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Launches at FAI competitions?

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billdz

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I'm back in Slovakia and am thinking about going to an FAI event about 4 hours away from me. I've noticed that almost every FAI and other rocket-related event in Europe is described as a "competition" rather than as a "launch". Does this mean the only flyers are those competing for a prize? Or is there also an "open launch" time before or after the competition for those like me who wish to launch but do not want to compete? I could not compete even if I wanted to, because my rockets do not conform to FAI standards.

Also, are there any vendors at these events selling motors, kits, and supplies?
Thanks,
Bill
 

James Duffy

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The concept of "sport flying" is pretty much alien to our European friends, and 95%+ of flying in eastern Europe is competition focused. Having said that, I would encourage you to go to the launch, meet some people, have fun, and be exposed to remarkable form of rocket flying. If they are flying scale at this particular meet, you will see true museum-grade models take to the skies. They will probably be happy to have you fly your models during a lunch break.

Most people in the FAI world make everything from scratch. Nose cones, body tubes, ground support, igniters, recovery devices, motors, and more are conjured from materials available locally. As such, you're not going to find anyone selling kits, but you may find someone willing to sell motors under the table. In my experience (13 times flying in Europe as a US Team member), Euro motors at C impulse or lower are sublime, while D and above tend to be terrible. In fact, most European competitors are beginning to shift to Aerotech E and F motors for their scale models.

Hope this helps,
James
 

billdz

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The concept of "sport flying" is pretty much alien to our European friends, and 95%+ of flying in eastern Europe is competition focused. ... Euro motors at C impulse or lower are sublime, while D and above tend to be terrible. In fact, most European competitors are beginning to shift to Aerotech E and F motors for their scale models.
James,
Thanks much for this info. Different strokes for different folks, but it sure seems odd that no club in Europe just wants to fly rockets for fun, without any competition. I do want to go, but a 4 hour drive just to watch other people's launches seems a bit much.

Here in Slovakia, many hobby shops stock Estes and Klima kits and A-D motors, I wonder where people who buy these fly their rockets. E and higher motors are difficult to find anywhere in Europe.
 

billdz

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The concept of "sport flying" is pretty much alien to our European friends, and 95%+ of flying in eastern Europe is competition focused. Having said that, I would encourage you to go to the launch, meet some people, have fun, and be exposed to remarkable form of rocket flying. If they are flying scale at this particular meet, you will see true museum-grade models take to the skies. They will probably be happy to have you fly your models during a lunch break.
James, your info was accurate.
I attended my first European club rocket "launch" at an active airport in Slovakia. As you said, Europeans do not have launches as we know them, every event is a competition, no "sport" flying just for fun (although they did allow me to launch a few of mine). There are several different categories of competition, each has very specific rules for the size, shape and weight of the "model" (they launch "models" not "rockets"). There are 3 rounds for each category, and the winner has the best total score (points based on height or duration in air)

In Europe our hobby is called "spacemodeling" (not "rocketry").

It seemed a bit dangerous to be launching at an active airport, some rockets landed right on the runway.Screenshot_20200816-165445_Video Player.jpgScreenshot_20200816-171945_Video Player.jpgScreenshot_20200816-171848_Video Player.jpg20200815_095109.jpg20200815_095112.jpg20200814_160022.jpg20200814_151655.jpg20200814_155959.jpg
 

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James Duffy

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That's great that you went! I recognize a couple of the people in your photos.

James
 
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