Feature Flights 2021
A feature flight from last year, "The Nike" is back again for 2021. New Zealand's largest amateur rocket will be attempting a second flight, this time on a much larger motor.
The Nike was scratch built by the team throughout 2019, and is over 6.5m in length and 470mm in diameter, weighing in at nearly 200kg at lift-off. It took nearly 9 months to build, and is fully composite in construction. For 2021, the Nike features an upgraded powerplant - this time, a Q6300 with nearly 50% more impulse and a 14 second burn time.
Ad Astra has flown on M, N & O motors at NZRA events for a number of years. It was scratch built by Jack Davies from fiberglass and carbon fibre composite materials, and named after the school he was attending at the time, Marsden College. It was renamed to Ad Astra in 2020.
For 2021, Jack and Tony have upped their game and added a booster to Ad Astra, creating a two stage rocket which now stands six meters tall. It will be boosted by the mighty N5800 in the first stage, which will burn for 4 seconds before being jettisoned. After a short 2 second coast, a long burn N2800 will be ignited, powering the second stage to over 16,000ft.
Kelvin McVinnie's Deep Purple was originally built for his level 3 certification flight, which was successfully completed at last year's National Launch. That was on a fast burn, punchy M2550 purple neon sparky motor. This year, Kelvin is aiming for a more majestic flight profile, with a gentler M1360 with a 7 second burn time.
Deep Purple was built totally from scratch, and features advanced composite building techniques throughout, including a hand laid fibreglass airframe, & carbon fibre skinned balsa-core fins and bulkheads. It includes a suite of onboard electronics, and full dual deployment with a 5 foot drogue emerging at apogee, followed by a spectacular 18ft red & blue main chute at 1000ft.
Craig Packard's Big Red is making a comeback to National Launch Day after a couple of years rest. Big Red was built from scratch solely by Craig back in 2010, and has made several impressive flights over the years. It features a cluster of motor mounts, allowing it to fly on multiple motors at once . Since it's first flight in 2011, Big Red has seen everything from a single "M" class motor, to an "N" surrounded by 4 "K" class motors - equal to an "O" in impulse!
This year, Big Red is going up on a single M2627 "Standard", which will be a punchy flight. A short 3.6 second burn will power it up to a peak altitude of over 7,000ft.
Kim McVinnie's Middle Earth has featured at almost every NZRA launch for the past few years and has chalked up an impressive number of flights. It first flew at Thunda Down Under in 2019, where Kim accomplished her L1, 2 & 3 certification, all with the same rocket! Middle Earth is a heavily modified kit, which Kim used advanced composite build techniques to assemble and keep the weight low. As a result, Middle Earth has flown on everything from "I" to "M" class!
This year, Kim has her eyes set on setting a new "L" altitude record, and will be aiming to hit nearly 17,000ft on a high performance L1324 motor. This will take Middle Earth well through the sound barrier, a supersonic flight to nearly Mach 1.5!
Kalen More's DarkStar is another project returning for this year's event. Based on a fiberglass 'airframe only kit' with Kalen's custom built electronics and recovery systems it's been professionally painted and finished, this year will mark it's third flight.
For 2021, Kalen is going with a K540 "Metalstorm" - a spectacular motor, which provides a large white exhaust flame, and leaves a trail of smoke and sparks in it's wake.
Dr. Martin Van Tiel's Taiaha has been in the works for a number of years now - and is finally making its's long anticipated debut at National Launch Day 2021. Scratch built by Martin, the all-fibreglass airframe is over 3 meters long and 130mm in diameter.
For it's maiden flight, Taiaha will be taking the gentle approach and stretch it's legs on a long burn M1000. With over 9 seconds of burn time, it will be a spectacular sight as it ascends atop a huge white flame.
Alex Heffer's Frenzy Massive is another well travelled rocket, having flown both in Australia at the original "Thunda Down Under" in 2015, and multiple National Launch Days here in New Zealand. The Frenzy massive is fiberglass 'airframe only' kit. Alex has custom built it to his own specifications and redundant electronic recovery systems.
This year, the Frenzy massive receives an electronics upgrade to an Altus Metrum Telemetrum GSP flight computer backed up by a Perfect flight Stratologger. The Frenzy will be taking to the skies on an M1350, which will boost her to nearly 12,000ft and through the sound barrier. The M1350 is well known for it's impressive exhaust, with a huge white flame and dense white smoke.
Some further shots of the Frenzy Massive's previous flights can be found below :
Heading for 18,000ft on an N2000 at Thunda 2015
Slow motion Rocketman Chute Deployment