Southern Arizona Rocketry Association

Volunteers Make Desert Heat Happen

(Registration for this event opens January 1, 2024) Not only is volunteering a great way to give back to the rocketry hobby, but it is also what makes Desert Heat possible! Volunteering is an excellent way to learn more, share your knowledge, and intermingle with others you may not have met otherwise. A variety of volunteers at all experience levels are needed and appreciated. Volunteer opportunities with descriptions are below, and you can sign up for your volunteer shift at our Volunteer Signup Page. ALL REGISTRANTS MUST SIGN UP FOR AT LEAST ONE 2-HOUR VOLUNTEER SHIFT IN ORDER TO FLY.

Launch Control Officer (LCO)

The LCO opens and closes the range for launch operations and ensures everyone is a safe distance while launching. The LCO is the one on the PA system counting down and alerting everyone to what is going on out on the range. Volunteers with a Level 2 or 3 high-powered rocketry certification are required for this position. This position is in the sun the whole time, either sitting or standing at the launch controller and talking on the PA system.

Range Safety Officer (RSO) 

The RSO is the ultimate authority on a model's flight readiness. Decisions of the RSO may not be appealed, and are final. That said, the RSO will make every effort to explain his reasoning behind flight readiness concerns and propose potential solutions, and his explanations should be viewed as the sincere attempts to educate fliers about safety issues affecting fliers' rockets. The RSO is an experienced Level 2 or higher SARA board member with multiple safety inspection volunteers handling most safety inspections. The RSO is also responsible for approving and coordinating large Level 2 or Level 3 projects. This position is spread around the flight line and will carry a radio to ensure he is reachable.

Safety Inspector 

The Safety Inspector assists the Range Safety Officer (RSO) in inspecting rockets to ensure stability, safety, and flight-worthiness. Volunteers inspecting high power rockets must have at least a Level 1 high-powered rocketry certification, but experienced rocketeers with or without certification can perform this job for low and mid power rockets. Volunteers may defer to the RSO when unsure about a rocket's flight readiness. This position is mostly in the shade, either sitting or standing talking with fliers about their rockets.

Pad Assignment

Pad assignment involves evaluating the guidance requirements of a rocket, its motors, and other considerations to determine which pad is best for the flight. The volunteer instructs fliers when they may proceed to the pad, based on instructions from the LCO.

This position is in the sun, walking the pad assignment queue the whole time.

Pad Manager

The Pad Manager assists with pad assignment and loading rockets onto pads, as well as other tasks at the launch pads as needed. Volunteers of any experience level are appreciated! Much of the work is helping kids slide their rockets onto the launch rods without bending the rods, and showing new fliers how to operate the larger launch pads. This position is in the sun, walking between the pad assignment queue and the launch pads the whole time.

Registration Table

Duties include helping flyers register; distributing wristbands and T-shirts; selling merchandise and answering questions. This position is in the shade, with seating readily available.

Medic/Health Coordinator

We need first aid trained volunteers to provide first aid care as needed, and to recognize when to call 911 for serious medical emergencies.  


Duties vary but include setting out/taking down launch pads and the launch control system; tables and signs; barriers for crowd control; etc. Duties will be assigned during setup and teardown. See the schedule for times for setup/teardown.

Facilities Management

This role simply requires the volunteers to walk the flight line periodically to collect full garbage bags from trash receptacles pile the full bags on the trash trailer and line the trash can with an empty garbage bag. Also, volunteers need to periodically check the portable and facility restrooms to keep the restrooms stocked with toilet paper and paper towels. It's an entry level job anyone can do, and it's not a full time job during the shift.

Copyright © 2022 Southern Arizona Rocketry Association (SARA)
SARA is a volunteer-run 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation based in Tucson, Arizona

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