I did not find it a problem (nor a disappointment) that a mechanical retention system was included with the kit. Also, the 29-24mm motor adapter included requires that it be held in place by friction fit when used.

Finishing:
I started with Elmer's Fill 'n' Finish for sealing the nose cone and fins, laid down a couple of coats of Krylon primer, and sanded everything smooth with 320 grit sandpaper. Touched up any missed rough spots with F'n'F again before another round of primer coats and sanding with 400 grit. The entire rocket was then painted Krylon orange, wet sanded, and then another coat of orange before being masked off for the Krylon cherry red accents. After the paint cured, I used an old T-shirt to buff the entire rocket to a mirror-like shine and smooth out any paint dam ridges with 3M Rubbing Compound. Then I attached the shock cord (tied it onto the eye bolt and glued the tri-fold paper mount inside the booster tube). Lastly, the rail buttons were screwed into place after putting a couple drops of CA in each of the mounting holes. The kit does come with a pair of decals that say "US ROCKETS Banshee", but I chose not to use them because the backing paper has a matte finish. I'm sure that a couple coats of clear would resolve that issue but clear coating is not a normal part of my finishing process.

Also, the coupler had a pretty loose fit initially, however, I chose to paint the coupler. The paint provided enough bulk so that I actually had to wet sand the coupler for a smooth and proper fit into the booster tube without any tape.

Ultimately, the spirals were all but gone and the balsa nose cone had a flawlessly smooth finish. The final product was a rocket that screamed "rocket god sacrifice".

Construction Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

US Rockets Banshee

Flight:
First flight was on an AeroTech SU F50-9T. A handful of dog barf wadding was dropped in to protect the shock cord, streamer and beeper before setting it up on the rail. RockSim projected peak altitude of just under 2200ft, so I thought it a good time to use my new beeper (a slightly modified Radio Shack personal "security system") to aid in locating the rocket. However with the overall light mass of the rocket (10oz without motor and beeper), I decided to pull the pin on the beeper and have it going off while the rocket sat ready to go on the pad.

After a (at the time seemingly endless) string of continuity issues--not to mention being annoyed by the beeper squealing--we had ignition. The Banshee s-c-r-e-a-m-e-d off the pad. I can say with good confidence that it came within a couple percent of the RockSim estimate and got there in a hurry. There was only a slight amount of weathercocking but it came in the latter part of the coasting phase.

US Rockets Banshee

Recovery:
The streamer included with the kit is a 3"x60" piece of plastic. I knew with the light mass of the Banshee I did not want to switch to a chute but something told me this streamer was a little on the small side. EMRR's Streamer Size Calculator showed that I needed to upgrade to a 5"x96" streamer. I happened to have a plastic disposable tablecloth (less than $2 at your local party supply store and a huge choice of colors), which also was a perfect material match for the stock streamer. Tying a swivel onto one end of the streamer, I attached it to a small loop I tied in the shock cord.

Ejection best I could tell came right at apogee. In fact, I was able to see the Banshee with its neon green streamer for a few seconds before I could hear the beeper. The plastic streamer brought it almost straight down with very little drift. All in all, it landed within a hundred yards of the pad. Not bad considering the altitude it'd just gone! The field was soggy but the Banshee managed to find a small dry-ish patch and I walked right out to retrieve it. I found everything intact--and there wasn't even a scratch or ding in the balsa nose cone!!! Only problem was it took me forever to fish the beeper pin out of my pocket to shut the darn thing off!

Flight Rating: 5 out of 5

Summary:
The US Rockets Banshee may not come with all of the so-called "modern niceties" (like Kevlar shock cord, mechanical motor retention, heavier wood components, etc.) but I learned that with solid construction, finishing, & flight prep techniques, a solid rocket can be built to last and probably outperform comparable kits that so many folks tend to (unnecessarily) overbuild.

It should easily fly on as little as a D12, up to take any H (for the extremely brave/crazy/stupid/insane) that you can put in it. 'Banshee' is indeed an excellent name for this rocket.

Overall Rating: 4 ½ out of 5


US Rockets Banshee review is provided courtesy of:
Pic Pic

I was awarded this kit as a DESCON 7 prize. The owner of USR was on vacation, but promised it would ship the week he came back. It arrived on my doorstep packed well and with all the part contained in closed bag. I first checked to make sure everything was present and then read over the instructions. The instructions were several pages and contained diagrams. They were very nice except that there was no step 4 and 5 and several of the steps were mixed up (IE - There were two steps 8 and 9). But with a little searching the directions are sufficient for this 2.25” diameter and 43” tall kit. 

Pic

I started construction by sanding airfoils into the 3 ply balsa fins. This might sound like weak fins, but the balsa ply is much sturdier than a single sheet of balsa of the same thickness. I roughed out the airfoils on a grinder and then made them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. The instructions detail making the fins through the wall and slotting the booster tube. However, since this was a lightweight kit that I did not intend to fly on high impulse motors, I opted to just surface mount them. Since, I didn’t connect mine to the motor tube I could attach them before installing the mount. I used a little 5min epoxy to tack them to the tube and then I went back and added fillets. The motor mount consists of 2 centering rings and a 29mm motor tube. The rings were epoxied on the end and the mount was secured in the tube with 15min epoxy. Now I moved onto the payload section. I epoxied the wooden bulkhead into the bottom of the payload tube and inserted a screw eye. The payload bay is very large and I’m considering retro-fitting it for dual deployment. A nice surprise was that the nosecone in the kit is balsa. This is not often seen with kits this size. I sealed it with Bondo and sanded it smooth. The kit also comes with and adapter for 24mm motors. 

PicPic

I primed the whole rocket with cheap flat gray that was on sale at the hardware store. I worked just fine. I painted the nosecone and booster section a navy blue and the payload section was painted with gloss yellow. I then applied one of the included decals to the payload section. 

I had this rocket ready to fly for quite a while, but the weather just wouldn’t cooperate. Finally, one Saturday, I lugged the rocket and a pack off D12’s over to the local high school. I substituted a PML 12 foot streamer in place of the 12” chute. The chute wasn’t great quality. I secured the D12 and the motor adapter into the 29mm tube with the help of masking tape. I flew it off a 3/16” rod in my Estes Porta-Pad however the lugs are 1/4”. It fit was fine and at zero the rocket lifted off slowly and majestically and lofted it’s way to about 350’. The 5 second delay allowed the rocket to arch over just as the streamer deployed. The rocket was rather impressive coming down. It was recovered without damage. I was having way too much fun to give up now. I launched again on a D12 with the same great results. I loaded her up for a third time and on liftoff she weathercocked slightly, but still recovered perfectly. The next weekend I took the Banshee to a larger site and this time flew her on a F20 Econojet. She roared off the pad and deployed at apogee. However, the ejection charge was rather powerful for the light-weight rocket and the elastic shock cord mount snapped. The payload came home safely on the streamer but the booster landed on it’s side and snapped off one of my surface mounted fins. It will be repaired without trouble. 

Pic

Overall, this is a decent kit that’s fun to fly on smaller fields and really rips on larger motors. However, for what you get, the $35 price tag seems a bit steep in my opinion. 

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[Enter Flight Log]
Date Name Motor Ejection/
Altitude
Wind Notes
06-19-2004 Lance Alligood AT SU F50-9 Apogee - NC Down 0-5 mph winds - Sweet flight that absolutely (dare I say) screamed like a banshee! Perfect first flight. Recovered close to the pad considering the altitude on a larger-than-stock (5x96) streamer with almost no drift yet a soft landing.
10-09-2004 Lance Alligood AT RMS F22-7 Just Past (1-2sec) 5-10 mph winds - Majestic liftoff from the long burning F22, which made it easy to track during flight. My first BJ RMS reload too. 4 or 5 sec delay would be better choice but recovered perfectly.
10-16-2004 Lance Alligood AT RMS F40-7 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - Definitely a motor-rocket combination I will use again. The USR Banshee is quickly becoming my favorite mid power rocket in my fleet with such consistently great flights!
02-19-2005 Lance Alligood AT RMS H238-M Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds - I lost my mind putting this motor in this rocket. Ridiculous velocity & altitude. Shock cord separation on the way down but both parts were recovered. So crazy that I need to do it again :)
03-19-2005 Lance Alligood AT RMS H128-M Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - I didn't think this motor/rocket combo would have as much zip as when I used a H238T. WRONG. It darn near vanished from this motor too. Separation at ejection. NC landed on asphalt & can be replaced. All parts recovered.
08-20-2005 Lance Alligood AT RMS G64-10 Apogee - NC Down 0-5 mph winds - Great rocket-motor combo but it drifted pretty far even under streamer. Good to fly this rocket again!
02-17-2007 Lance Alligood AT RMS F52-8 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds - I hadn't flown this rocket & needed a candidate for testing my Pico P1 altimeter. The up part was great, but the battery came loose (no data recorded) & the streamer didn't deploy. Landed in soft grassy field with no damage.
02-17-2007 Lance Alligood AT RMS F52-8 Apogee - Perfect
(1279 ft)
5-10 mph winds - Textbook flight & recovery. Altimeter worked perfectly as well.
04-21-2007 Lance Alligood AT RMS G64-10 Didn't See
(1956 ft)
5-10 mph winds - Despite some inclement weather throughout the day, I took advantage of some calmer conditions plus a well aimed launch rail made for an excellent flight. PicoAlt P1 altimeter & BRB BeeLine onboard for tracking.
04-18-2009 Lance Alligood AT RMS E16-4 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds - I think this was a pretty old reload. The rocket was a little slow off the pad & really didn't get going very high or straight. However, it was high enough to recover safely. I don't think I'd use this motor again.
04-18-2009 Lance Alligood AT RMS F52-5 Apogee - NC Up 5-10 mph winds - What a difference that more propellant will make! Much more zip off the pad. Textbook flight short of the streamer getting a little caught up in the shock cord.
08-15-2009 Lance Alligood AT RMS G76-7 Didn't See 10+ mph winds - Took forever to get this one off the pad, but when it did, it left in a hurry! Even with a streamer, it drifted quite a ways downrange. AT green propellant is a FAST burner, too!
04-17-2010 Lance Alligood Ces RLD G60-7 Didn't See 0-5 mph winds - First Pro29 motor. Long burn G54 put Banshee waaaaaaay up there. I should have put my PicoAlt in there. Recovered close.
09-06-2008 Michael Emerick RoadR SU F35-7 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds Event: VOA
- Great flight!
09-06-2008 Michael Emerick RoadR SU F60-7 Apogee - NC Down 5-10 mph winds Event: VOA
- Screaming Flight! Ejected Parachute Man at appogee and he travled towards Wilmington.
09-06-2008 Michael Emerick AT SU F25-6 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds Event: VOA
- Another Perfect flight.
08-02-2009 Michael Emerick RoadR SU F45-7 Just Past (1-2sec) 5-10 mph winds -
08-02-2009 Michael Emerick RoadR SU F35-7 Apogee - NC Down 5-10 mph winds -
06-17-2006 Aaron Head AT SU F25-4 Just Before 5-10 mph winds Event: CIRFF-XII
-
11-19-2006 Bruce Sexton AT SU F50-9 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds Event: November Monthly Launch
- Perfect boost reaching over 2,000 ft. Used 18 nylon parachute instead of standard streamer.
12-09-2006 Bruce Sexton AT SU F25-6 Apogee - Perfect Gusty Event: Battle Park - Culpeper
- Nice boost and recovery.
12-17-2006 Bruce Sexton Est SU E9-6 Just Past (1-2sec) 5-10 mph winds Event: Monthly Launch
- Good flight and recovery.
12-24-2006 Bruce Sexton Est SU E9-6 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds - Good flight.
05-21-2005 Alan Tuskes Est SU D12-3 Apogee - NC Up 0-5 mph winds Event: Sky Buster monthly launch
- Didn't want to chase this too far, so used a D12 with a 29mm to 24mm adapter. Very nice low and slow flight. Had a streamer in the rocket, so it landed maybe 30 yards from the pad.
05-21-2005 Alan Tuskes Est SU D12-3 Apogee - NC Up 0-5 mph winds Event: Sky Buster monthly launch
- Didn't want to chase this too far, so used a D12 with a 29mm to 24mm adapter. Very nice low and slow flight. Had a streamer in the rocket, so it landed maybe 30 yards from the pad.
   

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