The Spike

I've been thinking about moving up to 29mm motors for some time -- I've got a design for a 29mm motor bird, the Stellar Wind, that should be a spectacular flier, if I ever get around to building it -- and one day at a launch, I spotted a Spike in the "kits for sale" box of the local dealer.  For only $27, I grabbed it, along with an adapter to put a 24mm motor in the mount.

Construction was straight forward, no surprises, other than learning to use yellow glue while building it.  I chose to forego epoxy because I've had pretty poor results in general getting the stuff to cure properly -- and I felt I was okay in doing so based on reports of other rocketeers who have similar rockets that have been flown on "every 29mm motor made" with surface mount fins attached with yellow glue.  The Spike has TMT fin mounting, similar to that in the Fat Boy and in many/most HPR birds.  The main difference is that the fins and the two kit centering rings are 1/8" aircraft plywood, instead of balsa and fiber.

I did make a couple minor modifications; I moved the forward centering ring aft to contact the fin tabs, and ensured that all three fins were glued to the body tube (inside and outside), the motor mount, and both the forward and after centering rings.  Given the strength of yellow glue, I'd have to break the wood to separate one of those components from another.

Moving the forward centering ring aft to the fin tabs made for a long unstuffed region in the body, alongside the motor mount tube; I chose to seal that off with a fiber centering ring -- actually the leftover rear centering ring from the Fat Boy kit that became my Fat Fat Boy, with the hole enlarged to fit the 29mm motor mount tubing.  This ring isn't structurally equal to the plywood components in the kit, but serves nicely to keep wadding from accumulating in the body tube, and to minimize the ejection volume for when I'm flying on 24mm motors -- structural strength isn't really needed here, just something to seal off the tube at the end of the MMT.

I also installed my experimental Universal Motor Retention System -- more on that at a later date.

This rocket flies very well indeed -- it was flown eight times in primer; I had some bad weather (and thus couldn't paint outside) just before the October 1997 launch, and made the decision to fly the rocket in plain white primer.  I've flown it on Estes D12-3, Aerotech E18-4 reloads,  F20-7 Econojets, and F62-6 Dark Stars so far, and it flies well on all of the above.

Unfortunately, this rocket flew a little too well -- just after it was painted, I flew it with my new RMS 29/40-120 case on an F40-7W, and it drifted across the field at the Boeing Space Center site and landed on the Toys R' Us warehouse.  That in itself wouldn't have been impossible; rockets have been retrieved from there before.  Unfortunately, there was a storm that night, and the rocket apparently blew down before the TRU staff could check the roof on Saturday.  I've since built another, with one minor addition.

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