Flying this weekend was not only cold (being Winter here in Australia) but cloudy, too! While there were some good flights put in, we were restricted to about 8,000' and by the end of the day, a the last couple of rockets punched holes in the cloud at 2,000' so we called it a day.
Click to Embiggen
I launched my LOC Weasel for a great flight, unfortunately a really crappy parachute (from Semrock) completely let go causing the weasel to fall from about 2,200' into the hard ground. A bit of dirt on the tip of the nose and a cracked fin fillet was the only damage, now fixed. The parachute? Well, it was last seen heading North towards NSW...
For the last few months I've been working on a secret project. Just a handful of people have had any idea what I've been up to. After the weekend, the cat's out of the bag and time to make an announcement!
I'd like to present to you Australia's first rocket kit - the Orbital Decay!
I flew the prototype twice this weekend and some adjustments are needed before I start taking orders.
About a year ago - or perhaps longer - I purchased the Aspire from Apogee Rockets. Designed to go supersonic on a G motor. I built it up and waited for the right time to fly it. Sitting on top of a G80, it was to fly at nearly Mach 1.2 to an altitude of around 4,000'
I had to have the perfect day - clear sky, no wind. Month after month I loaded it into the back of the car and drove up to the Serpentine range. Month after month it was too windy or too cloudy. So back it came again, to sit on the shelf for another day.
This week, however, conditions were perfect! So I carefully slid the motor into the back of the rocket, securely taped it in place, re-packed the purple Mylar streamer and loaded it up on the pad.
A short while later, it was my turn to launch. The launch controller gave the customary count-down and pressed the button. The surge of power through the igniter caused the pyrogen to burn and in turn lit the propellant.
Within the blink of an eye, the Aspire was climbing skyward towards it's predicted top speed of 1400km/hr - Mach 1.16.
Something went wrong - very very wrong. As the rocket began pushing it's way through the sound barrier the cardboard and balsa decided it was time to pack up and go home; A voice in the crowd called out 'We've had an event'. I recovered about the top 2/3 of the airframe and nose cone. The fins and motor were never recovered. I didn't expect to see the rocket again - so I guess getting 2/3 back is better than nothing - and boy, was it a spectacular flight!! I do plan on re-building it, but this time i'm going to use Blue Tube. I will hit Mach and live to talk about it!
The rocket Gods were on our side for the May launch. Perfect weather, virtually no wind and not a cloud to be seen anywhere! The stubble in the paddock is short and all rockets were easily recovered :)
First off, the most impressive flight of the day was Blake's successful Level 3 flight. I've not seen many big projects flown and to see an M up close was simply amazing :) Australia now has 4 L3 certified flyers. Karl also had success flying his LOC V2 on a H for his Level 1 cert.
After waiting a year to fly my Binder Design Excel, I put it up today on a 38mm Aerotech H123 for my TRA Level 1 certification.
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Despite winds gusting to 20km/hr, the Excel had a great boost and perfect recovery, landing only a short walk from the launch site. My paperwork was signed off in short order, and now I can hang out with the tough kids and fly high power rockets!