Hi to all- just wanted to drop a line and intro. As the subject line infers, I'm not quite new to the hobby, just trying to get back up to speed, if you will. I've been a reader of RMR for about 8 months now, and have found it to be a great resource for reference, expertise, suggestion, and opinion. The latter of those, I'm sure I'll be looking for a lot of in the upcoming weeks. Personally, I'm into it for the challenge and scientific nature of the hobby, and it provides me with a welcome escape from the trials and pitfalls of my occupation (corrections officer). As such, I'm partial to scratch building and kit-bashing, and soon hope to begin making some candy to motors to experiment with. I reside in south west FL. and hope to start attending some sanctioned launches before too long, once my work schedule allows. This I am quite enthused about, as it will get me into the loop and hopefully back submerged into the hobby. Thanks, and Hi!
G. Harry Stine spent virtually his entire adult life working in MODEL ROCKETRY with it's PRE-MADE MANUFACTURED engines to avoid this crap. He'd be rolling over in his grave. Tell me now; what safety code do these guys follow?
When done right, there is nothing unsafe about making your own motors. There are clubs that have their own insurance that allow people to make their own motors. There is also a program TRA has called EX (for experimental) that allows them. You can check TRA's web site for that safety code.
I'm sorry to hear that you look at at it from that point of view, Joe. If you carefully peruse Jim Yawn's site, he is quite conscientiously aware of the safety issues involved with manufacturing one's own motors. And as such, he reiterates the importance of safety practices throughout. Please understand, I'm not trying to impart that there is anything wrong with adherance to a pre-determined standard of safety, such as is implemented by the NAR or Tripoli, in fact if you read my earlier posts in this thread, I am contemplating membership in one or the other of these organizations. I just personally feel an appreciation for the science involved in the development and implementation of one's own ideas and incorporating these into a hobby that is, in all actuality, designed to ignite an interest in science and physics. I still do use pre-manufactured engines, and at no time in the immediate future do I plan to quit utilizing them. On the other hand, though, I do believe that one does need to possess a basic working knowledge of chemistry and the fundamental elements of safety involved in the handling and storage of chemicals before getting involved in such activities of this nature. And, as always, let common sense prevail. I hope this clarifies my post somewhat, I did not intend to offend anyone.
True but I thought he used professionally manufactured engines for consistencey, not because there is something evil about making your own motors. He was doing specific research that took most of his time. It's been my impression that he wasn't interested in that aspect of flying and didn't have the time for making his own motors.
Maybe upon reflection, he'd be pleased to see the hobby expanding.
Ask and you shall receive:
Check out this site:
and you'll see NAR, TRA and TRA EX coexisting and flourishing together, all in 1 club. It's a big website but if you'll take a few minutes and really sift through it, you'll see every type of rocketry available to hobbyists. We are intent on growing all areas of the hobby from 1/2 A on up. You want models, we have it, you want HPR, we have it, you want to fly EX you can do that too.
We follow all the rules and do our best to make every flight as safe as possible. It's a unified effort.
I certainly did not mean to start another discussion on this. The original poster had mentioned candy motors and I thought I was helping.
Yes, I believe G. Harry's intent was to promote model rocketry by advocating the safety of commercially made motors; for the general public who had an interest in rocketry. I believe this is just as valid today.
But much has changed in amateur rocketry over the years. You can take classes in making amateur motors from people involved in the aerospace industry; John Wickman, for instance. There are many amateur clubs and organizations, with safety codes and regulations which satisfy all local, state, and federal requirements, operating here and around the world. TRA allows some amateur motors at their EX launches.
And, to be quite frank, most amateurs I know are considerably more safety conscious and aware than is the typical model rocketeer.
However, I do understand that rmr was created to discuss "model rockets" and I shall endeavor to limit my references to amateur rocketry.
You need to understand the atmosphere of the late 50's and 60's and what was called "the youth rocketry problem." Thousands of kids and their inexperienced parents and teachers were going around half-cocked trying to build rockets or make rocket fuel. Some, like Homer Hickam, were successful, though it sounds like he had a few close calls. Many others weren't so lucky, and their stories can be found documented in Estes' anti-"basement bomber" literature of the time.
There were a few ways one could deal with the problem. Education about safety issues was one way, but that was probably going to be very slow and ineffective. However, combining it with good ol' American capitalism to replace the need for making your own powerplant with a safe, cheap, reliable alternative was another, and probably the best and fastest way. It probably also made dealing with the authorities a little easier, though that would still take years to sort out.
At some point, the two became inseparable. In many minds, to practice safe rocketry, you HAD to have pre-manufactured motors. Of course, it was also in Estes' best interest to convince people of that fact. For Harry's part, he de-emphasized (rightly I think) the method of propulsion in favor of the other parts of rocket science (I.e. what you do when you get there is more important than how you get there).
The development of HPR in the '80's changed a lot of paradigms ("*why should* my rockets weigh under a pound and have less than 4 oz. of propellant?"). In 1990, Aerotech introduced reloadables which really changed things ("Aaaeee! significant metal parts!").
By the late '80's the average rocketeer was well into adulthood, and education about rocket motors was a bit better disseminated, so there was lots of experimentation again, this time using composite propellants, based on existing commercial designs. (Indeed, our section kicked out a couple of guys who insisted on making their own back in '90).
In the late 90's, the release of Homer's book, and the movie "October Sky," has greatly relaxed attitudes, and made it "safe" to talk about making motors. As technology gets better and cheaper, and information is better and widely available, it has become possible to show people how to safely make a composite rocket motor. Others, like David Sleeter, have always insisted it's reasonably safe to press black powder motors, and others champion candy or zinc-sulfur motors. The big difference is usually that safety and knowledge of the risks is presented early. We don't hear much of kids stuffing match heads into CO2 cartridges any more.
For that I think we have Carlilse, Stine, Estes, Piester, and Wait to thank.
Harry gave a talk at the ''89 NARAM where he pointed out to the membership that things were changing and to remember that the organization is NOT called the National Association of Model Rocketry. I think most who knew him or read him would say he was nothing if not realistic and pragmatic, and if I remember correctly, in that talk Harry left the door open for the acceptance (within a proper framework) of a lot of things that would have been taboo at the time.
I should clarify that I myself am not at all into EX, and prefer that someone else with sufficient experience and capitalization produce motors that I can purchase onesie-twosie for a relatively cheap price and get reliability and, hopefully, consistency. I'll take care of the airframe and design around the power available to me. That goes back to when I was a photographer and spent way too much money and time developing and printing my own color photos to the point that I lost sight of what I should've been doing, which was taking the best pictures.
That said, I think the technology is understood enough that people who want to build motors should be able to do so. How much it is mixed with "traditional model rocket style" activities is up to the organizations. I like the "traditional model rocket style" myself.
While the club tries to offer everything possible, there is a clear delineation between which aspect is which, and the EX part even requires a time delay between launches. IIRC, there is a mandatory 12 hour waiting period between NAR / TRA, and TRA EX launches.
When there is an EX launch, no commercial motors are flown. It's even stated that way on the club website.