night rocket

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Well-Known Member
Jun 7, 2009
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just finished up a rocket with LEDs in it so we can fly it at night.

The bottom half of the rocket is an Alien Troop Mover from Thrustline. By about the 6th flight of the ATM we had lost all the little aliens and had broken a couple fins. While I was repairing the fin damage I got the idea to use the rocket as a basis for our night rocket. Seemed a fitting transformation for an alien transport ship.

The clear payload tube is a flourescent bulb guard and the inside tube is an amber flourescent tube guard in a smaller diameter. The LEDs are mounted inside the amber tube to give the light some reflection and diffusion.

I bought an assortment of LEDs from - they had great prices and very fast delivery. They even threw in a couple Ultra-Violet LEDs for free.

The nose cone is lit with a 'Jumbo Red LED' I found at Radio Shack. It's all powered by a 9volt battery above the clear payload section.

I mounted a scavenged DC power jack on the side and wired it up so that it acts like a switch - when the matching DC plug is inserted into the jack it opens the circuit to the battery, pull it out and the lights come on.

and the illuminated nose cone

the nose cone is out of an Estes Screaming Mimi kit

lights up nicely!
thanks! - we'll probably fly it one evening this weekend if the weather is nice.

We'll try a c11-3 fir the first time to make sure we can keep it in sight.
Fly it at a waivered Night launch, or apply for a waiver yourself, do not launch it after sunset unless you do! It's illegal and you'll be screwing up the works for everone else who is trying to follow the rules.

We're working on getting our 1lb exemption extended to cover night flight but it is NOT a done deal yet!

NO flights between sunset and sunraise PERIOD without a full FAA waiver.
thanks for the info Micromeister, I never gave a thought about that.:(

can you point me to where I can get some info on getting a waiver?
Originally posted by stevem
thanks for the info Micromeister, I never gave a thought about that.:(

can you point me to where I can get some info on getting a waiver?

Sure Can.
If you'll go to the Night Launch yahoo group, We have all the necessary paperwork in the files section in pdf format. Lots of other good info and phtos as well. the Group as been kind of quiet lately;)

I was hoping to have some (any) kind of word regarding either a formal FAR rues change revision process start or conformation that our current 1lb exemption already covers mod-roc night flights by now. I'm told the Director of FAA has sent out an inquiry to all the FAA regional offices asking for input on the question. I do wish the wheels of government didn't work quite so slow:(