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#1
So, welcome to the forum.  Feel free to start threads about what you have going on, recent meets, models, questions, etc.
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#2
Great information and am glad there is a bonified Contest forum.
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#3
Thanks, John.

What are your current interests, events you want to fly soon?

- George
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#4
Hi George,

   Thank you for starting up this forum.  I have been "on sabbatical" from model rocketry for fifteen years and now my life situation allows me to return to the enjoyment of flying these birds.  I have spent the last three months attempting to catch up on the changes in the hobby since I last flew in competition.  This  forum has been very valuable in that effort and I know that I will learn much from the participants here.  I spent some time reviewing old logs of my competition efforts and decided that I need to pursue simple aims in this inaugural year of my return.  Those aims are :
    - Have fun!
    - fly all rockets off rod with launch lugs
    - No tower, no launch rail, no piston launchers – GSE development later
    - KISS principal, establish procedures and flight logging, eliminate mistakes and DQ’s
    - Look, Ask and Listen  
    - Have fun!
   Because I live in Colorado, I am pleased that NARAM will be in Pueblo next summer.  I am hopeful that I will be able to attend and enjoy that great experience.  My last NARAM was in 2000, also in Colorado.

Thanks again for your efforts,

Mel Gray
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#5
Mel,
  I like your list of aims for this season, especially your first and last points!

  With the new NRC sporting code, the events are much the same, but the point system is gone. The goal is now more of a "personal best" with automatic National ranking. It is very much NARAM-oriented. The motivation for local contest flying will depend on how many local flyers are considering a NARAM run (in your case, plenty... being in Colorado). For clubs without NARAM-crazed rocketeers, it is up to individuals to mentor the uninitiated into flying contests "for fun" and "a new challenge". This is the same as it was under the old Pink Book rules.

  Here's a link to the new contest rules:  http://www.nar.org/wp-content/uploads/20..._-2017.pdf

  I'm re-teaching myself the basic things I used to do when building and flying contest rockets. 
  • Light-weight construction, yet strong enough. Finding materials that are available now. Suppliers and techniques.
  • Reliable recovery (good shockcords, strong connection points, streamer/pachute materials, and ejection charge protection).
  • Getting things prepped in a timely manner, don't hurry and make mistakes, but get your flights in the air.
  • Then... more competitive flying (towers/pistons, picking thermals, optimizing designs). 
  -John
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#6
(10-15-2017, 05:43 PM)George Gassaway Wrote: Thanks, John.

What are your current interests, events you want to fly soon?

- George

I want to take the time and learn all that there is.  I was lucky enough to attend one day of NARAM back in 1993 in Maryland while at a military training school.  I saw you there briefly and have been active with the San Diego NAR club while stationed in Southern California.  Now I am up in Washington and trying to get a club going along the Columbia Gorge area (GRC 790).  It takes awhile to get those around interested, but it is slowly picking up.
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#7
It's good to learn.  But it's also good to "just fly it" too. Learn enough to have a decent chance of success, regardless of whether it may perform great or not. To get some experience. 

One of the biggest lessons I learned in competition was by my mentor Terry Lee.  I noticed that his models didn't look the best, or necessarily use the latest concepts in design (though he's a good designer, his published  designs tended to be easier to build and more reliable to fly than some other designs). But they worked reliably.  So he racked up solid flights. He might not win every event, but if he didn't win he'd take 2nd maybe 3rd. He rarely DQ'ed out of an event. And he'd usually end up winning the contest. It was strategic - to try to reach a balance between trying to score well but to be careful about high-risk designs that could really screw up your score if they didn't work right.  

 As compared at the time (Early 1970's) to the some of members of the MIT Rocket Society, who sometimes had "bleeding edge" model designs. When they worked, those high concept models often won. But the models often had reliability problems.  Or the design concepts were highly novel and seemed like great ideas, but they didn't pan out with the theoretical performance (I can think of a photo of a Superroc that had a tiny hook on its nose so it was held by its nose when on the pad (suspended by a tall pole), keeping it from bowing due to how flimsy it was. But a superroc too flimsy to stand by itself was also too flimsy to fly under rocket power without bowing. IIRC in the photo the model was already bowing due to the wind, at it hung at the pad). I guess a good way to look at many of those would be that they were the "go big or go home" type of approach, or swinging for the fences. And they were not going for national championships at the time (though later on, some such as Trip Barber and Chris Flanigan did, and are GREAT competititors).  An example of their advancement of the state of the art was R/C Rocket Boosted Gliders. Various members such as Guppy Youngren, Bob Parks, Geoff Landis, and Chris Flanigan (and others) working up from small rudder-only finicky not-too-reliable R/C gear, to creating custom receivers and homemade actuators, to 2-channel models, and onwards. They published their work, their designs, and pushed the state of the art. Leading to Guppy winning the Gold Medal in D/E Boost Glide at the 1978 FAI World Spacemodeling Championships with his "Flagship". And when the E R/C Rocket Glide event (S8E) was created, Phil Barnes, Karen Dillon (Bob Parks' wife), and Bob Parks took Gold-Silver-Bronze medals, and the US team the Gold medal in that event, using MIT's designs (Phil with a Flagship, Karen and Bob using Bob's Raven-3). 

Well, the above paragraph went on longer than intended, but I didn't want to slight the massive long-term influences of the MITRS. Just that for a solid footing in competition, basic and reliable will be more effective early, then as you learn more you can find what works out better for you, going with kits or plans or in some cases becoming adept at your own designing for various event types. Also, the MIT Competition Notebook, available from NARTS, has a lot of great designs and articles in it, good solid stuff.  https://blastzone.org/nar/narts/store.as...0111811376

I also learned to TEST FLY as much as possible, another big lesson from Terry. From fall of 1975 to summer of 1976, I flew model rockets just about every weekend (had a mild winter). Nearly every one of those flying sessions involved test flying contest models of one kind or another. Crashed stuff. Learned a lot. Came up with some good stuff. The Rotaroc was born in August 1975, and by the 7th model (March of 1976) the design was finalized (though improved thru the years, but the basic design remains the same). I can't say I'd expect anyone to test fly every weekend, but that is an example of how much one can really learn by experience.  Also I wasn't flying at the big famous contests (in the Virginia-Maryland area, while I was in Alabama) where I could see what other people were doing, so I went by what I read in the magazines and some newsletters, and had to take it from there to try out my own (not necessarily my own designs, but also my versions from plans in magazines and newsletters, and a few CMR kits). 

I will make note that I did make it to the North Georgia Regional Meet (NGRM) held near Atlanta, in June for several years. My first was in 1971, where I met John Langford and a few others I'd read about. Then in 1973 Terry Lee and the Vikings section drove down from Virginia and really scored well. That was when I met Terry and started to see more practical (reliable and solid) ways of competing, rather than trying to come up with "killer idea" models for some events that didn't work out so well (Killer idea models do have their place. But one has to learn and test and revise and test for them to become effective killer idea models.  Smile  ). My first NARAM was in 1974, and was incredible to see so many people I'd read about for four years.

Anyway..... learn some, then build and fly to see how it goes.
NAR# 18723  -  GeorgesRockets.Com   "Contest flying, Sport flying, it's all good."
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#8
(12-05-2017, 08:07 PM)George Gassaway Wrote: It's good to learn.  But it's also good to "just fly it" too. Learn enough to have a decent chance of success, regardless of whether it may perform great or not. To get some experience. 

One of the biggest lessons I learned in competition was by my mentor Terry Lee.  I noticed that his models didn't look the best, or necessarily use the latest concepts in design (though he's a good designer, his published  designs tended to be easier to build and more reliable to fly than some other designs). But they worked reliably.  So he racked up solid flights. He might not win every event, but if he didn't win he'd take 2nd maybe 3rd. He rarely DQ'ed out of an event. And he'd usually end up winning the contest. It was strategic - to try to reach a balance between trying to score well but to be careful about high-risk designs that could really screw up your score if they didn't work right.  

 As compared at the time (Early 1970's) to the some of members of the MIT Rocket Society, who sometimes had "bleeding edge" model designs. When they worked, those high concept models often won. But the models often had reliability problems.  Or the design concepts were highly novel and seemed like great ideas, but they didn't pan out with the theoretical performance (I can think of a photo of a Superroc that had a tiny hook on its nose so it was held by its nose when on the pad (suspended by a tall pole), keeping it from bowing due to how flimsy it was. But a superroc too flimsy to stand by itself was also too flimsy to fly under rocket power without bowing. IIRC in the photo the model was already bowing due to the wind, at it hung at the pad). I guess a good way to look at many of those would be that they were the "go big or go home" type of approach, or swinging for the fences. And they were not going for national championships at the time (though later on, some such as Trip Barber and Chris Flanigan did, and are GREAT competititors).  An example of their advancement of the state of the art was R/C Rocket Boosted Gliders. Various members such as Guppy Youngren, Bob Parks, Geoff Landis, and Chris Flanigan (and others) working up from small rudder-only finicky not-too-reliable R/C gear, to creating custom receivers and homemade actuators, to 2-channel models, and onwards. They published their work, their designs, and pushed the state of the art. Leading to Guppy winning the Gold Medal in D/E Boost Glide at the 1978 FAI World Spacemodeling Championships with his "Flagship". And when the E R/C Rocket Glide event (S8E) was created, Phil Barnes, Karen Dillon (Bob Parks' wife), and Bob Parks took Gold-Silver-Bronze medals, and the US team the Gold medal in that event, using MIT's designs (Phil with a Flagship, Karen and Bob using Bob's Raven-3). 

Well, the above paragraph went on longer than intended, but I didn't want to slight the massive long-term influences of the MITRS. Just that for a solid footing in competition, basic and reliable will be more effective early, then as you learn more you can find what works out better for you, going with kits or plans or in some cases becoming adept at your own designing for various event types. Also, the MIT Competition Notebook, available from NARTS, has a lot of great designs and articles in it, good solid stuff.  https://blastzone.org/nar/narts/store.as...0111811376

I also learned to TEST FLY as much as possible, another big lesson from Terry. From fall of 1975 to summer of 1976, I flew model rockets just about every weekend (had a mild winter). Nearly every one of those flying sessions involved test flying contest models of one kind or another. Crashed stuff. Learned a lot. Came up with some good stuff. The Rotaroc was born in August 1975, and by the 7th model (March of 1976) the design was finalized (though improved thru the years, but the basic design remains the same). I can't say I'd expect anyone to test fly every weekend, but that is an example of how much one can really learn by experience.  Also I wasn't flying at the big famous contests (in the Virginia-Maryland area, while I was in Alabama) where I could see what other people were doing, so I went by what I read in the magazines and some newsletters, and had to take it from there to try out my own (not necessarily my own designs, but also my versions from plans in magazines and newsletters, and a few CMR kits). 

I will make note that I did make it to the North Georgia Regional Meet (NGRM) held near Atlanta, in June for several years. My first was in 1971, where I met John Langford and a few others I'd read about. Then in 1973 Terry Lee and the Vikings section drove down from Virginia and really scored well. That was when I met Terry and started to see more practical (reliable and solid) ways of competing, rather than trying to come up with "killer idea" models for some events that didn't work out so well (Killer idea models do have their place. But one has to learn and test and revise and test for them to become effective killer idea models.  Smile  ). My first NARAM was in 1974, and was incredible to see so many people I'd read about for four years.

Anyway..... learn some, then build and fly to see how it goes.

Thank you for all of the advice.  I have been involved with the hobby for a long time and of course, caught the high powered rocketry bug after returning to the west coast after Desert Storm.  I was a former member of the NASA/Houston Rocket club in the 80s when John Pursley was the treasurer :-) 
I have participated in NAR competitions a little bit through the years and want to compete even more.

I will read the NARTS publications.
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