1Matthew

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Hi all! I have always loved rocketry and have been part of my high schools rocketry class going on my second year. I have built multiple f motor rockets for TARC competitions last year as well as small kits using d motors. My shop teacher is wanting people in the class who have some experience to get their level 1s. He is recommending to get the Spitfire kit by LOC. I wanted to know if there are any advantages or disadvantages to certain kits as well as any other kit recommendations. I have also heard the zephyr from a NAR representative works well. Any help welcome!
 

PayLoad

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In my 40 years of flying, my most memorable accomplishment was getting my level one on a scratch-built. Nothing beats knowing you were responsible for 100% of the certification, not relying on a proven design. But that's just me.

OpenRocket is your friend.
 

1Matthew

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Our school provides rocksim to all rocketry students. My teacher was saying we can do scratch. If I decide to do a kit any recommendations? Scratch seems fun
 
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This is asked about once every 2 months on here and always the same suggestions like the SBR Fusion and Diablo rockets which have the best instructions and graphics in the hobby. see my avatar picture
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thzero

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Yeah its pretty much asked over and over and over again.

Ignore all suggestions for a particular rocket or manufacturer is my advice! Almost every manufacturer has tagged some of their rockets with 'Level 1' (as well as Level 2, etc) because this becomes such a hot topic. So find one you like and build it. Most of these are simple 3FNC (3 fins and nose cone) rockets, so should be no different than building most midpower kits; therefore detailed instructions aren't needed. Otherwise build some more mid powers first; after all a nice sized mid-power that runs on big 29mm Gs can be used for a level 1 too!

Scratch building, yeah OpenRocket (OR) is your friend - even with kits its your friend too. But pretty much anything from a 2.6" to 4" running at least a 29mm motor mount is suitable. Use those manufacturer kits as examples.

Do check with the club you are launching from, they may have additional requirements due to their launch area.
 

Steve Shannon

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My suggestion is to attend a launch and look around and see what you really like. There are many and after seeing some fly, if you still need someone to pick a rocket for you you might not be building it for the right reasons.
Look at the manufacturers’ instructions online to see what makes sense to you. Some are way better than others. Some are written for a person who has never built a rocket before; others assume you have experience.
 

Antares JS

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The LOC (formerly PML) Spitfire is a good choice. The Apogee Zephyr is a good choice. The level 1 kit from MAC is a good choice. Scratchbuilding is a good choice. Any will get you a level 1 cert.

To tell you about "advantages and disadvantages" to each kit, you need to tell us what you are going for. Some people might want maximum altitude, so the would consider a skinny, lightweight rocket advantageous. Others would rather keep it low and slow so the rocket doesn't go out of sight and they don't have to walk too far to recover it. Those people would see that same skinny, lightweight rocket as disadvantageous.

I think the best advice was given by Steve Shannon. Go to a launch, watch some flights, find out what you want to try for yourself if you don't already know.
 

prfesser

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Everyone has their favorite kits, but I prefer to give more general suggestions.

As others have said, OpenRocket. Sim the kit(s), see what altitude is expected with the motor you'll certify with. A search will find OR or RockSim files for kits as well as some scratchbuilts (OR will open RockSim files)

Some rocketeers want the highest possible flight, but caution; remember that you have to recover the rocket. Even with dual deployment, the higher the flight the farther the rocket is likely to drift; winds aloft are important. Take the size and vegetation of the flying field into consideration.

A 3" or 4" rocket can be used for both L1 and L2 if desired, but be sure that you're building according to L2 requirements.

Check the "Techniques" and "Scratchbuilt" forums for useful hints on construction. Personally I do through-the-wall fins that glue to the MMT on almost anything that will fly on E or larger motors. Just a precaution.

Good luck, and keep us posted!

Best,
Terry
 

Rob Campbell

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Also, I highly recommend the KISS principle. Don't overcomplicate your L1 cert flight with dual deployment or even chute releases. Stick with simple motor ejection. I like the 4 inch rockets for L1 cert flights since they don't go to extreme altitudes. I certified on an Apogee Zephyr on an H123. Altitude was below 2000 feet, so I could see the entire flight. And, I didn't have to walk too far to recover it.
 

thzero

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Also, I highly recommend the KISS principle. Don't overcomplicate your L1 cert flight with dual deployment or even chute releases. Stick with simple motor ejection. I like the 4 inch rockets for L1 cert flights since they don't go to extreme altitudes. I certified on an Apogee Zephyr on an H123. Altitude was below 2000 feet, so I could see the entire flight. And, I didn't have to walk too far to recover it.

Totally disagree. Do what you are comfortable with. If its your first mid-power and above flight, yes keep it drop dead simple. If you have experience with tools like chute releases, etc. and feel comfortable and its your standard operational practice, then go for it.

Its should just be 'another rocket launch' instead of this big 'event'.
 

Back_at_it

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When I started looking at getting my level one I asked the same question to anyone that would listen. A few rockets kept coming up over and over. The Zephyr was one and two kits from LOC. The more I asked the more I was told to go short, fat and low and keep it simple.

I ended up talking to the guys at LOC and picked up their Warlock kit. It's dead simple to build and parts are almost comically large. Really had a great time building it. They even helped me pick the motor for the first flight based on finished weight. Mine will be going up on H550 this fall. Projected altitude is only around 700ft. Doesn't get much simpler than that.

Search Warlock H550 on Youtube and you'll see some good examples.
 
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boatgeek

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I'll post similar suggestions to what I've posted before in other threads like this one.

First of all, build a rocket that you love. You want nearly any rocket you build to be something that you want to fly (or at least love to look at!). Sometimes that's a more extreme choice with a higher risk of failure. That's OK, as long as you go in with your eyes open about the consequences of failure and do everything that you can to mitigate the failure. Any risk should be for failure of your certification rather than danger to the public.

With that out of the way...
Just about any kit with a 29mm or 38mm motor mount will be a fine certification rocket, with an appropriate motor choice. Choose just about anything that you like. Cardboard body tubes will give you more flexibility in motor choices since you won't need as much thrust off the pad for a light rocket. The kits also tend to be cheaper.

Body tube size: A cardboard 54mm rocket on an H motor will be on the hairy edge of going out of sight. If you lose the rocket, you don't get the certification. 2.6" to 4" rockets are very popular for certifications. They tend to fly lower and be easier to find. Larger than 4" and you'll have to think a little about how heavy the rocket is for available motor choices. Think a little about what waivers altitude you have at your launch site. If it's 3000 feet or less, you'll want a larger body tube diameter so it doesn't go too high. Likewise, if your field is surrounded by rocket-eating trees, you'll want to fly lower. If your launch site is clear ground in all directions and a waiver of 5000'+, those considerations don't matter as much.

Motor mount: If you're on a budget for this and future flights, use a 29mm motor mount. If your first thought on getting the certification is to ask how much more motor you can put into the rocket, get a 38mm motor mount.

L1/L2 rockets: If you build a larger rocket with a 38mm motor mount, you can stuff a J in there and get your L2 after you turn 18. I am personally not a fan of this, but it's a valid choice if you have a more limited budget. On the other hand, if you have a limited budget, getting an L2 might not be the best move anyway.

Fins: Fins that don't extend past the end of the body tube are less likely be damaged on landing. Excessive damage = failed certification. But choose something that you love. Three fins, four fins, twelve fins, it's all good.

All of these tradeoffs apply to scratch-built as well as kits. I'm personally a fan of scratch built (especially for L2), but again do what you love.

Good luck!
 

RocketmanAleks

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There are a TON of great L1 kits out there, and they all have their own unique qualities. Not all high power rocket kits have everything you need to fly. Some kits will come with everything you need, but some kits come with just the core parts, and you need to add things like recovery hardware, shock cord, motor retention, a parachute, etc... Just be cautious when you're looking around to make sure you end up with everything you need.

As far as recommendations, it's hard to go wrong with LOC kits. The LOC-IV, Goblin, Warlock, 4" IRIS, and many others are excellent kits. The Apogee Zephyr and the Binder Design Excel are also great kits. If you wanted to take the leap into fiberglass rockets as opposed to cardboard, Tim over at Wildman Rocketry just came out with the Journey 75 which is incredibly priced for what you get. I'm particularly excited for this kit, because it's a fiberglass kit right in the same price range as some othre L1 oriented cardboard kits. Additionally, you could add an electronics bay and a payload bay at a later time for dual deployment, and easily use if for an L2 flight.

Personally, I recommend something that has a 38mm motor mount, as it opens up a lot more motor options than the 29mm mount. Also, with a 38mm mount, you could potentially re-use the rocket for L2 if you decide that's something you want to do.
 

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I chose the Loc 4" Goblin for a few reasons:
1- Everything except glue and paint is in the kit, including 29mm & 38mm adapters and motor retention but can take 54mm motors.
2- It is still light enough to fly on G motors and be under the FAA 1500gram limit so can fly at local field without a waiver. Goes about 500-600 feet on G76.
3- Fat and draggy so does not go too high - did 956 feet on an H238 for my cert flight.
4- There are good build threads and videos.
5- Fun to look at and see fly. I put lots of Bats on it and painted it bright orange. It does get a lot of attention at the field.
 

DAllen

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Hi all! I have always loved rocketry and have been part of my high schools rocketry class going on my second year. I have built multiple f motor rockets for TARC competitions last year as well as small kits using d motors. My shop teacher is wanting people in the class who have some experience to get their level 1s. He is recommending to get the Spitfire kit by LOC. I wanted to know if there are any advantages or disadvantages to certain kits as well as any other kit recommendations. I have also heard the zephyr from a NAR representative works well. Any help welcome!

4" LOC Goblin. Comes with adapters so you can fly 29, 38 and 54. It's the perfect L1 rocket IMHO.
 

1Matthew

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Wow! I did not expect so many responses! I will have to get in contact with my local club and head to a launch. I am going to start looking at some flight videos to see what I would like yo do. Hopefully, I can find the kit I want within the week. I am looking forward to building my L1. I will keep y’all posted with the build
 

1Matthew

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Totally disagree. Do what you are comfortable with. If its your first mid-power and above flight, yes keep it drop dead simple. If you have experience with tools like chute releases, etc. and feel comfortable and its your standard operational practice, then go for it.

Its should just be 'another rocket launch' instead of this big 'event'.
This is indeed my first bigger rocket. I do not have experience with DD or chute releases. I would like to keep it simple
 

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What you like to fly! The heck with what ever others like. You have to build and fly it. figure out what material you want to use - cardboard, fiberglass or carbon. Then make a list of manufactures, look at their website and see if there's something you'd like to fly, get that.

And, no you don't need to "glass" cardboard for a kit designed to fly L1 motors.
 

waltr

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What you like to fly! The heck with what ever others like. You have to build and fly it. figure out what material you want to use - cardboard, fiberglass or carbon. Then make a list of manufactures, look at their website and see if there's something you'd like to fly, get that.

And, no you don't need to "glass" cardboard for a kit designed to fly L1 motors.
Fully agree...
 

DAllen

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What you like to fly! The heck with what ever others like. You have to build and fly it. figure out what material you want to use - cardboard, fiberglass or carbon. Then make a list of manufactures, look at their website and see if there's something you'd like to fly, get that.

And, no you don't need to "glass" cardboard for a kit designed to fly L1 motors.
This is a great answer really. It's a hobby...if you're not having fun you're not doing it right. ;)
 

viney266

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I was building a Warthog for my level 1 then ending up doing it on a scratchbuilt crayon rocket instead. Either one would work well and I am still flying both. Best of luck on your cert!
 

smstachwick

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You’ve already gotten a ton of great suggestions, so I won’t clutter up your mind by throwing in the opinion of a guy who hasn’t flown on G power in over a decade. I will instead wish you a fun build, a nominal flight, and a leisurely path to L1.
 

JackC

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This is indeed my first bigger rocket. I do not have experience with DD or chute releases. I would like to keep it simple
I agree. Keep it simple. With the right rocket you won’t need a chute release.

You may want to take a look at the 3 inch Binder Design Excel. It’s a nice L1 rocket that can fly on F and G motors, too. You may want to get the 4 inch version for the L2 certification. The Aerotech Sumo is a very nice rocket for L1. Easy to follow instructions, can be built using CA glue. It’s a short, fat (4 inch diameter) rocket designed to fly on baby H motors. It’s only a 29 mm motor mount but it’s a fun little rocket that won’t go too high.

You may want to take a look at other rockets using openrocket or rocksim. You can find a lot of Rocksim files on the old EMRR website. Just use Google to find itt (“EMRR Rockets”) and you will find some kits and some scratch builds that may suit your needs. My recommendation is to buy one of the kits because trying to buy separate parts may cost you more than a good kit. I think you can get an Excel for $60, so it’s a good rocket for the price. Good luck!🚀
 
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