Launch Site Conditions and Facilities
Recovery Area and Waiver
The Maddox Dairy Farm launch site provides more than 20 square miles of flat, open, agricultural land for recovery, and our waiver is 17,000 feet MSL (16,800 feet AGL). The site can support some high flights and offers plenty of room to recover rockets.
The farm is in active use, so conditions on the ground can vary by field, and you should plan accordingly. Some areas may be plowed and have tricky footing, so you may want solid footwear. Some areas may be planted in alfalfa, corn or other crops that can swallow up rockets, so you may want trackers and buzzers to help you find your rocket. Some areas may be under irrigation and very muddy, so you may want rubber boots and a change of clothes. Always yield to ANY farm equipment on or near the launch site. This is a working farm and its farmers and employees always have the right of way. There is a 10MPH speed limit on any of the access roads and this will be strictly enforced.
The Central California weather is usually good for flying, but it can sometimes be very hot during the day. There is no running water on-site, so you should bring plenty of drinking water for yourself. Bring a hat for sun and wear sunscreen. You may want to have a portable shade structure (Ez-Up) but be sure to wear sunscreen and drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
Toilets and Garbage
There will be portable toilets on site with hand washing stations. Garbage collection will not be provided, and you must pack out and dispose of everything you bring onto the site. We have a strict pack-in/pack-out policy; everything you bring to the launch site we want you to bring OUT of the launch site. This also does not mean to go down to a dumpster on one of the adjoining farms and throw it there. Bring your own trash bags and take everything off the site for disposal.
Camping & Parking
Camping and Parking is available on site; the only restrictions are that you don’t have any fires on the ground – you must have an above-ground fire-pit or BBQ. Note that if you start a fire, you will be responsible for the damage. For more details, see accommodations
Launch Site Rules
Our launch site is on private property, it is not BLM land or public property; you need to follow these rules or else you will be escorted off the property.
- Registration – all attendees (including spectators) must sign in at the registration booth; if you registered on-line, your registration package will also be available for you there.
- Spectators – note that you enter this launch site at your own risk, you must stay behind the flight line during all operations and neither TRA nor TCC are responsible for damages of any kind.
- Recovery – when you go to recover your rocket, stay on the dirt roads as much as possible and be VERY careful for the ditches, burms, and sloughs out here. We’ve had people get stuck before in muddy areas up to the axles and it’s causes major problems. So, if you get stuck, you’re pretty much on your own – but we will help you call AAA.
- All TCC launches follow the Tripoli Safe Launch practices and all fliers need to be members of Tripoli or NAR to fly at the launch site. When you sign in, you need to show proof of your Tripoli or NAR membership.
- NAR members will be allowed to fly Commercial motors (only) at Tripoli launches, with NAR insurance (as long as their projects are launched according to NAR rules).
- All flyers who enter the High Power Pad area must be 18 or older and a current member of Tripoli or NAR in good standing.
- No rockets are allowed to fly without inspection and approval of the RSO. Any person who flies or tries to fly a rocket without RSO approval will be asked to leave.
- Our waiver is 17,000 MSL or 16,811 AGL; rockets which will exceed this altitude will not be allowed to fly.
- If the wind picks up and exceeds 20mph, we will shut down the range. When you’re launching your rockets, you’re not allowed to exceed a 20 degree angle from vertical in ANY direction. If the LCO sees your launched outside of these parameters, your launch will be skipped and when the range opens up again you can re-aim your rocket (this is what we call a recycle).
- Igniters – use an ematch or a pyrogen igniter; our launch system can deliver 40 amps to each pad but that does not mean to use 24 guage bell-wire. If you have a crummy igniter the breaker will pop, and everyone on that relay box will be offline – effectively slowing down the launch.
- When you’re out on the range, make sure you walk straight out and don’t walk OVER the launch leads; if you trip over the launch leads and yank the wires, the launch will shutdown.
- When you’re out on the range, make sure you watch your step and be careful for any gopher holes or trenches, you can fall and break your ankle or much worse.
- Setup/tear-down – if you’re able to, please come to the range-head towards the beginning and end of the launch – more people means it is less work to setup and tear-down. With 5-10 good volunteers, tear-down can take 30 minutes or less. If you have not done any tear-down before, we will pair you up as a buddy system since teardown has a process you must learn.
- Tripoli Cert flights – contact the prefect and schedule a time to certify at a launch. It is best to come with your Tripoli number and all of your paperwork completed.
All launches start at 9:00am.
We keep flying until we have no more fliers or it gets dark. On Sunday, we would like to start tear-down by 1-2pm; we call for fliers around 1pm to determine how long to keep the range open. On Saturday, we plan to have a night launch which will start around 8:00PM PST.
On Saturday, we will have launches at night starting at Sundown (8:04 PM PST).
Night flight vehicles must have blinking lights on all separable air-frame components and pass inspection by the RSO/LCO.
The impulse and altitude limits for night flights are the same as those for the daytime and limited to single-engine single-stage flights without special permission from the launch director(s).
We also plan to have a live band playing during the night launch.
Drones and RC Aircraft
RC Aircraft and Drones must be pre-approved by a launch director and shall be flown away from the crowd at all times and are not allowed in the spectator or flight line areas. RC Model Aircraft must additionally follow AMA guidelines for safe operation.
FM/FRS Radio Information
The launch details will be broadcast on FM Radio channel 98.5 (note this may change the week before the launch). FRS Radio communications to the Range head (LCO/RSO) will be supported on channel 5.0 (462.6625)
HAM & Telemetry Radio Information
Users who would like to reserve their channels for use should contact the LDRS admin and have their channels listed. Currently allocated channels are listed below:
433.920 KM6OSC Greg Morgan 433.920 K8GEM Greg Morgan 910.250 Eggfinder ID#5 Will Ferry 434.000 KM6KWF Chris Wilson 433.420 W7AMI Terry Dobler 434.550 KM6LHE Randall Ticknor 223.530 KM6LHE Randall Ticknor
We have a complete setup of rods/rails in every size and have high-power pads from H to Complex N. We have wired and wireless launch systems and plan to have a dual-range setup for Estes/Mid-Power and a parallel High power launch setup. Our rails support 80/20 1010, 1515 and Unistrut buttons.
We currently have a FAA Waiver to launch rockets to 16,800 feet above ground at our site, for LDRS, we are working on raising this limit.
NOTE: This is a commercial launch only. The State of California regulations prevents us from flying research motors within the state. All motors flown shall be NAR/TRA/CAR certified and also have CA OSFM approval seal (as shown). Maximum Impulse limits for California are listed below:
- Maximum Impulse per rocket motor – 10,240 Ns “M”
- Maximum combined total impulse (Complex rocket) – shall not exceed 20,480 Ns “N”
Currently, that means no single motor larger than an M, and a maximum total installed impulse equivalent to an “N” motor (e.g. two “M” motors). This means we can fly a complex “N impulse” rocket made up of any number of motor combinations (besides a single N) up to 20,480 nS.
The minimum safe distance for an M total installed impulse is 500′ which is our standard away cell setup. The minimum safe distance for a Complex N total installed impulse is is 1500 feet. At LDRS, we have full launch capability of Complex N impulse (single rocket) and Complex O impulse (multiple rockets – e.g. a drag race – at 2000′ feet). Rockets with a total impulse of M-class or higher must have documentation for the RSO showing that the rocket will be stable.
Launch Equipment / Range Support
TCC offers some of the best high-power launch equipment anywhere and LDRS is no exception. Our launches feature the following equipment: Wired and wireless launch systems (Blackdog Rocketry, Wilson-FX). A dual-range setup – one range for Estes-type Model Rockets and Mid-Power through Impulse class G and a parallel High-Power range to support H impulse to Complex N (see California Motor Limits above). Complete setup of rods and rails in every size. Our High power pads are “Quad-Pods” with integrated rail guide support for standard 80/20 1010 (1/4″) rail up to 10′. We will have a launch site with a far-away 1500′ pad and a multi-pad 2000′ pad for Drag race support.
Note that all Drag races will need to fly at the 2000′ maximum set aside distances in the 2017 Edition of the Tripoli Safe Launch practices
- The complex distance for the total installed impulse. (refer to V. Distance Tables)
- 2000 ft (610 M)
- 1.5 times the highest altitude expected to be achieved by any of the rockets
Large Launch (“Away”) Pads
The Big away pads we have are capable of launching a rocket in excess of 250 lbs. The standard rail is an 80/20 1515 Proline 1500 or “Bigbutton” rail 10′ in length as is used on all larger impulse rockets. This is an 80/20 1515 rail supporting the large (1/2″) buttons. We also have support for a large pad with Unistrut buttons and a 20′ Unistrut rail capable of launching rockets in excess of 400 lbs – please contact us if you have a special project or launch requirements.
Our club holds a Tripoli record for the most number of certifications in one day. We credit this success to our prefect, the TRA/NFPA safety codes, equipment, our experienced staff, and pre-flight/safety briefings. Level 1 through Level 3 certifications will be available at Tripoli Central California (TCC) throughout LDRS, for more information about Tripoli certifications, visit the main site here.