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REV 2.4 - Tue Aug 17 09:26:51 2010

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Weir Rockets
Sweetheart Express
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SPECS: 23.5" x " - 3.5 oz
ROCKSIM FILE: MISSING - please submit here
SpaceCAD FILE: MISSING - please submit here
REC'D MOTORS: A8-3 for first flight; B and C motors

Weir Rockets - Sweetheart Express
(Contributed - Reviewed by Tim Wood ) 

[Rocket Pic]The Sweetheart Express from Weir Rockets is aptly named. 

With its heart-shaped fins, it adds a little romance to the launch field. But as a flyer, it also could be called a sweetheart for its sweet flying characteristics. 

Weir Rockets is a new company started by Paul Weir of Newark, Dela. Weir, a long-time rocket flyer and "born again rocketeer," started manufacturing kits after friends requested kits of his original designs. 

They say you can't be sweet and tough, but the Sweetheart Express is both. The motor mount rings are the thickest I've seen on a rocket of this size. The motor hook is considerably thicker than those on comparable kits, and there is a motor block included. Not all kits that include motor retaining hooks also include a motor block. 

The shock cord is one-half inch thick and would be adequate for some high-power designs. There is a "leader" included to attach the parachute to the nose cone; you don't have to attach the 'chute directly to the nose cone. This approach reduces the possibility of parachute tangles. Snap swivels make removal easy. The 'chute itself is a mylar chute, a type that offers better visibility and better opening characteristics than the plastic parachutes found in so many kits. 

The fin patterns were drawn on the balsa wood stock. Also included were four plastic "vanes," which help stabilize the rocket. 

The rocket was fairly easy to build. I was confused somewhat about the vanes, especially since in addition to the included plastic vanes, vane patterns were drawn on the balsa wood. This problem will be corrected in future releases. The instructions are well-written with adequate illustrations. A rocket builder should have a little bit of experience before tackling this rocket. 

There are no decals included. This is not surprising for a start-up company's kit, as decals are expensive to produce in small quantities. 

The test flights occurred at monthly flights of the Parker County 4-H Rocket Club. I didn't plan to test the rocket's durability, but that's what happened. 

The first flight was on a B4-2. The parachute tangled and didn't open, which likely was due to poor packing. However, the rocket landed safely with no damage. 

After a change of parachutes, a straight-up flight on an A8-3 went fine. I didn't think a rocket that size could fly on an A8-3, but I was wrong. It went up on a C6-5 with the launcher tilted steeply into the wind. The angle was within safety limits, but the rocket weathercocked more than I expected. Thus, it didn't get enough altitude for an optimal ejection. The result was a "cliffhanger." The rocket was headed straight down and picking up speed when ejection occurred about 80 feet above the ground. The parachute opened immediately and the rocket was recovered safely - with no damage. 

At a later 4-H club launch, I stood at the launch control panel as my son hit the launch button. The rocket flew normally, ejected the chute and floated right back to me. I didn't have to take a step to catch it. That's what I call a "Sweetheart!" 

Perhaps you could build one and dedicate it to your sweetheart. It might be one way to get her - or him - out to the launch field. As the instructions say, "Take your love to new heights!" 

Length: 23.5 inches 
Weight: 3.5 ounces 
Diameter: BT-55 equivalent 
Nose cone: plastic 
Motor mount: 18mm with hook and block 
Launch lug: 1/8 inch 
Fins: Balsa fins and plastic "vanes" 
Recovery system: mylar parachute 
Recommended motors: A8-3 for first flight; B and C motors for other flights. 
Price: $15.00 
Available from Weir Rockets, 25 Metten Road, Newark, Dela., 19713 

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