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Old 03-24-2020, 11:01 PM
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Gus Gus is offline
7/21/61
 
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Default Centuri Acro Bat, Aero Bat, Micro Probe

Matt Steele just posted this on Facebook but I thought I'd copy it here as this is a better history repository.


From Matt: "I ran across these old Centuri kits -and I sent some photos to Lee Piester asking him the background on them. I thought I would share his responses with the group:"

From Lee:

Page 2 of our 1962 Centuri catalog shows the original Aero-Bat--priced at $1.75 postpaid. Amazing!! How did we sell it for that and pay the freight?? .

From my 58 year old memory of 1962, I recall four iterations of "Aero-Bat".

#1 First offered in 1962 catalog, it offered my hand-turned hardwood nose cone, cloth hinges, and blank balsa sheet. I flew Aero-Bat's first prototype at NARAM 2 or 3.

#2 Included balsa cone, pre-printed balsa wings, improved elevator hinges and release clip, and simulated canards and payload capsule.

#3 Using the best ideas of Aero-Bat #2--evolved the"Acro-Bat" . It eliminated the moveable elevator, and controlled pitch thru (preset) canards. The body tube came pre-marked for more accurate wing and canard positioning. Shown In 1965 catalog,

#4 The "X-21 Glider (1965) was a further revision of "Aero-Bat"
Vertical ascent and glide duration improved with each revision.
The Micro-Probe was introduced in 1964--priced at $2.50 It did not go thru revisions---performed well, and was a good seller.
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Last edited by Gus : 03-24-2020 at 11:27 PM.
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Old 03-24-2020, 11:25 PM
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Gus Gus is offline
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I also wanted to note that the kits came from the collection of Jonathan Dunbar (Cohetero Negro here on YORF) who passed away last year. The kits, per Jonathan's wish, were donated to Lee to include in his donation to the Museum of Flight.
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Old 03-25-2020, 04:25 PM
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Earl Earl is offline
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Those are some very rare kits. I have the X-21, but have never seen actual copies of the Aero-Bat or Acro-Bat.

The Micro Probe actually did go through one more iteration after the original issue. By 1965, the Micro Probe had been updated to the design it would be until it was discontinued after the 1971 catalog. It is one of the more difficult Centuri kits to find also, even in the latter configuration. I have never seen an actual copy of the original version. Here’s a link to the latter design in the 1965 catalog: http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/ca...65/65cen14.html


Wonderful forethought by Jonathan to donate them to Lee.


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Old 03-25-2020, 05:09 PM
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I have seen both the Aero Bat and Acro Bat show up occasionally on ebay.
They ALWAYS go for BIGG $$.
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Old 03-25-2020, 06:05 PM
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Gus Gus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl
...Wonderful forethought by Jonathan to donate them to Lee.
Earl

I agree.

Jonathan was also able to rescue a number of historical Estes items mandated to be thrown out during the Tunick era. They were recovered by some Estes employees and eventually made their way to Jonathan. Per Jonathan's instructions those will go back to Estes, where the current ownership is really interested in recovering the history of the company.

Jonathan's collection is absolutely huge and it will take a couple of years to get through it. As interesting items are discovered I will try to share them here.
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