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Build it first, L3 paperwork later?

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brettkeller

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Hi all--

I'm L2 certified, having flown quite a few H-I flights, a handful of J's, and 2 hybrid K's. My main fleet consists of a 2.6" Sandhawk (H-J capable), 3" scratch build currently being repaired (for up through K's), my L2 rocket (a 4" scratch build called Cheaper Than a Girlfriend) and a 4" Endeavor that's flown on I-J power and will soon see a K185.

I think the next steps for me are 1) continuing to fly my fleet and get more comfortable with electronics, and 2) build a rocket that's capable of flying on large K and L motors. I think it's unwise to jump straight to a L3 attempt from baby K's, and I think I'm likely to attempt L3 in the next 2-3 years.

So, I over the next year I want to build a 4" or 5.5" diameter bird with a 75mm motor mount. I'm going to build it strong enough for full L's, and maybe eventually for baby M's. One possibility is an Extreme Wildman, following this build thread, or a beefed up LOC Magnum.

Has anyone here built a project, flown in on K's and L's, and then decided they wanted to use it for their L3 attempt? Can you do the paperwork after the rocket is built and has been flown a number of times? Or is it all dependent on your TAP members' judgment?

I would go ahead and do the paperwork now (and I plan to ask plenty of people for advice along the way anyway) but it seems odd to do so now when I probably won't fly an M for a while, and may not end up using this particular rocket for my actual certification flight. It's not a big deal either way - I'm sure I'll be building other large rockets - but I'd like to know before I start on this project.

Thanks in advance!
 

WillMarchant

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I believe you're supposed to get it inspected during the build process by one of your L3 mentors. Kinda tough to do if it is already built. But I was watching the new Dr Who episode "waters of Mars" today and I believe he could help you! ;)

My advice is to find the people you want to do your L3 and chat with them. Doing a couple of projects leading up to your L3 will give you a chance to work with them and know if you'll have a "happy marriage" during the sometimes stressful L3 process.

Oh, and I find it hard to believe that anything dealing with high power is cheaper than a girlfriend! :p
 

brianc

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Despite your use of the term 'TAP', your .sig suggests NAR, so:

[From http://www.nar.org/pdf/L3certreq.pdf - emphasis mine]

"3.2 Prior to the start of construction of the Level 3 Certification project,
the flyer shall submit detailed plans for L3CC member review and approval."
 

brettkeller

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brianc-- Thanks for the link. And yeah, have been thinking about switching to Tripoli when I renew, so I was indeed thinking TAP.

So the NAR rules seem to specifically require an inspection prior to the beginning of construction. I looked up the TRA rules (I'm guessing this is an abbreviated version here: http://www.tripoli.org/cert/TRA_Certification_Rules_2009.pdf) While it makes sense to have TAP supervision during construction if the rocket is intended for supervision, the TRA rules don't seem to explicitly rule out using a rocket that's already built and has flown successfully on K's and L's, specifically this: "TRA members designing or preparing to fly a level 3 project must present details of their design to 2 TAP members of their choice. BEFORE attempting a level 3 flight, 2 TAP members must have signed off on the member’s certification form."
 

cherokeej

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Easy enough... Talk to your TAP or L3CC before you build. Tell them what you told us here.

Please don't approach a TAP or L3CC with an already built, undocumented rocket for L3. Doesn't work that way.
 

Pantherjon

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If you document every step of the assembly, and the TAP/L3CC is familiar that you CAN build reliable rockets, I think it could work..But, best to do as recommended and contact them prior to assembly and get their input, as their word is the final word as far as the L3 cert attempt goes..
 
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troj

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As folks have already said, you're best off talking to a NAR L3CC or TAP (depending on which organization you're certifying under) before you begin construction.

The absolute worst would be to get past a certain point, then have something arise that the person you're having do the certification require a change, or point out a potential problem that you then decide requires a change.

-Kevin
 
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