With the rocket season here very quickly coming to a close, I had a chance to launch this weekend just gone. I have a number of electronic payloads I really want to get into the air at the moment (including a BeeLine tracking transmitter, altimeter and a beeping locator beacon). As time was short, I decided to try out the new 'Gum stick' camera I recently purchased on eBay. I managed two flawless launches on Sunday and here's the footage:

The rocket was a quick scratch-build, BT50 with a 18mm motor mount. Both launches were on an Estes C6-5 with an altitude of just a few hundred feet, recovery under a 12" Mylar parachute. Ideal shake-down flights for the camera. I'll look at launching the camera in something much more exciting a Tripoli launch next year :)

Not bad for an $11.50 camera :) Two more videos after the jump!

I recently went out to fly with Wombat - He had fitted out his Semroc Hustler with a Parrot Altimeter and a Pen Spy Camera. This was the first launch of the new electronics and while it wasn't responsible for deployment, it was to be a test to see how they perform under flight conditions. Loaded up with a single-use composite E, it was given the kiss of death....

Deployment was late.. Very late... The avionics bay was torn free of the parachute and booster and landed in the lake on the East side of the Dandenong Wetlands launch site. Ouch! All was not lost, though. Electronics recovered and washed-off with isopropyl alcohol and all look good at this stage!

After a 230km (140 mile) drive to the October launch at Tripoli's Serpentine launch site things weren't looking good - rain and low cloud threatened to derail the day. However within a couple of hours, the cloud-base had lifted enough to allow the waver to open - with flights restricted to just a few thousand feet.

I started the day by launching my Estes Mean Machine on a E28W, good boost to somewhere around 1,000' and perfect recovery.

I also launched my QANTAS rocket and Der Red Max. The QANTAS rocket had a good, if not twisty, boost. Rocksim predicted an altitude of around 2500' on a G64 and it looked like it did that and more.

My Scratch-built Der Red Max was my third and final flight of the day. It screamed off the pad with a D13W installed, it appeared to apogee somewhere around 1000'. The 18mm RMS system really does give a kick to those small rockets, never fails to attact a few WOW's.

Qantas Rocket - Launch Qantas Rocket - Launch Der Red Max - Launch D13W

Click to embiggen

After the June Launch being cancelled due to rain, I decided that I would brave the cold and take the long drive out to Serpentine for the July launch on the weekend. Only got in two flights:

Mini Mean Machine - BP C6 Green Thing - 18mm RMS D13

The first flight of the day was my scratch-built Mini Mean Machine launched on a C6. Nice straight flight and perfect recovery. The second flight was my scratch-build 'Green Thing' with tube fins. I flew this on an Aerotech RMS D13. The eject charge blew so hard that the parachute and nosecone separated from the airframe. The airframe was recovered with minimal damage but the parachute & nosecone was last seen heading for New South Wales.

Estes Big Daddy - Aerotech RMS E18 CATO

I took advantage of a fairly still day to launch some rockets this weekend, while most of the flights were uneventful, the Big Daddy decided to put on a show... Loaded up with the same Aerotech E18 motor I flew at the Tripoli launch the weekend before, it decided to CATO just a few feet off the end of the rod.

When the motor blew,the nozzle & propellant (which self-extinguished) were ejected. Everything except the aft closure were recovered.

The image above is three consecutive frames from the video.

I believe the cause of the aft closure failure was due to it not being fully secured in place. The closure was done up tight, however I believe that the liner tube may have been a fraction longer than normal, causing the aft closure to not screw in completely thus only having a small portion of thread engaged. As the motor came up to full-pressure, it simply pushed the ass end out of the motor in a bright flash of light. Impressive flight for all the wrong reasons! Check out the video after the jump.

Binder Design - Spike on the pad Binder Design - Spike GONE!!

I put the Binder Design "Spike" through its paces on Sunday at the Tripoli Rocketry Association Australia launch.

Flying on an Aerotech G71R, the boost was very fast (thus resulting in me not getting more than a smoke-trail) and dead-straight with no obvious rotation, the two 18" parachutes popped out right on apogee (10 second delay selected) at about 2200 feet (as estimated using RockSim).

The spike came down without a scratch less than 100m from the launch pad. A perfect flight from what has proven itself to be a fantastic kit. Oh, and this was my first G powered flight!! Amazing stuff :)

Mr Stabby - RMS E18 Launch Mr Stabby - RMS E18 Launch Mr Stabby - RMS E18 Launch

Mr Stabby - Scratch-built rocket flying on an Aerotech RMS E18 - Perfect boost, dead staight despite the light winds and recovery was right at apogee. It returned to Earth under two 12" parachutes, landing less than 150m away. Launched at Serpentine, Victoria with Tripoli Rocketry Association Australia. RockSim predicted altitude of about 980'. The motor spat when the ejection charge fired but was recovered less than 20m from the launch site. Very happy to have that back! (Click for bigger images)

Estes Big Daddy - RMS E18 Launch Estes Big Daddy - RMS E18 Launch Estes Big Daddy - RMS E18 Launch

Estes Big Daddy kit flying on an Aerotech RMS E18 - Perfect boost and recovery was slightly after apogee. The motor had a 7 second delay and RocSim suggested that a 6 second was more appropriate. Recovery was with the same two 12" parachutes that brought Mr Stabby back down a couple of hours before. Touchdown was less than 100m from launch. RockSim estimated altitude was 1100 feet. Launched at Serpentine, Victoria with Tripoli Rocketry Association Australia. The Big Daddy is a great kit and flew very nicely on top of the reload. After motor burn-out, the rocket continued to coast to apogee, producing an amazing whistling sound! (Click for bigger images)

The Atari 2600 Rocket takes to the skies!!

Perfect boost! Flying on an Estes C6-5, the joystick leapt off the rod and screamed straight up into the sky. The 2nd flight, however, was somewhat more dramatic!

Woke up today to very rocket-friendly weather! Not a breath of air in the sky. So I stuck a C6 up Lord Neville 3rd's clacker and hit the launch button...

Not quite what I was hoping for but some more nose weight should fix the stability issues :)