• Happy Fathers Day!
    Posted Jun 18, 2017, 4:03 PM by Randall Shanyfelt
  • East Side Launch at Udall Park!
    The City of Tucson has approved a SARA sponsored launch on Tucson's East side! Saturday morning, April 22, 2017 from 8 am - 11 am, SARA will conduct a public low power model rocket launch in the open desert area southeast of the Udall Park recycling center.  We will be flying model rockets with motors up to D power up to 1000 feet above ground level. So bring your model rockets, motors, recovery wadding, and be ready to fly! Kids are welcome! This is a trial event in the hopes that a successful launch at this location will allow us to host regular East Side launches at this location. So please join us and help make this launch a success!


    Date: Saturday, April 22, 2017 8 am - 11 am
    Location: Udall Park's southern desert region, 200 meters south of the recycling center (32°14'42.62"N 110°50'12.87"W).
    Parking: Park near the softball fields or near the recycling center, but be sure not to block access to either of these areas.
    Motor and Altitude Limits: Flights are limited to D power motors and altitude below 1000 above ground level. No clusters or staged flights.
    Equipment on site: SARA will provide launch controllers and pads, fire fighting equipment, repair supplies, and volunteer range staff.

    To help us prepare for the launch, please register to let us know you are coming.  

    Please Signup to Help Run the Launch

    This launch needs every group of rocketeers to volunteer to help run the launch.  In addition to your RSVP above, please sign up to help run the launch.  Scout units in particular need to have sufficient adult leadership to maintain control of their scouts, and are also expected to have adults available to prep their scouts' rockets for flight. At least one member of each scout unit should volunteer to inspect rockets for their unit.


    Rules Governing this Location

    Please be prepared for a morning in the desert: plenty of water, closed toe shoes, sunscreen, hat, lawn chairs, and a sense of adventure! This is fairly untamed desert, and it is the site of a yard waste pickup area. So use appropriate caution, keeping an eye out for ground hazards, in addition to the native flora and fauna you will find in the desert. Also, please note that all City of Tucson Parks and Recreation Department rules apply to this location, and this includes a prohibition on the use of quadcopters/drones/UAVs in city park lands. Motor vehicles are not permitted South of the parking area near the recycling center. Flights will be conducted under the National Association of Rocketry Model Rocketry Safety Code. Please help SARA leave the launch site a little cleaner than we found it so we can all enjoy this opportunity in the future. 

    We have a large number of fliers planning to attend this launch, so please follow these guidelines ton help ensure that we can use this facility in the future:
    • Do not park south of the recycling center or the softball fields. Motor vehicles are not permitted outside of developed areas.

    • Wagons are convenient for hauling your rocket gear from the parking area. 

    • Don't forget a table or two for prepping your rockets, depending on the size of your group.  

    • Do not block access to the recycling center. it may get busy there in the late morning. Be considerate of other park users.

    • The parking area around the softball field and recycling center can accommodate around 40 parked cars. There is space for an additional 150 vehicles in the southeast corner of the park, near the tennis courts and soccer fields. 

    • Please park in designated spaces only. SARA will mark the best paths to take to get to the launch site. Be careful not to approach the launch pad area directly; the signs will lead you.

    Area Map

    In addition to the familiar landmarks of Udall Park, the map below shows a dark black line indicating the new route of Sabino Canyon Road West of Udall park, so you can now access the Western entrance of Udall Park's western entrance from the North (from Tanque Verde Road) or South (from Speedway Blvd). Once you are parked near the recycling center, proceed on foot, following signs 200 meters southeast of the recycling center to the launch site. Overflow parking is available at the south end of the tennis courts and soccer fields. Signs will lead you to the launch site from these parking areas.

    Click image for an interactive map

    Posted Apr 13, 2017, 6:16 AM by James Cramton
  • Launch Report
    What a great weekend out at the site. We had an all day launch as a reward for SARA volunteers and their friends. A great pot-luck with burgers and tacos as well. Then there was a significant amount of AP burned during the day and night. We then had a great turn out on Sunday's scout launch. Everything went very smoothly and we could not have asked for greater scouts and scout leaders. Parachutes actually opened and they listened to feedback, fixed their rockets, and checked back in.

    We will likely repeat this in October!

    Posted Mar 12, 2017, 6:11 PM by Randall Shanyfelt
  • Volunteer Day & Night Launch and Scout Launch Day!

    March 11 and 12, 2017 will see an all day launch opportunity for SARA volunteers, along with a night launch, and an opportunity to become a SARA volunteer if you have not already done so. Note that there are 2 separate Signup Genius links below, and we need you to visit each of them to let us know if you will be attending each day. Here's the scoop:

    Saturday, March 11, 2017, from 9 am - 9 pm, SARA volunteers are welcome to come enjoy the fruits of your labors, with a quiet launch day and night, away from the crowds and spectators. This will be a waivered launch, up to our typical 6,500 foot AGL ceiling, and 3,000 feet AGL after dark. We will take breaks for pot luck picnic lunch fixins, and a pot luck dinner with grillables. Then, at dusk, we will start our night launch, subject to SARA's night launch safety rules. Volunteers and their guests are welcome to camp East of the parking lot. Porta potties will be on site, but there is no potable water at the launch site, so be prepared. Please let us know if you plan to attend the volunteer launch, and what you intend to bring by completing our Volunteer Launch Signup Genius:


    If you haven't had a chance to volunteer to help keep SARA running in recent months, do not worry!  You can 'pay it backwards' by committing to attend Sunday's Scout Launch. We trust you, and besides...we know where you fly! Read on!

    Sunday, March 12, 2017, from 9 am - 1 pm, we need help with our inaugural Scout Launch Day. We will be helping around 100 Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts get their rockets in the air!  Please come out and help us make this a successful event we can repeat once or twice a year!  This launch may have some Class 1 demonstration flights, but we will not have a waiver in place, and the focus will be on making sure all scouts have a chance to fly. Please look for available slots on our Scout Launch Day Signup Genius and reserve your space.


    If you represent a scout unit that would like to participate in Scout Launch Day, please contact outreach@sararocketry.org.

    As always, the use of spark producing motors is subject to the Range Safety Officer's review of field conditions.  Do not automatically assume that spark producing motors may be flown.

    We hope to see you out there!

    James Cramton
    Southern Arizona Rocketry Association
    Posted Feb 27, 2017, 11:26 PM by James Cramton
  • Member Launch Sunday, February 19, 2017 9 am - 1 pm

    SARA has received FAA authorization to operate Class 2 high power rockets from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. this Sunday, February 19, 2017, at the TIMPA facility in Avra Valley. The operating altitude is from the surface of the Earth to 6,500 ft. above ground level. This launch is open to current SARA members and their guests. If you have not renewed your membership for 2017, now is the time to do so!

    Weather Notice

    Note we are expecting cool and wet weather, so be prepared. Be prepared for the possibility that a low cloud deck may limit your altitude on Sunday. We are proceeding with the launch, and if weather presents a problem, we will change gears to work together on some gear maintenance work at the TIMPA barn.

    AMW Pro-X On Site for the Launch!

    Our friends Gloria and Robert of AMW Pro-X will be on site for our February Members Launch!  This is reason enough to make the effort to attend our February launch! They will have their full stock of motors on site, as well as model rocket kits and accessories, so please come out and support one of our key vendors, and save on your usual HAZMAT fees!

    Ina Road and I-10 Detour Notice

    Starting in February, 2017, and lasting 2 years or more, Ina Rd at I-10 will be closed to traffic to permit major changes to the interchange, so avoid Ina Rd. at I-10. If you are heading West on Ina from Tucson, detour North on La Cholla Rd to turn Left at Magee Rd, which becomes Cortaro Farms Rd, and then Cortaro Rd when it crosses I-10. Follow Cortaro till it dead ends at Ina Rd, and turn Right on westbound Ina Rd, described below. Approaching Ina Rd. from the South, you can use Silverbell Rd. to avoid the construction, and turn Left onto westbound Ina Rd. West of I-10.

    The Fine Print

    As always, the use of spark producing motors is subject to the Range Safety Officer's review of field conditions.  Do not automatically assume that spark producing motors may be flown.

    We hope to see you out there!

    James Cramton
    Southern Arizona Rocketry Association
    Posted Feb 18, 2017, 7:07 PM by James Cramton
  • January Launch

    We Had a great turnout for January's public launch! 

    Those in attendance got to see a K sparky from Brett Rathi and an I600 "Broadhead" by Terry G as well as many other great flights from A-K!

    Next launch is for members or up to 4 friends of members. Remember, if you have not already, to join up for 2017 and we will see you out there.

    The next public launch is in April but we have many scout troops and special launches coming up including a competition launch in May. See Competition Rocketry for rules. It is themed around the cars and personalities of Fast and Furious! 

    Posted Jan 22, 2017, 8:43 PM by Randall Shanyfelt
  • January Public Launch moved to Sunday, January 22, 2017 9 am - 1 pm
    Note the date change!
    High winds and a moderate chance of rain are forecast for Saturday's scheduled launch window, so SARA has moved the scheduled January 21, 2017 launch to Sunday, January 22, 2017 9 am - 1 pm. Sunday's forecast calls for cool temps in the 40s and 50s, winds between 5 and 10 mph, and a low chance of rain.

    SARA has received FAA authorization to operate Class 2 high power rockets from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. this Sunday, January 22, 2017, at the TIMPA facility in Avra Valley. The operating altitude is from the surface of the Earth to 6,500 ft. above ground level.

    As always, the use of spark producing motors is subject to the Range Safety Officer's review of field conditions.  Do not automatically assume that spark producing motors may be flown.

    We hope to see you out there!

    James Cramton
    Southern Arizona Rocketry Association
    Posted Jan 20, 2017, 10:33 AM by James Cramton
  • Happy New Year!
    Happy New Year to all our Rocketeers! May your 2017 be filled with new builds, rebuilds, and many great flights! 

    Happy New Year from SARA!

    Posted Dec 31, 2016, 5:28 PM by James Cramton
  • December Launch and Volunteer of the Year!
    We had a light turnout on a chilly and damp Saturday. We did award the 2016 Volunteer of the Year as Steve Fraser who donates his time to us by taking those awesome liftoff shots on the website.

    We run on volunteers, if you can help we can always use any skills you can bring! See How to Help

    Videos are up on SARA You Tube and Photos on Flickr

    Posted Dec 17, 2016, 4:52 PM by Randall Shanyfelt
  • December 10 2016 Membership Meeting Highlights
    The SARA end of year luncheon was a good opportunity to get together outside a launch to buy and sell gear at the swap meet, get to know each other a bit better over lunch, vote on our first set of bylaws changes in a decade, and vote on the 2017 SARA Board of Directors.  26 individuals were in attendance, with the 17 voting SARA members present required for a quorum. Here are some highlights:

    Swap Meet

     SARA members at the 2016 Swap Meet  
    • We raised $330 for SARA in the Bob DeBerry auction. Thank you Bob!
    • Club members sold off motors, tubes, models, components, range boxes, launchers, and tools. Some of us were lucky enough to leave with less stuff than we brought to the swap meet.
    • A certain 9 year old learned a lesson in not bidding up auctions for items he doesn't understand. 
    • Plans are afoot to build a new SARA rocket that is easier to carry around than the SARA crayon rocket, using some 5.5 inch tubing of Art's.

    Presentation from Membership Meeting

    December 10 2016 Membership Meeting Discussion
     James Cramton led a discussion of various topics, including Thanks to our members, volunteers, and vendors (Friends of SARA), as well as a 2016 year in review, plus the 2017 launch schedule and priorities. We also presented (in absentia) a new award this year: the Volunteer of the Year Award for 2016 to Steve Fraser for his dedicated work sharing his launch photos with the public. Thank you Steve!

    2016 December Membership Meeting Presentation
    Discussion during the presentation included concerns from Terry and others about the cancellation of Desert Heat, and reduction of scope of public launches, particularly the night launches and the proposed requirements of night flights.  Steve, Ken, and James responded with a couple points:
    • Night launch restrictions had 3 safety related goals:
      • Ensure compliance with FAA requirements--redundant lighting system on high power rockets
      • Require LED lights to increase visibility on low power rockets by eliminating glow sticks;  model rockets without active lighting are more or less invisible on the way down
      • Increase visibility of individuals at launch pads so the LCO can see who is on the range better
    • Clubs across the country are canceling night launches, and we want to keep them going, but we must implement reasonable safety standards, and the Board did its best to keep restrictions to a minimum, while ensuring compliance with law, NAR and TRA safety guidelines, and practical experience.
    • While public interest in night launches is high, keeping our night launches limited to the subset of members who volunteer to help keep SARA running helps promote safety by limiting the crowd size to a group of participants and spectators more attune to the risks of night flight.
    • The number of people organizing and running recent night launches is less than a dozen. As we build a regular base of volunteers at SARA events, we hope to be able to return to higher profile events we can staff with more volunteers, but we need to establish the lines of communication and the work habits first.

    Updated Bylaws Approved

    By a vote of 17 - 0, SARA's first revision to its bylaws in a decade passed, subject to some amendments, which are published here for membership review. Barring objections, they will go into effect January 1, 2017. If you have questions or concerns about this revision, please discuss with the whole membership list at members@sararocketry.org. Here is a summary of the changes from our current 2005 version:
    • Grammatical, semantic, formatting, and other minor changes 
    • Expanded the number of potential Board members, but provided flexibility to fill Board positions with as few as 3 individuals. Changes to the Board membership include separation of the Secretary and Treasurer position (though they can be held by the same person), and more Members at Large.
    • Expanded the voting eligibility to permit SARA members 12 or older to vote in club business--future bylaws revisions, elections, or other open membership votes. 
    • Up to three of the four Member at Large position on the Board of Directors may be held by junior SARA members 12 years of age or older who are appointed by the Board. 
    • Specified that no more than 2 members of the same family may serve on the board simultaneously. Family extends from grandparent to grandchild, including siblings in between.
    • Explicitly permitted videoconference and teleconference participation in board meetings.
    • Clarified procedures for electing Board members, and for determining when an office is vacant. Also for filling Board vacancies and removing Board members from office. Specifically, a position on the board may be declared vacant by a majority vote of the Board, and the position may be filled by a majority vote of the membership at an election held no sooner than 30 days after the announcement of the vacancy. 
    • Specified that with the exception of parental consent for children, "written communications" can include either electronic or pen and paper formats. That is in line with modern practice.
    • Clarified core responsibilities of each role on the Board of Directors, and of expected participation commitments of Board members. 
    The final bylaws revision, is posted here and is now open for member comments. The bylaws will take effect January 1, 2017, barring objection from SARA membership before then. Please email any objections for discussion to members@sararocketry.org.

    2016 SARA Bylaws Approved Changes

    2017 Board of Directors

    All positions on the Board of Directors for 2017 were unopposed, and the slate was approved by a vote of 17-0. The Board of Directors for 2017 will be:
     Position    Office Holder
     President  James Cramton
     Vice President  Ken Weaver
     Secretary  Brett Rathi
     Treasurer  Randy Shanyfelt
     Member at Large  Miles Anderson
     Member at Large  Kevin Westfall
     Member at Large  Bill Temple
     Member at Large  [Not filled]
     Tripoli Prefect     Art Just 
     NAR Sr. Section Advisor  [Filled by appointment in 2017]

    The first Board meeting of 2017 will be scheduled in the next week or two, expected to fall in the first half of January 2017. All members are welcome (and encouraged!) to attend board meetings, which will be announced as far ahead of time as possible. On the agenda for the first Board meeting include:
    • Appointment of NAR Sr. Section Advisor and Jr. Member at Large positions. Current nominees for these positions include Steve Lubliner and Zachary Cramton
    • End of year 2016 financial report 
    • Discussion of goals and priorities for 2017
    • Minimum cleared distance (of flammable material around pads) status

    Posted Dec 13, 2016, 8:53 AM by James Cramton
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