Alright, meeting tonight at 7pm again. I’m planning on grabbing things for the balloon filler / tank attachment thing. Once that’s done, the only things left for launch 1 are the internals (Pixhawk and APRS) and the actual mechanics of the NiChrome / cutaway between the balloon and the box.
Once it’s all together, I figure we’ll be taking a Saturday with Nick’s quad to get used to all of the radio stuff and to make sure everything works well together.
We should probably make any necessary flight checklists soon.
If Nick doesn’t show tonight, I’ll be getting my own Pixhawk to work with.
I called FAA a while back and got transferred to a not-present Mr. McAllister, so I called again today and managed to get in touch. Apparently he doesn’t know about HAB operation; I may have to call someone in DC to discuss. But while I was looking for more info today, I found 14 CFR 101 (took a while …), so there’s that.
If I’m reading 101.1 correctly … there’s a potential we could not be regulated at all.
(a) This part prescribes rules governing the operation in the United States, of the following:
(4) Except as provided for in §101.7, any unmanned free balloon that—
(i) Carries a payload package that weighs more than four pounds and has a weight/size ratio of more than three ounces per square inch on any surface of the package, determined by dividing the total weight in ounces of the payload package by the area in square inches of its smallest surface;
(ii) Carries a payload package that weighs more than six pounds;
(iii) Carries a payload, of two or more packages, that weighs more than 12 pounds; or
(iv) Uses a rope or other device for suspension of the payload that requires an impact force of more than 50 pounds to separate the suspended payload from the balloon.
I’m a bit confused at what the physical interpretation of “impact force” is, since an impact would be an impulse rather than a force. Kind of like asking for a “position acceleration”. Wtf.
So far I think this means if we can design it to fail all of (4), we are unregulated. I think that means we can do whatever we want, but until the FAA actually tells me that or I read and understand all of FAR I’m going to be real careful. I’m pretty sure we can’t just do literally whatever.
How many people would be interested in participating in a weekend launch?