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REV 2.4 - Tue Aug 17 09:26:53 2010

Weir Rockets
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SPECS: 24.5" x " - 5.5 oz
ROCKSIM FILE: MISSING - please submit here
SpaceCAD FILE: MISSING - please submit here
REC'D MOTORS: D12-5, D12-7

Weir Rockets - Tannenbaum
(Contributed - Reviewed by Tim Wood ) 

Christmas may seem far away, but it's never too early to think about celebrating it in style - rocketry style. 

Weir Rockets' Tannenbaum is a flying Christmas tree. If you like rockets that draw attention on the launch pad, this rocket should suit you fine. It has four fins shaped to give the appearance of a Christmas tree. Decorations are optional. 

But not only does the rocket look good on the pad, it puts on a good show after the launch button is pushed. If built correctly, it is a stable, impressive flyer. 

Like other Weir rocket kits, the Tannenbaum is built to last. The 24mm motor mount fits into a BT-60 tube. In addition to thin paper centering rings, two thick reinforcing rings of a smaller diameter are included. The motor hook is thicker than most comparable kits and a motor block ring is included. The fins are made of one-eighth-thick balsa wood. The nose cone is made 
of plastic and attaches to a mylar parachute with a leader cord and an elastic thread shock cord that's 7/16 of an inch thick-comparable to many high-power rocket shock cords. 

There are a couple of critical aspects to construction - fins and nose weight. The fin pattern is in two parts. You must cut out two patterns and correctly line them up. If you've done it correctly, the root edge should be 18 inches long - the length of the body tube. Put a new blade in your knife, draw the patterns and cut carefully. Attach one fin at a time and be very careful about alignment. 

The fins go all of the way up the body tube, so the center of pressure is closer to the nose than it is on more traditional rockets of the same size. Thus, considerable weight must be added to the nose to move the center of gravity ahead of the center of pressure. The instructions state that the balance point is 10.75 inches from the motor mount end of the body tube. Why don't more rocket kit makers include this information? 

The kit provides clay for this purpose, but the instructions assume you know how to get it into the nose cone. I rolled bits of clay into long, slender pieces and slipped them through the hole in the base of the nose cone. I also put in a 1/16 ounce fishing sinker, although this probably wasn't necessary. Put all of the clay in the nose cone to be on the safe side. I used a dowel to push the clay as close to the tip of the cone as possible. After putting in all of the clay, I poured some white glue into the nose cone and let it dry in a vertical position with the tip down. 

Green was the choice for paint. Decorative ribbons are included with the kit. You may wish to use your imagination to appropriately trim your flying Christmas tree. 

The first flight of the rocket was at the December launch of the Parker County, Texas 4-H Rocket Club. The rocket flew nicely on a D12-7, although the delay was just a bit too long. The rocket deployed the parachute flawlessly and it was recovered undamaged. 

With a D12-5, ejection occurred just after peak altitude was attained. 

Alas, at the next club launch, a cato of a D12-5 damaged my Tannenbaum. I'm not sure if it can be repaired - but if not, I'll rebuild it, using the nose cone and fin pattern on a new body tube and motor mount. 

The Tannenbaum is a fun rocket for any time of the year. Perhaps your club could plan for a Tannenbaum contest around the next Christmas season - namely, the most creatively-decorated flying Christmas tree that still flies well. 

If you're looking for an interesting rocket that flies well, give yourself an early Christmas present and get a Tannenbaum. It's available from Weir Rockets, 25 Metten Road, Newark, Dela. 19713. 

Weir Rockets 
Length: 24.5 inches 
Diameter: BT-60 
Weight: 5.5 ounces 
Recommended motors: D12-5, D12-7 
Fins: balsa 
Nose cone: plastic 
Parachute: mylar 
Motor mount: 24mm with motor hook and block 
Price: $23.00 
Available from Weir Rockets, Metten Road, Newark, Dela., 19713 

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