Australian Youth Rocketry Challenge Inc.

AYRC 2017 Finals – Winning Big in Casino

AYRC 2017 Finals

It was still dark when the 2017 AYRC Finals crew arrived at the Queensland Rocketry Society’s LA2 launch site. With frost on the ground, it was a crisp start at only 3°C. The usual site setup was promptly taken care of, however some extra action was required with Warren and Petar shovelling cow pats that spread across the prep area.

Trialling a slightly different group structure to previous years, teams arrived and began their rocket preparations shortly after the Range Safety Officer (RSO) brief. This year saw the introduction of naming the official eggs which had the teams excited as they strategically sought their ‘eggstronaut’.

As we have come to see over the past eight years, the quality of rockets and ability of students continues to improve and impress the experienced AYRC mentors and judges.

With the assistance of Pad Managers (PM) Rod Miller and Phillip Entwistle, the primary schools loaded their rockets for round one whilst official photographer, Lachlan Thomas snapped many great memories of the event. Without delay teams were punching holes in clear blue skies. Shortly after, secondary teams presented their rockets for inspection and were scrutinised by the Australian Model Rocket Society Inc.’s Chancellor, Dave Couzens who flew over from WA specifically to act as the AYRC Finals RSO and head judge. Robust discussions with participants showed excellent knowledge by many students and raised a number of questions for teams to think about future rocket development.

Throughout the day, there were various demonstration flights from ½A impulse through to J impulse motors. Mark O’Donoghue showed off a range of very small rockets including the ACME sky rocket and UFO which showed how exciting rockets can be even when they are miniature. The infamous ‘Cool Spool’ flew again showing that if you have enough power, anything can fly. The two most spectacular launches of the day had to go firstly to Kevin Fung, a team member of the winning Canterbury College entry in the 2014 AYRC competition. Back as a mentor, Kevin flew his experimental X-Wing on a G80 which during the boost became just a ‘Wing’, demonstrating the high aerodynamic stresses throughout a rocket launch. Following this was the final launch for the day, a high power drag race between Mark O’Donoghue’s I280 and Rob Newton’s J425. The crowd counted down to launch and without disappointment, the rockets roared skyward reaching over 4,000 feet in a matter of seconds.

After teams completed their flights and presented their rockets, eggs and altimeters to the judges, many headed down to the BBQ and sacrificed their egg to the hotplate for a delicious addition to the sausage sizzle. Those eggs that survived the day, made for some delicious waffles at Australian Rocketry’s HQ on the Sunday.

AYRC Launch Control Officer (LCO), Petar Nikolic had delight in reading out the winning teams. In the primary challenge, only two points separated third and fourth places with Beaudesert State Primary School ‘Beauy Beauties’ taking out 3rd place with 94 points. The battle between first and second was decided by only three points. Rochedale State School ‘Sky High’ claimed second place with 112 points and Churchie ‘Thunder Birds’ took out first place with 115 points. The secondary challenge was extremely close between the top four places but by a whisker, Rochedale State High School ‘Team Rockets’ took bronze. The silver was claimed by Churchie ‘El Heffo’. With weary eyes after a 4am start to be onsite in time for the challenge, this year the gold was taken out by first time entrants the ‘St Mary’s Stingers’ from St Mary’s Catholic College, Casino NSW with their rocket ‘Beef Town Bullet’. Rumour has it, the team were wide awake on their lengthy drive home from the buzz of taking out the top prize.

Wrapping up the eighth year of AYRC was by far the most rewarding with successful rounds also in Victoria and Western Australia, now set to be regular occurrences on the AYRC calendar. A massive thank you must go to the continued support of the schools and participants, the sponsors and the volunteers that make this event possible. This includes other helpers and judges on the day, Warren McKay, Sarah Miller, Matthew Niejalke, Mark Parsons, Matt Parsons and Mark Johannessen and the BBQ team, Dianne Nikolic, Kim and Kevin Daniels, who sold out of sausages this year and delighted tummies around the launch site.

See you next year!