Excel Plus Build


The Excel Plus by Binder Design was built and flown as my Level 2 high power certification rocket. This meant that following its successful flight, I would now be able to fly J, K, and L impulse motors. And I did just that! Construction of the Excel Plus began in January 2013 and was completed in May 2013. Its first flight was on June 8, 2013 on an Aerotech J350W for my successful L2 certifcation flight!

This was also my first-ever dual deploy rocket. That means the rocket is built to deploy a small drogue parachute at apogee, and then a larger main parachute closer to the ground. This is done using altimeters.


Construction Photos

Click any image to view it larger.

Fin Can

One special feature of Binder Design kits is that they come with "modular" fin can assembly. That means the fin can is actually built outside the rocket, then glued into place upon completion. This makes for much easier assembly and stronger attachment points. Click here for a more detailed description on how this is done. Note the eyebolt serves as the attachment point for the drogue harness.

Booster Section

Here we have the completed booster section with the fin can now glued into place. It houses the motor and drogue parachute.

Upper Section

The upper section includes the nosecone and also house the main parachute.

Altimeter Bay

The altimeter bay holds electronics used to deploy the parachutes.


At apogee, this small parachute is deployed to bring the rocket down quickly.


Then, at a lower altitude, this large chute is deployed for a nice soft landing.

Full Recovery Harness

The fully-deployed recovery system (drogue and main) looks like this.

Completed Rocket

The completed rocket looks like this, sans paint.

Finished and painted in patriotic colors! Shown here on the pad, ready to go for my L2 cert. (Photo credit to Criag Alness.)

Flight Log

  1. June 8, 2013 - Aerotech J350W (Brothers, OR).
    • First flight and my L2 cert!
  2. June 9, 2013 - Aerotech J275W (Brothers, OR).
    • First dual deploy flight, max altitude 4,379'.
  3. June 28, 2013 - Aerotech J540R (Brothers, OR).
    • Max altitude 5,559' and my first mile-high flight.
  4. June 28, 2013 - Aerotech K540M (Brothers, OR).
    • Max altitude 6,810'.
  5. June 30, 2013 - Aerotech K185W (Brothers, OR).
    • Max altitude 6,936'.
  6. July 27, 2013 - Aerotech K550W (Brothers, OR).
    • Max altitude 7,285'.
  7. August 31, 2013 - Aerotech J315R (Brothers, OR).
    • Max altitude 4,092'.
  8. September 14, 2013 - Aerotech K270W (Black Rock Desert, NV).
    • Max altitude 9,113', highest-ever altitude the Excel Plus has flown.
  9. October 12, 2013 - Research K800 (Brothers, OR).
    • Max altitude 6,959'.
  10. June 27, 2014 - Research J400 (Brothers, OR).
    • Max altitude 4,776'.
  11. July 26, 2014 - Aerotech K375NW (Brothers, OR).
    • Final flight as the airframe shredded.