Finding New Horizons...
Very early on, within perhaps 6 months of my becoming a BAR, I happened across some FSI motors at an obscure hobby shop in Sycamore, IL. I was thunderstruck, having never realized that there were realms beyond Centuri and Estes. Needless to say, I quickly snatched up some E12 and F100 motors! This rocket is one I whipped together as a test bed. The main airframe tube is from a roll of Christmas wrapping paper, transitioned to an 18-inch section of BT-55. The odd diameters of the FSI engines meant that I couldn't use Estes motor tubing.. so I rolled my own!
The rocket flew great with an E12, reaching maybe 200 to 250 meters. With an F100, it really cooked! 400, maybe even 500 meters. I also flew it on the notorious FSI F7 motor, and while the first flight went OK (and was spectacular, at least 600 meters), on the second flight it weathercocked severely and impacted the ground under thrust! Needless to say, there was nothing left.
So, while the rocket lasted for perhaps only 8 to 10 flight, that was enough to hook me on this new, to me, concept of High Power Model Rocketry.
I became a really good FSI customer! This rocket, an 8' long "Super-Roc", was a sort of a strength-of-materials test for Estes tubing, to see if it could withstand the FSI F100. It used stock Estes BT-80 tubing and nose cone, and had 1/8" 3-ply plywood fins. Not only could it withstand the F100 (5 flights!), it eventually flew with mid-H motors like the Ravenna H107 and H198. I never did work up the nerve to try it on a full 320 n/sec motor, though in retrospect I believe that it could have handled it just fine. It finally did buckle, but from a hard landing, not flight stress.