This year in Cub Scouts they did the rocket race instead of the Pinewood Derby. Sam had fun making his rocket and stuck with the usual BYU blue.
The rockets don’t have nearly as much room for customization and tweaking as the pinewood derby cars do. They also don’t have the people buying cheater wheels and spokes off the internet. Both of those things are a plus in my book as the rockets are much less work than the derby cars. I had never done a rocket when I was in cub scouts so I was unaware of all the secrets on how to make the fastest rocket. We stuck with the basic instructions for the rocket and rounded off the edges to make it look like a rocket as best we could but that was about it.
For the record, the rockets that won were those that were the lightest. The winning technique seemed to be to drill a lot of holes in the sides of the rocket to make them as light as possible. Because the rocket is not gravity powered like derby cars are but is rubber-band powered, and because all rockets have the same standard plastic adapter that hooks them onto the wire, the lighter weight rockets win and aerodynamics and reduction of friction are not really relevant. The only caveat is to not make the rocket so light that the rocket structure becomes too fragile and you can’t put enough tension on the rubber band without breaking the rocket.
Unfortunately you can’t have nearly as much run with the rockets after the derby is over like you can with the cars. The cars can be rolled down driveways, rolled on the kitchen floor, etc. Rockets need to be hooked up to the racking apparatus in order to operate. In the end though it was still fun and Sam seemed to have a good time even though his rocket wasn’t a winner.