Model Rockets

Every October we get in the mood to build model rockets, partly because that’s when we watch the movie October Sky, and also because it’s finally cool enough here in the Arizona desert to do stuff outdoors after the long hot summer.

Model rockets are a fun hobby for people of all ages. Some hobbyists enjoy the construction and painting of the models, others prefer the launching and recovery of the rockets, while most enjoy doing both. The easiest to use model rockets come fully assembled and ready to fly. Others require extensive model building experience. There is a wide range of skill levels inbetween.

If you live in the Phoenix area, the Hobby Bench is a great place to get model rockets, parts, and supplies. Founder and owners Lee and Betty Piester are well-known in the hobby industry for their involvement in the invention of the model rocket in 1964. A college business project led Lee to the creation of a full-blown manufacturing plant called Centuri Engineering, specializing in the manufacture of model rocket kits and rocket motors. They opened their first store in 1976.

Another possibility is Hobby Lobby, which operates more than 500 stores in 41 states. The store near us even carries Classroom Bulk Packs with 12 easy-to-assemble model rockets. Hobby Lobby has a coupon for 40% off of any regular priced item that you can print out.

For online orders, go to They have a wide selection of model rockets including sport fliers, military scale replicas, even multi-stage and cluster rockets. There’s something for every rocketeer and every budget. As stated on their website:

“Sport rocketry is a family-oriented hobby. The hobby teaches science, craftsmanship, and can provide hours of fun while building or flying. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do, whether you fly model rockets by yourself or launch them with a local rocketry club.”

NOTE: Model rockets are not toys and require adult supervision. It’s important for all model rocket enthusiasts to carefully follow the safety guidelines included in every kit.

Learn more about model rockets at:

Download a free copy of Physics and Model Rockets: A Teacher’s Guide and Curriculum for Grades 8-11 at:

Check out this page of free Educator Publications from Estes Rockets: (Includes a “Rocketry 101” illustrated introduction to model rockets, a model rocketry study guide, model rocket research projects, model rocket mathematical calculations, rocket engine info charts, a guidebook for organizing and operating a model rocket club, and much more.)

October Sky (1999-PG) is the true story of a teenage boy (Homer Hickam) who dreams of building a rocket. Hickam’s story begins in 1957 with Russia’s historic launch of the Sputnik satellite on October 4 of that year.

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