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Show Others Your Mastery of the Sky With the Quest Quad Runner Rocket
Smoke and fire! With a cluster of four rocket motors, the Quest Quad Runner is a smoke spewing rocket that will set your inner spirit free. Along with the dense column of smoke, the four engines belch forth a thunderous roar that will turn heads at any launch you show up at. The world will know that you're a go-getter and you have command of the fire-demons in your rocket.
This is a big rocket too. It won't get lost in a rocket display. It's large size and eye-popping colors will make this it a hit with your rocketry buddies.
But what will turn heads is the cluster of engines in the rear of the rocket. Peeking out out the back end are four engine mount tubes. These tubes will hold 18mm diameter motors, so you can fly this rocket on A's, B's, C's or even the 18mm composite propellant D10 motors. With the four D's, it is equivalent to a F40 motor. Imagine how high it will go on that!
The cool thing about the cluster is that all four motors are held into the tubes with a single metal washer. The engine retention system consists of a threaded rod that protrudes out the base of the engine tubes, in the center of the quad-pack. Once you slide the motors into the tubes, you put on a washer and a wing-nut onto the threaded rod. The single washer extends over the edges of each engine, thereby preventing them from sliding rearward out of the rocket. This is the first kit we've seen use this configuration. They must have gotten the idea from our Peak-of-Flight Newsletter, issue #190 (Aug 14, 2007).
This technique of engine retention works great, and it quickly allows you to pop in the motors like you were loading shot-gun cartridges. This allows you to get to the pad and then reload quickly for your next space shot.
The Quest Quad-Runner is one of the first mid-power kits from Quest, and has a couple of nice features. First is a nylon cloth parachute. This is much more durable than a chute made from plastic. It is also pre-assembled, so you don't have to do anything but attach it to the rocket.
You'll find that this rocket also sports a thicker tube than you'd find on normal model rocket kits. That gives it some durability to handle the higher flight loads from bigger motors.
What are the flaws in this kit?
We didn't find any with the actual parts in the rocket. Our nit-picky things have to do with the instructions. We found that in Step 5 of the instructions, it calls for the Kevlar® shock cord to be tied to the front of the engine retention bolt. It specifically calls for a "XXXX" knot. What the heck is a "XXXX" knot is what we'd like to know. We think this is a typographical error. When we built the kit, we used a simple overhand knot and a bit of wood-glue to hold the knot in place.
The other nit-picky thing is that our kit did not come with the "Painting Mask" template that is called out for in Step 18A. Not a biggie. This is a Skill Level 3 rocket, and I'm sure that you're more than capable of creating a painting mask of your own -- if you choose to follow the paint scheme that Quest calls for in this kit.
Finally, the instructions tell you to check the CG of the rocket before you launch it. That is a really good idea, as the four motors are a lot heavier than you'd think and will move the CG pretty far back. The instructions tell you to add nose weight by drilling a 1/4 inch hole into the base of the nose cone and inserting a 5/16 X 1.5 inch lag screw and a fender washer. Unfortunately, the screw and the washer are not included with the kit. And the nose weight is needed to move the CG far enough forward. On our model, we just shoved some modeling clay into the nose cone and pressed it into the tip with a wood dowel. Again, not a big deal, since this is common practice in rocketry (see the book Model Rocket Design and Construction for more tips on rocket stability).
Finally, we wished that this kit had through-the-wall fins, instead of just attaching to the surface like you'd find with smaller rockets. Through-the-wall would have really make the fins much stronger. Because of this, we highly recommend using heavy-duty fillets made out of the epoxy clay. That would be just as good anyway.
What Makes This a Skill Level 3 Rocket?
The Quest Quad Runner is a very straightforward build. It comes with a plastic nose cone, surface mount laser cut balsa fins, and parachute recovery.
The primary reason this is a Skill Level 3 rocket is that it is a cluster engine rocket. That means there is more prep-work prior to launch the rocket, such as making sure all the starters are inserted and wire together properly. Adult supervision is recommended when flying this model rocket with younger children.
Because more motors means "more power," this rocket requires an extra level of maturity to handle the extra power. You have to know when conditions are unsafe where you should not use the bigger motors. Most younger children just want to shove the biggest, baddest motor into rocket whenever they want. This could be a safety issue, so big motors are usually recommended for people with more experience in rocketry.
Hooking Up A 4-Cluster Engine Rocket
If you are not using the Quest Q2G2 starters, as recommended in the instructions, then hooking up a 4-engine cluster requires the use of a clip whip. Basically, you'll hook up two engines to each leg of the clip whip. It is actually easier than the diagram looks.
Tell me more about the features of the Quest Quad Runner Rocket
Quest did their homework when putting together this rocket. They wanted a good performer made from quality parts, and that is what you'll get when you open up the box.
It is probably a bit overboard to protect everything in a box, but you'll be glad they did.
Quality Kraft Paper Body Tubes - For its weight, brown kraft paper is very strong. To make it look pretty, Quest added a white overlap over the surface. This allows you to draw lines on the tubes with an ordinary pencil.
Glossy self-stick decals - The rocket has a simple paint scheme. The big decals enhance that and make it a very attractive rocket. They are also die-cut, so you don't have to even cut them out. Just lift them off the off the backer material, and slap them down on the rocket. You'll be up and launching this rocket quickly because of that.
Sturdy Plastic Nose Cone - The sturdy blow-molded nose cone is made from polystyrene plastic, so it accepts paint easily. It has an unusual straight section on the cone, which you don't often see in most nose cones. This allows the rocket to be made longer without using a longer body tube.
Balsa-wood fins to make the rocket light-weight so that it can fly higher into the air. These fins are laser cut from the balsa sheet, so that all the fins are the same size. If you are working with students, they can learn the value of sanding the edges to make the fins more streamlined - which makes the rocket fly even higher into the air.
Laser Cut "Cluster Rings" - The big rings in this kit are also laser-cut, so they fit the tubes perfectly. That also makes assembly go faster and you'll end up with a better looking rocket.
Color Coded Parts - This makes assembly easier and quicker. Our one wish was that the engine mount tubes were white instead of yellow. Not that it makes much difference, but the white makes it easier to paint (you don't have to hide the color underneath.
Launch Lug for a 3/16 inch launch rod - Works great on a standard launch pad with a slightly bigger rod diameter. You can get the bigger rods at a hardware store, and they will fit into any launch pad that we carry.
Illustrated Instructions - Quest Aerospace does a fine job on their instructions. There are plenty of illustrations. This makes it much more simple and enjoyable to put the rocket together. Even younger students will be able to get the rocket put together without much effort.
Nylon Cloth Parachute - This parachute is pre-assembled, so all you have to do is attach it to you completed model. Since it is made from cloth, it is much more durable that plastic chutes and should easily outlast the rocket.
Kevlar® Shock Cord - This sturdy cord is fire resistant and six times stronger than steel. So it will withstand even the toughest rocket flights. Quest also includes an elastic shock cord to take the brunt of the ejection charge. So you get a little bit of old-school and new-school technology.
Tools needed to assemble the Quad Runner Rocket Kit
NOTE: You can launch this rocket with either 2 or 4 motors in the engine mount. Suggested launch guide to be 5' or longer for stability. You can find longer guides at a hardware store.
Rocket motors are sold separately from the kit. For more help in selecting rocket motors, see our video tutorial. If you're unsure, start with the "First Flight" recommendation or the one with the lowest altitude, then go up from there.
For other motors that are not tested or not listed here, download the Quad Runner RockSim file and load it to see if it will work in this rocket kit. See also Technical Publication #28 for guidance on selecting appropriate rocket engines other than those listed in this chart.
The RockSim software gives you a lot of information about the flight characteristics of this rocket: how high, how fast, where it will land, how will it react to wind, etc. The "design file" is intended to save you time. All the parameters (size, shape, weight, fin design, etc.) of this rocket have already been entered into the RockSim program, and saved as an electronic database file. You can just open it up in your copy of RockSim and start loading different rocket motors to run launch simulations. It's fun and educational to see the rocket zoom skyward, even before you built it. For more information about RockSim and to download a FREE 30-day demo version, click here.
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