Non-Chute Recovery for Certs???

techrat

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I watch a lot of youtube rocket videos. My guess is we all do. When I see someone doing a Cert flight, it's normally a 3FNC rocket. But I also see videos of all these wonderful rocket gliders that are radio controlled and seem to hang in the air for many minutes gliding in slow circles and it lands where the pilot wants it to land.

So that got me thinking -- does anyone use a rocket glider for a Cert flight? Or is a parachute part of the cert requirement? My understanding is that the rocket needs to be recovered and presented to the mentor/witness as ready to fly again, which makes me think that an RC glider would be perfect for that application. But I'm sure I'm missing something or everyone would be doing it, right?
 

Antares JS

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I watch a lot of youtube rocket videos. My guess is we all do. When I see someone doing a Cert flight, it's normally a 3FNC rocket. But I also see videos of all these wonderful rocket gliders that are radio controlled and seem to hang in the air for many minutes gliding in slow circles and it lands where the pilot wants it to land.

So that got me thinking -- does anyone use a rocket glider for a Cert flight? Or is a parachute part of the cert requirement? My understanding is that the rocket needs to be recovered and presented to the mentor/witness as ready to fly again, which makes me think that an RC glider would be perfect for that application. But I'm sure I'm missing something or everyone would be doing it, right?
Only "conventional" rockets are allowed for cert flights per Tripoli:

"The rocket must be of "conventional rocket design". "Odd Rockets" including flying pyramids, saucers and flying spools will not be allowed for any certification flight."


While a glider is not necessarily an oddroc, depending on your point of view, it is definitely not a "conventional rocket design." There is also something to be said for making your level 1 cert flight as simple as possible. Rocket gliders... definitely do not qualify as simple.

It's also worth noting that the H13ST motor came out only fairly recently, and as far as I know it's the only high power motor that burns long and gently enough to be suited for a high power glider. Remember that a level 1 cert flight must use an H or I motor.
 
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Spitfire222

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From the NAR website:

3. The Level 1 High Power Certification Candidate must build the rocket that they wish to use for their certification attempt. The model may be either scratch built or a kit and the rocket must be constructed in such a manner that it will perform safely under the additional stress of an HPR motor. Teams attempting to certify cannot use the same rocket, but rather are required to each build their own model. In addition, the member must use an active recovery system for their certification attempt, which usually includes parachute recovery; details of these recovery methods are described in the Definition of Active Recovery.

Clicking the link at the end of that paragraph, leading to "Definition of Active Recovery":
DEFINITION: Active Recovery is the deployment of a primary recovery device that actively changes the physical configuration and dramatically reduces the vertical descent rate of the rocket model when deployed. This device must be of sufficient size, based on the weight of the model, so that the device is capable of safely recovering the rocket. The active recovery device can include parachutes, streamers, helicopter devices, R/C control and any other devices that are physically deployed to provide safe recovery of the model. In the event that dual deployment and secondary recovery devices are used, the deployment of a secondary recovery device must actively change the configuration of the model in order to inhibit ballistic recovery and slow the decent rate so as to allow for safe deployment of the primary recovery device.
 

SolarYellow

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It has occurred to me that the speeds generated by the H13 are well within the range of a cardboard tube and balsa fins. So simple, cheap construction. But that will get you well into five-digit altitudes where you definitely need dual deploy and the "P" characteristic of the motor requires electronic deployment in any case. Usual advice is to keep it as simple as possible, so a bigger, heavier rocket with a more "normal" thrust curve that goes to lower altitudes faster is usually recommended. But I'm kind of attracted to the "out of sight and then some with GPS in a cheap airframe" angle. Like load up a Cherokee E with a 29mm motor mount, Eggfinder Mini and a redundant Quarks. Shorten the body tube to cut surface drag while maintaining generous stability. Or just build your own MD 29mm from scratch.
 

Rob Campbell

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IIRC, Frank burke makes an H powered RC rocket glider kit. By the NAR rules, you could certify Level 1 on a rocket glider and then join Tripoli and Tripoli will recognize your cert.
 

techrat

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There goes that idea. I knew I was missing something. I haven't read *any* of the rules yet. 2023 is my prep year for L1, which I plan to get in 2024. I'm doing my first 29mm "F" motor next week, and all of 2023 is scheduled for 29mm flights and pushing that as far as I can, and then considering a baby H on 29mm or making a 38mm (the Zephyr is popular) rocket for the L1 cert at that time.
 

Bat-mite

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The idea behind certification is to prove that you can meet the standards of safety, planning, and execution of a typical rocket flight with a motor within a particular class. So, anything that is sort of outside of a "typical rocket flight" doesn't (necessarily) demonstrate said skills.

Some people want their cert flight to be a special, meaningful, memorable occasion. To my way of thinking, make it as straightforward and simple as possible. Once you have the cert, then go and build and fly whatever tickles your fancy.

For my level 3 cert attempt, a used a 4" MAC Performance kit and a baby M. That was a thrill in and of itself; but later I went and built an 8" FG kit and launched it on an O to over 15,000 feet. That was a whole new kind of thrill.
 

samb

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Full disclosure: I'm an L2 NAR section officer and an old school old fart. My advice is an RC glider is not "conventional" so don't use it for a cert flight. @Bat-mite is right, simple flight regime for your cert then go nuts. IMO YMMV :)
 
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