Pun Rocket flying at Flite Fest East 2017, photograph by Steve Connor
What do you get when you mix DIY rocket science and a love of Flite Test planes?
Based on the Pun Jet design by Flite Test, scaled up to 200%, and modified to better suite ground launching with a rocket engine, the Pun Rocket was a plane I built from scratch and powered with a prototype for an F45 equivilant model rocket engine of my own design that is fully reusable and is powered by sugar propellant that can cost as little as $0.33 a flight.
Check out the build below to see how it was built and video of the Pun Rocket in flight!
-The Airframe Build-
The first step was scaling up and simplifying the shape of the Pun Jet wing. Note the original size Pun Jet next to the wing for scale. I used Elmer's 1/2" foam board for the wing which was strong enough to allow me to forgo adding a spar. At this point the 29mm LOC Precision motor mount tube was epoxied to the wing and an Estes 29mm screw on motor retainer was added for easy motor retention and removal.
For the next step I scaled up the fuselage and modified the shape, shifting the wing position to the bottom to allow me to rail launch the Pun Rocket more easily (so that I would have a flat surface to attach the rail buttons to) later on if I decided that was the direction I wanted to go in the future.
Next I sheeted the fuselage by removing the paper from one side of the board as is common in Flite Test builds, wrapping the foam board around the nose and creating a hatch on the bottom of the airframe where the foam sheeting met with the wing. Inside this hatch is where the receiver and battery would go.
The final step was to create a new winglet design that was larger than the original Pun Jet's when scaled up to allow me to get rid of the center fin as well as sit the Pun Rocket on its tail for launch.
With electronics added and six ounces of lead on the nose to get the CG in the correct location, the Pun Rocket was ready to fly!
Pun Rocket ready to launch!
-Flying the Pun Rocket-
I flew the Pun Rocket five times over the course of the next week to make sure it was safe and at that point it was off to Flite Fest East 2017!
With the permission of Flite Test I flew the Pun Rocket twice over the course of the event and a brief clip of the first flight was even included in their sneak peak video!
This was an incredible experience that I was immensely proud to share with everyone. It was amazing to see all of the positive support within the Flite Test community and I can't wait to have more rocket plane fun in the future! The only question for me now is what to build next.
If any of you are interested in building your own DIY RC rocket plane, RC plane with a JATO unit, rocket assisted RC plane, or have been interested in trying DIY sugar rockets as seen on YouTube, feel free to check out my Kickstarter for the reusable rocket engine I developed and used for the Pun Rocket here and if you back the project, feel free to send me a message on Kickstarter and I will include a free motor mount tube for you to use in your project with your engine so you have everything you need to get started on your own rocket plane project!