“NAR certification flights, Bronze Level. Take 1…”

and… Action!

Last weekend TORC, the local rocketry club, had their fall launch season kickoff event.  I went in pursuit of my NAR low power certifications, thinking this would be the perfect place to knock out all four flights for the first level, bronze (see my forum posts for the details about each flight requirement).  Turns out that in rocketry there are always a few glitches.  I only attempted 2 of my 4 required launches, of which only one satisfied the certification requirement.

First flight:
I used the spare parts left over from previous model rockets and some real-time “customization” on the launch pad to keep the motor secured.  I called this one the “Estes parts” and launced with a B-6 3 motor.  Successful flight with a duration of about 16 secs.
Photo credit:  J. Simmons

Second Flight:  Using my favorite rocket to date, I flew my Estes “BigDaddy” kit which was previously flown as the booster for my “in-flight rocket video” project.  This time, I just used the standard unmodified nosecone and a smaller motor, D-12 5.  Successful flight and recovery, landing on a car windshield in the parking lot (no damage to either vehicle).
Photo credit:  J. Simmons



I learned some lessons that I wanted to share, RE: NAR certification flights.

  1. Read the instructions carefully (um… duh, right?).  If it says to build a rocket from a manufactured kit, then it’s a good idea to do that.  Cobbling together a rocket from spare parts won’t meet this criteria.  This seems very obvious to me in hind sight, but I missed that in my original read of the rules.  *sigh* I know.
  2. It also turns out that a Franken-rocket doesn’t get the same theoretical performace either.  The requirements are very specific about the required duration from launch to landing.  My rocket was just too dang heavy and too dragy to get the necessary hang time.  Fortunately for you (and me, next time) there are model rocket kits out there that specifically designed for hang time and have been flown to meet these duration flight requirements, all for less than $10!

There will be more flights shortly.  I ordered the aforementioned kit and assembed it this morning, so stay tuned.

Soft landings!

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