After the range was officially opened, a dozen teams started preparation for the first round of flights. Having only flown the smaller A and B size motors, there were plenty of questions from contestants and involvement from the AYRC officials to make sure flight deadlines were met and range procedures were adhered to.
The judges were ready for what was to be a very exciting and interesting challenge. With a maximum score of 240points available per team, the contestants had to not only build a rocket that would fly with stability and deploy recovery devices correctly, but also had to have great aesthetics.
The first round saw many characteristics which were unknown to some contestants as the power of higher impulse motors quickly destroyed shock cords, fins and nose cones. This meant that the lessons learned in the lead up to the event had to be quickly implemented with onsite repairs to those who had received the unpredicted outcomes of their first round flight. With those repairs and modifications made, round two saw some very big improvements and showed that with the right tools and mind set, the contestants had successfully learnt many aspects/characteristics of rocketry in a very short time.
Ultimately there had to be one winner and a big congratulations goes to the Beauy Beasts from Beaudesert State Primary School who took out first place by only 3 points. Second place was Nocturnal from Springwood State High School and third was the Beauy Beauties from Beaudesert State Primary School.
Throughout the day there were a number of demonstration flights starting from mid power E and G motors up to Level 1 and Level 2 high power I and J motors. There was also a flight of the Cool Spool (electrical reel) and a toob’oh on a D21. These demonstrations showed how the thrust curve on motors is exponential as the impulse range increases and that with enough power you can basically make anything fly. Apart from the scientific benefits of these demonstrations, I never get tired of seeing and hearing the ‘Wow factor’ amongst the crowd.
The purpose of the AYRC was to help educate school aged students using all the factors involved with launching a model rocket, including theoretical and practical use of mathematics, physics, history, aerodynamics and more. I believe those aspects were well captured by students and there are already plans to increase the skill set of contestants with advancements in the challenge requirements for next year.
I would like to personally thank everyone involved in the inaugural Australian Youth Rocketry Challenge. From the AYRC officials and sponsors, to the contestants, teachers and parents, this event couldn’t have been as successful as it was without the support and participation of everyone involved. I must also put a big thank you out to Petar and Ari who went that extra mile to make this event happen.
With the response from this year, 2011 plans to be bigger and better with the rules already being produced. We will have next years invitations out soon and look forward to our interstate competitors joining us.
Catch you all in 2011!