Sunday, April 30, 2017

Flechette and (New) Athena - Two New on the Fleet Page

I've added two new small models to my fleet. Details about the whole current and past fleet can be found here.

Flechette (Prototype)

I was digging through a box of spare parts, and found some leftover BT-20 nose cones. My last BT-20 rocket, the Estes Hi Flier (see below) was lost long ago. BT-20 is just the right diameter to hold a standard A, B or C 18mm model rocket motor, and a rocket which uses that tube as a body tube is known as minimum diameter - it's only as fat as it needs to be to accommodate the motor. Because of that, rockets of this type tend to be much lighter and have less drag, so they can indeed fly very high.

I like big rockets just as much as the next guy, but I felt inspired to use these parts, so I whipped up this design.

Flechette (French for "Dart") is a two-stage rocket that may top 2,300 feet on two C6 motors. That makes it quite a performer for less than six dollars. The finished version will carry a small payload - the Perfectflite FireFly altimeter. For an upcoming project for this blog, I need some vehicles I can build quickly and cheaply, fly repeatedly, and easily replace if they get lost or damaged, and Flechette fits the bill.

The prototype was built with leftover parts and has no payload - it's just a sport model that goes up and (presumably) comes down. I built it a day after making the design, with the intention of testing the method I came up with for coupling the booster to the main stage - or sustainer. Since it was cheap and didn't take ages to build, I'm OK with losing it, as long as it works.

I had to miss the last launch, so as of this writing, Flechette has not flown yet, but I have acquired the parts to build 6-10 of them, including the payloads. Even without a booster stage, the rocket will fly 1,500 feet and still fulfill the purposes of the upcoming project. And I like the little sucker - reminds me of a tiny sounding rocket.

Estes Athena

If you've read the My Fleet of Rockets page before, or if you scroll to the bottom, you'll see that one of the first model rockets I owned - and lost - was the Estes Athena, a simple white and blue Ready-To-Fly rocket, which flies amazingly high on C6 motors.

Before I was really bitten by the rocketry bug, I had flown a few with my friend Chad, and picked up some RTF models on deep discount at Michael's Crafts.

While I really prefer to build rockets these days, I was sad to lose the Athena. Of the various rather similar RTF Estes rockets you can buy, I guess it was a favorite. It's fun and easy - pop in a motor and launch. RTF rockets are also great for doing quick demo launches for kids and non-rocketry friends you're trying to convert to the hobby.

I won a new one after completing an online survey by the MIT Rocket Team, and picked it up when I took a tour of their rocket lab. Other winners - one from Alabama and one from Wales - received MIT Rocket Team mission patches.

Follow me on Twitter.

Like my Facebook page for blog updates and extra stuff.

Have a question you'd like to see addressed on this blog? Email me at

No comments:

Post a Comment