# Opinions on when to L3

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#### tildenm

##### Member
Hi all,
Still a noob, but bit by the bug. I have the compulsion shared by probably many others to go right through to L3. I am a pretty good builder with a decent background in fabricating and electronics, those aren't a big concern. Just looking for a wide array of opinons to help me make up my mind.
Tilden

#### C.O.B.H.C.

##### Well-Known Member
Question...

Why do you want to get your L3 so fast?

The process that is in place isn't set up as like a merit badge system. It's not always about having a L3 on your TRA or NAR card or having flown the biggest motor of the day.

It's about gaining knowledge and experience through flying at a certain level before moving to the next level. It's about the journey of going through the cert process not the destination.

Just in enjoy the journey and don't burn yourself out going straight to L3. Take your time there is no need to rush through the cert process as quickly as you can. Remember it's about gaining knowledge, experience, and the journey.

EDIT: Also I see in your Profile it says you live in San Francisco. Do you launch with LUNAR?

#### brianc

##### Well-Known Member
Opinions on when to L3
Do it on a Tuesday. Barely no one certs on Tuesdays...

#### troj

##### Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potent
Brian is close -- Wednesday is the cat's meow of days on which to get L3...

Now, that said, I don't like the idea of rushing it.

If you realistically think you're going to fly motors in the L3 range periodically, then work towards it. But be comfortable, and have proven success along the way before you take the leap to the next step.

If you're never going to fly another M motor again, why invest the money in the rocket and the motor, for one flight? You can buy a lot of J motor fun for the cost of a single M reload.

-Kevin

#### blackjack2564

##### Crazy Jim's Gone Banana's
TRF Supporter
What level are you now?
How long have you been flying?
Whats your favorite rocket and motor?

##### Well-Known Member
Well here's another viewpoint.
Apart from a (probably illegal) foray thirty years ago, I've been flying models for eight years and have no burning ambition to fly HPR at all.
You can have an awful lot of fun at the low power end, as well as being able to make dozens of flights for the price of one HPR. Try it out.

#### SCE to AUX

##### Well-Known Member
I'm in the process of building my L1 rocket currently (just getting ready for paint), and will eventually go for the L2 (maybe in the fall), mainly because L2 is required for "full participation" in all aspects of the hobby, at least with the club I fly with. You need to be L2 to volunteer for some positions at launches (such as RSO), or to get involved in making/launching your own motors (even < J impulse).

Unless I suddenly find myself rolling in \$, I can't see an L3 attempt in the forseeable future. Way too much money per flight for a bit more noise and flame, IMO. No real point in building a big rocket for a single "M" flight, just to get the "L3" on my NAR card. If it won't be used on a regular basis, no need to go for the "merit badge".

#### DAllen

##### Well-Known Member
What Bob said is exactly how I feel. I want to RSO, make motors, etc. and all that requires L2. I will occationally fly something in the J or K range in the future.

No one else has said this so far so I will...IT'S ABOUT HAVING FUN!!!

-Dave

#### Bobrogg

##### Well-Known Member
I have a LOT of fun with my L-1/2 birds. The cost factor for L-3 is high and with that in mind I can launch more often and cheaper than I can with a L-3 bird.

#### MarkM

##### Well-Known Member
I completed my L3 cert in November 2008. And while M motors are really cool, I won't be flying many of them due to cost. But, I like the option that I can if I want to and friends of mine make motors.

But, I have to agree with the majority here and ask the question WHY do you want to do your L3? Do you even know the fun L1 and, especially L2 motors are? In the right rocket, J motors can be fantastic and IMO a K motor is really where the action is. Those only require a L2 and, as others stated, the L2 grants you the other privileges like RSO and participation in research launches. The only additional benefit an L3 grants you is larger motors in bigger rockets at higher cost.

The point is to enjoy the ride to whichever cert level you decide. I did my L2 certification within about 3 or 4 months of my L1. But, I waited 3 1/2 years between my L2 cert and my L3 and had tons of fun in that time. Even with the L3 cert, most of my flying will be in the I,J and K range with the infrequent M flight.

There have been plenty of fliers who got into the hobby, got obsessed with obtaining their L3 as quickly as possible, and once they achieved that they felt there was nothing left for them to accomplish so dropped out of the hobby just as quickly. Gain experience, try new things...there's plenty one can do at the lower power band to make things enjoyable, exciting, and adventuresome without the need for the L3. I'm not discouraging you from an L3, only questioning why so quickly and what will you get from it once there. If you want the L3, approach it methodically and have fun on the ride to it, but don't be one of those who finds rocketry after L3 as uninspiring and drop out before you really started having fun.

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#### Bobrogg

##### Well-Known Member
If you really want to join the big boys you can come out to sea and do what I do. (no L-3 cert needed).

#### FredA

##### Well-Known Member
The right time is the time when you'll actually use the access to larger motors.

As many have said, this isn't a merit badge, it's a test to prove competence as a gateway to access to impulse greater then 5kNS.

When (if) you get to the level of flying where you need access to this level of impulse is the right time to think about L3....

If you don't have reserach motor buddies or a large AP budget, what is the point? Don't waste your time, TAP time and money on the merit badge.....becuase if you are not going to use your L3, that is all it is.......

People who fly one M1297 once in their life and never fly at L3 impulse level again are abusing the system.
Maybe L3 should have some minimum "renewal" requirement that you actually fly an L3 motor once a year or so.........halt the merit badge syndrom.

I don't know about other people, I don't care what number is on your TRA card, I care about what impulse (or other coolness factors) you SUCCESSFULLY fly.
That's the basis of bragging rights....not generic L1, L2, L3 status.....

IMHO,
FredA

#### MaxQ

##### Tripoli 2747
<"It's about gaining knowledge and experience through flying at a certain level before moving to the next level. It's about the journey of going through the cert process not the destination.

Just in enjoy the journey and don't burn yourself out going straight to L3. Take your time there is no need to rush through the cert process as quickly as you can. Remember it's about gaining knowledge, experience, and the journey.>"
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That's how I see it.
I certified L1 back in '92.
...and I only recently did the L2.
Let's see...that was about 16 years ...(of course having 9-11 and the BATFE enter the scene in there helped too).

In between there was a lot of designing and building and methodically trying out some things, composite staging, vectored cluster motors, airstarts and electronics, radio control and glide recovery, scale models, there is plenty to spend money on asides from big motors.

Frankly I try to stretch my dollars out, since I have two other hobbies I am seriously involved with...
That, and sinking my annual budget into bigger motors but fewer flights doesn't really interest me.

I appreciate craftsmanship and design originality more than a big rocket that is basically big just for the sake of size alone and not much more than that......afterall, these days you can basically buy a "Level 3 kit" anyway. So in that context.....does a Level 3 even mean what it used to anyway?

I still like watching the big ones go up, but in all honesty, they started looking the same many years ago.

I'm sure I'll feel differently when it is my piece of work and investment sitting on the launch pad, but until then, I'm not in any rush.

TRA 2747
(Still a Level 2 and I don't particularly care either).

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#### Handeman

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I can understand the drive to get to L3. I don't think the L3 is the point, it's that each rocket is another challenge that needs to be bigger and more challenging then the last one.

I scratch built my L1. The next "challenge" was my L2 rocket. I don't anticipate attempting a L3 in the near future, but I can already feel that challenge to build "bigger and faster" pulling me in already.

It's not about the 3 on the card, it's about being able to build a rocket that can take it.

#### MaxQ

##### Tripoli 2747
If you really want to join the big boys you can come out to sea and do what I do. (no L-3 cert needed).
(LOL)....

Yeah, ......but can you fit it in your car?

#### tildenm

##### Member
Thanks all, this is exactly the sort of opinions I was looking for. I am looking to L2 on the 9th, and that should give me the access to the sort of power I want the most. Probably will do my L3 faster than most, but I think a year or two in L2 land doing some of the things I want to do will be good before I try L3.

#### tildenm

##### Member
EDIT: Also I see in your Profile it says you live in San Francisco. Do you launch with LUNAR?
I am a member of LUNAR, but am currently launching with Rocketry Org of California. Also member of AeroPac and will probably join them this weekend for equipment cleaning!

#### DM1975

##### Upscalien
TRF Supporter
I really like launching mid power rockets myself, but I do want to challenge myself to get all the way to L3 some day. I wanted to originally do my L1 and L2 rather close together, and will probably still do it, but I am not going to go power crazy with the motors. When and if I choose to do my L3 I want it to be big, not necessarily size wise, but challenging big, and well after I have comfortably worked my way up to that size of a rocket.

#### Bobrogg

##### Well-Known Member
(LOL)....

Yeah, ......but can you fit it in your car?
No, but you need a really BIG toy hauler tho.....

#### Ez2cDave

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Do it as soon as you can, before the BATFE brings an end to unregulated rocketry . . .

GIT'R DONE ! ! !

Dave Fitch

"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose" - Janis Joplin

#### dave carver

##### ....what hump?
...when is it time? Soon as the rocket is done and you can't stand to wait any more

#### rdmmdr

##### Well-Known Member
i kind of started out weird with my first reentry to rockets after Estes as a kid was with a polecat 7.5 inch v-2 for level one, added a dairy aire 2005, the a lunar express. a skipper got added for the kids, then scratch built a dual deployment. andy came out with the goblins and had to add a four inch one. then came level two, j350 in a goblin motor eject. now you know why i designed the gps tracker. some where along the way a hyper loc 1800 showed up. went to level three because the club decided to launch ten m's on our tenth anniversary. over the years i have been lucky only lost one to a crash, dont trust the paper disc to hold your ejection charges. anything with electronics needs a check list.
an open tag at what's up hobby can be dangerous to your check book.

there is nothing in the rules that say you can't go for level one to level 3 in a day with the same rocket. (i got my level three with my first rocket the v-2. ) but what fun is that. part of any launch is seeing all of your rocket friends that you have not seen for a month or two.

a normal launch for me is a couple of j's, three or four mid power and then the estes for the kids till they get board.
i am the rocket guy for the 4h club.

beside the wife would kill you if you went out a bought every thing a once

i would hate to admit what i have in kits and hardware. much less electronics.

take it slow, and ask questions all along the way, our failures can be your experiance that way.

#### SpartaChris

##### Well-Known Member
Hi all,
Still a noob, but bit by the bug. I have the compulsion shared by probably many others to go right through to L3. I am a pretty good builder with a decent background in fabricating and electronics, those aren't a big concern. Just looking for a wide array of opinons to help me make up my mind.
Tilden
Answer- When you think you're ready. If you're asking this question, it says that you might not be completely confident in your abilities or level of experience. Spend more time flying L1 or 2 and gain that confidence. You'll know you're ready when you don't have to ask.

#### SpartaChris

##### Well-Known Member
Maybe L3 should have some minimum "renewal" requirement that you actually fly an L3 motor once a year or so.........halt the merit badge syndrom.
IMHO,
FredA
Yeah, that's a terrible idea. Just because someone doesn't fly only L3 class motors after they get their cert doesn't make them any less qualified to be an L3 flyer. Things can change and not everyone has the budget to afford to fly an M motor once a year.

Besides, it's not your money being spent. So what if someone wants to spend the money to get the cert and then never fly another M motor again?

I got my L3 in Oct. 2006. I flew my next L3 class motor in July 2007. Here it is now June 2009 and I haven't flown another L3 motor since. So I am to forfeit my L3 certification because I haven't been able to afford a motor?

As I said, terrible idea.

#### pcotcher

##### Well-Known Member
This is an interesting discussion, as I have been having the same debate - but only on how fast to get to L2. I have even considered doing them in the same day. I have a couple of rockets that are near complete that will easily take both L1 and L2 motors - I have considred going to one of the local launches, putting my Bruiser up on a big I, taking the test, and then putting it right back up on a J....

But that's where I'd stop for a good while - getting to L3 for me would be more of a journey, as there are a lot of other things to learn in the interim, and while my early flights in high power will be simple apogee recovery, I am at least adapting my rockets with room for growth and expansion and learning other skills.

So while I can see cause to get to L2 quickly, getting to L3 quickly doesn't make much sense - as there are too many other things, really new things to learn before it's even remotely time for L3.

Just my take...

Paul

#### tildenm

##### Member
Wow, it has been 2 months from my original post. So, just to fill you all in there are a couple of things I want to do before L3: a nice supersonic dual-deploy (designed and partially built), a cluster that I have a picture in my head of, and a multi-stage. For me, I love the building of rockets, even more than launching. Launching is just the end of the process, fun, but I like building best. So, these three projects have some fun challenges before big. I'd also like to do a few HPR upscales but still figuring out what I'd like to do without any real pictures in mind...
Such a good hobby. It has it all: aero, materials, propulsion, electronics, radio, etc, etc, etc. All the fun stuff.
Launch this weekend for me in NV with the AeroPac crew. Sending a new L2 up (my first met an unfortunate zipper end , this one I tested deployment). So, wish me luck!

#### als57

##### Well-Known Member
Hey good luck with the L2 flight.

Do the L3 when you want to. Its not a race. I've seen too many friends do the L3 thing and pretty much stop flying.

Still hanging out at L2 myself. Maybe when I get back to work I'll consider L3 again.

Al

#### Handeman

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I have a son in his second year at college and a daughter that will start this fall, out of state no less. I figure L3 is at least 4 years away.

#### cjl

##### Well-Known Member
Honestly, my L3 is a ways off. I have a spectacular L3 planned, but I don't have the funds or the time to do it properly right now. Besides, J, K, and L motors can be a lot of fun (and you'd be surprised by the amount of punch a good healthy L can have - you can easily tickle mach and 2 miles with a 30lb rocket without needing to go to L3). I definitely agree with the people saying to take it slowly and enjoy yourself. It isn't a race.