Australian Youth Rocketry Challenge Inc.

AYRC 2014 Rises to New Heights!

Fifth Anniversary of the Australian Yourth Rocketry Challenge Inc. (2014)

In the crisp August morning conditions, the ever reliable AYRC team prepared the site for the fifth anniversary of the AYRC. As the sun lifted and lit up the QLD Rocketry Society launch site and after a quick brief to the volunteers, teams and participants arrived in turn to see the awe-inspiring ‘Oz Thunder’ high power rocket on display.

This year Eaglehawk Secondary College made the journey up from Bendigo, Victoria and with some recent weather limitations, we were able to accomodate a special request for a test flight of their rocket ‘Lucifer’ prior to the challenge commencing. Team ‘Icarus’ successfully completed their test flight on a F51 reloadable motor.

Whilst the primary school teams started their first round of flights, our high power demonstration expert Bruce, prepared two HPR rockets. The Australian Rocketry Pty Ltd’Company Ute’ flew on a H135W and Bruce’s Matrix on an I218R. As always, these high power demonstration flights were executed to perfection.

As the delicious smells of the BBQ wafted through the crowd, many spectators took the opportunity to learn about rocketry outside of the challenge. This positive response is a good representation of the growing interest in rocketry in Australia. We also had local media representatives and Japanese exchange students from Hills International College attend the event, who enjoyed watching the rocket launches.

With many new teams entering the challenge, the extensive and creative rockets this year were even more incredible than ever. Southern Cross Rocketry C6-5 motors proved extremely successful for the primary challenge. This year the Primary encouragement award went to the Boonah State School ‘Falcons’ with their ‘Millenium Falcon’ rocket. In an exhilarating challenge, only 13 points seperated first and third place. In third place with 180 points, was Beaudesert SPS ‘Fast and Furious’ with their ‘Cutlas’ rocket. Closely followed in second place was Rochedale South State School ‘Sky High’ with 183 points. Taking out first place with 193 points was Rochedale South State School ‘Team 1’ with their dragon and snowflake covered rocket ‘Drago’.

Unfortunately there were a few late withdrawels from the challenge, including the back to back champions from Grace Lutheran College who were itching to go for the threepeat. This meant we were guarenteed a new champion this year and wow, were they competitive. The 2014 target goals were an altitude of 800 feet and flight time of 40-45 seconds.

After their successful test flight in the morning, Eaglehawk’s ‘Icarus’ had fine tuned their design immaculately. Unfortunately, they decided to use their backup airframe for their scored flight which at 815 feet, jammed at the coupler, resulting in a heavy landing and broken egg. With an expected flight time of 39 seconds, this would have seen the championship headed interestate for the first time. Eaglehawk deservingly received the secondary challenge encouragement award.

In the battle for the top achievements, the wind started to increase making for some interesting dynamics as flights arced more than desired resulting in lower flights. Veteran school Beaudesert SPS’ team ‘Beauy Beasts’ with their rocket ‘Nitro’ took home third place with an altitude of 545 feet and flight time of 29 seconds. Indooroopilly State High School ‘JSF’ rocket ‘Sharknado’ managed second with 579 feet and 35 seconds.
In an AYRC first, this years Australian Youth Rocketry Challenge champion supplied a special soundtrack that was aired through the PA duing their flight. With a near perfect 794 feet, Canterbury College’s ‘Shoot for the ‘Star…dust’ with their rocket ‘Ground Control to Major Tom’ took the top prize. I am sure everyone can guess what that soundtrack was… it just so happened to match their rocket name.

To finish off the day, Eaglehawk requested to fly their original ‘Lucifer’ rocket one last time on something with a little more oomph. The 24mm G150 reloadable motor certainly packed a punch and left their second airframe with real war wounds. In high power rocketry, we call this a “REALLY COOL” flight!

With high expectations from participants, spectators and volunteers, the 2014 challenge excelled as the most exciting challenge to date.

Over the last five years, we have had a phenominal response from participants and volunteers. I would personally like to congratulate and thank each and every individual that has contributed to making the AYRC the success it has become.

The AYRC team is setting new goals for the next five years and planning has already started for the 2015 challenge. I look forward to seeing everyone again soon.

Blake Nikolic
Australian Youth Rocketry Challenge Inc.