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My son 12 years of age and a rocket??

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AJtothesky

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Hello everyone on the rocketry forum it's great to be here.

The other day my son came up to me with what i deemed as a crazy question to be asking at his age. "Daaaaad! can you get me a rocket please?" I din't really know what to say to be honest but after having a look online at Youtube videos i have started to become very interested myself, but i am here for my son. Some of the rockets i have seen online look like they could do some damage if not handled correctly. So i have a few questions for you guys if you could help me out.

What age did you get your children into the rocketry side of life?
Is there beginner packs for children or must an adult be present?

I have seen many of sets online at places like this https://www.easyprices.com/ but i have no idea what i'm looking at. Now the fun bit If all the above is possible then great!! If this is a strictly no children hobby then i will happily go out and get one myself and get into this hobby. Before my son mentioned it i hadn't even heard of people fly rockets as a hobby! Don't get me wrong iv'e heard of the planes and helicopters for years but never a rocket!! COOL STUFF!!

Looking forward to speaking with you all and hopefully you have some good answers!!!

 
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JJSR

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Welcome to the rocketry forum, you're definitely in the right place.
Don't be fooled WE ARE ALL KIDS here!!!
No really, 12 is about the age I started with my brother back in the 70's it's the perfect age to start. There are lots of kits for him and you to fly. Find a club by where you live and you'll be amazed . http://www.nar.org/find-a-local-club/nar-club-locator/
 
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thingsgobang

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Now that is what i like to hear!! My son is going to be over the moon!! I will check out the link you provided and see if there is a club near us. After that i will get back to you!!

Thanks for the reply
 

qquake2k

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I started building and launching rockets in 1972 when I was 12, so I think your son is at the perfect age. Since you're both excited about rocketry, it will be the perfect father-son hobby. My son never got into rocketry like I did at his age, so I've always missed that aspect of rocketry. But I carried on without him, and have had a blast (no pun intended)!
 

rrlc

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I started when I was 12 too. There are plenty of Estes launch sets available that have everything you need to get started. Get a few motors, find a big open field and have fun with your son. That's what it's all about.
 

K'Tesh

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I was 12 or 13 when I got started. I wish someone could have introduced me to the hobby when I was younger (less plastic models, more rockets).
 

DAllen

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Hello everyone on the rocketry forum it's great to be here.

The other day my son came up to me with what i deemed as a crazy question to be asking at his age. "Daaaaad! can you get me a rocket please?" I din't really know what to say to be honest but after having a look online at Youtube videos i have started to become very interested myself, but i am here for my son. Some of the rockets i have seen online look like they could do some damage if not handled correctly. So i have a few questions for you guys if you could help me out.

What age did you get your children into the rocketry side of life?
Mine were 9 and 6. They were interested up until about 12. Dad is still doing it. :D


Is there beginner packs for children or must an adult be present?
That all depends on your skill level and your kiddos skills. Are there starter packs out there? Absolutely. Estes probably has the most with Quest being the other supplier and can be found all over the interwebs. Some require no more than tying off a shock cord for assembly and others a lot more than that.

So does an adult need to be present for building? Eeeeehhhhh...at 12 I would say almost certainly not but again, you know your kid better than us so that's your call. As far as launching/flying goes, if you have a field thats big enough to meet requirements, that will again, depend on your kiddos skill level with that sort of responsibility and how comfortable you are. I'd say, let the guy do as much as possible on their own.



Now the fun bit If all the above is possible then great!! If this is a strictly no children hobby then i will happily go out and get one myself and get into this hobby. Before my son mentioned it i hadn't even heard of people fly rockets as a hobby! Don't get me wrong iv'e heard of the planes and helicopters for years but never a rocket!! COOL STUFF!!

Looking forward to speaking with you all and hopefully you have some good answers!!!

No no no...We want as many kids involved in this as humanly possible. It's so important to get kids interested in STEM activities today. He's going to be learning things about physics without even knowing it. Our club continually encourages kids to fly rockets. In fact, if you can find the nearest club and fly with them. Totally worth the experience. You can read a lot here and learn a lot here in this forum but really nothing beats the experience of seeing it first hand out in the wild with people who have been doing it for years. Good luck!

-Dave
 

Steve Shannon

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I was 11 or 12 also. My dad knew nothing of rocketry but he knew I was interested. I saw an advertisement in the back of Boys' Life magazine and ordered a rocket, then read in the Estes catalog and made my own launch controller and launch pad.
My interest led me to become an engineer.
You and your son could end up having a lifelong hobby together.



Steve Shannon
 

BDB

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My youngest two kids are 8 and 9, and they are completely addicted to rockets like me. Their older sister doesn't care as much, but she tags along. All of my kids can build Estes E2X kits almost independently, and I love working with them to build skill level 1 and 2 kits. That's part of the fun. Rocketry is a great activity to do with your kids!

Edit: Because I'm the world's proudest dad, I thought I'd post a few pictures of my kids (now 8, 9 and 12) with rockets. The first picture is my youngest with the 2 x 24 mm motor rocket that she designed and built from scratch. It crashed last month, but we repaired it last night. The last picture is my oldest holding the shrapnel after a motor CATO blew my vintage Magnum Payloader to bits. They will both fly again this weekend at the CMASS launch.

IMG_2067.jpgImageUploadedByRocketry Forum1480815536.890852.jpgP5211737.jpg11822532_10101568656970794_6278730509492143364_n.jpg11828551_10101568656905924_6589070494277072067_n.jpg
 
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EXPjawa

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I didn't get involved (the first time) till about 15, but I have gotten assorted nephews and such started from around 8 or 9. It seems pretty common, at least at the launches I've been to, that kids often start in that age range. However, in many cases, they are exposed to it at a much younger age, and move into it as they get older and follow their older siblings. I agree with the comments above - the more kids we can get involved in science related hobbies, the better off we'll be. The sooner we can get them interested, the better chance they have at learning more.
 

DAllen

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My youngest two kids are 8 and 9, and they are completely addicted to rockets like me. They can build Estes E2X kits almost independently, and I love working with them to build skill level 1 and 2 kits. Rocketry is a great activity to do with your kids!

Because I'm a proud dad, I thought I'd post a few pictures of my daughters (now 8 and 12) with rockets. The first picture is my youngest with the 2 x 24 mm motor rocket that she designed and built from scratch. It crashed last month, but we repaired it last night. It will fly again this weekend at the CMASS launch.
^^^^ That guy right there is doing it right.
 

Danh

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I flew a few rockets when I was a kid never new about high power or rocket clubs. I thought D motors were the biggest... after a trip to KSC my son ( 9 at the time ) wanted a rocket . Found a rocket club and haven't missed a launch yet. He just turned 12 last month and this past weekend passed his Tripoli mentorship test. He is now working on a 5.5" 10ft tall scratch build... all I can say is if your kids show interest let them run with it

To get started check out the Estes website they have a lot of kits on their clearance page for cheap and some include the launcher has everything except motors.
 

tHoagland

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My 7 and 10 year are currently building their "LDRS" rockets and making decisions based on the budget I've given them. Not only are they working with their hands, learning about various STEM topics and getting the satisfaction of building something, they are also learning about money. To be fair, the 10 year doesn't care of the rocket actually works, for her it's fun to paint and be creative.

Like you, my (renewed) interest in rockets came from my son's cub scout pack doing a small rocket event, since then, it's become a family activity both building and launching. (My wife is a good sport and humors us).

12 years old is a great age for this. At that age he can start to understand the relationships between the physical world and math (if that's of interest to him). I also belive that middle school students can participate in the TARC competition...
 

Woody's Workshop

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Welcome to the Forum to both you and your boy!
Glad to see youth interested in our "Sport"
I started at age 10, on my own. Been at it ever since.
I started my boy at 6, but he lost interest due to game machines and computer gaming. (blast technology)
Estes has kits RTF (ready to fly) ARF, E2X and build levesl from 1 thru 5.
I suggest the Alpha III starter set. Includes everything needed for your 1st 3 launches.
Quest and Custom also makes great entry level kits as many others.
There is a sticky thread at the top of the Watering Hole Forum that has a list of vendors.
eRockets.biz has many brands including the Semroc brand.
To get into big motors that could be dangerous requires certifications.
You'll learn about that as you go along.
Just stick around and read some past threads.
 

Ravenex

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I started flying with my dad when I was about 8, I'm now 33. He and I still fly, though much bigger rockets. I have also gotten both of my daughters, 5 and 12, flying. My older one started when she was 9 when gampa got her an NAR membership and a rocket kit. I started my younger one when she was 3. Obviously my dad and I build still for my younger daughter, but she has a great time flying. My older daughter can build estes kits on her own and she's starting on a fiberglass Wildman V2. I am planning to get her into the Tripoli mentor program this year so she can fly L1 motors in her next builds. I have also given a spare estes E2X kit and launcher to a neighbor who is friends with my younger daughter (5 years old) and they have started flying rockets now.
 

Zeus-cat

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At 12 he isn't too young, he's almost over the hill. Just kidding.

I am in an organized (well, semi-organized) club. We do a lot of community outreach. Boy scouts, cub scouts, girl scouts, elementary schools, etc. We go to their school or venue, or we invite them to our club meetings and help them build and launch their first rocket. Little kids, big kids, really old kids (we helped a couple of kids about 80 years old build and fly a rocket this summer). One of the great things about rocketry is that it is all-inclusive. Young, old, new, experienced, race, religion, politics are all irrelevant. People help if someone needs help or advice.

If there is a club near you I suggest you go to a club launch. Best thing I ever did in rocketry was to join my local club. If you tell us where you are at we might be able to tell you what clubs are close to you.

Here is a link to our outreach page: http://www.torcrocketry.org/outreach.html
 

mpitfield

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Like a lot of Rocketeers, I started @ 13 and got out by 14, then I came back (BAR) after doing exactly what you did. I was looking for something fun to do with my twins, 3 at the time, so I YouTubed the subject, and I was amazed at how far the hobby has come.

The first couple of summers I built a couple of small rockets, which my kids had fun painting, and we contacted a local club and launched them on anything from 1/2 As to Bs. The last couple of summers they now have some bigger LP rockets, and we have been launching them on B's to Ds. They are 7 now, have 3 rockets each, and we are currently building their first all fiberglass rockets. Having said that, they have never been to a HPR launch, but if they are still interested in a couple of years then I will take them.

My concern with a HP launch is situational awareness. There is a lot more going on at HP launches, things move fast and many rockets are hard to visually track and they can come down fast and hard. Obviously it depends on your kids, but mine are a couple of day dreamers at their current age.
 
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ThirstyBarbarian

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I've bought a few rocket starter sets for various nephews over the years.

Do you think your son is interested in building a rocket, or more interested in seeing it fly? Most of the forum members here are avid builders, so we assume that's what it's all about. But some kids aren't very interested in that aspect to start with, so a kit that requires building means that they have to do something boring before they find out how fun the flying really is --- might not be the best way to hook him in to a great hobby. Generally I buy the launch sets that can be flown immediately, so the kids can get right to it. If they like flying, eventually they will want to have a rocket that requires more building and learning, and that interest can develop naturally. Kits that fit the bill are labeled Skill Level RTF (ready to fly), ARF (almost ready), or E2X (easy to assemble). Kits that require more building are skill level 1, 2, 3, etc.

One of the most likely mishaps in rocketry for beginners is losing the rocket. Beginners and kids always want to know how high it will go, and they equate higher with better. They buy a kit that says it will go high, and then they put the biggest motor in it that they can. That's how rockets get lost. They fly so high that you never see them again, or they drift away on their parachute and land somewhere that they can't be recovered. I recommend a kit that has a projected maximum altitude of around 600 or 700 feet, NOT 1,000 or 1,200! People think they want to see the rocket go high, but in reality they often enjoy the lower altitude flights, because they get to see the entire flight, and they like seeing the parachute come out.

Starter sets generally come with a rocket, launch pad and launch controller. In addition, you will need motors for each flight, igniters/starters which should come with the motors, recovery wadding to keep the parachute from burning, and batteries for the controller.

The kit will have a list of recommended motors, usually printed on the box and often listed on the website if you buy it online. Usually there is a specific motor recommended for the first flight. Definitely go with that motor, and stick with the recommended list until you get a feel for how it all works. Motors have a code that starts with a letter. An A motor is small. B motors have about twice the power of A, and C twice the power of B. If the first flight motor is a B, and that looks like a good flight, you can expect a C motor to go about twice as high, so consider if you will be able to get the rocket back if it goes that high.

Igniters/starters are usually included with the motors, but it is a good idea to buy extras in case one burns without lighting the motor.

Recovery wadding is like fireproof toilet paper. It protects the parachute from burning. There are substitute materials, but when starting out, just buy wadding. Do not use regular TP!

Here is a good starter set with a rocket that only goes about 600 feet. http://www.hobbylinc.com/estes-riptide-model-rocket-starter-set-ready-to-fly-1403

Here is a B motor recommended for that kit. http://www.hobbylinc.com/estes-b6-4-model-rocket-engines-3-standard-rocket-motor-1606

Here is a C motor for that kit. This should make it go the full 600 feet high. http://www.hobbylinc.com/estes-c6-5-model-rocket-engines-3-standard-rocket-motor-1614

Here's the wadding. http://www.hobbylinc.com/estes-model-rocket-recovery-wadding-302274

Here are some spare igniters. http://www.hobbylinc.com/estes-solar-model-rocket-igniters-rocket-motor-starter-2302

That would be a great setup for getting started. I'd be inclined to get a few packs of each motor, so you can do plenty of flights. And you might just want to check out some other Estes rockets and maybe buy one so you have a backup in case of a mishap.

Have a great time! It's a lot of fun!
 
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les

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Thirsty has a lot of good info. I started on my own when I was around 9~10 so 12 is fine. You can also find stuff at a local Hobby Lobby. Sometimes Walmart, Michaels, Target, even Toys R Us will carry starter kits. On line there are lots of places you can get stuff.

I agree with starting with a Ready to Fly rocket. Let them get some launches under their belt.
And also agree with keeping it low. Most people want to put the biggest motor in and lose it.
 

The_Lone_Beagle

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It's fun remembering getting started! I was 11 years old when we moved to a new town, and in the hobby shop I saw these rockets...

There is a lot of good advice here, see if a club is near you, talk to some people, find out what your kid is interested in (flying, building, ... plus more?) and get one of the starter sets like Thirsty has listed.

I remember building a lot of plastic models (boats, airplanes) and a couple of balsa airplanes before I started. I'm not sure how much model building kids do nowadays, so definitely check out the Estes "Ready to Fly" (RTF), "Almost Ready to Fly" (ARF) and "Easy to Assemble" (E2X) kits.

You may not want to emphasize this immediately, but there is a lot of educational stuff you can do with rockets that is actually fun. Trying to find out how high the rocket went was how I learned trig, and then trying to figure out the equations for determining altitude was also educational...there are all sorts of computer programs for that stuff now, so don't ruin his fun by saying he might learn something! :)
 

AJtothesky

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Well what can i say you are a bunch of great guys!! I am surprised at the amount of people that started rocketry at the age of 12! I was expecting to get pasted by everyone for being a terrible parent etc. All turned out well in the end. This is all great information and some great stories on this thread also. I can't reply to everyone being as there is so much information but i will start going through the thrread post by post, link by link and pick out all the good parts then get back to you all!! Thanks guys
 

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My son and i started flying estes when he was 4. He was building his own at 9. When he turned 12 he took his Tripoli Mentoring Certification test and celebrated passing by flying a Wildman punisher 3" in a four way drag race on a I455 (and won). He's 13 now and working on a Demon 54 now and has 54/1706 and a K1103 propellant X for it...
 

cherokeej

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My daughter started at 7, and did her first high power flight at an independent launch at the ripe old age of 12. Under careful supervision, of course.

And while she wasn't the first, she was one of the first NAR Junior High Power certs.
 
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Bat-mite

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My 5-yr-old and 7-yr-old each have their own rocket, but they need a lot of help. Not ready for gluing yet, can't get the motor in the hole, etc. But they can stuff the chute and put in the igniter.
 

DAllen

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Well what can i say you are a bunch of great guys!! I am surprised at the amount of people that started rocketry at the age of 12! I was expecting to get pasted by everyone for being a terrible parent etc. All turned out well in the end. This is all great information and some great stories on this thread also. I can't reply to everyone being as there is so much information but i will start going through the thrread post by post, link by link and pick out all the good parts then get back to you all!! Thanks guys
Are you kidding? :facepalm:

Frankly, because you're taking time out to spend time doing an activity that is not only involves creativity but science as well with your kiddo tells me you're doing great. Just pay attention to the safety rules (I made both my kids read the NAR safety code as soon as they were able) and you'll be just fine. Come on back here anytime if you have questions.
 

AJtothesky

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These are all great replies guys so much information and ideas on which rockets i should start with and all the safety information, i greatly appreciate it! I am going to give my son a few lessons in safety then we will pick out our first project! Looking forward to spending some good quality time with my son tbh!!

Thanks guys
 

GrouchoDuke

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I got my twins started in model rockets with Estes Alpha III kits on their 4th birthday. The Alpha III is an E2X kit and they're easy enough that a 4 year old can do a lot of the work with some guidance from someone older. Their first rocket took about 30-40 minutes for each of them to complete. My kids are now 5 and they're building more E2X kits. They LOVE building and launching rockets. They ask to go fly them all the time. They're already asking when they can build their first high power rocket.
 

Rex R

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some assembly required, batteries not included, but yes that would be the Alpha3 launch set. I would suggest following the recommendation for the 1st flight motors 200 - 400' may not sound like much...it is surprising how small the rocket appears at that distance :).
Rex
 

GrouchoDuke

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Yeah, that's the kit my kids started with. Any E2X kit should be about the same to build - easy stuff.
 
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