• Desert Heat Re-Cap
    We had a great Desert Heat! Thank you to everyone that came out to the launch. First we want to thank the event director James Cramton and all of the volunteers for making it all happen. We do have pictures up on our social channels Facebook, 3 albums on Flickr for SaturdayNight Launch and Sunday

    A huge Thank You to the Friends Of SARAespecially Mike from Bay Area Rocketry for being on site to provide a trailer full of goodies. We also received huge support from Jolly Logic, AMW Pro X, County Line Hobbies, One Bad Hawk Recovery, MadCow rocketry, Missile Works and Hobby Barn.

    Art Just & Crew Thor

    Thank you to all of our participants, from High Power to Rent A Roc, for providing the smoke and noise for all of our entertainment. 

    A special Thank You goes to Art Just & Crew and Miles Anderson for their 2 M power launches. power rockets cost thousands of dollars, hundreds of man hours, and high level of skills to fly. I hope everyone enjoyed both spectacular launches. We also had many K motors, L motors, high power multi-stage, high power clusters, innovative night rockets and much more. All of these projects also involve a lot of work and skill to do, we could not have asked for a better mix! 
    Chase, New Level 1 Flier!
    Zachary's Level 1
    We also had a few certification flights, including a Jr. level 1, by our competition launch "ringer" Zachary. Chase Trujillo certified Level 1 as well. Congrats to everyone involved in these projects and get your wallets ready for more fun. If you are interested in becoming certified, check out our "How to" High Power Certify page and Preparing for Certification from Art Just

    Atria Valley Rocket club was also out again this year with a huge pink "Fat Girl" rocket that was very cool. Great job as always Ladies! 

    Thank you to everyone, and we hope to see you at our regular monthly launches. 

    Atria Valley Fat Girl.
    Posted Apr 4, 2016, 1:49 PM by Randall Shanyfelt
  • Desert Heat is a GO!
    The campers are here, rockets are being prepped and the site is now ready! Desert Heat will start at 9 am tomorrow (April 2nd), continue through the night launch (5-9 PM) and go through until Sunday 9 AM to 1 PM. The event is at the main TIMPA site (3250 N Reservation Rd, Marana, AZ). Here are some photos taken tonight. See you there tomorrow!

    Posted Apr 1, 2016, 10:57 PM by James Cramton
  • Another Desert Heat Rocketry Vendor!
    Here we are, inside of a week to go before Desert Heat 2016, and we are proud to announce another rocketry vendor has joined our lineup!  In addition to Bay Area Rocketry, Southern California based Discount Rocketry will be at Desert Heat again this year!  Our 2 rocketry on site vendors can help you with great advice, plus those last minute pre-flight fixes, that motor you left out of the field box, and a great selection of models for your next launch!  Look for their trailers just South of the registration desk at the ramada.

    The weather forecast is calling for sunny skies, high temperatures in the 80s, with lows in the 50s and low winds for our upcoming Desert Heat rocket launch Saturday and Sunday April 2 and 3, 2016.  You can't ask for better weather than that!  So come out and join the fun. Remember--youth under 18 fly free, and if you've never flown before, you can rent a rocket for $2 per flight including a motor!  We have raffle prizes galore for all sorts of rocketry interests, a 50 rocket mass launch at Noon Saturday with prize bags for kids!  There will be a wide range of rockets flying day and night, from 9 am Saturday through 1 pm Sunday.  Also, we will have food vendors on site both days, and you can preregister to camp on site Friday and Saturday nights,  Please see our Desert Heat page for all the details!

    Posted Mar 27, 2016, 9:10 AM by James Cramton
  • SARA Open Meet April 24, 2016
    A division Alexander prepping a model on a piston launcher
    SARA's next competition meet is now scheduled, sanctioned with the NAR.

    SARA Open Meet-1 (SOM-1) will be an Open Meet (our first contest was a Local Meet).

    Contest Events:

    1/2 A SuperRoc Altitude (Altimeter). This is a NARAM 58 event. Fly a certified altimeter as high as possible on a 1/2 A motor. Scoring in meters multiplied by length in centimeters, between 50 cm and 100 cm.  And don't let it bend! 2 flights permitted; highest altitude counts.

    A Boost Glider (A boost glider can separate the motor pod on a streamer or parachute at apogee, leaving a lighter weight glider to return to earth) Free Flight Only; no Radio Control. 2 flights permitted; score is the sum of the flight duration in seconds. 1 rocket must be returned.

    C Parachute Duration: Keep a C powered rocket aloft as long as possible under a parachute. 2 flights permitted; score is the sum of the flight duration in seconds. 1 rocket must be returned.

    D Streamer Duration (an underpowered version of NARAM 58's G Streamer Duration). 2 flights permitted; score is the sum of the flight duration in seconds. 1 rocket must be returned.

    Predicted Altitude: Fly a certified altimeter as close as possible to your predicted altitude.  One flight only; first flight of the day.

    Photo: 8 year old Alexander prepares a model 
    rocket on a competition piston launcher.
    Yeah...shorts and cowboy boots?
    This must be Arizona!

    Please register here:

    I have mentioned before that to enjoy competition, it's best to to read the NAR contest rule book, known as the Pink Book (PB).  Though not exciting reading, it's important to begin to understand the rules that govern the categories of events like Altitude, Duration, Precision, and Craftsmanship.  To download your own shiny, digital copy of the PB, follow this link: 

    The second paragraph on this webpage says, "... get the full version in PDF format." Just right click on the link and download the file to your computer. Then, do your best to start reading through it. An informed competitor is actually a happier one!  You don't want to be surprised to have me, your Contest Director, or another competitor, telling you that your model has a problem with rule number, blah, blah, blah...    :)

    OK, why are we flying an Open Meet and not another Local Meet? Simply to offer people a few additional, challenging, but exciting to fly events. And because I'm recycling Predicted Altitude and C parachute Duration, you get the chance to reuse a rocket and to get better at these two events having already flown them once.

    But keep in mind, the new events being flown, 1/2A Super-roc Altitude-Altimeter, A Boost Glider, and C Eggloft Duration are NOT easy events in order for them to perform as needed and fly well.

    I recommend that you focus on flying the event or events that you think will be fun! SARA isn't chasing a section championship so section points isn't important. What IS important is having FUN!    Fly what you will think will be fun.

    We're going to start at 9AM and stop once everyone has made all their flight attempts.

    You must bring your own altimeter for use in Predicted Altitude and 1/2A Super-roc Altitude- Altimeter.

    Please bring a stopwatch. If you don't yet own one, please buy one as I will not allow the use of cell phones. Stopwatches aren't expensive and duration events are the most commonly flown types of events.

    PLEASE REGISTER (use the link above) so I know how many contestants there will be!

    I look forward to seeing you there. If you have questions about any of the events, please post them here and I will answer them the best I can.


    Ed LaCroix, SARA Contest Director
    Posted Mar 22, 2016, 10:52 PM by James Cramton
  • A Little Practice
    John Grove's Initiator on a G64
    Ken, John, and I headed out to the launch site this morning for some quiet flying without the din of a weekend club launch. The weather was great--blue skies, moderate temperatures, and almost no wind. John was interested in getting familiar with his new Jolly Logic Chute Release in his Initiator, and I was working on some NARAM58 models--getting my G Streamer Duration design into the air, and seeing if I can adapt an Apogee Stratus Gale (a B rocket glider model) for use in the D rocket glider event.  

    John's Chute Release worked perfectly twice; Chute Release is a new Jolly Logic electronic altimeter gizmo that has quickly revolutionized recovery for any rocket with a parachute bay 38mm or larger.  It is an electronic tether that holds the parachute bundled up until a pre-set altitude.  So it is a way of reefing a parachute between Apogee and a lower altitude.  Although not technically "Dual Deploy," it is a great way to reduce how far your rocket drifts without resorting to pyrotechnic ejection charges--all the Chute Release does is release a cam at a preset altitude, and this releases a rubber band holding your parachute closed.  It's an ingeniously simple device to use that works very nicely.  And by the way--John Beans at Jolly Logic was generous enough to donate a Chute Release (and an Altimeter 3) to SARA's Desert Heat raffle this year.  So dig around between the couch cushions for loose change to get ready to buy your raffle tickets--$1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  That's just two of the awesome donations up for grabs in the Desert Heat raffle!

    G SD F59 Launch
    My work preparing for NARAM 58 events has me strangely obsessed with the G Streamer Duration event. I should have learned from my E Egg Lofting experience at my first competition rocketry event, NARAM 57 in 2015, that the more challenging approach with a more preposterous solution is probably not the way to go. But I needed to chase that white whale, so I flew my prototype G Streamer Duration model on an F29 and again on an F59 to try to collect some descent rate data, and to determine if it is possible to reliably eject a 2 foot wide by 20 foot long 2 mil thick mylar streamer. Now, this is a large, heavy model; it's around 3 feet long, mostly BT 70 tubing and a 29mm motor. The streamer weighs 180 grams of the 370 gram weight of the model (without motor), and while this design is interesting, it is not likely to be a good performer in competition. Testing today showed mixed results; the first flight tangled the
    Successful recovery of the Streamer Duration model, give or take a torn streamer
    streamer around the rocket body a little past apogee, and while the resulting snarl of streamer recovered safely, the streamer was torn, and I collected no meaningful data on descent rate of the streamer/model combination.  I decided to tape the streamer together and try again, to see if the snarl was a fluke of poor shock cord packing (this is my conclusion), or if it is just nuts to try to fly such a large streamer. As it turns out, the second flight deployed the streamer successfully, and the although the top half of the streamer tore , it stayed together, and showed some of the twisting motion you look for in streamer duration flights.  but alas, with the mass of the model/streamer, and the torn streamer, the total flight to 1,100 feet and back was a short 47 seconds. I'll need to improve that if I'm to show well in competition.  My next step on this model is to go with a much lighter model, using the intact portions of this streamer as a starting point.

    The final model to fly today was a test of a reinforced Apogee Stratus Gale--normally a B powered rocket glider--in an effort to determine if this is a reasonable approach to the NARAM 58 D Rocket Glider event.  The big question is whether or not the glider wing and other parts of the glider can withstand the speed generated by a D10 motor.  I've flown the model successfully on a B6-2 motor, but hearing tragic reports of similar attempts by other competitors, I reinforced the joints, hoping the bulky sliding wing design can withstand the aerodynamic strain of the speed a D10 motor can deliver.  Alas, as the video shows, it nearly succeeded.  As the velocity increased toward the end of the boost phase, the wing sheared off the model (26 seconds, in slow motion). While possible that I could reinforce the model better, or figure out a way to use a slower motor, I'm now looking to a swing wing design that will keep the wings out of harm's way until apogee. Also note the slow ignition is due to poor ignighter placement, but it worked well enough to gather the information I needed.

    Posted Mar 9, 2016, 9:57 PM by James Cramton
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