last updated: 13th May 2018 - Day 197 - Dark Shadow II - New Personal Record

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Construction - Basic


Ring Fins

Flat Fins



Construction - Advanced

Robinson Coupling

Splicing Bottles #1

Splicing Bottles AS#5

Reinforcing Bottles

Side Deploy #1

Side Deploy #2

Mk3 Staging Mechanism

Multi-stage Parachutes


Construction - Launchers

Gardena Launcher

Clark Cable-tie

Medium Launcher

Cluster Launcher

Launch Abort Valve

Quick Launcher

How It Works

Drop Away Boosters

Katz Stager Mk2.

Katz Stager Mk3.


Dark Shadow Deployment


Recovery Guide


How Much Water?

Flying Higher

Flying Straight

Building a Launcher

Using Scuba Tanks


Video Taping Tips

MD-80 clone

Making Panoramas


Burst Testing




Flight Computer

Servo Timer II




V1.3, V1.3.1, V1.3.2


Deploy Timer 1.1

Project Builds

The Shadow

Shadow II


Polaron G2

Dark Shadow

L1ght Shadow

Flight Log Updates

#197 - Dark Shadow II

#196 - Coming Soon

#195 - 3D Printed Rocket

#194 - TP Roll Drop

#193 - Coming Soon

#192 - Stager Tests

#191 - Horizon

#190 - Polaron G3

#189 - Casual Flights

#188 - Skittles Part #2

#187 - Skittles Part #1

#186 - Level 1 HPR

#185 - Liquids in Zero-G

#184 - More Axion G6

#183 - Axion G6

#182 - Casual Flights

#181 - Acoustic Apogee 2

#180 - Light Shadow

#179 - Stratologger

#178 - Acoustic Apogee 1

#177 - Reefing Chutes

#176 - 10 Years

#175 - NSWRA Events

#174 - Mullaley Launch

#173 - Oobleck Rocket

#172 - Coming Soon

#171 - Measuring Altitude

#170 - How Much Water?

#169 - Windy

#168 - Casual Flights 2

#167 - Casual Flights

#166 - Dark Shadow II

#165 - Liquid Density 2

#164 - Liquid Density 1

#163 - Channel 7 News

#162 - Axion and Polaron

#161 - Fog and Boom

#1 to #160 (Updates)


About Air Command Water Rockets
We are a small team that builds and launches water rockets in Sydney, Australia. Dad and I do most of the design and construction and my two boys mostly help with prepping, launching and retrieving the rockets.

We first started out in June 2006 after seeing a Mythbusters episode about water rockets. We looked online and found a growing community of water rocketeers that had been flying for many years. We found plans on how to make a simple launcher and within 3 hours had a launcher and bottle ready to go. The first launch was horizontal in the back yard with just a simple bottle and no fins. That one launch was all it took to get us hooked on the hobby.

Neither of us had any prior rocketry experience so the online water rocket community was instrumental in guiding us through the early stages of design as we made many of the common mistakes. Armadillo Aerospace was also a great influence early on because of how open and detailed they were in sharing all their successes and failures. We decided we would also document our progress in detail so others wouldn't need to make the same mistakes we were/are making. The website also became our technical journal that we often refer to for past experiments when working on a new designs.

In the weeks and months following our first launch we started building more complex and larger rockets. Along with the larger rockets also came the need for new launchers and ground support equipment. These days we will often take 2 cars to the launch site to bring all the necessary equipment.

We also fairly quickly realised that we needed a reliable way of deploying parachutes on our rockets. Some of our early attempts weren't reliable enough so we started building our own electronic timers. We kept refining the entire deployment mechanism until we have now reached a point where we are quite happy with it to take up more expensive payloads.


At the beginning of 2008 we joined the NSW Rocketry Association which has been critical in allowing us to not only launch our rockets at a great launch site with all the insurance and permissions in place but has also provided us with a huge wealth of knowledge through the members on all things rocketry.

Joining the club also opened up for us a whole new world of model and HPR rocketry that has taken us to some pretty unique locations around Australia. It also allowed us to meet some great people not only in Australia but around the world. We now enjoy flying both model and water rockets and as of this writing have now done more than 700 launches.


Over the years there have been a number of factors that have made things easy for us and kept us interested in the hobby:

  • Great support of the rocketry community.
  • A regular club launch schedule. This helps focus our efforts in completing projects by set dates. With only a couple of launch opportunities per month we try to make the most of good weather conditions.
  • Living in a moderate climate allows us to launch all year round.
  • Both of us being scuba divers has given us access to lots of cheap compressed air along with ground support equipment. This has made launching rockets very easy and affordable.
  • Having access to a good workshop to make many of the components.
  • Good supply of bottles from friends and family.


With both dad and I having engineering backgrounds, we've always been interested in the engineering side of the hobby as you are always optimizing designs and pushing materials to their limits. Failures are always a great way to learn something new. We try not to take ourselves too seriously though after all it's just a couple of guys filling old plastic bottles with air and water.

20th February 2013



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