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Rant: why have rules at all?


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  1. #1
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    Rant: why have rules at all?

    I joined my local NAR club in December 2011. Since then, I've been to every single launch of my club (2 a month) and some launches at other area clubs. I have designed, built and flown a number of R/C boost gliders without an incident, including my L1 ship; I have designed from the ground up and flown a number of HP rockets, including my 4" L2 ship. Indeed, the largest rocket I built form a kit is was a little LOC HiTech. This whole time I had one flight failure. I have also built a number of odd-rocks, including an aerodynamically stable foam pumpkin for Halloween. I mention all this here to give an idea of my level of commitment to the hobby and to safety, as well as to illustrate a basic understanding of rocket design.

    My initial design for my L3 ship is a biplane glider. This gets rejected as violating the spirit of NAR L3 requirements. I can find nothing in the L3 requirements document that my glider violates, but I don't want to make a fuss, so I go away and come back with a 4-fin cylindrical design, an upscale of this rocket which I have flown successfully: http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthr...ack-of-buckets. A crucial difference for the M-size version is that in addition to the apogee event, it deploys a conventional main parachute at 600', with redundant altimeters.

    The L3CC rep rejects my idea, with two justifications: (a) my L1 and L2 are recent; (b) my fascination with odd-rocs is misplaced. He says that he hopes I wouldn't recommend a newbie make one R/C flight on a trainer 40, then immediately try his hand with a 300+ MPH bird with dual turbine jets.

    Now I don't want to make this a thread about what NAR rules should be. Maybe there should be a rule that says you need to wait so many years between L2 and L3. Or maybe there should be a rule that you must burn so many Ns between your L2 and L3. Or maybe there should be a rule that L3 rockets have an ogive nosecone. If you think these rules are good ideas, I encourage you to go and legislate them. My rant is not about these (hypothetical) rules.

    My rant is about unwritten rules. There are the L3 requirements, and then there are what appear to be the real rules. Why have formal, written rules at all, if we are apparently living by another, unwritten set?

    Ari.

    P.S. If you think my design is unsound, I want to hear your feedback.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by iter View Post
    P.S. If you think my design is unsound, I want to hear your feedback.
    Are these actual plastic buckets? How are they held together? Are the fins through-the-wall?

    L3 rockets have to be able to withstand flight stresses in the judgment of the L3CC member. Given that this is outside the normal experience base, I suspect a more conventional design would be more likely to be approved.

    Why don't you document the build and then fly it on a large L, assuming that you can get an RSO to sign off on it? That should prove that it can handle an L3 flight.

  3. #3
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    Buckets work. It's been done. Just have to cert through Tripoli
    http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthr...ight=bucket+l3

  4. #4
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    I for one would like to see another overhaul of both L3 systems.
    I'm against any kit for an L3 cert.
    The flyer should be able to build a rocket from the ground up.
    There should be a minimum altitude and velocity for successful L3.
    Otherwise it's just another upscaled Estes rocket.


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  5. #5
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    I vote Bi-plane! If you can get one of those thru an "M" burn- you dam well deserve a L3!!! Sorry we couldn't hook up in San Diego. It was all Florence Nothingswell that week for the Viking Princess. Maybe you should L3 down here!
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDcluster View Post
    I for one would like to see another overhaul of both L3 systems.
    I'm against any kit for an L3 cert.
    The flyer should be able to build a rocket from the ground up.
    There should be a minimum altitude and velocity for successful L3.
    Otherwise it's just another upscaled Estes rocket.


    JD
    Hear, hear.

    If you want to fly an Ultimate Darkstar, then put some real work in and scratch-build something yourself so you truly understand every single aspect of the design of the rocket you are flying before you slap together a kit.
    Temporarily potential impulse transformed into no-longer-potential-anymore impulse since 2013-01-01: A lot.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDcluster View Post
    I for one would like to see another overhaul of both L3 systems.
    I'm against any kit for an L3 cert.
    The flyer should be able to build a rocket from the ground up.
    There should be a minimum altitude and velocity for successful L3.
    Otherwise it's just another upscaled Estes rocket.


    JD
    Ah oh, get ready to have your head handed to you like I did here: L3, Really?.
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  8. #8
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    Now I know the source of the discussion.

    I've heard there was recent discussion on the L3CC about buckets, but didn't have any real details. Now I know who triggered it all.

    As far as the L3CC member saying your interest in oddrocs is "misplaced," I'd be finding a new L3CC. You appear to have found one who's only going to be satisfied when you build his definition of a "rocket".

    -Kevin
    Last edited by troj; 7th February 2013 at 01:34 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarVac View Post
    Hear, hear.

    If you want to fly an Ultimate Darkstar, then put some real work in and scratch-build something yourself so you truly understand every single aspect of the design of the rocket you are flying before you slap together a kit.

    Define scratch build. Ordering precut rings to fit standard tube sizes you ordered to fit the nose one that was made by one of the comPonent manufacturers? Or build a rocket out of tubes you hand rolled to fit the centering rings you cut by hand with your bandsaw to fit the motormount you bought?



    Min altitude min velocity? Like what L3 must go 15k @ A min 1350fps?
    Last edited by atxcple; 7th February 2013 at 02:27 PM.
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  10. #10
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    My 2 Cents

    Make life easy on you. Build a "regular" rocket. Get your L3. Then you can do whatever you want, as long as the RSO approves it. You seem to have experience with gliders and oddrocs, so I don't think that would be an issue.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDcluster View Post
    I for one would like to see another overhaul of both L3 systems.
    I'm against any kit for an L3 cert.
    The flyer should be able to build a rocket from the ground up.
    Explain to me how a pile of parts purchased from.....say, Rocketry Warehouse....is any different from a kit from Wildman? I can buy pre-slotted tubes, a nosecone, centering rings, fins, all pre cut. All I have to do is pull out the instructions from pretty much any fiberglass kit on how to assemble them, and I've just built a kit. Except it's not called a kit.

    There should be a minimum altitude and velocity for successful L3.
    Otherwise it's just another upscaled Estes rocket.
    Um, Jeff? The vast majority of what we fly is "just another upscaled Estes rocket".

    Why should someone who's never going to fly anything but draggy, fat rockets have to build a 4" rocket to fly on a 75mm M, that breaks Mach?

    What's the minimum altitude going to be? Who's going to decide what it is? Someone who's home field has an 8,000 foot waiver, what're you going to do? Tell them, "No, sorry, you can't certify Level 3, unless you drive 5 hours to the closest field that has a waiver that meets the minimum altitude."

    What, exactly, is the problem you're solving with the new rules you think should be present?

    -Kevin

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe V View Post
    Make life easy on you. Build a "regular" rocket. Get your L3. Then you can do whatever you want, as long as the RSO approves it. You seem to have experience with gliders and oddrocs, so I don't think that would be an issue.
    +1 to that! I don't have any certs, but I have had a lifetime of experience with petty bureaucrats. It has taught me to pick my battles. The path of least resistance with petty bureaucrats is just to give in so that you don't have to deal with them any longer. If you can't get a different L3CC, then Joe V's advice is spot on.
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  13. #13
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    If we're going to toss out ideas about what L3 Cert should or shouldn't require, I think we should discuss what the purpose of certification is.

    There may be a written statement in the TRA or NAR literature about this already (if I go and check, I'll forget to come back and finish this post).

    Given the rules for certs, I had inferred that the reason for certification at all is to ensure that the rocketeer is capable of SAFELY handling motors of a given impulse. There is no altitude limit for L1 vs L2, and you can fly as high as you can with LPR. Altitude limits are dependent on the flying field.

    If someone is able to construct a rocket with techniques that can withstand larger motors, then they have demonstrated that they are CAPABLE of doing so safely in the future.

    With rules, the ideal is to be as simple and specific as possible to accomplish the desired purpose (no I don't work for the government). If someone is able to construct a kit rocket and launch it on an M safely, then I believe they most likely have the knowledge and skill to construct and launch a scratch design as well.

    I agree with Kevin, whether or not he actually said this, that we should not inject our personal preferences and style choices into the rules to apply to all hobby members. How high you fly, how fast, whether you have a glider or buckets, whether you build a kit, scratch, or kit-bash...none of these appeals to every rocketeer. But if you want to use the big motors, you should have to show that you can launch and recover safely.

    If I am misinterpreting the intent of the Certification process, then maybe we do need to revisit the criteria....your thoughts?
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe V View Post
    Make life easy on you. Build a "regular" rocket. Get your L3. Then you can do whatever you want, as long as the RSO approves it. You seem to have experience with gliders and oddrocs, so I don't think that would be an issue.
    i have never agreed with the conform for conforms sake logic....
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  15. #15
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    Ari:

    It appears as though this individual is saying, "build a regular 3FNC, no 'weird' stuff." You're never going to convince that individual that anything other than a conventional rocket is acceptable for an L3 attempt.

    The unwritten rule, however, is, actually, written (odd as that may seem): it leaves space for the L3CC's judgment, which he appears to be exercising with your preferred designs. He also seems to fear of what you may do with them --encourage newbies to pursue HPR RC glider flight (which I know you wouldn't, unless they were both accomplished builders and glider pilots). That's his right. I believe his judgment is erroneous, and his communication to you insulting, but that's neither here nor there. Point is he won't sign off on these.

    There is basis for his refusal to do so: the conventional rocket design WORKS, and is backed by a lot of literature and study with which every rocketeer is at least passingly familiar--the application of which has been done oodles of times before, so it falls into the realm of experiences--personal and anecdotal. Your design --and I'm talking the biplane glider-- doens't jive with that experience. As it runs contrary to that individual's experience, it may be difficult for them to consider the merit of the design, as it seems from that which he's said as it's already been dismissed.

    Should you build a conventional 3FNC to his approval, obtain your cert, then do what you wish with it? I'd vote "no." Any L3 bird --kit, scratch, kitbash-- is a significant investment of time, money, and work. Your L3 bird, as your L2 and L1, should be (in my opinion), things you'd fly more than once --an evolution of your flying style. You building a 3FNC kit for your L3 would be as out-of-character for you as flying a minimum-diameter V-MAX would be for me.

    I'd find another L3CC, and include the possibility of joining another organization with which to certify, as reciprocity is the name of the game...


    Later!

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  16. #16
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    The Tripoli TAP committee has had discussions on banning kits for L3. As already discussed here, how would they enforce the no kit rule? If a flyer brings a rocket that is 3FNC how does the flyer prove it wasn't a kit? Is the TAP committee going to require receipts for each part to prove it is not a kit?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by atxcple View Post
    i have never agreed with the conform for conforms sake logic....
    "They can have my guns when they pry them from my cold, dead fingers"


    Quote Originally Posted by Coop View Post
    Ari:

    It appears as though this individual is saying, "build a regular 3FNC, no 'weird' stuff." You're never going to convince that individual that anything other than a conventional rocket is acceptable for an L3 attempt.

    The unwritten rule, however, is, actually, written (odd as that may seem): it leaves space for the L3CC's judgment, which he appears to be exercising with your preferred designs. He also seems to fear of what you may do with them --encourage newbies to pursue HPR RC glider flight (which I know you wouldn't, unless they were both accomplished builders and glider pilots). That's his right. I believe his judgment is erroneous, and his communication to you insulting, but that's neither here nor there. Point is he won't sign off on these.

    There is basis for his refusal to do so: the conventional rocket design WORKS, and is backed by a lot of literature and study with which every rocketeer is at least passingly familiar--the application of which has been done oodles of times before, so it falls into the realm of experiences--personal and anecdotal. Your design --and I'm talking the biplane glider-- doens't jive with that experience. As it runs contrary to that individual's experience, it may be difficult for them to consider the merit of the design, as it seems from that which he's said as it's already been dismissed.

    Should you build a conventional 3FNC to his approval, obtain your cert, then do what you wish with it? I'd vote "no." Any L3 bird --kit, scratch, kitbash-- is a significant investment of time, money, and work. Your L3 bird, as your L2 and L1, should be (in my opinion), things you'd fly more than once --an evolution of your flying style. You building a 3FNC kit for your L3 would be as out-of-character for you as flying a minimum-diameter V-MAX would be for me.

    I'd find another L3CC, and include the possibility of joining another organization with which to certify, as reciprocity is the name of the game...


    Later!

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by belfert View Post
    The Tripoli TAP committee has had discussions on banning kits for L3. As already discussed here, how would they enforce the no kit rule? If a flyer brings a rocket that is 3FNC how does the flyer prove it wasn't a kit? Is the TAP committee going to require receipts for each part to prove it is not a kit?
    I'll speak for what I tried to propose in the other thread... "No kits" is not what I thought would be of benefit. My proposal was "flyers original design." This could be a kit that is modified or it could be an scratch design built from parts sourced by a manufacturer of kits (or it could be roll your own fiberglass tubes). In any case, the original design concept was a proposed as a method to assure that the L3 flyer had some mastery of basic rocket science concepts and eliminate what seems like a growing trend of stepping quickly through cert levels with fiberglass kits that are bullet proof (that often reduce or hide less than optimum build methods and flight/recovery approaches).
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dixontj93060 View Post
    I'll speak for what I tried to propose in the other thread... "No kits" is not what I thought would be of benefit. My proposal was "flyers original design." This could be a kit that is modified or it could be an scratch design built from parts sourced by a manufacturer of kits (or it could be roll your own fiberglass tubes). In any case, the original design concept was a proposed as a method to assure that the L3 flyer had some mastery of basic rocket science concepts and eliminate what seems like a growing trend of stepping quickly through cert levels with fiberglass kits that are bullet proof (that often reduce or hide less than optimum build methods and flight/recovery approaches).
    "I like the look of the Darkstar, so I made my own rocket that looks exactly like it"

    So, how can you tell it's their design, as opposed to a kit?

    I can download a Rocksim or Openrocket file, change the length of a tube, slightly modify the fins, and claim "it's my own design".

    I still haven't seen a coherent definition of the Problem That Needs To Be Solved.

    Not only that, but there lots of folks out there who never do anything other than build kits.

    -Kevin

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by troj View Post
    Explain to me how a pile of parts purchased from.....say, Rocketry Warehouse....is any different from a kit from Wildman? I can buy pre-slotted tubes, a nosecone, centering rings, fins, all pre cut. All I have to do is pull out the instructions from pretty much any fiberglass kit on how to assemble them, and I've just built a kit. Except it's not called a kit.
    Because those kits are assembled using the manufacturers best practices. Not the flyers design. Fundimentaly, the certifications were guidelined prior to the proliferation of M capable kits.

    Being able to design a rocket from the ground up, that can withstand the duration and events of flight, is a very important compentancy of a L3 flyer. This needs to be a tested competancy.

    With a kit, your testing workmanship at most.

    Having said that, i dont know anyone that kitted thier level 3 and isnt a L3 competant flyer... so obviously this isnt a source of problems for our association, and is an acceptable practice IMO.

    I think there should be a "cert board" to approve the flight attempt, and kill that tap approval process.This is the biggest source of "ruffled feathers" and worse... Inconsistant requirements.

    "Dad, I am going to put a big motor in this skinny rocket... its going to disapear like a ghost!!!.....

  21. #21
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    Experience is the key to L3. If you experience is in 3FNC great. If your experience is odd roc propose odd roc for L3. Now from my own L3 journey..... Been in rocketry since late the late 90's (Charlotte NC ROCC Great group of flyers)

    Did L1 in 2001 because I was flying larger and larger clusters.

    L2 @ LDRS 27 becouse I was planning to build larger clusters.

    Proposed L3 in 2010 and the first things my TAP's wanted to know was how many SUCCESSFUL dual deployment flights did I have. I said I was about 65% on my dual deployments. He then said he wanted to review the design motor choice and such. however he wanted to see my success rate on dual deploy higher than it was and helped identify what was my weak areas / design flaws in what i was doing in dual deploy. My TAP NEVER discouraged the build. he just put a extra goal or two in there to farther the process for my to learn for a greater chance at success.

    even using a box of parts called a kit for my L3 i still deviated from the instructions and built it the way i build all my rockets. extended the fin slots to allow the fin can to be built outside the airframe and reinforced then slid into the airframe epoxied into place with the rear center ring off so i could do internals and then foam fill it with mega foam.

    my point is it is not WHAT you build. it is HOW you build. every other rocket in your fleet / rocketry life should if possible be reflected in your L3. i could not do that becouse i had been flying clusters. however the skill for that are the same skills i used for my L3
    Last edited by atxcple; 7th February 2013 at 05:23 PM.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by atxcple View Post
    Experience is the key to L3. If you experience is in 3FNC great. If your experience is odd roc propose odd roc for L3. Now from my own L3 journey..... Been in rocketry since late the late 90's (Charlotte NC ROCC Great group of flyers)
    Did L1 in 2001 because I was flying larger and larger clusters.
    L2 @ LDRS 27 becouse I was planning to build larger clusters.
    Proposed L3 in 2010 and the first things my TAP's wanted to know was how many SUCCESSFUL dual deployment flights did I have. I said I was about 65% on my dual deployments. He then said he wanted to review the design motor choice and such however he wanted to see my success rate on dual deploy higher than it was and helpede identify what was my weak areas. My TAP never discouraged the build just put a extra goal or two in there to farther the process to success
    hopefully it is exactly just a shove to "learn from your mistakes or even failures outside of your control"....
    IMO, TRA consideres the L2 birds to be whoosh pop. *(Still archaic code)* motor deploy, and only requires 1 succesfull electronic deoployment, not even dual deploy. Main at apogee is completely fine...
    If you had your snarky hat on, you could have asked what the average dual deployment flight success rate was.... so you could have a metric to measure yourself on.

    "Dad, I am going to put a big motor in this skinny rocket... its going to disapear like a ghost!!!.....

  23. #23
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    The written TRA level 3 certification rules state:
    The rocket must be of “conventional rocket design”. “Odd Rockets” including flying pyramids, saucers and flying spools will not be allowed for any certification flight.
    A rocket built from a stack of buckets is an unconventional rocket design. It seems pretty clear that this rocket doesn't satisfy the TRA level 3 certification rules.
    Last edited by DaveHein; 7th February 2013 at 05:22 PM.

  24. #24
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    DAVE i disagree.... a stack of buckets with fins and a sudo nosecone is still 3FNC just the materials are unconventional not the blunt nosecone design.
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    There is some room for opinion whether this is a conventional rocket or not. The other thing it has against it is that is a short squatty rocket, which could be considered unconventional as well. It really comes down to the ruling of his L3CC member whether this design is approved or not. The text that I quoted in my previous post was from the TRA cert rules. The NAR rules are less explicit, so I can understand the concern about unwritten rules. If I were the original poster, I would ask the L3CC member why he rejected the design and fix it rather than ranting about unwritten rules. It's more productive to work with your committee members instead of complaining about them.

  26. #26
    troj's Avatar
    troj is online now Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potentate of Perilous Pans
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    If I'm not mistaken, NAR actually has a mathematical formula to decide what's acceptable, and what isn't

    I don't happen to have the formula, but I've been told by the head of NAR Sport Services, as well as the head of the NAR L3CC that my flavor of a bucket rocket is compliant, and acceptable

    That said, iter has a different design than me - those huge fins are a point of concern, for me, that would likely keep me from building it like that

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveHein View Post
    There is some room for opinion whether this is a conventional rocket or not. The other thing it has against it is that is a short squatty rocket, which could be considered unconventional as well. .
    okay i gotta ask. what brings you to this conclusion?

    short squatty rockets have been around for ever from ESTES to MADCOW to others

    FATBOY (estes or public ememy)
    MEGA MOSQUITO
    MINNI MAGG (loc)
    BULLET (loc)
    V2's (take your pick)
    THUMPER (polecat)

    thats just the short list (pun intended)
    Shane B.


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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by troj View Post
    If I'm not mistaken, NAR actually has a mathematical formula to decide what's acceptable, and what isn't

    I don't happen to have the formula, but I've been told by the head of NAR Sport Services, as well as the head of the NAR L3CC that my flavor of a bucket rocket is compliant, and acceptable

    That said, iter has a different design than me - those huge fins are a point of concern, for me, that would likely keep me from building it like that
    I have it straight from the PDF form


    A rocket used for a Level 3 certification must have a minimum fineness (length-to-mean

    diameter/body width) ratio of 4:1 and be aerodynamically stabilized using fins, tubes or other non-shroud components of measurable thickness not to exceed 10% of the mean chord or semi-span. In lieu of calculating the mean diameter/body width, maximum diameter/body width may be used. The documentation submitted for review shall include the fineness ratio and mean chord/semispan-to-thickness ratio
    Shane B.


    www.texasrocketrysupply.com

    TRA L3 - 12117
    NAR L3 - 88027
    Ns FLOWN IN 2012 29,189.3Ns (2% O) approx

    “THE SECOND AMENDMENT"
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed

    ANY QUESTIONS

    Support Wounded Warriors Project www.supportwwp.org[/SIZE]
    RIP CPl. Brandon S. Hocking KIA IRAQ 20 MARCH 2011
    Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fundwww.cfsrf.org
    "I MAY NOT AGREE WITH A WORD YOU HAVE TO SAY BUT I WILL DEFEND TO MY DEATH YOUR RIGHT TO SAY IT" The American Soldier.

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    looks like you need another bucket to reach nar's 4:1 ratio.


  30. #30
    troj's Avatar
    troj is online now Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potentate of Perilous Pans
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawndartman View Post
    One other thing for thought... If you were to bring a bucket rocket with a M motor in it to my RSO table, TRIP or NAR, Cert flight or not, the answer is NO. Period. It is not a rocket, it is a pile of buckets. As RSO, my opinion is the only one that counts. In my opinion, it is unsafe. It is not rocketry. Many launches are on private land. In Colorado, NCR has the only permit with the USFS in the nation, to fly rockets. They WATCH us. We must be stewards of the land. Private or Government. If you start a fire or cause damage or injure someone with a bucket rocket, you should lose your field.
    What about if you start a fire, cause damage, or injure someone with a non-bucket rocket? Should you lose your field, then?

    You obviously don't like the idea of using buckets for an airframe. I'm curious what that determination is based on? What do you consider acceptable, and what don't you?

    Is a rocket made from a bollard cover acceptable? What about Eric Foster's PVC rockets?

    -Kevin

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