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HPR Certification Learning Objectives

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DrewW

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As I'm getting started on my Level 1 certification build (and as a practicing engineer) I'm getting a little introspective this evening. I'm curious what the L3 folks (and really I'm only asking those who've gone through the whole process) in this community would say are the most important take-aways or learning objectives they hope (maybe expect?) others pick up at each of the certification levels L1, L2, and L3.
 

blackjack2564

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Enjoy what u are doing.
Have fun along the way.
Learn something in the company of like minded people.
Find the venue in rocketry u enjoy the most.... i.e. scale,2-stage, building, electronics, big motors, small rockets... launch camaraderie, where ever the road takes u.
Being an engineer , I might think u would travel the path of perfection in most aspects of this endeavor, and functionality, of how the all the parts, make the whole thing work.
The path u take is unlimited in choice and variety, and u are doing so in these wonderful times of space exploration and travel.

Each Level exposes u to more complexity and more things learned. Once u achieve L-3, u have opened the doors to go anywhere u wish and build what ever u want. Skies and wallet are the only limits.

Just remember this:
have fun AND it's a rocket....what possibly could go wrong!

Finally, there will be flights when things do go wrong, that may seem un-explainable. Here is where your engineering background will drive u nutz till u figure it out, sometimes u never will. It happens to all of us that have been at it a long, long time, Even professionals. :mad:
 
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Nathan

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L1: Construction techniques for larger, heavier rockets that were not as critical with LPR and MPR. And you shouldn't proceed to L2 until you can make at least 10 consecutive successful L1 flights.

L2: Dual deploy. Although dual deploy is not technically a requirement for L2, in my opinion it should be. Once you start using dual deploy you will inevitably make some mistakes and have some failures, everyone does. Learn from your mistakes and don't proceed to L3 until you can make at least 10 consecutive successful dual deploy flights with no recovery problems.

L3: 100% reliability. By the time you get to L3 there is no room for any mistakes and no excuse for any recovery failures.
 

noffie79

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I agree with everything Nathan said. I’ve been L2 for 3 years and I don’t feel I’m anywhere near ready for L3. That takes time, plenty of successful L2 flights and more importantly, plenty of L2 failures, in order to learn from your mistakes.
 

DrewW

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Enjoy what u are doing.
Have fun along the way.
Learn something in the company of like minded people.
Find the venue in rocketry u enjoy the most.... i.e. scale,2-stage, building, electronics, big motors, small rockets... launch camaraderie, where ever the road takes u.
Being an engineer , I might think u would travel the path of perfection in most aspects of this endeavor, and functionality, of how the all the parts, make the whole thing work.
The path u take is unlimited in choice and variety, and u are doing so in these wonderful times of space exploration and travel.

Each Level exposes u to more complexity and more things learned. Once u achieve L-3, u have opened the doors to go anywhere u wish and build what ever u want. Skies and wallet are the only limits.

Just remember this:
have fun AND it's a rocket....what possibly could go wrong!

Finally, there will be flights when things do go wrong, that may seem un-explainable. Here is where your engineering background will drive u nutz till u figure it out, sometimes u never will. It happens to all of us that have been at it a long, long time, Even professionals. :mad:
Thanks for the reminders, it is definitely good to remember that it is for the sake of enjoyment that I’m here right now. And you are not wrong about the perfectionist tendencies ( I’m working on it).
 

dr wogz

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L1:
Construction techniques, using ply wood & epoxy, TTW, internal fillets, etc..
Knowing the relationship between CG & CP, and what changes what..
Looking at Sim data, and knowing how to interpret it
Know what the numbers mean! Why use an I195 vs and H550? 4 or 7 delay? is an F15 in a 1lb rocket safe?
start flying with electronics; a simple altimeter is enough, but stat to understand the data that's being logged
Start playing with a Chute Release
Should be able to 'scratch build' / not build from a kit
Should be able to build a motor
Start knowing how to size a chute for a desired decent rate
(Fleet should be about 30+ rockets)

L2:
Construction techniques: working with fiberglass / composite materials (cloth, carbon, etc..)
Scratch building with FG, CF, composites
understand forces being applied. get more into the calculations of impulse, and start looking at the motor burn graphs,
Dual Deploy! seriously looking at electronics, and at this point, starting to use them on / for each L1 / L2 flight.
Should have had at least one failure of some sort by now, and have the confidence to rectify it for next flight, or understand what went wrong.
Now how to size a chute, and possibly a drogue chute. Start to know the differences in chute designs, for various descent & packing styles
Start to make 'launch check lists'
Start to record each flight; launch parameters, launch results, and then start comparing them to 'sims'
Start to tweak sim software to better predict real world results
Start a 2nd job, or re-mortgage the house to afford upper end 'L2' motors, electronics, and Tim's 'Extreme' kits!!
(Fleet should be about 50+ rockets, with a growing 'build pile'!)

L3:

all of the above, with experience!
 

Steve Shannon

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L1:
Construction techniques, using ply wood & epoxy, TTW, internal fillets, etc..
Knowing the relationship between CG & CP, and what changes what..
Looking at Sim data, and knowing how to interpret it
Know what the numbers mean! Why use an I195 vs and H550? 4 or 7 delay? is an F15 in a 1lb rocket safe?
start flying with electronics; a simple altimeter is enough, but stat to understand the data that's being logged
Start playing with a Chute Release
Should be able to 'scratch build' / not build from a kit
Should be able to build a motor
Start knowing how to size a chute for a desired decent rate
(Fleet should be about 30+ rockets)

L2:
Construction techniques: working with fiberglass / composite materials (cloth, carbon, etc..)
Scratch building with FG, CF, composites
understand forces being applied. get more into the calculations of impulse, and start looking at the motor burn graphs,
Dual Deploy! seriously looking at electronics, and at this point, starting to use them on / for each L1 / L2 flight.
Should have had at least one failure of some sort by now, and have the confidence to rectify it for next flight, or understand what went wrong.
Now how to size a chute, and possibly a drogue chute. Start to know the differences in chute designs, for various descent & packing styles
Start to make 'launch check lists'
Start to record each flight; launch parameters, launch results, and then start comparing them to 'sims'
Start to tweak sim software to better predict real world results
Start a 2nd job, or re-mortgage the house to afford upper end 'L2' motors, electronics, and Tim's 'Extreme' kits!!
(Fleet should be about 50+ rockets, with a growing 'build pile'!)

L3:

all of the above, with experience!
The only thing I would add to this is that along the way please study the Safety Codes.
 

Ez2cDave

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I'm curious what the L3 folks (and really I'm only asking those who've gone through the whole process) in this community would say are the most important take-aways or learning objectives they hope (maybe expect?) others pick up at each of the certification levels L1, L2, and L3.
Level 1 : You will learn that the rocket required is, virtually no different, when using a "Baby H", as it would be for a "Full G".

Level 2: You have to take a test, once . . . Then, you will learn that the rocket required is, virtually no different, when using a "Baby J", as it would be for a "Full I".

Level 3 : You will have everything you do scrutinized, once . . . Then, you will learn that the rocket required is, virtually no different, when using a "Baby M", as it would be for a "Full L".

The good news is that, once you are certified, you never have to re-certify, especially if you certify through NAR, as their Certifications never expire, unlike Tripoli ( if you let your Membership lapse ), and you can easily "transfer" your Cert Level to Tripoli, if you are a Member.

BIGGEST "take-away" . . . Use the "K.I.S.S." principle & MINIMUM power . . . Cert Flights are NOT the place to try and "impress" anyone or "show off".

Just get your "ticket punched" and call it a day !

Dave F.
 
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Rocketclar

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Agree with the advice above. When I talk to youth groups about model rocketry, I try to take various examples (show and tell) of the wide range in the hobby to spark interest vs just my pet ideas. For example, recovery methods, electronics, payloads, simulation, etc..... We all have different interests so start with those that are most interesting to you and then build from there. As I've moved up in power (cert level), I've made many of the "rookie" mistakes. I've found that there are no shortcuts in HPR. Even though I have been active in the hobby for many years, I still learned a lot working with my mentors on my L3 project. (You have to as the forces are so much greater as you move up in power.) My goal for every one of my cert levels was to be successful the first time and I was. Have fun and be safe!
 

Banzai88

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These "learning objectives" (almost all of which I agree in principle with) are precisely why the camps are so polarized about folks that build one rocket, take one test, fly said rocket two times....and go L3CC/TAP shopping. And I use the word "shopping" with careful consideration.

Since becoming a BAR, I've seen it happen 4 times.....and NONE of those 4 have yet to complete a safe/satisfactory L3 flight.

ETA: I guess my point is that I wish that more folks would recognize the scope of safe building technique and safe recovery with a focus on proper execution and repeatability at lower levels based on MORE EXPERIENCE and a personal data set than to compromise safety/functionality at the L3 build/launch/recover stage. I know that's what L3CC/TAPs, RSO, and LCOs are there to help avoid.....yet I see about 1 a year that was so egregiously unsafe/unsound on several fundamental levels that it makes one wonder......
 
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Bat-mite

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I think that by the time you get to level 3, you are less concerned about how to build a rocket, assemble a motor, and launch, as you are about recovery. How can I recover closer to the pad? How can I keep my 50# rocket out of the spectator area? How can I ensure successful deployment of both chutes every time?

Level 2, however, has the written test, and that is where you simply have to learn the basics of rocketry. Thrust, impulse, burn times, motor selection, field dimensions, physics.

Even after I level 1, I wasn't too clear on the difference between thrust and impulse. I didn't understand why an I200 didn't make my rocket go as high as an I150. The level 2 test brought it all home. Honestly, the L2 test seems to me like it would be more appropriate for getting L1.
 

MClark

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My goals for the certification levels was much simpler.
Confirmation, I never did level 1 because at the time it was single level. Did it to use high power motors
Level 2, somebody thought being able to demonstrate skills with an H and next flight could be an M was a bad system. So I did L-2
Level 3. I was(am) a member of the TAP but I was only level 2 (for a short time I and others were TAP and L-1!), the chairman was threatening to throw out all who were not L-3. So I did L-3.
I was not seeking some mystical knowledge in a Quest of certifications, I just wanted to keep launching the rockets I had been doing for years.
 

John Kemker

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Originally certified through Tripoli using the one-H-motor-and-done method. When Tripoli adopted the three-tier system, I took the test and flew my Bruiser for the cert flight. By that time, I'd flown plenty of H and I motors and wanted to fly something a bit bigger. After flying plenty of J and K motor flights, decided to see if I could succeed at L3. Built my Smokin' Rockets Mega-Nuk with Greg Muri as my TAP advisor. Flew it at Orangeburg LDRS in 2000. Haven't flown anything since. I've got some LPR kits and my LOC Goblin awaiting paint and a Cherokee-H awaiting assembly. When launches are possible again, I hope to start back on the cert path.
 

MOF410

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Thanks for all the insight everyone! I am also gearing up for level 1 adventures in the next year and was wondering the same thing.

Im focused on a reliable/predictable launch and recovery (like everyone else) and it seems that keeping it simple and working your way up is the way to go.
 

DrewW

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These "learning objectives" (almost all of which I agree in principle with) are precisely why the camps are so polarized about folks that build one rocket, take one test, fly said rocket two times....and go L3CC/TAP shopping. And I use the word "shopping" with careful consideration.

Since becoming a BAR, I've seen it happen 4 times.....and NONE of those 4 have yet to complete a safe/satisfactory L3 flight.

ETA: I guess my point is that I wish that more folks would recognize the scope of safe building technique and safe recovery with a focus on proper execution and repeatability at lower levels based on MORE EXPERIENCE and a personal data set than to compromise safety/functionality at the L3 build/launch/recover stage. I know that's what L3CC/TAPs, RSO, and LCOs are there to help avoid.....yet I see about 1 a year that was so egregiously unsafe/unsound on several fundamental levels that it makes one wonder......
Tom,
That's pretty much the reason I put the question out there. I could build rocket, fly rocket, take test, fly rocket and be L2 in a pretty short span if the goal is "fly big motors". Thus, the question out to the L3 community of what should I be taking away from the process, to get the most out of it.
 

OverTheTop

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Enjoy what u are doing.
Have fun along the way.
Learn something in the company of like minded people.
Find the venue in rocketry u enjoy the most.... i.e. scale,2-stage, building, electronics, big motors, small rockets... launch camaraderie, where ever the road takes u.
Being an engineer , I might think u would travel the path of perfection in most aspects of this endeavor, and functionality, of how the all the parts, make the whole thing work.
The path u take is unlimited in choice and variety, and u are doing so in these wonderful times of space exploration and travel.

Each Level exposes u to more complexity and more things learned. Once u achieve L-3, u have opened the doors to go anywhere u wish and build what ever u want. Skies and wallet are the only limits.

Just remember this:
have fun AND it's a rocket....what possibly could go wrong!

Finally, there will be flights when things do go wrong, that may seem un-explainable. Here is where your engineering background will drive u nutz till u figure it out, sometimes u never will. It happens to all of us that have been at it a long, long time, Even professionals. :mad:
CJ saved me so much typing. Read his again and you will have my opinion exactly.

Most important (apart from staying safe) is to have fun. Find the areas that interest you to keep it interesting. I too am an engineer:).
 

HHaase

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I know it gets a bit outside the original question, but as an L-2 that's contemplating L-3 in a couple years, I hope I can put some vision on things as well. That, and now that I'm certifying people at the L1/L2 levels, my perspective has changed a bit further too.

The biggest piece of I advice I can give to people looking at L-1 is that you need to respect that you are now flying in a different world. It's not significantly more difficult, but you need to pay attention more to be properly successful. The larger body tubes completely change how you handle your recovery gear, and deployment timing becomes much more critical. That and you're now subject to more regulation both from safety and legal requirements. For most guys I know this is the point they start flying with clubs instead of by themselves, so it's a great introduction into the club atmosphere and more controlled launches. But let me add this to get the tone right. L-1 is where high power fun starts to kick in, but hasn't becomes overly serious yet. It's a great range to just enjoy flying bigger rockets with friends.

L-2 is a much bigger jump than I realized when I first certified, and certain details really didn't hit me until this year when we got our local club running. The rockets themselves are serious performers, that part is obvious. Safety concerns are considerably higher now, failure is more costly, and you need to really understand the flight performance a lot more. But the certification process at L-2 is really preparing you for two different things. One is to build and fly your own L-2 rockets safely and legally. The second part, and it's not as obvious, is making sure you know how to RUN a launch. At the L-2 level you're more likely to start taking on bigger roles, including performing certifications and acting as part of the range control. Not mandatory of course, lots of people hit L-2 and only fly their own stuff, but there's a reason the test has you study so much stuff.

L-3? Well, I can't speak to that yet. Other than to say I'm not going to start actively pursuing an L-3 build for at least another year and a half, and I have a list of skills and flight envelopes I want to get comfortable with before I make the jump. Even big L-2 rockets are a serious piece of kit, L-3's I'm not mentally ready for yet. You'll know what I mean the first time you fly a big J or K.

-Hans
 

DrewW

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L1: Construction techniques for larger, heavier rockets that were not as critical with LPR and MPR. And you shouldn't proceed to L2 until you can make at least 10 consecutive successful L1 flights.

L2: Dual deploy. Although dual deploy is not technically a requirement for L2, in my opinion it should be. Once you start using dual deploy you will inevitably make some mistakes and have some failures, everyone does. Learn from your mistakes and don't proceed to L3 until you can make at least 10 consecutive successful dual deploy flights with no recovery problems.

L3: 100% reliability. By the time you get to L3 there is no room for any mistakes and no excuse for any recovery failures.
@Nathan @dr wogz (et al),
Can you point me to some info on the basics of dual deployment? I get the concept but there is so much info and I’m looking for a good starting place to dive in.
 
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Voyager1

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@Nathan @dr wogz (et al),
Can you point me to some info on the basics of dual deployment? I get the concept but there is so much info and I’m looking for a good starting place to dive in.
A good place to start is the information available in other threads on the forum by just searching with “dual deployment“. Another good starting point is information from the various vendors, e.g., Apogee Rocketry’s technical database has https://www.apogeerockets.com/Intro-to-Dual-Deployment?m=quickside and https://www.apogeerockets.com/education/downloads/Newsletter362.pdf.

Some good reference books are Mark Canepa’s “Modern High-Power Rocketry 2” and Mike Westerfield‘s “Make: High-Power Rockets”. They cover dual deployment very well.
 
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