Rumor about Estes not producing cluster kits anymore- Is it true?

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#21 Rumor about Estes not producing cluster kits anymore- Is it true?

Post by bernomatic » Tue, 31 Jan 17, 01:22 am

I heard a rumor that Estes was going to phase out cluster rockets and not pursue this facet of the hobby anymore. Not that I have seen a lot of kits from Estes ever with clusters, but to totally neglect this part of the hobby?

I suppose it is just a matter that no longer is it necessary to bundle together a bunch of engines to get enough thrust to lift a lard ass rocket off the pad. Instead you can just build an engine mount for a more powerful engine. Simpler and cheaper in the long run? I wonder.

I know Rocket will sound off about this, but I have little experience with clusters having only in the past couple of years building and flying a Estes Ranger clone.
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#22 Re: Rumor about Estes not producing cluster kits anymore- Is it true?

Post by luke strawwalker » Wed, 08 Feb 17, 22:59 pm

@ Trident...

I can respect that... and I agree... WAY too much overbuilding going on. Most guys don't even try to build things "just strong enough"; they have the attitude that it SHOULD be an anti-tank round and capable of falling 10,000 feet and lawn darting with little/no damage. I read about some guys flying up north somewhere at some sort of meet and their rocket went awry and lawn darted, and they went out looking for it to recover the expensive cases and electronics if possible, and the rest of the rocket as well if possible. After searching in the direction it came down, crossing over into a farm field where a guy on a tractor was working, they asked him and he pointed to where it "went in", and they finally found the spot in the road ditch between the field and roadway... it had come in ballistic from about 10,000 feet or something and had BURIED itself about six feet deep into the moist soil... they spent the next day digging it out, dug down about five feet and managed to recover the rocket, MOSTLY INTACT, but decided not to bother trying to dig out the nosecone since they were already hanging by their ankles down the hole trying to get the e-bay back.

I just cringe when I read stories like that... if it had hit someone they'd have been a DEAD DUCK instantaneously... no question about it. Yet time and time and time again, I read guys laughingly recalling some "near miss" or other where a rocket came in ballistic and hit the rear tire of a dirt bike that was being ridden at the time and demolished the tire and rim, or where a rocket ignited and zipped between a guy and his girlfriend who'd pulled up on a four wheeler to watch while it was lowered from the launch rail for repairs, flying between them and burning then both, or club leaders relenting to a bunch of SLI yahoos who drove out to get in their qualification flight, and in violation of club/landowner rules, were allowed to use a sparky motor (after being warned REPEATEDLY by their advisor and club people that sparkies weren't allowed and a poor choice) and managed to burn off dozens of acres of grazing land and nearly burned down a half-million dollar ripe, dry standing wheat crop across the fence that was about ready to harvest... and I could go on...

Anyway, when I was a member of NAR I realized that I wasn't getting ANYTHING but 6 magazines a year for my $60 bucks... I fly off my own farms (which I allow a "local" NAR club to fly off of as well, LPR/MPR only) and I don't need the insurance, I don't compete and have no interest in competition, and I STEADFASTLY REFUSE to get ANY kind of "certification" for a HOBBY *LEISURE* activity, PERIOD, nor would I spend the kind of money most guys do on HPR flying.

Besides, I've seen what REAL talented guys like John Pursley can do with just "model rocket" (2 G's and below) power... using ultra-lightweight but strong construction methods...

That, IMHO, is WAY more interesting that some bubba-yahoo type launching some big anti-tank round on a gigantic super-expensive rocket motor...

Later! OL J R :)
*THE* ultimate weapon in homeland defense and only $52 million per round!

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#23 Re: Rumor about Estes not producing cluster kits anymore- Is it true?

Post by Trident » Thu, 09 Feb 17, 02:36 am


I haven't flown HPR since maybe 2000. I found that my real passion was model rockets. I wanted to build all those kits I never built as a kid -- Saturns, Mars Landers, etc. and I like up scaling them, but if I never flew anything larger than a G, I could live with that.

I have fond memories of growing up during the space race, building rockets and dreaming of working for NASA. I was fortunate to live in Colorado and visit Estes Industries when I was 13.

I'm envious of anyone that can fly rockets on their farm. It is nearly impossible to fly in Fort Collins (actually, it IS impossible to legally fly here ...), no local clubs anymore, so I go to Denver to fly. I'll likely continue with the NAR, but every year the justification is tougher, since I've not even flown a G in a few years, let alone feel the need to buy an H, which requires keeping my cert.

Now, if cable, cellphone, and monthly rates for other luxuries keep going up and up, something is going to have to go!

Projects: Estes Phoenix, Estes Honest John, Viper (3x29mm)
In the Paint/Detailing shop: Der Saturn Max, Estes Saturn 1B, Estes Red Nova, Super Cobra, Bandit (STM-012 kitbash)
Completed!: Mini Honest John

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#24 Re: Rumor about Estes not producing cluster kits anymore- Is it true?

Post by luke strawwalker » Thu, 09 Feb 17, 04:02 am

I hear ya...

There's TONS of stuff I haven't done in model rocketry yet... so I have plenty of room to "expand". My thing has been scalers and scratchbuild. I admit I like a bigger rocket and the BT-80 is my favorite tube size-- just a nice size rocket. Big enough to be interesting but not so big I need to take out a loan to fly it. I like my D size motors too, and have flown some BP E's as well. Haven't had the need to go up to "F" and beyond yet. I'd like to play with some composites and planned to get some cases from Red Arrow when I was in the area at the BIL's, maybe this spring after helping plant crops, make a lil road trip up there from northern Indiana... Course I guess I'll have to go elsewhere now (I KNOW I'll have to go elsewhere now!)

I dunno, but to me HPR is just a bigger "woosh-pop" with a several hundred dollar to several thousand dollar price tag. If I had that kind of money to play with, I'd have a different hobby, like tractor restoration or classic cars... but I don't. You can fly a carload of model rockets EVERY WEEKEND for a year for just what 1-2 HPR flights per year can cost, and you can buy a truckload of LPR kits for what one single HPR can cost to buy/build.

That's one of the other things I've noticed, too... it seems to attract the mentality of people just 'showing off' how much money they have or can blow on it rather than any real skills or talent... and I'm not impressed by that sort of thing AT ALL. Guys get really pissy too when they're flaunting how much money they blew on such-n-such and you're not impressed, too... and that attitude seems pretty prevalent around the HPR launches I've been to, and comments I've read over the years from HPR folks. I don't have any need or desire to be around "that type" either. Usually if you see that sort of attitude, you'll see it from a HPR guy; rarely is it something that model rocket type folks will display...

Anyway, I've seen rockets larger than most HPR rockets built with ultra-lightweight methods and materials that would fly on G power or less. John Pursley has built some of them and people can't believe that a rocket that big can fly uncertified. If you want "big" you can build "big" without HPR.

I'd like to be a NAR member to "support the organization" but I'm not paying $62 bucks a year to do so... If they still sold the insurance separately, I'd be a NAR member again... it was only like $24 bucks or so for an adult membership before they made the insurance mandatory (back when you bought the insurance separately and they mailed you a "sticker" to put on your card showing you had insurance). The insurance company made them make it mandatory as part of the deal for them writing the policy, and NAR happily agreed... I STILL think it locks them out of attracting new members... when I was a kid I was a NAR member because it was only like $12 bucks a year without the insurance. Now it's like $24...

Heck if they just sold subscriptions to the magazine I'd subscribe, but they won't. Oh well... their loss...

Later! OL J R :)
*THE* ultimate weapon in homeland defense and only $52 million per round!

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