Monday, November 24, 2008

Shipping of new Q2G2 igniters begins

We’ve begun shipping our new Q2 'Generation Two' (G2) igniters. These are absolutely the best igniter we’ve ever produced. The Q2G2 is made from a pair of twisted and insulated lead wires with a welded micro bridge wire. They are very durable and are very well suited for cluster ignition.

The tip is virtually indestructible. The long insulated lead wires really help prevent shorts caused by the wires touching each other and… the lead wires are actually long enough that they sit outside (not under) the engine exhaust, so your micro clips stay clean!

You’ll need to use caution when using Q2G2. They are specifically designed for use with the Quest 9V launch controller. Other brands of controllers may fire the igniter when the safety key is inserted. This is because the all-fire current on the Q2G2 is very low at an average of 150ma. This is close to the same current that flows through light bulb filaments. SO BE CAREFUL and always do a continuity check with your system first if it is not a Quest launch controller.

Why make the igniter so sensitive? Simple… by far, the largest users of Quest rockets and engines are youth groups like 4-H and Scouts. Keeping the current needed to fire the igniters lower increases the success rate for launching. We’ve been doing this for twenty years now and by far the largest customer service issue has always been ignition problems. Most of these are tied directly to the type and condition of battery used (people tend to not follow directions and don’t use fresh Alkaline batteries).

If your hobby store doesn’t stock the Q2G2’s yet, they are available on the Quest website

Friday, November 21, 2008

A peek into the Quest Research & Development Lab

A good deal of our time here at Quest is spent developing new products. Some of the ideas are submitted to us from rocketeers and professional designers, but most are developed by us. Sometimes a new product is nothing more than “packaging” old products in a new way like our new Prod. No 5750 STARHAWK 6 ROCKET PARTY SET. This is a product that is designed to make it easy for a retail store to sell rockets to a Mom or customer with no rocket knowledge at all.

Some R&D projects are very large in scope. Quest is currently designing an entire new line of mid-power model rockets and engines. These projects can take many months, even years! The Quest mid-power rockets will include several black powder rocket engines in the D, E, and F power range. Once the engine specifications and performance get finalized, then rest of the line starts unfurling – a new igniter – a new launch pad and controller- and finally kits. We gave a sneak preview of some of our kit ideas at NARAM in August 2008.

An R&D project can be for a specific vehicle. Here’s some work we’re doing on the new NASA ARIES launch vehicle.

Here’s some ideas we’re developing for new MICRO MAXX rocket kits.

And sometimes the most fun projects are what we call “Blue-Sky”. This is when we just have an idea and play with it.

SPEV is an acronym for “Spare Part Elimination Vehicle”.

Product development is definitely my favorite part of this business. If you have a great product idea, please feel free to contact us. We do follow a pretty strict protocol to protect your idea – so everyone must sign non-disclosure documents before we ever look at it.

By-the-way… Quest is also introducing Parts on our website soon. Look for that announcement and start designing your own cool looking rockets!

Bill Stine
Quest Aerospace, Inc.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Quest at NCASE 2008

This is the brawn side of the “A-team” from Quest. The A-team is what Bill called us when he asked if we could/would cover the NCASE show for him. (It couldn’t be that he just wanted to be in Chicago himself getting his latest award and needed somebody else to go to DC.) Anyway Suzy Sprague and her brawny husband (me, Jack) have been friends with Nettie, Scott and Bill for ‘a-long-time-now’ and are enthusiastic about the sport and hobby of model rocketry. Suzy speaks both rocketry and teacher, and is thus the perfect person to represent Quest at the National Convention of Air and Space Educators in our nation’s capitol. And me, I talk rockets with anybody that will listen, and I can set up the display booth and move boxes. We make a great Quest A-team.

Our Quest display booth

NCASE was held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott just across the Potomac from the national mall area of the District of Columbia. This year there were about 450 educators attending from across the country and another 120 or so representatives of the Civil Air Patrol. Even though Quest has been at this convention several times in the past, most of the comments we got started with some variation of ‘I did not know that Quest did model rockets.’ But we could eventually turn each conversation into ‘How can Quest help you teach aerospace?’ Some of the highlights of the show from our perspective make some of these points pretty well.

The CAP has a new rocketry and space study program. They offer three levels of study involving different types of rockets and increasing knowledge and skills of the cadet. The three CAP levels are named after three increasingly powerful American rocket boosters; Redstone, Titan and Saturn. Quest has support for both the water rockets and model rockets used in this new study guide. And at the Saturn Level, the Quest models of the Tomahawk, X-15 and Terrier-Orion satisfy both the flight, and scale elements for the cadet.

The Quest X - 15 Sally and her Dad, Scott
Speaking of the X-15, one of the most famous X-15 pilots was Scott Crossfield. His daughter was at NCASE and really liked our X-15 on display. Sally Crossfield Farley is running a scholarship foundation in her Dad’s name, and was very interested in anything that could bring students into aerospace; like flying a model of her father’s rocket-plane. Sally left before we could donate the display to her, so I still owe an X-15 kit to the Crossfield Foundation.

And two other Quest features that can help bring aerospace effectively to the classroom are our beginning level kits, and our educator bulk-packs. The entry kits quickly caught the attention of elementary educators. Either the ‘almost-ready-to-fly’ Starhawk with its one-piece plastic fin-can, or the new Astra with its novel ‘through-the-wall’ fin attachment tabs are frequently seen as superior fits for the first-time builder, and for first-time teachers too.

One other group that was at NCASE helping catch student’s attention and bring them into careers in aerospace was the Team America Rocket Challenge. This group, sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and by the National Association of Rocketry holds the worlds largest model rocket contest each year. The task varies each year but usually involves flying a raw egg to an exact altitude. This year’s challenge task could be handled by a modified Quest Courier egg-lifter. And our payload rockets can give beginners experience in flying the altimeter used by TARC. Several Texas High Schools use the Courier and the Zenith to introduce their TARC teams to the building and flying skills required for this contest. Trip Barber, the President of the NAR and one of the founders of the TARC contest liked our characterization of the Quest line as training wheels for TARC teams.

Suzy and I got packed up and back home safely, and are just now getting the contact names from the show back to Quest Headquarters. We are hoping that getting the Quest brand and products out in the open will better help our educators boost the interest and activity levels of hobby rocket around the country.

Fly ‘em Safe! --Jack

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Quest Blog is back!

Boy has it been awhile! About a 18 months ago Quest packed up the office and headed from Cave Creek Arizona and headed for Pagosa Springs Colorado. There have been many changes in that time. One of the things that got neglected was the Quest Blog (qBlog). In fact it is was so neglected we can not access the old qBlog account. There are a good portion of items that were saved on our server and we hope that we will be able to restore them to this site or connect them through web-magic. Some of it is actually web-lost and attempts will be made to restore some of those items. That leaves us with now! Okay - we are starting a New Year resolution early - we will update the qBlog often - with everything we can think of. If you have any questions or suggestions please let us know. Happy Flying! Nettie