WSR will from time to time hold night launches at our Federal Rd. high-power field. Night launches must be held at Federal because the Rip Rap Rd. field is too close to Dayton International Airport (4.4 miles) for the FAA to issue a night operations waiver. Night launches are incredibly fun and if you’ve never been to one, you’re in for a treat. Night launches are open to the public, just like our regular launches.
There is usually a break between the day and night launches, so you can head into town to get something to eat or for a restroom stop (Cedarville, north on 72 (at the stop sign on Federal Road), South Charleston to the northeast, or Jamestown to the southwest). We’re still working on some kind of restroom facilities at the field but we cannot construct anything permanent there. The creek is a State Scenic Waterway so the Army Corps of Engineers forbids permanent structures over it or nearby; also, it significantly overflows its banks throughout the year. This is also why we don’t have a bridge over it for recovering in the south half of the field.
If you’re going to participate in the night launch as a flyer, WSR has created the following list of rules and requirements for your rockets and for yourselves to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all involved.
- All daytime launch rules as detailed in the Safety Briefing apply, except where overridden by supplemental night rules.
- Waiver ceiling is reduced for night launches, and will be announced before the night launch (usually 2500’ AGL). Please plan your motor choices appropriately.
- While the night launch is still a high power launch, we may set a max motor impulse, and may allow or disallow sparky motors due to field conditions.
- No complex HPR night flights. Low power clusters and staging* are allowed.
- No maiden flights during the night launch. Many OddRocs and scratchbuilts are made specifically for night launches. You must first fly your new rocket during the daytime launch to prove airworthiness.
- Rockets must be actively lighted for the entire flight profile.
- Light emitted by the motor thrust alone is not sufficient, regardless of propellant type.
- Rocket must remain lit after landing.
- Rocket needs to be visible from at least 300’ away.
- Lighting requirements:
- LEDs, securely attached to or contained within the rocket, are preferred for primary lighting. Flashlight bulbs are also acceptable as primary lighting. Strobing lights are allowed.
- Glow sticks are allowable as primary lighting as long as your motor is sufficient to lift the glow stick’s weight.
- Glow-in-the-dark paint is supplemental lighting only. Bring what you need to “recharge” the paint, like a light box, with you to the field.
- Devices that burn in order to produce light (like sparklers or other pyrotechnics) are prohibited.
- Every individually-recovering segment of the rocket must have independent lighting (*booster stages, payloads, separating airframe segments, etc.).
- If you are in the process of making your night rocket, consider adding easily accessible power switches and battery holders for your lights.
- Field/personal lighting requirements:
- Only the LCO table should be using white light. You may use white light at your vehicle but please be considerate of those around you and in in the spectator area.
- Individual flashlights, headlamps, lanterns, and other handheld or work lighting should utilize a red bulb, lens or filter if possible to preserve night vision (taillight repair tape can be used).
- People entering range to load rockets or recovering in the field need to carry lighting and/or have reflective clothing.
- Exercise additional caution around the pads. Move slowly, watch for rod ends, and avoid getting tangled in launch leads or pad legs. There will be guide lighting on the ground to help you find your way.
If you have any questions on how the night launch operates, or you need to consult on the construction of your night rocket, ask any board member at Build Night or send us an email personally or via the Groups.io mail service.