Ohio is self-sufficient when it comes to holding launches. We provide
members and guests with state of the art launch equipment and operations.
In 2008 Tripoli Northern Ohio constructed a completely new launching system for use by both NOTRA and Skybusters. In doing so, we retired the confusing collection of old launch systems that the club had inherited from other clubs or individuals. The new system uses electronics built by Transolve. The system is capable of controlling sixteen pads: six on the low power model rocket rack, and ten high-power pads in four banks. The 'A' bank low-power model rocket rack is 25 feet from the flight line and has six pads with 1/8” and 3/16” stainless steel rods. The 'B' bank is 100 feet from the flight line, has four pads and is for rockets flying E-G motors. This bank has ¼” stainless steel rods and 1010-1” rails. The 'C' bank is 200 feet away, also has four pads and is for H-J powered rockets. This has 3/8” and 7/16” rods and 1010-1” and 1515-1.5” rails. The 'D' bank, which has two pads is for K-L motors, and is 300 feet away. These pads are equipped with 1515-1.5” rails.The main control panel is completely waterproof and self-contained with no external battery needed for operation. The system features continuous visual continuity confirmation (no hard-to-hear beepers) so no buttons need to be pushed to check continuity. Pad continuity can be confirmed both at the bank relay box and also at the main controller at the launch head. The entire launch system is electric match safe. Each bank has a control box for external battery input, control cable and launch lead connections. Twelve-volt lead acid batteries are used to provide plenty of punch to the igniter, and the launch leads are 16-gauge wire. The continuous continuity circuitry features super-bright LED's capable of being seen even in the brightest daylight, so confirming continuity is no problem. Twenty amp solid-state relays and heavy gauge wire is used throughout the system, providing your igniters with all the current they need to fire. The design of the controller allows an entire bank of two, four or six pads to be launched at once, allowing for drag races or mass launches.
In 2008, NOTRA and the Skybusters purchased six new high-power launch pads from Fade to Black Rocket Works. Three of them are the low to mid-power Thunder pads and three are the high-power Lighting pads. Two older high-power pads were sand blasted, powder painted and had all their hardware reconditioned or replaced. In 2012 the FTB pads were all powder painted and reconditioned. All the pads have interchangeable launch rods in 1/4", 3/8" and 7/16" sizes. They also have both 1010-1" and 1515-1.5" launch rails. All the rods and rails have adjustable stops. All of the launch rods were replaced in 2016 and the rails were all replaced in 2019. Adjustment tools, WD-40, Scrunge pads and cleaning rags are available at each pad bank.
NOTRA also has two Quad-Pods, one regular and one heavy duty and a two channel launch controller for launches that don't require the entire large launching system set-up.
The old SNOAR low-power rack, which was constructed more than 30 years ago was refurbished and still used for educational demonstration launches. However, a new sixposition low-power rack was built in 2008. It features infinitely adjustable quick-release stainless steel rods in both 1/8", 3/16" and ¼” rod sizes, stainless steel blast deflectors, quick change launch leads, continuous continuity circuits and high-current relays for positive quick ignition.
LOW POWER PADS
Additionally, because of requests for low-power model rocket launch support., NOTRA has built three low-power pads with 1/8”, 3/16” and ¼” stainless steel launch rods and heavy duty NARTS deflectors.