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Flight Log Updates

#230 - Tajfun 2 L2

#229 - Mac Uni AON

#228 - Tajfun 2 Elec.

#227 - Zip Line

#226 - DIY Barometer

#225 - Air Pressure Exp.

#224 - Tajfun 2

#221 - Horizon Deploy

#215 - Deployable Boom

#205 - Tall Tripod

#204 - Horizon Deploy

#203 - Thunda 2

#202 - Horizon Launcher

#201 - Flour Rockets

#197 - Dark Shadow II

#196 - Coming Soon

#195 - 3D Printed Rocket

#194 - TP Roll Drop

#193 - Coming Soon

#192 - Stager Tests

#191 - Horizon

#190 - Polaron G3

#189 - Casual Flights

#188 - Skittles Part #2

#187 - Skittles Part #1

#186 - Level 1 HPR

#185 - Liquids in Zero-G

#184 - More Axion G6

#183 - Axion G6

#182 - Casual Flights

#181 - Acoustic Apogee 2

#180 - Light Shadow

#179 - Stratologger

#178 - Acoustic Apogee 1

#177 - Reefing Chutes

#176 - 10 Years

#175 - NSWRA Events

#174 - Mullaley Launch

#173 - Oobleck Rocket

#172 - Coming Soon

#171 - Measuring Altitude

#170 - How Much Water?

#169 - Windy

#168 - Casual Flights 2

#167 - Casual Flights

#166 - Dark Shadow II

#165 - Liquid Density 2

#164 - Liquid Density 1

#163 - Channel 7 News

#162 - Axion and Polaron

#161 - Fog and Boom

#1 to #160 (Updates)



Each flight log entry usually represents a launch or test day, and describes the events that took place.
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Day 95 - Parraweena, MAD Deployment
PK's Magnetic Apogee Detector.
The MAD is powered by a single LiPo battery.
Here the MAD is used to trigger our flight computer when the rocket tips over at Apogee.
And fitted inside the nosecone aero shell.
Most of the next set of photos were taken by Darren and Phil
Getting ready for the first MAD flight.
Launched at a mere 110psi.
The MAD worked as expected when the rocket started facing down.
Launching the MAD on a slightly larger rocket and powered by foam.
A long foam trail is left behind.
The MAD worked well again. You can see foam floating down with the rocket.
Coming down to a gentle landing ....
... on the road ...
... the ground retrieval crew is quickly on the scene to remove a potential speed bump.
There were some very large rocket on show. Here is Phil with his rocket. Despite an early setback the rocket put on a great show.
MD80 clone camera sled that fits in the rocket payload.
Getting ready to launch "Waterless" on a G64
Turning on the video camera inside the rocket.
... and off she goes...
Looking East as the rocket approaches apogee.
Rocket begins to tip over. The road below with a large water tank.
Just prior to parachute ejection. Taken from an altitude of somewhere between 2500-3000 feet.
A composite panorama taken from the video sequence on the way up.
The rocket also managed to find the road, with minimal damage.
Heading back to the hotel at sunset.
Setting up the launch pad again on the next day. Last minute instructions about which valve does what.
Testing the Mk3 stager again on a smaller booster.
Launched at 110psi.
Good separation at burnout .
The sustainer had 700mL of water in it.
Clear skies ensured good visibility of the entire flight.
Returning safely to earth.
Sustainer support brace and booster mounting ring.
The supports are individually adjustable to align the stages exactly.
The support holds the sustainer by its fins.
Testing the Mk3 stager with a larger booster and sustainer.
The sustainer is supported by an adjustable brace on the booster.
Good take off at 120psi.

(Photos: Darren)

The sustainer continued to a decent altitude.
Still frames from on-board camera.
The grain shed on the way down under parachute.
Andrew with his glider
Glider powers itself to altitude, before turning it's motor off.
Downward views of the launch area from the glider.
Car park.
Launch pad with Chris's rocket ready to launch.
Glider in a bank manoeuvre looking to the side.
A long way up, as the plane is approached by a pair of Eagles.
A view of the Parraweena launch area.

Date:  28th & 29th August 2010
Parraweena, NSW, Australia
 Cool, Sunny 15-17 degrees C, very light breeze.
Team Members at Event:
GK, Paul K, John K and AK.


This weekend we took a road trip to Parraweena, about 360km north of Sydney to a gathering of pyro rocketeers to fly some bigger rockets that can't be flown at Doonside. After seeing all the great rockets flown at Williams in Perth I wanted to see more. :) This time rather than just going to watch I brought the family along, some water rockets and my bigger pyro rocket.

There were a couple of things I've been wanting to test on the water rockets so it was a good opportunity to try them out.

MAD deployment

PK on the Australian rocketry forum put together a MAD project (Magnetic Apogee Detection) for pyro rockets and made a few boards and programmed PICs available. So I thought I'd have a go at putting one of the boards together and trying it with our water rockets. The board has mostly SMD components so it's nice and compact. Because it is designed to fire a pyro charge, it is not suitable to directly drive a servo motor. So I connected it through a small opto-coupler to trigger one of our flight computers to activate the parachute servo.

It's really easy to use. You just turn it on, and it arms itself after a 2 minute period which normally allows you enough time to turn it on and assemble your pyro rocket. I arm our flight computer at the same time. The nice part is that there is no need to detect launch and hence you eliminate false triggers due to filling vibration. Assembling the MAD was good practice for soldering SMDs using tweezers and a magnifying glass.

The MAD runs off a single LiPo battery which adds minimal weight. I used the little 70mAh we purchased a while back.

Sustainer Support Brace

One of the common problems with multistage rockets is supporting each stage against the next so that the stages remain aligned during the boost phase. You need to be able to carefully adjust the supports in order to align the stages. I put together a simple brace support for the Mk 3. stager that fits to the top of the booster. It supports the sustainer by its fins. The fin support idea came from Alex from the Ukraine, though he uses a different brace setup. ( Thanks for the ideas Alex. :)

The fin support is very easy to make and adjust. See the photos on the left for more details. As we were going to try to fly the Mk3. stager on a bigger booster with a longer sustainer, it was necessary to use the sustainer support brace.

Launch Day 1

Launch day 1 didn't start out all that well. The story actually starts the day before when the car would not start for my wife. She had the battery replaced as it was dead even though we had a new one put in just 6 months before, and all was good as we thought. We drove up to a hotel half way along the route the night before launch and found that we couldn't restart the car. The road service guy found the problem within 2 minutes and all signs pointed to the alternator. It appears that we had driven from Sydney on battery power alone, and were very lucky the car didn't stop along the way! Well to cut a long story short we had the car towed to the car electrician on the Saturday morning, rented a car, transferred all the launch gear and rockets, and went on our way. There was nothing to be done with the car until Monday and so we left it behind.

We managed to get to the launch site, before any rockets were launched so that was good. The launch site is excellent with very large flat fields in all directions. The weather was almost perfect with sunny conditions and almost no wind.

We watched a number of fantastic rockets go up, especially Phil's large rocket. There were a few failures as well, but that's all a part of the sport.

My first flight was a small water rocket fitted with the MAD. The flight was good, and the parachute popped out soon after apogee when the rocket was facing down.

So I fitted the MAD nosecone to a longer rocket and flew that with foam, to see if slower acceleration and a more gentle arc would affect the MAD in any way, and again the parachute opened just after apogee.

All up I was really happy with the flights, as this means a MAD will work effectively on our rockets, and is particularly useful if something goes wrong and the rocket doesn't attain the required altitude for a preset time. Anytime the rocket tips over in the air, it will deploy the parachute. This will also be useful on high altitude flights where predicting the time to apogee is a little trickier.

My last flight of the day was my LOC Weasel ("Waterless") flown on a G64-10W. This was our highest power pyro rocket launch to date. It was also our highest flying rocket to date somewhere in the 2500 - 3000 foot range. I did not have an altimeter fitted, but did have an onboard MD80 clone camera. The camera was fitted to a small sled that could be inserted into the payload section. The video in the ascent was good, but when the ejection charge fired, the sled moved up inside the payload bay and blocked the view. It would have been a pretty shaky and dizzy video on the way down anyway. Thanks Craig for letting me use the motor case.

The rocket landed on the road perhaps 50 meters away, without significant damage. So all up it was a very successful launch day for us. We also launched Paul's small pyro rocket on a C6-5 which flew great.

At the end of the day we drove about 50km back to a cabin in the nearest little town for the night before heading back the 50km to the launch site.

Launch Day 2

We woke up early on launch day 2, but the frost on the grass outside made sure we didn't head out in a great hurry. I was just hoping our rocket fuel didn't freeze overnight as we left it at the launch site.

We watched a whole range of rockets go up, and again some very impressive flights as well as impressive failures. 

For my first flight I did a two stage flight with a Mk 3. stager. This rocket was the same as our last set of tests, and was launched at 110psi. The rocket and stager performed well and both landed without damage. This rocket did not use the sustainer support brace.

For the next flight, I assembled a bigger booster and longer sustainer to test the stager at higher loads. I decided to only use a 9mm nozzle for the booster to reduce the acceleration and hence the stress on the stager. Ideally a rocket this size should be flown with at least a 15mm nozzle. Since I was using a smaller nozzle I also put less water in the booster and sustainer to help get it off the ground.

The rocket flew well and the stager worked as expected on burnout. I didn't have an altimeter fitted for this flight, but did have the on-board camera in the sustainer. It was a good flight so we were happy that the stager works for bigger rockets. Next we will need to test it at higher accelerations.

In keeping with the 2 stage theme we also launched Paul's Pod 2 rocket in a 2 stage configuration with a C6-0 and and C6-5. It was a great flight with good ignition of the second stage.

Andrew brought along his remote controlled glider and so we attached a downward facing camera on it to look over the launch site during a launch. Unfortunately the rocket mis-fired, but just in time, as two eagles flew in and started following the plane. Andrew quickly landed the plane as apparently Eagles are known to attack model planes! They were sure interested in the plane.

We packed up in the early afternoon and headed back to Singleton to spend the night. By Monday afternoon the new alternator had arrived from Newcastle and we managed to get home at sunset.

Despite the car trouble the whole family really enjoyed the whole trip, and one of the best part for the boys was that they got to miss a day of school.


Flight Details

Launch Details
Rocket   Axion IIIb
Pressure   110 psi
Nozzle   9mm
Water   1L
Flight Computer   V1.6 - 0.1sec - triggered by MAD
Payload   MAD
Altitude / Time   ?' (m) /  seconds
Notes   Good flight, the parachute opened after apogee after the rocket was pointing down.
Rocket   Pod 2 (Paul's Praetor)
Motor   C6-5
Altitude / Time   ? / ?
Notes   Good flight. Parachute ejection well after apogee.
Rocket   Axion IIb
Pressure   110 psi
Nozzle   9mm
Water   1.2 L + foam
Flight Computer   V1.6 - 0.1 sec - triggered by MAD
Payload   MAD
Altitude / Time   ? / ? seconds
Notes   Good vertical flight. Good parachute deploy past apogee as designed and the rocket landed well on the road without damage.
Rocket   Waterless
Motor   G64-10W
Payload   MD-80 clone camera
Altitude / Time   ~2500-3000' / ? seconds
Notes   Good flight, with deploy right near apogee. Good video on the way up, but payload sled moved during ejection. Landed on road with minor damage to the motor mount.
Rocket   Baryon IV and Tachyon VIII
Pressure   110 psi
Nozzle   9mm (B), 9mm (T)
Water   800 mL (B), 700mL (T)
Flight Computer   V1.6 - 0.1 sec - triggered by MAD
Payload   Mk3. stager
Altitude / Time   ? / ? seconds
Notes   Good  flight with staging at burnout. Good parachute deploy past apogee. Both rockets landed well without damage.
Rocket   "Magic Wand"
Motor   A3-4
Altitude / Time   ? / ?
Notes   Good flight, but streamer did not unwind after ejection. Rocket landed without damage.
Rocket   Baryon V and Axion III
Pressure   120 psi
Nozzle   9mm (B), 9mm (T)
Water   1 L (B), 700mL (T)
Flight Computer   V1.6 - 0.1 sec - triggered by MAD
Payload   Mk3. stager, MD80 clone camera.
Altitude / Time   ? / ? seconds
Notes   Good  flight with staging at burnout. Good parachute deploy past apogee. Both rockets landed well without damage.
Rocket   Pod 2 (Paul's Praetor)
Motor   C6-0, first stage C6-5 second stage
Altitude / Time   ? / ?
Notes   Good burn on both stages. Rocket went mostly vertically. Parachute deployed near apogee. Good landing for both stages.


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