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Please help a complete newbie--choosing a launch site

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RocketPrincess

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My son is very, very into rockets these days, having made and launched several at camp. He asked me to buy an Estes Flash kit for him, which I did, as well as C6-5 engines, and recovery wadding.

I am having a hard time figuring out how much space we need to launch this thing. We live on about an acre and a half, but in a very suburban neighborhood. Because it is a new development, we have few trees. MY son wants to take the rocket to the park, but surely this must be prohibited in certain areas, right? How would I know if it is allowed?

Thanks in advance for your help!
 

neil_w

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Welcome!

First of all, the Flash has several recommended engines, ranging from A8-3 to C6-5 (which is the most powerful). You do not want to use a C6-5 on your first flight, that could go over 900 feet and you would have a good chance of losing it, especially if you're not on a very large field. Start with an A8-3 and work your way up. A high flight is no fun if it goes up and then you never see it again, especially on the first flight.

It's usually OK to launch in parks, provided you follow safety procedures and there aren't any specific rules against it. I've trolled around in Google Earth looking for big green fields, trying to find something in my own area. Bigger is better, without power lines and minimal trees. Schoolyards sometimes work, but probably not for that rocket with a C6-5.

If you give an idea where you are we can all go Google Earth hunting together. :)
 

dhbarr

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Your very best bet may be to find an existing club launch, lots of people doing exciting rocketry.

https://www.nar.org/find-a-local-club/nar-club-locator/ or https://www.tripoli.org/Prefectures can help.

Any launch site should conform to the Model Rocketry Safety Code ( https://www.nar.org/safety-information/model-rocket-safety-code/ ), which I believe means you need to be at least 15ft away from the rocket in a 400' x 400' ft. field minimum.

Different states, cities, and counties have different regulations. An email to the nearest active club might be good even if you don't plan to attend a club launch. Be safe, and have fun!
 

Salvage-1

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Howdy and welcome, it looks like the two previous posts have covered most things. Yes, a local NAR club would be a great thing for you to find, ask at your local hobby store, or tell us roughly which area you hail from, and someone here would be able to sort you out.
 

RocketPrincess

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Thank you all! We are in Newtown, PA (zip code 18940). I did come across the Philadelphia rocketry club and was very excited to see they have a launch on 9/4. :) My son will be thrilled.

If if you have any ideas in the meantime for lower-powered launches, we are all ears.

Thank you you all for being so nice and so helpful!
 

neil_w

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Roberts Ridge Park seems to have a nice field for low-power stuff (more than 500 ft square), and Tyler Ridge Park seems to have some *huge* open fields (!!!), at least on Google Earth... if those are available then they'd be great.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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I would second the advice to buy the smaller A8-3 motors. That will keep the altitude down and reduce the risk of losing the rocket. With each letter, the motor increases in power. So a B6-4 is more powerful than an A8-3, and a C6-5 is even more powerful than the B6-4.

If you go to Estes website and look at the descriptions for the different rockets, there will be info about the maximum projected altitude. That's how high the rocket can go on the most powerful motor. The Flash can go over 900 feet on a C motor, while something like the Riptide will only go to 650 and the Fractured will go to 550. When I buy rockets for kids, I usually pick bigger rockets that don't go very high. Younger kids especially don't seem to care how high they go, and they like to see the parachutes come out, so this usually works out well.

Regarding parks, you are right, some have regulations prohibiting rocketry. It's usually best to check with the landowner --- school, park district, etc.
 

jeff_j_black

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Check city or county park services for any rules. Our county parks do not have any specific ruling against model rocketry. But the local staff may have varying opinions. Our local school campuses are closed to public access. The closest club will have worked out some suitable arrangement with the authorities. But for an A8-3 on this rocket, it all should be vary safe, provided you can follow the advice so far. A local park with enough room should be fine. You'll want to be sure to have the B4 motors on hand. You'll be ready for those almost immediately after burning those three A's.
 

cbrarick

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Wow! You're close to a bunch of larger clubs.

I'm gonna guess Radical Rocketeers is probably closest. It's a NAR club, all good.
You're still within 2-3 hours of both METRA (in New York) and MDRA (Maryland) which are Tripoli clubs... No problems there,you can do everything NAR there....and more :>

All three fly on farms that provide a lot of recovery room, measured in miles. Both MDRA and METRA have had (or still do) large regional launches and next year MDRA is hosting the largest national Tripoli launch, LDRS. If you want to see really big stuff fly it will be the place to be.
 

RocketPrincess

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Again, sincere thanks! I'm headed back to Hobby Lobby today to swap out the engines, and I'll give a call to the Parks & Rec department to make sure we won't get into trouble for using the local parks as launch sites. :)

You are all so helpful! Greatly appreciated!
 

kjohnson

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Not that I think they will, but if they give you any trouble about model rockets being fireworks (cause the only mention of rockets in the municipal code is lumped in with a fireworks prohibition in the parks) you can gently remind them that the International Fire Code (which the township adopted) includes NFPA code 1122 concerning model rockets, and they are not classified as fireworks by that code.

kj
 

Bat-mite

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Wow! You're close to a bunch of larger clubs.

I'm gonna guess Radical Rocketeers is probably closest. It's a NAR club, all good.
You're still within 2-3 hours of both METRA (in New York) and MDRA (Maryland) which are Tripoli clubs... No problems there,you can do everything NAR there....and more :>

All three fly on farms that provide a lot of recovery room, measured in miles. Both MDRA and METRA have had (or still do) large regional launches and next year MDRA is hosting the largest national Tripoli launch, LDRS. If you want to see really big stuff fly it will be the place to be.
Although it started as Tripoli Maryland, MDRA is not a Tripoli club. It is an independent club with its own isurance. TRA and NAR members are welcome, and TAPs and L3CCs are always available to certify folks through whichever organization they choose.

This freedom allows MDRA to ignore things like the VMAX motor ejection ban, and do crazy things like launch Christmas trees every January.
 

bobkrech

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Although it started as Tripoli Maryland, MDRA is not a Tripoli club. It is an independent club with its own isurance. TRA and NAR members are welcome, and TAPs and L3CCs are always available to certify folks through whichever organization they choose.

This freedom allows MDRA to ignore things like the VMAX motor ejection ban, and do crazy things like launch Christmas trees every January.
Indy clubs do not have rocket liability insurance. The MDRA insurance policy is a Commercial General Liability policy that protects the landowner. https://www.mdrocketry.org/membership/FAQ.html#Insurance

This is not equivalent to the NAR/TRA insurance policy that comes with your NAR/TRA membership that covers rocketry related accidents. NAR/TRA also provide additional insurance policies that protect the club and club officers.
 
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