For the Pack 34 Rocket Launch event, you will want to build and bring an “Estes” style model rocket and watch it take off on its maiden flight, or as is sometimes the case, fail in glorious ways. Building and flying rockets is a blast. The difficulty of the kits can range from pre-made to a project that will take many MANY weekends to accomplish. Picking a kit at the right level for your scout is generally critical to determining their enjoyment of the process and how much you, the parent, will need to be involved.
Most all kits follow the following skill levels:
RTF – Ready To Fly. Unwrap and launch
E2X – Easy to Assemble. Generally, this comes with a plastic pre-assembled fin unit which makes the assembly very straightforward. A GREAT class for younger scouts. These are generally pre-painted or just use stickers.
Level 1 – Painting, gluing, and sanding will be needed. This is a good level for the scout who wants a real challenge. The toughest part will be getting the fins and launch lug on properly. That said, it is generally a straightforward exercise.
Level 2 – Even more elaborate than level 1. Fin placements become more varied and harder to get right. Painting can rarely be done in one stage. Expect to be very hands-on as the parent for even the older scouts.
Level 3+ – It just gets more elaborate from here. We highly recommend steering away from the more challenging kits.
When you order/purchase the rocket be sure to check out the recommended engines. You will see something like Recommended Engines: B6-2, B6-4, C6-5
The important part to look at is the letter. The letter determines the size (technically called the impulse class) of the engine. They range from 1/2 A and up. The pack will provide A and B class engines (note that 1/2 A is NOT an A). If you have a rocket that requires a 1/2 A, C or D engine you will need to provide your own. We HIGHLY discourage launching anything with over a D engine. This is for safety and practicality. The area in which we launch is not big enough for the bigger engines. The chances of losing the rocket become extremely high. For most any level 2 and below rocket you build you will get an extremely impressive launch with a rocket that reaches heights where you can no longer see it with the smaller engines.
The other important building tip is to make certain the rocket is “done” a few days before launch. The critical parts are:
- A properly aligned and firmly fixed “launch lug” (the small tube on the side of the rocket body that guides the rocket during launch.
- Properly aligned and firmly attached fins.
- Dry paint.
- A nose cone that can freely separate from the body. We have had nose cones painted right or glued to the body in the past.
- A properly attached “recovery’ device. This will usually be a parachute or a streamer provided with the kit.
IF THE ROCKET DOES NOT MEET THE ABOVE POINTS WE CAN’T LAUNCH IT. Some are fixable at the site, some are not. There will be a rocket inspection before any rocket launches.
Here is a summary of what the pack will be providing on launch day:
- A and B class engines.
Here is all you need to provide:
- A built and ready to fly rocket!
- A 1/2 A, C, or D engine if your rocket requires it.
Note that if you order online, it will take 2-3 weeks for the engines to arrive. They have to be shipped ground.
Have fun with this!