Anyone not pass their Level 2 on first try?

n3tjm

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It took 2 tries to get my L2. It also took me 2 tries to get my L3.

My first L2 failure was with a bad CTI J285. Motor immediately catoed. Shortly after they had a huge recall. I still have a 6 grain load from those bad batches that a vendor gave me. The rocket was repaired and I then planned to try again with an Aerotech J350. But then there was issues with J350's coating. So Aerotech enlarged the cores to prevent catos. I had no way to get my grains back to my vendor, so I bought 2 inert I161 reloads from Aerotech and they sent me the replacement J350 grains, and I used the old J350 grains I had to make two I161 loads. Second attempt with the J350 was a sucess.

My first L3 try was with an AMW M1350. I used two different altimeters for deployment. A G-wiz and Pico. Turns out that the G-wiz did not work in dual deployment mode when using just one battery so it never fired its main charge. The Pico also didn't fire off its main charge, and it was discovered that after a certain number of samples the Pico stopped working. That problem was fixed with a firmware update afterwards.

Second attempt was with different rocket with an CTI N1800 and it was a success.
 

Off Grid Gecko

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It took 2 tries to get my L2. It also took me 2 tries to get my L3.

My first L2 failure was with a bad CTI J285. Motor immediately catoed. Shortly after they had a huge recall. I still have a 6 grain load from those bad batches that a vendor gave me. The rocket was repaired and I then planned to try again with an Aerotech J350. But then there was issues with J350's coating. So Aerotech enlarged the cores to prevent catos. I had no way to get my grains back to my vendor, so I bought 2 inert I161 reloads from Aerotech and they sent me the replacement J350 grains, and I used the old J350 grains I had to make two I161 loads. Second attempt with the J350 was a sucess.

My first L3 try was with an AMW M1350. I used two different altimeters for deployment. A G-wiz and Pico. Turns out that the G-wiz did not work in dual deployment mode when using just one battery so it never fired its main charge. The Pico also didn't fire off its main charge, and it was discovered that after a certain number of samples the Pico stopped working. That problem was fixed with a firmware update afterwards.

Second attempt was with different rocket with an CTI N1800 and it was a success.
ouch. Glad you saw it through. My L1 I had a lot of my mind, but when I flew my L2 on a J270 (successful flight) the only thing going through my mind during the countdown was what a shame it would be if the motor catoed.
 

krislhull

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I technically took 2 tries to get my L2, with a 15 year gap in between attempts. My first attempt in 2003 was a failure due to dumb mistakes I made on construction of the rocket. When I got back into the hobby in late 2016, redid my L1 cert, and then in fall 2017 I did my L2 cert flight. I took my L2 test a few weeks prior to the launch, and that way I had no pressure other than prepping the rocket and launching it, which I did not too long after the waiver opened.
 

Alby

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Mine failed on a CTI J270 when the ejection charge didn’t go off and I doesn’t have a backup for the drogue. It whistled on its way down. When the main blew at 650ft, it broke the nylon shock cord clean in two. All pieces recovered with no further damage!


I'm curious.. You said the drogue charge didn't fire and no backup, but didn't you have a motor ejection charge you could have used for the drogue?

I'm still an L1, going for L2 in the Spring, but I use two flight computers, each with their own main/drogue charges and using Cesaroni motors, I just leave the ejection charge (assuming its time is more than the expected apogee time) as my 3rd and final backup to at least pop the drogue.


 

dvdsnyd

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Took me two tries at L2. First attempt, I was young, inexperienced and trying too many novel things with deployment/avionics bay. Rocket came down ballistic.
Second attempt, went back to basics. Cardboard Madcow DX3. Raven 3 altimeter, 9V batteries. Utilized all 4 pyros of the Raven for some "redundancy" Also utilized the ejection charge of the motor to help with getting the nose off, which was my main priority after burying my first attempt.
Dave
 

Alby

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Took me two tries at L2. First attempt, I was young, inexperienced and trying too many novel things with deployment/avionics bay. Rocket came down ballistic.
Second attempt, went back to basics. Cardboard Madcow DX3. Raven 3 altimeter, 9V batteries. Utilized all 4 pyros of the Raven for some "redundancy" Also utilized the ejection charge of the motor to help with getting the nose off, which was my main priority after burying my first attempt.
Dave


You hit on what I think is something that gets overlooked. When going for your certs, keep it simple and easy. Save the fancy stuff for after you get your cert.
 

dvdsnyd

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You hit on what I think is something that gets overlooked. When going for your certs, keep it simple and easy. Save the fancy stuff for after you get your cert.
I understand your sentiment. However, even in my second attempt I didn't keep it simple in a lot of regards. I flew electronics. Had 4 charges associated with those electronics. There are much simpler ways of doing level 2. Also, simple and easy can be very relative terms. There's inherent risk in this hobby. I would argue it's partly why a majority of us do it. The onus is on the flyer to mitigate that risk.
Dave
 

Alby

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I understand your sentiment. However, even in my second attempt I didn't keep it simple in a lot of regards. I flew electronics. Had 4 charges associated with those electronics. There are much simpler ways of doing level 2. Also, simple and easy can be very relative terms. There's inherent risk in this hobby. I would argue it's partly why a majority of us do it. The onus is on the flyer to mitigate that risk.
Dave



For me.whats funny is I'm actually stressing more about passing the written L2 test than flying the rocket and recovering it. 😂🤣
 

Tech 68

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If I recall it was in 2004 I was working on an RDS Moon Rakker as my Level 2 project. About the same time, the ATF was slamming the door on us with their APCP "Low Explosive" Permit requirements. I had passed the written test back in 2003, but knew I wouldn't get the rocket built in time to meet the ATF deadline.
So I loaded an AeroTech J-350 into my Level 1 rocket, on he lake bed, just down the hill from where the F.A.R. site is. It was a PML Calisto. The epiphany I got from watching it vaporize, about fifty feet off the rail was that high-power was not glorified model rocketry.
I did finish the Moon Rakker, placated the bureaucrats with a license, flew on another J-350 in 2006, and got my Level 2
 

jmasterj

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You hit on what I think is something that gets overlooked. When going for your certs, keep it simple and easy. Save the fancy stuff for after you get your cert.
I don't think this gets overlooked on TRF - it gets mentioned in every cert thread that shows up here. People have difference flight preferences, different risk tolerance levels, and different failure tolerance levels. As long as you can line those things up, go for it!
 

KenECoyote

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One we try to do, is to have L2's take their written test at the end of the day. Ideally, at the restaurant / brewpub after the day's flying.
That's really great! I'm a pretty good test taker (actually started studying the night before), but from what I recall, I got the test at the field and stood there while filling it out holding it in my hand...not the best thing to do and I should've at least found a table (or asked about moving), but I didn't want it to look like I was sneaking off and cheating (admin was busy with some club stuff), so I filled it out right on the spot. 100% though! :p:D

My advice on studying is to try to think about each question and what makes sense. If you don't know or you're not sure, then it's something worth looking up or asking about since that piece of info may one day save your rocket.

(and use a highlighter!)
 

dr wogz

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Doing the test at the end of the day make it easy on everyone, and also cuts down on the 'go fever' many seem to have. It's not a race. And we're suppose to be old & mature enough to have some level of acceptance for waiting a little longer..
 
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I didn't pass my L2 on the first try, *and* I aced the test, and aced the flight....

Turns out there was a snafu with the paperwork for my L1 that wasn't done correctly, and not caught by anyone at the time. So when Tripoli went back to verify my L1 they uncovered that the certifier wasn't authorized to do the certification... The certifier *was* authorized for NAR L1, though, which I got at the same time. So I had my NAR L1 and an incorrect TRA L1, but only did the certification stuff for TRA L2...

Also, I was given the wrong L2 test, so I had to retake that with the correct one later (but passed both with100%)

So I didn't pass my L2 on the first try, despite actually passing the test and having a perfect flight, lol.

It all worked out in the end, though. I retook the test but they didn't make me fly again. Not that I would have been too upset doing that, I like flying rockets after all, but it was good they could reuse my cert flight.
 
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KenECoyote

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You hit on what I think is something that gets overlooked. When going for your certs, keep it simple and easy. Save the fancy stuff for after you get your cert.

I don't think this gets overlooked on TRF - it gets mentioned in every cert thread that shows up here. People have difference flight preferences, different risk tolerance levels, and different failure tolerance levels. As long as you can line those things up, go for it!

I'd like to provide my point of view on both sides.

I am very split on this. For years I worked at a computer data programming job which demanded no errors, so I became obsessive about error reduction. This makes me agree with the KISS principle.

However, at the same time that job had crazy challenges and I prided myself in meeting almost every one. So that part pushes me to really try accomplishing the fantastic.

So for me, it's a matter of how much can I challenge myself while being pretty certain of success. Part of that is keeping in mind all the goals and de-prioritizing (or removing) some of them if it looks like you won't be able to do it safely and successfully. Always have a Plan B if you can.

I also often remind myself to not let my pride be the downfall of my rocket and if feeling unsure or that something seems wrong... walk away to fly another day.

"YOLO" can mean "You Only Launched Once!"

In the end, I feel I really pushed my limits and (after many late nights) succeeded on my first L2 try with a custom dd modified X-15 as the LAST flight for my club that season...however it had no paint. :p

One more thing that pushes me...
orca-image--1232971445.jpeg
 

Alby

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I'd like to provide my point of view on both sides.

I am very split on this. For years I worked at a computer data programming job which demanded no errors, so I became obsessive about error reduction. This makes me agree with the KISS principle.

However, at the same time that job had crazy challenges and I prided myself in meeting almost every one. So that part pushes me to really try accomplishing the fantastic.

So for me, it's a matter of how much can I challenge myself while being pretty certain of success. Part of that is keeping in mind all the goals and de-prioritizing (or removing) some of them if it looks like you won't be able to do it safely and successfully. Always have a Plan B if you can.

I also often remind myself to not let my pride be the downfall of my rocket and if feeling unsure or that something seems wrong... walk away to fly another day.

"YOLO" can mean "You Only Launched Once!"

In the end, I feel I really pushed my limits and (after many late nights) succeeded on my first L2 try with a custom dd modified X-15 as the LAST flight for my club that season...however it had no paint. :p

One more thing that pushes me...
View attachment 548928


Pride can definitely get you into trouble. I remember way back when I was younger and dumber I had place a rocket on the launch rail. It was using a 29mm motor, I think it was an H motor. Anyways one of the launch lugs came loose as I was putting my rocket on the rail and I thought to myself, "Its pointed up, what could go wrong. It still has another lug attached?" 🤣😂🤣

Well when it came time to launch, the motor was lit, the rocket moved halfway up the rail, got stuck, burned off 95% of the motor before it popped off the rail, flew up about 10ft, belly flopped on the ground, and then the nose cone popped off from the ejection charge. Lol

Thinking about it now it was a pretty comical scene, straight out of a bloopers skit. But the smarter wiser me would have scratched the launch and fixed the problem. 😁.
 
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