Night time launch for Rocketry Club

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Kirk G

Well-Known Member
Jan 9, 2012
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Our NAR club is kicking around the idea of scheduling an evening or Night Launch in 2017.

Has anyone organized one of these?
Any tips? What to watch out for?

I've never been involved in one before.
I understand there are sparkling exhausts, running lights, nose cone lights,
as well as the requisite flood lighting for the staging area, and portable lanterns to take out to the launch pad.
Fire fighting equipment and other safety features would be similar to other daytime launches.

Do we need to file a specific FAA Waiver request for the event, in addition to our "blanket" coverage of the warmer months?
I'm thinking of one specifically tailored to the night of the event, with all questions answered.
How far in advance do you recommend filing for such a waiver?
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You do need a waiver for night flying - one that is specific to the event. You should also have specific rules for the rockets. One in particular is to make sure that both halves of the rocket have a separate illumination systems. Keep in mind that noise that would be acceptable during the day may not be acceptable at night.
Find Micromeister (NARHAMS) or something from URRG; I have been to both of their night launches, so they must know.
Some things to think about:

Fire fighting is really hard at night, so you might not want to allow sparkies if you get spot fires from sparkies. Doubly so if you have uneven ground. That said, sparkies at night are spectacular. You also get people showing up who have really not thought out their lighting system. We had one show up at the last night launch that had rope lighting wrapped around the rocket that would have made it impossible to get the rocket on the launch rail.

Our club has a couple of requirements:
Rockets have to prove stability by flying with the external lights during daytime.
I believe they have to have lights on the outside, plus additional light(s) that may be inside the rocket that show at deployment.
We don't provide flood lighting for the pads. If you can't do it with a flashlight, you don't get to fly. The LCO table needs some light, but we used flashlights for that, too.

Sorry, but I can't help with the paperwork stuff.
Our club CMASS has been doing night launches for years and I brought night launches to URRF and LDRS 34.

You do not need a waiver for Class 1 FAA Model Rocket night launches. You do need lights on each rockets and follow the applicable FAR 101 regulations.

You do not need or want flood lights as they will ruin your night vision. Everyone need a flash light or headlamp to set up their rockets and avoid wires.

You would need a waiver for Class 2 High Power Rockets. IMO it's not worth the effort as the probability of loosing an expensive rocket is high.