I successfully launched and recovered a high-power rocket yesterday for my Tripoli "Level 1" certification at the Utah Rocket Club sport launch. I was hoping to have a Level 2 rocket ready to fly as well, but it's not finished. To be honest, I was never that interested in hobby/model rockets as a kid, or in high power rockets where you have to use a motor that someone else designed and made. I was woefully ignorant of how the reloadable grain fit into the motor case, which then fit into the motor tube in the kit rocket--I'm used to building my own hybrid motors for scratch-built rockets. That got me thinking that perhaps that's something that ESRA could do in the future--have similar Level 1,2,3 certifications based on the same total impulse classes, but with self-built motors (solid, hybrid, or even liquid). Tripoli has its Research program, but you still need to go through the standard certification process requiring you buy expensive motor reloads and (and cases, if you can't borrow them) which you may never use again if you prefer to build your own motors. Certainly there's a lot to be learned by going through the standard certification process (my first Level 1 attempt a while back had a hard impact with some fin damage because I had packed the parachute incorrectly), but it seems reasonable to allow home-built motors provided sufficient static testing has been accomplished. The Tripoli and NAR high power rules are based on NFPA 1127, and having ESRA rules that allow homebuilt motors would probably need to be worked out with the NFPA. Just a thought, and this would be somewhere down the road...
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