Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Barking Pumpkin


Ace was a kit [plus occasional motors] manufacturer from
sometime in the '70's through the '80's. Ace was owned by
Korey Kline who is better known these days for pioneering
the Hypertek hobby hybrid motors and the Hyperion hybrid
sounding rocket flights at Wallops Island.

The ACE 4" 4:1 nose cone was the first plastic hipower nose
cone available, and has been used by many kit makers and
custom builders, and is doubtless still being produced.

The Ace Sonic, of course, uses 2 of these cones to make a
very streamlined 4" rocket under 3 feet long. The stock kit
had a 29mm motor mount, I built mine with a 38mm motor
mount so it's a bit shorter, and a lot faster. It also means that
it has a tendency to whip a 1/4" launch rod hard, then
thunder off on a random vector. What Fun!! 

Over the years I've' flown it on exotics and extremes like;
G210, G300, H242, I250, I357 and G160 & H220 black
powder Silver Streaks as shown above, plus many others.
In order to accomodate the longer motors, the motor mount
tube extends up to the back of the nose cone. The recovery
system packs around it.

Due to it's compact yet visible design it has traveled to [and
returned from] more flying sites than any other single hi-pwr
rocket I own. This includes 2 trips in private aircraft and twice
on my motorcycle. I'm pleased to say that it's rod whipping
days are over. It took a wee bit of enginuity, but it's now
equiped with rail buttons instead of a lug. The front button is
attached to the nosecone just above the shoulder, the rear is
at the bottom of the parachute well, half way down the
airframe, with a standoff.  It would've been nice to keep the
launch lug for versatility, but low-drag philosophy will out.


  1. With it's power and small size (+rod-whipping action) I'm surprised this rocket is still around.
    How did it get the interesting name?

  2. Dang!
    I had a sentence about that in the draft. Got lost somewhere along the way.
    On the tip of the nose I created a stretched out Jack-O-Lantern face complete with fangs. You can see an eye and the corner of the mouth in the top pic. Of coarse, it's completely obvious head-on. The last thing a bug or bird would see!
    It was inspired by Frank Zappa's; Barking Pumpkin Records.
    I always wanted to do a big Harley as a Barking Pumpkin.

  3. Duh! You asked 2 questions.
    Along with the enhanced visibility of the bright Flouro Orange paint, I routinely drop it fast and hard on tiny parachutes.
    It's had every fin knocked off at least once.