When Keith and I released a new version of AltOS, the open source firmware and software system associated with our Altus Metrum hobby rocket avionics systems last week, we forgot to mention one small but really neat new feature Keith spontaneously added a few months ago. When a rocket is on the rail waiting to launch, we now beep out the igniter continuity status over the radio link instead of just sending periodic audio beeps.

This is particularly useful when flying TeleMini, which is just too small to include an on-board beeper. Previously, you had to check the ground station computer to see if the board powered up correctly and was ready to fly. Now all you need is an HT tuned to the right frequency, which is easy to have in your pocket or clipped on your belt while preparing a rocket for flight!

Son Robert and I made heavy use of this last weekend flying at the Tripoli Colorado Fall Frenzy 2012 launch, where 4 of our 5 flights were in TeleMini-equipped rockets set up for apogee-only electronic recovery deployment with motor backup. I also found it really handy when setting up YikStik3 on the flight line at Airfest 18. It was hard to hear the altimeter beepers on the two TeleMetrum boards buried deep in the airframe, but they were loud and clear through the HT in my back pocket!

Thanks, Keith! So much improvement in flight-line experience from so little code...