Southern Arizona Rocketry Association

Range Procedures for Everyone

  • Everyone attending an SARA launch (both fliers and spectators) should understand and follow these rules to ensure safety
  • Parents please keep your children under control and be sure they understand these rules.
  • Please stay behind the flight line barrier, and please do not set up your chairs etc. right at the barrier.
  • If the LCO announces a flight as a "Heads Up" flight, that means get on your feet and pay attention until the rocket's recovery device deploys or until the rocket is on the ground.
  • Pay attention! Every flight is potentially dangerous to you and your family. If the Launch Control Officer (LCO) yells "Heads up!" he means it!
  • Do not attempt to catch any rocket as it lands. Even a small rocket can cause an injury.
  • Do not pick-up or move any rocket that is not yours, unless you have the owner's permission.
  • Please do not drive on the field to recover rockets.
  • Please drive slowly as you approach and within the launch area. A vehicle can raise a surprising amount of very annoying dust!
  • Overnight camping is not permitted at monthly club launches.
  • Please drive if you want to use the TIMPA toilet facilities.
  • Please keep control of your trash and carry it off the field when you leave.
  • The decisions of the Range Safety Officer are final and may not be appealed on the flying field.

Range Procedures for Rocket Fliers

  • All rockets must be inspected and approved by the Range Safety Officer (RSO) or the Launch Control Officer (LCO) prior to each flight.
  • Please be prepared to show that your rocket is powered by a Tripoli or NAR certified motor, that it will have a stable flight, and that it will recover safely, under current conditions.
  • Please be prepared to show your Tripoli or NAR  membership card with certification level.

  • High-power rockets (total impulse class H or above) and any rocket not built from a stock kit should have documentation for the RSO showing that the rocket will be stable.
  • Rockets with a total installed impulse greater than 40 Newton-seconds ("F" class or higher) are required to use 1010 or larger launch rails.  There will be exceptions granted on a case by case basis for "oddrocs", e.g. saucers, pyramids, and spools.
  • Please fill out a flight card completely before the safety check and pad assignment. Officers will not accept incomplete cards.
  • Igniters for low-power motors may be installed in the prep area.
  • Igniters for high-power motors should be installed at the launch pad. (If this is not possible (either because the igniter must be built into a reloadable motor during assembly or because the igniters for a cluster or multistage rocket must be installed before the rocket is assembled), the igniters may be installed in the prep area. Short the igniter leads together before installing the igniter. The igniter leads must remain shorted or shunted until the rocket is on the pad.)
  • All electronic staging and recovery devices must be Safed or powered off and shunted when the rocket is brought to the RSO table.
  • If the RSO or LCO rejects your rocket at the safety check, you must correct the problem(s) and have the rocket checked again before flying.
  • The LCO will assign your pad after the rocket is approved by the RSO. Once you have a pad assignment, please move away from the gate area until "the range is open" is announced.
  • Do not enter the range to load or recover a rocket until the Launch Control Officer (LCO) announces "the range is open".
  • When your pad is called, enter the launch area through the gate and go to your pad. In some cases, you may have to change the launch rod or rail at your pad. If you have any questions about this or difficulty with your pad, please ask the LCO or launch assistant for help.
  • After you have loaded your rocket, leave the launch area through the gate.
  • You may pick up or move another flier's rocket that has landed only under if you have the owner's permission to do so.
  • If you are a long distance away, and the rocket is undamaged, and no one appears to be looking for it, you may carefully bring it back to the LCO table; if the rocket is damaged, please note the location and report it to the LCO.
  • If the rocket is being dragged by the wind, please carefully stop the rocket and place the parachute under its body tube or nose cone, and note the location and report it to the LCO.
  • If you find a reloadable motor casing or other part that has separated from a rocket, wait until it has cooled off and bring it back to the LCO table.
  • 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.


There shall be no flights of drone, quadcopter, UAV, model airplane, or other remote controlled aircraft anywhere at the TIMPA facility during SARA launches, day or night.

Night Launch Safety Rules

At a time when some clubs are cancelling night launches, SARA is proud to bring this spectacular opportunity to fly sport rockets at night, or to just watch the wonder of rockets launching into the night sky. But to help ensure the safety of all spectators and participants in SARA night launch operations, we have defined the following range safety protocols that will be in place at all SARA night launches. Please read carefully if you plan to attend the night launch, as some of these rules will require advanced planning. Be prepared.

  • Drones: There shall be no flights of drone, quadcopter, UAV, model airplane, or other remote controlled aircraft anywhere at the TIMPA facility during SARA launches, day or night.

  • Personal Visibility: All participants who enter the range--either the launch pad area or downrange to recover rockets--are required to wear reflective vests and a light emitting source; red lighting is preferred. Personal light sources may be battery powered lights or chemical glow sticks. 
  • Rocket Lighting: All rockets, regardless of size, must be actively lighted to be visible at night from at least 300 feet away. Lights must be visible all the way up and all the way down. All separable sections must comply with lighting requirements independently of each other. Glowsticks do not meet this requirement. LEDs can meet this requirement, but they must be properly secured to the model.
  • High Power Rocket Lighting: High power rockets must have dual redundant lighting systems. Redundant means no shared power supplies, switches, etc. The RSO will need to see each circuit illuminated independently, so no single point of failure can cause a failure of all lighting systems. At least one of the circuits should flash, strobe, or blink. High power rockets must be checked in with the RSO before dark.
  • Night Launch Motor Impulse: No motors larger than K impulse.

  • Night Launch Ceiling: 3000 feet above ground level is the maximum permissible altitude.
  • Night Launch Complex Rockets: No complex (staged or clustered) rockets.  
  • Sparkies: 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.
  • Firearms: No firearms or other weapons are allowed at the TIMPA facility. 

There are many reasons behind these rules, and we have done our best to keep the rules simple and limited in scope, without compromising safety. But some of these rules deserve a bit more explanation:

  • The airspace is reserved exclusively for model rocket flights authorized by the Range Safety Officer (RSO) and under the control of the Launch Control Officer (LCO). Launch operations will stop if any unauthorized aircraft are in the area. Operators of remote controlled aircraft will be asked to leave.

  • The reflective vest and personal light requirement is to ensure that the LCO can see anyone who is at the launch pads or down range recovering a rocket. Inexpensive vests and lights are available online, commonly sold for biking, running or walking. The RSO will not permit anyone on the range who is not clearly visible at a distance.
  • Glowsticks do not produce sufficient light to track a rocket--particularly a model that does not deploy a recovery device. Small, inexpensive LED lights  are available online, but they must be properly secured to the model.
  • Individuals may have vests and lighting to loan or sell at the event, but do not count on others to help you comply with these rules. Be prepared and bring your own supplies. 

If you have questions about these rules, please email beforehand or see the Range Safety Officer on the night of the launch

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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