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Is LPR in decline?

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For the last few days I have been musing over a question, one about which I feel I now have enough coherent thoughts to pose to the TRF crowd. It can be most simply phrased as

"Are we causing the demise of our hobby?"

In one of my recent posts, I stated that I thought that the numerous rocket vendors and the variety of kits offered by such may very well make the present model rocketry's "Golden Age." So how can I seriously ask the above question?

Simple. Great vendors and kits are but one essential factor in the growth of model rocketry. Other factors, which I feel are necessary, are in decline. To get specific, I am talking about 1) rocket competitions and 2) attitude.

In my younger days, rocket competitions were THE thing; I can remember watching more experienced rocketeers ready gorgeous scale models as I worked on a streamer duration bird. Didn't matter that I sucked at it - it was fun! I - and many others - enjoyed the excitement of competition, which spurred many model rocketry innovations: piston launchers, new materials and techniques, better glider designs, etc. Lots of learning can be had by participating in competitions. TARC is a great example.

Do we still compete now? Very little. Many clubs - mine included - host only generic sport or EX launches. Competition events are considered to be too much of a pain. This is a serious loss. I should not have to attend a NARAM in order to particpate in a PD event. Thank heaven for TARC - but I'm too old to particpate :(

I know some of you are saying "get off your butt and change it", but no one else is interested...Competitions with only one person are boring. Without club support, such events do not happen and new rocketeers are not exposed to competition, so they do not know what they are missing. Kind of a viscious circle - no events leads to no interest, which leads to no events...

Which brings me to point 2 - attitude. I think current rocketeers are in danger of falling victim to the Tim Allen syndrome.

You know, the comedian who thinks more power is the solution to everything.

I have nothing against HPR - it is one of the factors essential to our hobbies growth (I also have a level 1 cert kit I hope to ready by spring :D). But I feel the emphasis on "smoke and thunder" sometimes causes us to sneer at those who fly LPR. I experienced this at a recent launch, when I passed another rocketeer with his BSD Thor on my way to the LPR pads. Seeing my Cherokee-D clone, he remarked "Dude, you ain't a rocketeer until you upscale that to a 4 or 5 incher and stick a 38 mm motor in it." I said nothing, though inwardly I was thinking that I didn't need 5 feet of fiberglass and an I motor to compensate for deficiences in other areas.

Admittedly, this is unusual - most rocketeers respect all aspects of the hobby. But it is getting more and more common. Is LPR a "2nd class" component of rocketry? If I take as an indicator the number and type of pads set up at my club's launches, this would seem to be true. Right now it stands at approximately 8 Mid/high power pads to a single rack of 4 LPR. Another clue is the fact that all the club's money goes into HPR stuff; as far as I can tell, none is set aside for modrocs.

I'm not trying to rag on my club - it's a very good one, with great folks. And I think its priorities are typical of those elsewhere in the country. Which kind of scares me a bit, because I worry that LPR might go away. And I think that will eventually lead to the demise of our hobby.

What do ya'll think?
 

rstaff3

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Random thoughts, popping in and out of the computer room....

I'm not the most qualified to say, but...I personally don't think LPR is going anywhere. I have heard many times that most of Estes sales are to people who don't even fly with clubs and who may not even stay in the hobby long. As long as these items are selling, the supply will be there. This is in line with what I have heard from my local hobby shop. Granted they only sold thru G motors, but I think the starter level kit are among their best sellers.

Another factor is that LPR doesn't get the press or coverage that HPR does. I think HPR is what sells tapes, DVDs and mags.

Next, if LPR were diminishing too much, I'd kind of be surprised if the proliferation of vendors would hold up. Jim Flis would be a good source here.

My NAR club, NARHAMS is heavy into contests and doesn't even have an HPR capable field. Plenty of LPR going on in MD! I fly from MMX to J motors. But my personal finances are such that I can fly a lot more if I stick to the lower range.

Just my 2c.
 

BobH48

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My main interest is LPR and I'm happy with it. I plan on doing a little mid power but I'm not interested in HPR.

When I was in the hobby first time around (1967 - 1975), it was mainly a solo activity. I only knew one other person who flew rockets and he gave them up when he discovered girls. I eventually put them away for R/C aircraft because there was a club nearby and I didn't have to fly alone.

So, competition didn't exist in my little world.

I saved all my stuff and I am flying all my old models as well as the new ones I have built. It is so much more fun now that I have a club to fly with.

I don't let the "power hungry" guys bother me and at my club launches, LPR is the rule rather than the exception.
 

rstaff3

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I fly a lot of odd things at the HPR launches, most of which are low or mid power. I can't impress the M-P crowd with sheer power, but they still get a hoot out of some of my stuff. They have never made me feel any less welcome for flying mostly MPR (on the average).

Like BobH48, during the first 25 years of my rocket career I never was a member of a club. I have never flown in a formal contest.
 

Donaldsrockets

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I don't think LPR is declining, I think it's about as strong as it ever was due to the fact there is a lot of LPR manufacturers besides Estes that make very interesting LPR kits.

I may be L1 HPR certified but most of what I fly is LPR and I enjoy playing with my "little toys" as much as I enjoy playing with my big toys.:D

As you can probably tell from my signature that I love oddrocs and most of mine are considered LPR.;)
 

daveyfire

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Sure, I love flying rockets with more power, but I love low power just as much. You don't get bitten as hard when things go wrong, and with the micro electronics available lately, you can make incredibly complex models in modroc sizes. I still consider some of my best flights of my career to be staged and clustered modroc flights, because of the sheer complexity that these true "models" exhibited.

At my local club, we have at a normal launch 30ish pads. 8-12 low power, 8-12 mid/low high power, and 8-12 higher power pads. Some of my favorite flights of the day are the mass drag races of all the low power pads at once. David Roy (Ozymandias) has a great shot of our prefect launching one of these events with one finger on the button and one hand in a victorious pose in the air, facing 10 black powder streaks... you still got that photo, David? It captured the essence of why I still love LPR!
 

graylensman

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When I first became a BAR, i wondered if LPR was a dying hobby.

Then I got an invitation from one Jim Flis to check out TRF. I've since found out differently about the health of LPR.

Our last section launch had about forty-fifty people show up, fliers and observers both. All but two flights were LPR; the other two were on type G motors (our field is <i>juuust</i> big enough). Quite a number of these fliers were first timers. Additionally, a good number of these were kids, including my 8-year-old daughter. I only put up three birds all day, but I had a blast watching all the other flights, talking with newbies and old timers, cheering the exciting flights...
 

gerbs4me

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I agree with daveyfire, I love the power of HPR, even though I'm only L1 certified,but still love LPR
 

Fishhead

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As long as someone keeps making motors, LPR is going to be fine. Sounds like you might need to affilliate yourself with a new group if competition is the yardstick by which you measure. I don't consider rocketry a competition. It's more of an exercise in nostalgia.
 

Elapid

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are LPR

though, there are a lot of OVERPOWERED LPR models in my fleet!
:D
 

powderburner

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The question of the health/condition of low-power was one of the first subjects I posted about on TRF.

I don't know how much it is really in decline. Obviously Estes does not offer the variety of bits and pieces, or the wide range of motors that it once did. OTOH, it *is* a business for them, and they don't make profits from maintaining stocks of items with low sales volumes.

Before you bemoan rocketry, realize that there is a general decline in all hobbies requiring time, effort, intelligence, and craftsmanship. 30 to 40 years ago, people built their own 1/24 scale slot cars from components-----that's a hobby that is pretty much gone. People built balsa-n-monocote free-flight models-----also basically gone. People used to build their own stereo sets and TV sets from kits-----you are looked at as a nut when you go searching for such kits now. Woodworking, customizing cars, hooking your own rugs-----all shrunk now to a teeny fraction of what they once were. (I have some dusty candle moulds somewhere in the garage that I have not used for 20 years)

Rocketry has hung on pretty well. There are still lots of starter sets sold. They are all over the country because of W-world (take that as good or bad, I don't know?). Rocket stuff is also in many hobby outlets, and other retailers. It's still there.

The internet has probably been the single most important factor in rocketry (and many other small businesses) in the past 10 or 15 years because now WE CAN FIND EACH OTHER. I think things have already worked well for the past five years or so and expect the levels of interest in hobbies like rocketry to remain steady. So give it another 5 or 10 years and I wouldn't be surprised to see things have grown considerably (Fliskits International?)
 

DynaSoar

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It's not just LPR.

A lot of rocketry today seems to be for its own sake. Even when involving getting new flyers interested, it's geared towards getting them interested in rocketry. Period.

For what? Why should anyone be interested in rocketry? Just because you are? That's not a scientific hobby, that's just building a clique.

Very little of rocketry seems to have a point. Too much of it is clearly and overtly just for the heck of it. Figure: people talk way too much about 'higher, faster' and not at all about what to do with it. People are way more likely to enjoy failure than success; witness the overabundance of talk about this that and the other CATO, and far less about successes.

There's also the lead set by Estes, which is to sell disposable rocketry to people who'll drop it after the inital interest turns into work. But they just prevent people from developing an interest. You can't blame them for teaching those who get interested that there's not much point in anything besides pushing everything as hard as you can until it breaks and then laughing about it.

I've heard the 'just for fun' arguments and I don't buy it. This hobby was never meant to be "just" for fun. It was intended to be fun in the process of specific education on the scientific and engineering principles, and the general education of attention to detail and the constant consciousness of safety in a hazardous situation.

There are a lot of sophistcated and knowledgeable rocketers out there, but there are far more who know far less about it than what used to be expected from even a beginner, and that gap is getting wider.

If the self-regulatory bodies for rocketers cared about not only perpetuating but advancing the hobby, then getting a flyer's certification would depend more on scientific accomplishment (as in actually accomplishing something using a rocket) and public service (as in teaching others how to do rocketry safely and productively) and less on seeing how much firepower they can pack into a tube.

I'm glad to say my local club not only performs at least one, and often more, serious rocketry-related outreach efforts per month, but also contributes to entirely non-rocketry-related public service. They set an example by caring about more than just their hobby. Anything less is purely self-serving, and there's too much of that already.

If that's not enough to earn me yet another PM about being a blow hard, then reread what I wrote and note that nowhere did I say anything about "kids". Sure, they need the teaching and the examples, but they're not the only ones, and they're definitely not the ones who need to know this most, because they're not the ones who are the problem right now.

If the shoe fits, go ahead and kick me with it. I'll still say it, and I'll still not be the one that shoe fits.

Whatcha think, should I use this as my platform in running for a board position with NAR?
 

adrian

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rstaff3: I'm in much the same position as you. Even at big events where most other people have HPR, I only fly LPR or MPR, and the latter only if clusters of BP counts as MPR. Even so, I can sometimes pull off the occasional surprise.

powderburner: you don't need to wait for Fliskits International. Fliskits stuff is already on sale from UK vendors. Look at what went up at this year's International Rocket Week and see how much you recognise. :D

DynaSoar: why does rocketry have to be a scientific hobby? Why can't it be just for its own sake? Mine mostly is "clearly and overtly just for the heck of it". Don't force anyone who considers taking up rocketry to study lots of equations - I can think of no quicker and surer way to kill rocketry as a hobby. To answer your question about why anyone should be interested in rocketry - that's up to them. Scale models, contests, odd-rocs, record-breaking, or just for the fun of building something which flies - and probably plenty more reasons. Some of them will require studying the science, but as a means to an end, not as an end in itself. (Not trying to kick, whether the shoe fits or not; just offering an alternative view. ;))
 

Micromeister

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SpaceGarb:
LPR has always been a scientific "discovery" hobby/sport. It's roots firmly entrenched in our school science departments, youth group, Scout groups and thousands of Model rocket groups and clubs that have never heard of the NAR. I spoke directly with one of estes marketing and sales reps a few years back about just those groups. Estes had at the time 4100 CLUBS here in the US alone that were not affiliated with any national group. I've forgotten the number of "strater kits" and overall motor sales figures sighted but the numbers were indeed stagering. Over the past 4 years we've added at least 10 more cottage industries offering kits, parts, and other goodies... I see NO drop in MR interest, at least not in those all important first timers and the BARS. My only Age group concern is the 15 to 23yr old group, where Girls, Cars, Sports, School and Money seem to take over for awhile.
That said Competition rocketery had reached a plateau where the models had been tweeked to the very edge of performance which may have turned off many of the "average" skill competitors. For the last few years the number of national competitors has remained fairly constant, You see the same faces and/or teams year after year at the Narams. So I think what you are experencing is that shift from competition flyers to a broader mix of LPR, MPR sport flyers, with a few HPR folks as well in areas that can support HPR's Larger flying field requirements. Here on the East Coast it is getting harder and harder to find and secure flying fields large enough to fly LPR/MPR or 'Model Rockets 1/8A-G power class. Our club Narhams is a good example of this. As Dick mentioned earlier Part of the club is into competition flying heavily, maybe 10 hard core competition flyers. I no longer count myself as one of them. A handful of guys that do HPR stuff, but the vast majority of club flyer are LRP/MPR sport flyers totally not interested in competition or HRP flying. Last months sport launch Showed this trend pretty well; I believe we had 9 club members attend and fly at Steel City Smoke Trails competition, while back home on our small home field we has 24 flyers put up 85 sport flights on a picture perfect flying day. All in the 1/8A to F range 1 pound 4oz propellant model rockets, as we had NO Waiver or Notum filed for that Saturday launch. I think with TARC and the introduction of the new 1/8A power class in NAR competition we will see an up tick in attendance at competitions as the BTC's and us casual competitors test the boundaries of what can be done with the micro model class in PD, SD, HD, RG, BG, Superroc, and several of the scale, pmc and other craftsmanship events.
Taken as a whole I see LPR expanding not shrinking.
 

Steward

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I don't worry about the demise of LPR as much... But I too miss the early days (as kids), when the thing to do was beat the other team in duration (among other things)...!!!

I've proposed to our club leaders to sponsor several events with a competition involved...

We only have one club launch left this year... and it will be at our HPR field... so that really doesn't leave much time this year... Next spring I hope you can count on several regulation contest launches... Not just for us... but for the dozens of student interested, but maybe not as actively involved in the TARC programs... We already have this year several local schools interested in rocketry... but not at, or to the TARC level.

Consider this as a open welcome to come down and fly with us... any time... any class... any size...!!!
Or better yet, as individual clubs maybe we can fly teams in contest together.. that would be a hoot...!!!

Come spring...I'm sure all the info will be posted on our website... If you haven't checked it out... please do... we're quite proud of it...(not bad for a club that's not even a year old yet)...

www.birminghamrocketboys.com

Steward





a  web open.jpg
 

Mike

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Rocketry is whatever you make it.
 

Chilly

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I'm actually getting more into LPR, mainly because of expense vs. frequency. Bottom line is that I miss flying and we only seem to have a few HPR launches a year in our region, yet there's a nice field big enough for E motors just around the corner from our house. It hasn't been used enough, and that's about to change.:D
 

lalligood

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Originally posted by Mike
Rocketry is whatever you make it.
You just can't say it any more simply than that... How true!

Everything here in the States seems that it always has to be a competition. I find that soooooo tiresome! My favorite part of rocketry is that it's never a competition, whether I'm flying at a local schoolyard by myself or at a club launch with a large group. That is SO refreshing!!! A great flight is a great flight whether it is someone's A powered LPR or a multi-stage HPR rocket or anything in between. To celebrate a successful flight--whether my own or someone else's--is fun...and a failure often equally as painful. If I wanted to enter a "bigger & badder" contest, I will go somewhere else.

Rocketry is about the camaraderie, the escapism of (re)capturing our youth, and simply unplugging from life for a brief time all in the name of having some safe fun. 'Cause if it ain't fun, I don't (like to) do it... :D

YMMV,
 

jflis

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Interesting topic that comes up from time to time.

Well, if *I* have anything to do about it (and I do, to some extent), LPR is growing but in not so obvious ways in some respect.

My thoughts here are all over the spectrum, so this may sound disjointed, but here goes... :)

The NAR's focus is competition; always has been, and this is fine as this is one of the things that promotes depth in this field. But is isn't the only thing. Also, if the NAR wanted to fully satisfy the full breadth of competition, we would see events that included design (many aspects from rockets to recovery devices to support equipment) to spur new ideas that have merit in and of themselves. They would have sport contests, futuristic contests, saucer contests, etc, etc, as these are all valid and have their own true value to the hobby as a whole.

The NAR also promotes the group aspect of the hobby which is also good, as groups tend to get modelers into the hobby deeper (either in competition, sport or other)

Actually, one of the problems that I see regarding the LPR hobby in general is the approach by companies like Estes to focus on the one time buyer. While I understand it from a business point of view (it's a valid, money making business model), it does not help to foster a healthy hobby. A healthy hobby is fostered by helping to show the modeler how they can take this hobby into other directions to get more out of it. This, I beleive, is where companies like FlisKits comes into play. When you buy one of our kits you are not just buying a kit, but a learning experience. You are forced to use tools, become familiar with certain materials, encouraged to use your imagination with hints and options to make changes and do things differently (the Rhino is a perfect example of this with over 25 different ways you can configure the fins).

If you are of the type that is only interested in "trying it out" (maybe the kids point of view, or the dad's or the adult customer) and wind up not really "getting into it", then the results will be the same whether you buy a RTF model that you just stick on the pad or if you buy a real "kit" that you have to build and learn from. After a few rockets and a few flights, you would go off to your next frivolous persuit. If, however, you are of the type who *does* get into things, eager to learn, enjoy crafty things and the science, etc, etc, then having your first, second and perhaps third experience to the hobby being an RTF or similar model, you may very well react with a "well this isn't going anywhere" attitude, but if you were to start with real "kits", you would be able to see the potention much easier and take it much further.

Also, age groups and other interests. While I would love to find a way to secure the 17-23 crowd, i'm a realist... The Deuce's Wild! may be cool, but there is no way that I am going to fool myself into thinking it's cooler than that pretty young thing staring at me from across the dance hall, or that new sports car or a weekend away with my college firends to the sports game in the city. Ain't gonna happen and that doesn't bother me.

HOw many of us left the hobby during those years, and longer? Yet you all came back. Why? Mainly because of the experiences you had when you were young. *that* is a big part of what FlisKits is trying to bring back to this hobby. Sort of a "seed program". Get back to getting the kids into this hobby. Help make their experiences good, fun, exciting. The goal here is to show them that there is real value in this hobby. This way, those who take to the hobby and explore it through their young teens, should they drop the hobby as young adults, they are far more apt to return as a BAR at a later date. This is something that I feel should be worked towards as it has the greatest chance of success.

THis is why FlisKits supports so many educational incentives. We also consistantly have teachers coming to us because they are frustrated with the rockets they have *been* useing due to the lack of skill and education provided, even though our kits are a bit more expensive. We have schools, summer camps, colleges and other groups coming to us for these reasons as well. These programs are going to help feed this seed program. Organizations like The IGNITE Foundation are going to be a big part of that as well.

And let's not discount accomplishments like SpaceShipOne and all that this means in bringing hightened awareness and excitement about aerospace engineering.

so much more I could tallk about but i've rambled on for long enough. I'll post more after reading more.

Bottom line is, I think LPR is doing well and is growing. It's up to us to keep it going.

jim
 

Micromeister

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Yeap Chilly!
I've said that for years, expence, transport, and Location, location locaton drive what we fly;D
I live in a very congested area, in a very small townhouse with a couple out buildings. The outbuildings specificallly erected to house Model and MPR's are Crammed FULL of model and Larger clustered brothers. I've reverted, I guess more like inverted;) to Micro's for three reasons, Transport and stroage space (100 models fit in a good sized tool box), Easy of flying: a very small ball field, park or backyard is Great, and Expence: I can build and fly easily 10 times the micros a year over any other size. Now having the per flight cost down to about .50 per flight makes the next 600 flights even more of a fun thing. Challange you ask...Well sure. some of the micro flyers were talking the other day about 13mm/MM-II staged models, I still have a ton of 10.5mm A2-0 boosters that will be fun also. I'm still looking at quail or button quail egg loafting as a possible "fun Fly Micro event:)
All in all there is plenty of Standard LPR stuff to keep most of us busy for years dreaming up futuristic designs, improved materials, electronic mini and micro payloads. and on and on.:D:D:D
Sooooo many rockets....So little time:D
 

r1dermon

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i think LPR is the gateway to HPR. many HPR scratch built birds i've seen are upscales of low pwr birds that once flew on C motors. its also a lot easier to spend a day shooting off low power birds in the park due to the fact that you dont have to worry about the FAA, you dont have to worry about the motor echoing for a mile and someone calling the cops, and its very cheap, fun to build, and makes for a ton of quality time together with families. most rockets are flown independantly, meaning, not at an organized event. everyone has their own special field where they fly their rockets with their kids. every time i go into hobbytown USA i see someone buying a first rocket for their kid, and they intend to built it promptly and have that baby flying in no-time. plus, the altitudes achievable in LPR are EXTREMELY broad. you can have a bird on a C6-5 that will reach 2000feet OR you could have that same bird that could just loft up to 500ft. well within visible range. and the motors are cheap enough, wal mart sells C6's for 4.95 for three. thats three flights. not only that, but most childrens introductions to rocketry are with LPR RTF models, that come with everything needed to fly. and once that rocket zips off the pad and the kid follows it through its entire flight, you know he's hooked. i think LPR rocketry will keep steady, because once those kids used to LPR get into MPR, their little brothers/sisters/cousins will want some of the action, and what better way than to get them a LPR kit for their birthday or christmas or something. its a great way to relax and enjoy yourself with your family.
 

JRThro

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What a great thread.

I'm in no position to know or to discuss the current state of model rocketry in comparison to its state in the past, since I haven't even been doing this for 6 months. And I don't have those great nostalgic feelings about how model rocketry was when I was a kid, since I didn't build or fly my first model rocket until I was 46 years old.

I'm an engineer by training, and engineering is what I do for a living.

I'm not very handy, I don't have a big workshop full of cool tools, and I really have very little spare money to spend on this (or any) hobby.

I do model rocketry because it's fun. Building the models is challenging enough for me that I feel a sense of pride when something looks good and works well, and I feel disappointed when something doesn't look good or work well. At my last club launch, I flew 6 rockets once each (Quest Pip Squeak, bashed Commander, Totally Tubular, Super Bird, Antari, bashed Estes Stars & Stripes), and 4 of them sustained some damage. So now I have some repair/maintenance/design decisions to make, and I hope I've learned a couple of things for future reference.

There is some technical skill involved, since knowing the locations of the CG and CP of a model is rather important. And just being able to cut fins out of balsa or basswood, and them gluing them on relatively straight, gives me a feeling of accomplishment.

I do model rocketry because of the camaraderie. Having fun with a group of (mostly) men is a *good* thing! Both in person and in the various rocketry groups that I belong to as well as TRF is great!

I do model rocketry because it gets me outdoors. Otherwise I'd be inside almost all the time.

I do model rocketry because it's something I can interest my sons in. And it gets them outdoors. And they chase and recover my rockets for me!

I could see myself participating in competitions in the future, since I haven't done that yet, or going for my NARTREK Bronze or Silver. Right now, though, it doesn't feel as if I've "caught up," or honed my still-limited skills enough, to want to compete yet.

Oh, yeah, there's this, too: I do model rocketry because it's inexpensive. A rocket and a pack of 3 motors can cost less than $10, and be a heck of a lot of fun!
 

GuyNoir

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Originally posted by DynaSoar
Why should anyone be interested in rocketry? Just because you are? That's not a scientific hobby, that's just building a clique.
In my experience, both rocketry and other groups, people with common interests tend to collect together because of those common interest, period. Whether or not they become a clique is dependant on whether or not they reach out to new people, or settle into a comfortable but exclusive rut. I've seen rocket clubs go both ways, and really does depend a lot on the attitude of the club.

People are way more likely to enjoy failure than success; witness the overabundance of talk about this that and the other CATO, and far less about successes.
Talking about failures is a cultural tradition in our hobby, for better or worse. At its best, it teaches others lessons of what not to do. At worse, it makes our hobby look dangerous to the average Joe.

There's also the lead set by Estes, which is to sell disposable rocketry to people who'll drop it after the inital interest turns into work.
I think this is (a) a good soild profitable business, (b) not helpful to our hobby.

I've heard the 'just for fun' arguments and I don't buy it.
People do rockets for all kinds of reasons, and any of them are OK by me. If you like rockets and can do them safely, great.

This hobby was never meant to be "just" for fun.
I think Harry Stine would debate that with you. While he certainly recognized the educational aspects and promoted them ceaselessly, the last time I flew with him, he directly commented about how much fun he still had flying stuff.

If the self-regulatory bodies for rocketers cared about not only perpetuating but advancing the hobby, then getting a flyer's certification would depend more on scientific accomplishment (as in actually accomplishing something using a rocket) and public service (as in teaching others how to do rocketry safely and productively) and less on seeing how much firepower they can pack into a tube.
If by "self regulatory bodies" you mean NAR and TRA, I believe that advancing the hobby is best served when those bodies create an environment where individuals and groups can chase their own ideas and concepts to "push the envelope". And I mean "push" in ways more than stuffing bigger motors into birds.

If you look at the recent (15 years?) history, you'll see advances in materials, design, software, electronics and photography which easily swamp the previous 15 years. The NAR's infrastructure of publications, insurance, clubs and activities provided the base environment for people to work on those advances.

Outreach is a tougher nut to crack because, again in my personal experience, most modelers are introverted, not easily induced to get up in front of one or more people in a non-rocketry setting, and talk about how great rockets are. Some clubs have better success at this than others, and I think the NAR could do more to provide resources and set the environment for outreach. I'm hoping Kevin Wickart, our new PR Chairman, will be the first of many volunteers to help build that environment and infrastructure.

Whatcha think, should I use this as my platform in running for a board position with NAR?
Being an NAR Board member certainly does take on a strategic aspect from time to time, but there's a lot more too it than that. Email me privately if you want to discuss details.
 

Chilly

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Amen!

Regarding actually "accomplishing" something with the certification levels, I think that is the wrong mindset. It's like getting a pilot's license - it's a license to learn. For me, successfully building a Level 1-capable rocket and assembling the motor (only my 2nd reload ever) was enough of an accomplishment. Seems to me passing the written test and flying a J-capable bird for Level 2 is good enough, too. When the time comes for Level 3, well, that seems like the time to really prove yourself since it requires things like electronics.

In the meantime, LPR will not be in decline to the extent I can control it...with two little boys ready to build and fly themselves, it's about to boom (pun intended).

Besides, we've all seen Aerotech's new price list!!!
 

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