On Saturday October 20th, I went along to the October Sky launch at the Police Paddocs Reserve in Dandenong, organised by Robin. While I have launched at the sporting ground to the North of the reserve and the wetlands to the South, I have never never flown in the middle!

The launch area is great - lots of open space with access from Stud Road. The North-East corner is a bit boggy, but not too bad. The day was fine with a little wind.

We had visitors! Several groups of Kangaroos hopped their way through the paddock.

I flew a couple of Estes rockets (Satellite Interceptor & Bullpup) as well as 'Stumpy', my little 13mm powered rocket. Robin got a few rockets off the pad, too, for some nice flights :)

Check out the photos of the day on Flickr.

This year the weather hasn't been kind and the October launch was no exception. Originally scheduled as a 2 day launch, the weather wasn't cooperating and Saturday was cancelled.

Despite the wind and the cloud cover keeping us under 5,000' (Our waver is 10,000' on a clear day!) the most was made and a great day was had by all.

I only flew a couple of low power rockets - my tried and true Estes Baby Bertha and a newly built Estes AGM-57x Heatseeker.

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More photos after the jump!

The launch of September 16th was a lot of fun. There was quite a bit of cloud and that restricted the altitudes we could safely fly to. That said, nothing I had was going to go that high.

For my first launch, I put up my kinder surprise rocket on a C6-5. I should have flown it on a C6-3, the extra delay resulted in a partially shredded parachute. Not a big problem as I was only using a 12" plastic thing I got in an Estes kit somewhere along the way.

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The second launch was the Space Cadet on a C6-7. From what I was told it was a perfect flight - me, well, I lost sight of it! Rocksim puts the altitude at 1500'+

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However, the highlight of my flights was the Big Daddy on a H128!

The Big Daddy just leapt of the pad and kept going. Rocksim put the altitude at 2800' and it looked like it did every bit of that and more!

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It recovered without a scratch - in fact, apart from a sooty rear-end, it looks like it has never been flown :)

The June launch was the first Tripoli Victoria launch I have been able to attend this year. Building Mission Control and getting ready for the trip to Perth (For the Williams launch) had kept me busy.

The June launch was a two-day affair, I was only able to attend on Sunday.

The launch didn't get underway until about 11am due to cloud cover which plagued us on and off all day; And it was cold. Not just regular cold - brass monkey cold!

This was a big certification weekend with several Level 1 and 2 flights and one huge level 3 launch!

Karl successfully launched and recovered his rocket to achieve L3 certification!

I launched my upscale Ballistic Chicken Insanity on a G64 and my Der Red MicroMax

Despite the cold and the patchy cloud cover, the launch was a great sucess and as always a lot of fun to attend.

Last year I attempted my Level 2 certification flight with my big rocket, Freefall. Unfortunately, it sustained some damage on the nose cone from impacting on the back of the rocket (the parachute got caught up on the camera I had strapped to the side) and I didn't get my Level 2.

With the trip to Perth recently, I decided to try again! This time I was successful :)

I lauched a 3.9" Loc V2 with some added nose weight on a J420R. It was a fantastic flight and really happy to have my L2 cert now, too!!

Big thanks to Scoop, Kopius and everyone else who lent a hand on the day!

I built a rocket using the egg from a Kinder Surprise, but did it fly?

Well, yes it did!

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The C6-5 was the perfect match for this little rocket. Nice straight boost and recovery using an Estes 12" plastic parachute.

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With the Centuri Draconian Marauder now built, I took a trip down to the local park to see how it flys!

The weekend was warm, the sun was out and there was only the slightest hint of wind. Perfect!

Due to weight and a somewhat draggy design, I figured that a C6-3 would be the perfect choice.

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The boost was slow but straight and seemed to keep going forever! Great flight and perfect recovery. I think next flight I'll put it up on an D13 18mm reload.

More photos after the jump...

October 16th saw the final Tripoli launch of 2011. we were greeted with a bright clear day along with quite a stiff breeze. Being the last launch of the year, quite a few certifications were attempted - some successful, others not.

(Right: Mark's Successful L2 flight)

The highlight of the day was Les's Level 3 certification flight. The launch rail was moved back to a safe distance and rocket loaded up. The NOTAM had been entered during the week prior as the estimated altitude was going to exceed our standard waver of 10,000'. The launch window had been approved and preparations were completed in time. Les's rocket got away well for a great flight however, recovery wasn't completely successful. Les had designed the nosecone to be recovered on a separate parachute. Due to the wind it was blown some distance from the rest of the airframe and not recovered on the day.

The good news is, however, a local farmer located the nosecone and returned it - Les's certification has subsequently been approved! Congratulations Les!

To see all the photos of the launch, take a look at my Flickr album.

The August launch marked the end of the Winter here in Australia - but Winter wasn't ready to let go just yet. The day was cold, windy and overcast. However, despite the weather, quite a few rockets got off the pads!

I launched my ACME rocket. The RSO wasn't so sure and went through all the standard questions "Have you flown this before?" and initially said "No way!" but decided to let me fly it off the high power pad as a head's up launch.

I have flown the ACME rocket before on D & E's, but this time around I wanted to push it up on an F. My flight card was approved, an F24 was loaded and off to the pad.

Heads up was called, the launch officer did the count down and:

The ACME rocket leapt off the pad and weather cocked ever so slightly and had a nice boost to 600' or so. Fins are so over-rated! More photos after the jump and the full set available on Flickr.

I finally had a chance to launch Freefall in an attempt to gain my Level 2 Certification. The launch was stunning, with the Freefall being pushed to a simmed 3,100' on a J570.

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Upon ejection, the nose cone has whipped around and struck the rear launch-lug, causing some damage. unfortunately since this requires a repair before I can fly it again, I didn't certify :(

Not to worry! A little bog and some fiberglass will have the Freefall all ready to fly again in time for the next launch & will try for the cert again :)

Here's the video of the on-board camera! (Video cuts out a few seconds after deployment. I suspect that the shock cord has hit the power button on the camera.)

The ground camera video and photos of the damage available after the jump: