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Try Contest Flying!

posted Sep 19, 2017, 8:08 PM by James Cramton
Zachary Cramton at NARAM 58 with his 1st Place C Parachute Duration and 2nd place 1/2 A Superroc modelsNAR recently announced major changes to the structure of competition rules for the 2017 - 2018 season, and the result is that organizing and participating in competition launches will be much easier than in the past!  In fact, it's now so easy to hold a competition meet, that every SARA launch will be a sanctioned NAR contest. And under the new rules, all you need to do to get on the NAR National Rocketry Competition (NRC) scoreboard is to bring a model, and one our SARA members will help you try for a qualified flight!  SARA has a number of members well versed in competition flying, including several long time competitors and coaches, the author of the new NRC rules, and a Junior National Champion! (Zachary Cramton, shown here at NARAM 58 with his 1st Place C Parachute Duration and 2nd place 1/2 A Superroc models).  Contest flying is a great way for kids and adults to have fun and expand their horizons, and SARA has the experience to help you learn more!

For the 2017 - 2018 season, the following NRC events will be scored and tracked on the NAR scoreboard, so you can see how your performances stack up against other competitors nationally: 
  • 1/2 A Parachute Duration
  • A Streamer Duration
  • A Helicopter Duration
  • 1/2 A Boost Glider Duration
  • A Payload Altitude (with altimeter)
  • C Egg Loft Altitude (with altimeter)
The idea with these events is that they are all low power events that are (mostly) simple and cheap to build and fly, and don't tend to risk losing rockets to the winds. The goal of altitude events is to see how high you can fly the model with a certified altimeter on board. The goal of duration events is to see how long your model can stay in the air.  The simplest events to try are streamer and parachute duration events; for example, in A Streamer Duration, the goal is to fly a model on an A motor with a streamer recovery device, and see how long you can keep the model in the air (hint: finding thermals with a big streamer and a light model is key). And the goal of the C Egg Loft Altitude event is to fly and recover unbroken a raw egg of specific size and weight as high as you can on a C motor, with a certified electronic altimeter on board to measure the maximum altitude.  The rules for each event are of course more specific than that, but you can read all about the events here: 


If you think you might want to give one of these events a try, by all means, come out to any of our launches and give it a try!  To officially enter the competition, you need to be a current NAR member 7 years or older, but SARA is happy to help anyone who wants to give competition rocketry a try with help, encouragement, and an unofficial entry. Feel free to come out and ask questions!