Survey for ALL NAR members with regards to NAR COMPETITION

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Dan_Wolf

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This survey is open to all NAR Members and is actually 3 surveys in one. One is for current NAR Competitors, one is for former NAR competitors, one is for NAR members who have never tried NAR Competition. Which survey you complete depends on how you answer the relevant question in the 1st part of the survey. I encourage all NAR members to participate in this survey. It will only take a few minutes and will be helpful in shaping the future direction of NAR Competition.

Survey Link: https://forms.gle/fDxn1rxnJZH6L8kz9

Dan Wolf, NAR Contest Board Chair
 

Peartree

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Done.

But I don't expect anyone to listen.

I voiced the same concerns at NARAM when they introduced the new code and, since my concerns didn't align with the opinions of the writers of the new code, my thoughts were "poo poo-ed" and ignored.

Maybe I was wrong before, and maybe I'm wrong now.

But the current lack of participation is one of the things that I predicted so then again, maybe not.
 

jqavins

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I tried to submit a response with some answers left blank, because I have no input to give. The survey software would not accept my responses with the unanswered questions, so I'll I'll just write here what I would have written for the final response:

Please offer any other input or ideas about NAR Competition that you wish to share.
It's plain that there are people who really like the competitions, so they are worth running as a part of the NAR's mission. I'm not one of them, and probably never will be (but it's not impossible). So I have no input to give on most of these questions. But keep up the good work all the same.​
 

dr wogz

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Interesting. Just filled it out.

For the record, I am aware of competition events, but have not (yet) seen any club hold competitions, except the few 'traditional' ones at the local club (for bragging rights of course!): closes to pad, most failed attempts, day's highest flight, day's best decorated.

There seems to be little to no incentive to plan & host this / these type of event(s) at smaller fields..

One event I did participate in (and one that drove up sales for a certain vendor) was altitude with a specific kit & specific motor, built stock. A 'closed class' event.. (It was also a great deal: a kit & motor combo for X dollars!) I'd love to see more of these!

I can also see a 'box build' event, where the rules are a rocket that meets a certain criteria [fits 'the box]: cannot be longer than X inches, BT must be X volume min/max, total fin area must not exceed X inches square, etc.. like the R/C sailing IOM / Footie class, or the America's cup rules: must =12m.

Getting everyone together in one location is also somewhat prohibitive.. break the country into divisions or ..
 

jqavins

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[DIGRESSION]
There's one club competition that I started to participate in but had to move before I got anywhere. :( The good doctor's mention of a "box build" reminded me of it, but it's an entirely different idea.

Each entrant is issued a standard box (OK, a bag) of parts, then must design and build a rocket using nothing else. If I recall, it was based on a combination of altitude with some impulse limit, and style points. A flight must be successful for any score, regardless of how good it looks.
[/DIGRESSION]
 

dr wogz

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Lego conventions usually have a 'build in the bag" contest, where you have to build a small Lego model "inside" the poly or zip-lock in which is it issued.. It is harder than it sounds!
 

heada

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I don't know the history or if there is something going on in the background but why is there a push for comp when I haven't seen a push in the past?
 

dr wogz

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I don't know the history or if there is something going on in the background but why is there a push for comp when I haven't seen a push in the past?
New person [in the post / seat]?
New board with a new agenda?
A want to push to schools & scout troops and with updated events that respect today's tech world?
A push from educators for STEM events to get kids interested? (And outside; away from the I-phone & PlayStation..)
To act as a predecessor to TARC, IREC, NASA/ SLI, LC higher education events?
A room full of prizes & give-aways that aren't claimed?! (or plaques with little to no entries past 1982..)
 

shockie

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Promise me $100 to win, if I participate, and I'll try that event . Don't need no blue ribbons, trophies or plaques.....a $100 bill and a nice Certficate would suffice.
 

Buckeye

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To act as a predecessor to TARC, IREC, NASA/ SLI, LC higher education events?
NAR competition is just the opposite. Young students in meaningful, high-tech competition are the predecessors to old fat men competing with 1/4A balsa models.

At least the survey captured my sentiment: NAR competition is old, boring, and low tech. I am not really interested in HPR competition, either, other than keeping altitude records. NAR money would be better spent elsewhere, like preserving and growing launch sites.
 

GuyNoir

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NAR competition is just the opposite. Young students in meaningful, high-tech competition are the predecessors to old fat men competing with 1/4A balsa models.
I would submit that there is more than sufficient room for both in this hobby. To demean one over the other is not a good thing. If you want to encourage and promote "high tech" student competitions, by all means do so. If you want to encourage and promote NAR competition, by all means do so. If you don't, I would at least hope that we would not spend any time bashing the other guy.

NAR competition is old, boring, and low tech.
Based on that statement, it's not clear to me whether you've actually tried to build a successful competition model or attended an NAR contest. Contest models, at least in my experience, need to combine low weight, high strength and precise alignment in order to perform well. The methods to achieve that are decidedly NOT low tech.

My $0.02; YMMV.
 

gtg738w

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Thanks Dan. Looking forward to seeing the results. Many other hobbies use competition not just to showcase the top builders but also as a fun way to attract and retain new members.
 

dr wogz

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This reminds me a bit of my youth, when I was crewing with my day in our weekly regattas. We were good. We knew the lake, and knew the boat, and were always in the top 3 (of a fleet of 6-9, between 2 clubs) . I always wondered how we would fair against a larger fleet, a more experienced fleet.. We had talked of doing "CORK".. (but I think he was afraid of 'being shown up')

My rocket club is small. So, hosing an event will garner 2 or 3 participants, and I would expect of those 2 or 3, the standings would never change. So, the interest would likely be quickly lost.

A lot of races or other types of competition is usually a series; where you need to maintain your standings to win overall.. I don't see this with a NAR type competition. (and you need to get to the event.. which I see as being the first major hurdle)

CORK:
 

heada

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Our hobby isn't an either/or kinda thing, its a both. We can have competition and non-competition folks involved. That's a great thing. I'm not interested in competition and that wont change if they added a HPR element or started offering prizes but that's just me. Room for both. The reason I asked my question is that since I'm not interested in competition, I wasn't aware of what's been going on in that part of the hobby and I was simply curious. If there was some underlying issue and it was something I could help with, then I would. The hobby is small and we need to help each other out as much as we can.
 

Stewman

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Dan,

Have submitted my survey. Bet you get some interesting answers.
 

dr wogz

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As mentioned above, I did a lot of sailing when I was younger.

The club had an annual "dumper's cup" which was handed out to the most glorious "dumping" (abandonment / jettison from / ejected from..) of a dingy.. And yes I got it one year!

(Sadly?) a spectacular CATO should receive an honorable mention.. we've all seen a few!
 

Alan15578

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Promise me $100 to win, if I participate, and I'll try that event . Don't need no blue ribbons, trophies or plaques.....a $100 bill and a nice Certficate would suffice.
Well, there was the Mad Anthony Regional, where the winner won a HUGE ice cream sundae. I did that once. It is truely an evil thing that will turn you into a fat old man , if it does not kill you. I share your disdain for "bowling trophies", although it is easy to pull off the engraved plate and put on another one so that you can award it at your own contest. OTOH, I like the rare thoughtful unique, and often cheaply made trophies. Ribbons are still good for kids. Most of the kits I won were donated to a planetarium for educational building programs.

To be sure, every rocketeer and competitor is unique with ther own reasons, interests, and motivations. I read of one competitor who has an actual trophy room with a couple hundred rocket meet trophies. Most contest are organized as a non profit event with entry fees just large enough to cover expenses. Contestants pay that fee plus their expenses of motors and supplies, food, travel, and lodging, mostly just for the fun experience. I suppose you could run it run it like a poker tournament and charge an additional $100 entry fee, all to be returned by rank of finish. We do not have a "professional" division, and even if we did, I doubt that it would pay enough to be a full time competitor. There is an interesting Drone Racing League, that I have seen on TV. I don't know what they winn, but there must be some stupid TV money involved. Lately they have gone to virtual competitions, which solves the problem of mid air collisions with other competitors. Virtual rocket contests might have merit as a means of reducing participation cost. Competitive sport is an odd thing; Rich SOBs will spend any amount of money to win a sailing race or a polo match, regardless of any cash awards. People will spend many times the amount of an X-prize award, perhaps hoping that the notariety will help them attract investors in an even more expensive venture. If I had won the pedigree of a national champion, I might have started a model rocket company like CMR or Apogee, but I was always in it for the fun.
 

Ez2cDave

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competition events are a waste of valuable flying time
Jim,

Then, make it "worth your while" . . .

Get 10, or more, HPR flyers to "pony up" $100 each and fly some HPR competition Events ( Max. Alt. / Target Alt. / Spot Landing / Scale, etc, etc, etc. ).

A $1000 prize, per event, should "incentivize" a "competitive spirit" and 4 -5 events could put $4000 - $5000, OR MORE, in someone's pocket, EVERY MONTH, if you can "sweep the competition" !

Get 50 people involved at LDRS ( 4-5 events ) and those "numbers" become $20,000 - $25,000 in CASH !

Dave F.
 
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Ez2cDave

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Here is a way to GUARANTEE an increase in NAR Competition . . .

NAR could make it mandatory that all NAR Sections host a minimum of 3-4 Multi-Event Contests per year.

Dave F.
 

Pete.D

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Dan,

I used to participate in the local competitions, and still do to a degree: the Syracuse Rocket Club has morphed into just one or two competition events per day due to greater interest in sport launches at all power levels; "something for everyone" seems to work fine. MPR/HPR competition would be fun but the field dimensions and waivers don't support that back here in the East; I've lost more competition rockets (out of sight or into trees) than all other types combined. I did NARAM once or twice, too hectic to be fun; these days I do mostly sport LPR/MPR/HPR.

I'm not in favor of substantial cash awards at the local club level; the money has to come from somewhere, and it benefits only a select few. I once raced cars for cash awards: the extra expenditure required for both entry fees and preparation was prohibitive. Cash awards can make sense when coupled with event sponsorship AND major media coverage (probably requiring special insurance coverage).

Pete
 

Ez2cDave

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I'm not in favor of substantial cash awards at the local club level; the money has to come from somewhere, and it benefits only a select few.
Competition is about winning . . . Consequently, there are also losers.

"To the Victor belong the spoils" . . . The non-winners learn the need to improve their skills, rather than "getting everything handed to them".

Dave F.
 

dr wogz

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You only win if you play the game.
You also (likely) will lose.
Either way, you will get credit & recognition (either wanted or not, good or bad)..

If you don't play, you neither win nor lose.. And you keep your anonymity..
 

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I started flying in 1967 and joined the NAR the next year. Contacted the Columbus (OH) Society for the Advancement of Rocketry and flew my first competition less than a week later. Still flying competition. Our mentor, the late Dr. Jerry Gregorek stoked the competition aspect of the hobby. Dr. G would note that anyone could fly an event with a "B", what could you do with a 1/2A? NARAM-13 in 1971 had over 300 competitors.
In the ensuing decades, mid-power and High Power came into existence and between the NAR and TRA, it overcame regulations from BATFA and established a resurgent hobby.
Folks join the hobby and immediately want to go as high a power and level as they can. They don't know or bloody care what struggles those of us had to deal with. After five decades, nine years on the NAR Board of Trustees, various committees, etc., I am happy that the hobby is healthy. Only a Level 1, but have done a lot that someone who starts with high power have not experienced.
Waste pf flying time. Not to me.
 

Peartree

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I started flying in 1967 and joined the NAR the next year. Contacted the Columbus (OH) Society for the Advancement of Rocketry and flew my first competition less than a week later. Still flying competition. Our mentor, the late Dr. Jerry Gregorek stoked the competition aspect of the hobby. Dr. G would note that anyone could fly an event with a "B", what could you do with a 1/2A? NARAM-13 in 1971 had over 300 competitors.
In the ensuing decades, mid-power and High Power came into existence and between the NAR and TRA, it overcame regulations from BATFA and established a resurgent hobby.
Folks join the hobby and immediately want to go as high a power and level as they can. They don't know or bloody care what struggles those of us had to deal with. After five decades, nine years on the NAR Board of Trustees, various committees, etc., I am happy that the hobby is healthy. Only a Level 1, but have done a lot that someone who starts with high power have not experienced.
Waste pf flying time. Not to me.
That may also point toward a part of the problem. Once upon a time I few competition events in Columbus, and in Cleveland, and Akron (Mantua) used to have a bunch as well, and I also would hear about competition events (regionals) in Pennsylvania and Indiana (and even farther afield) from time to time, but since the new rules went into effect, I haven't heard of a single club that's hosting a competition of any kind. Maybe they are and I'm not hearing about it any more, or maybe there's something within the new rules that makes local clubs reluctant to do so, or even discourages them from doing so. Whatever it is, if clubs aren't promoting it, new members will never learn about it, and will probably never compete.
 

Johnly

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I completed the survey today. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Dan's 1/2A altitude article in the last issue of SR. It didn’t require a large flying field or a huge budget, but did require construction skills and engineering methodology. Several members of my local flying group are total altitude junkies, and they are undertaking the quest for their own personal challenge rather than points or trophies. To me, watching the design progression is worth attending the launch without even burning an igniter.
 
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