A TARC team contacted us about logistics of staging their entry for the contest. They pointed out that the rules state that the upper stage has to be a BP motor and cannot be a composite...sure enough, the rules are changed. Has anyone heard as to why they are limiting the upper stage to BP or did they just decide to make it that way because of to many composites failing to start using the timers or due to the weather?
Also, I'm curious as to what kind of input you have gotten from schools that you forwarded information to that didn't enter. I find it extremely sad that with so many large schools in our area, that they have more entries from across the state line from schools not even a 1/4 of the size. To top that off, a couple that did not enter, even use rocketry in their classes for teaching and still did not enter, so I'm wondering as to why you think schools in that particular situation don't enter, cost? time?
At least we'll have a half dozen to compete from the general area.
Hi Mr. Rudy - Well, I've waited until the "proverbial last minute" to get back to you on this, because I've been trying to find someone to sponsor this. But I've had no luck. We're all just too busy trying to teach and do all of the other science activities and sports that we already sponsor here at Lenape. I do the science fair, which involves 54 independent study projects this year! 2 other science teachers coach the Science Olympiad - almost 30 events. 2 others coach field hockey and lacrosse. And our 6th teacher is expecting a baby soon.
So, it is just not working out for us this year. I was also unable to get funding for the project. The district funds/supports the Delaware Valley Science Fair, as it can involve many studensts in many areas of science. Because of the encompassing nature of the Fair and the Olympiad - this ability to meet the interests of many students - that is where we focus our energies.
Thanks so much for all of your enthusiasm regarding this venture! Perhaps someone will be able to work with you in the future. - Deb ##########
The third largest school district in Pennsylvania behind Philly and Pittsburgh.....I was told by another teacher in another district that this school district is too posh to get their hands dirty, I was told give them no reason to say no and they will find a way.......I offered to do everything, but they found a way to say no. It sort of explains why my oldest went to prep school, where they weren't so focused on state wide assessments to bolster next year's contract negotiations, they actually taught...... the dedicated ones aren't there for just the money.
The majority of the failures (especially the spectacular / dangerous ones) were due to the failure of upper stage composite ignition. So it was decided to eliminate this option.
IMHOUThe teams that I advised in the past, I always strongly suggested that they not attempt to stage composite motors unless they already had experience doing so. And I seriously doubt that more than a handful of last years 800 +/- teams had that experience.
Last year, and even more so this year, the goal is reachable with direct staged BP motors. Adding additional complexity seriously violates the KISS principle.
I think we're seeing most of the schools that actually came out and flew last year are repeating this year. A few new schools are also in the mix. But it looks like last year weeded out all the schools that were interested, but never got far enough into the project to actually fly a rocket. That was more than 50% of last years registrants. I still think someone should contact all those schools, and offer to buy back their altimeters, cheap!
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD" >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD!
My niece's school wanted to compete but did not have the available funds. In order to get any budgeted money for such a project, her school district requires a formal proposal to be submitted over a year in advance. They were not aware of the competition until my niece entered their "Engineering Academy" program.
Thanks to the generosity of family and members of my NAR section the entry fee was raised. The team has applied for a grant from the school district for additional funds and they are planning some fund- raisers. These kids are really pumped. Their goal is to go to Virginia, even though the fly-offs conflict with their senior prom. Now THAT's dedication.
One of the members who donated told me that his own son's school did not want to participate. According to him, they just couldn't be bothered with it.
So to answer your question, it was a combination of cost and time.
I really don't think staging composites is all that difficult. One just has to be carefull and make sure not to overlook anything (like me almost forgetting to turn on the electronics - thanks Roger). My first attempt at composite staging was in a 4" x 10' 2-stage rocket using a J420R/I211W. The timer ignited the 2nd stage motor fine; the problem was getting the first stage motor to ignite. Just use a good potent reliable igniter in the sustainer motor. Seems to me any staging (black powder or composite) is difficult if you're just beginning in rocketry, but that's what TARC advisors are for, I think. Larry Lobdell Jr. NAR 58331 SR, L2 TRA 6148, L2
And thats the key. Staging BP motors can be done directly with no electronics. Staging composites requires a second piece of electronics, in addtion to the mandated altimeter. And it's an area that is WAY outside the beginners learning curve, and most of the TARC competitors are rocket rookies.
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD" >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD!
I think you greatly underestimate the abilities of motivated high-school students, especially those who have an experienced rocketry advisor. I disagree that staging composites is "an area that is WAY outside the beginners learning curve." I've flown rockets for 38 years but I was still a total "beginner" at staging composites until my first attempt
2 years ago. I learned everything I know about composite staging by reading books, magazines, and these forums. Then I just did it. Certainly high-school students have the ability to do the same. Up until the HSA/SEA garbage ended it, I volunteered (as did other local HPR flyers) with an orginization that had 20-30 teams of students (ages 10-18) each build HPR rockets (I284 power) and design payloads for them, and each entry was judged. This last year dual-deployment was mandatory, and most of the groups made it work right. One girl-scout team designed and built a really neat payload. It used a second altimeter to eject a plastic duck at their pre-set altitude on descent. And it worked! You should have seen their excitement! I also saw payloads with CBL's, video transmitters, etc. Since almost every member of these groups had never flown ANY rocket before, I guess they were rocket rookies. Was this difficult for them? Yes, but that was part of the challenge. Kids live up to, or down to, the expectations adults have of them (and TARC just lowered its expectations). Some of us seem to be too afraid (?) of electronics to let kids mix them with rockets. Another learning opportunity bites the dust. Larry Lobdell Jr.
I met some teenagers at a launch yesterday who are experimenting with sugar motors as we are. Highly intelligent motivated young men, their biggest hurtle? Bull**** rules.
These kids truly believed that they wouldn't even be allowed on the launch site, never mind actually burning or God-forbid flying one of their motors.
What a pity, exactly the kind of people this hobby desperately needs, consider the very organization that needs them, to have insurmountable rules. And certainly no program to offer them.
So, these lads, not to be stopped, fly in their local parks, unsupervised, unmentored, untutored. Good for them, this country needs all the civil disobedience it can get.
OTOH, for us adults, the rules seem very flexible.
I could offer examples but won't, people would consider my example of flexibility with the rules in a negative way, ignoring the common sense that safety was improved. I mean after all, rules were violated, and we can't have that can we?
Come on people, we are the smartest, meanest, most hard-working, pull together when the going gets tough, inovative group of misfits and malcontents the world has ever seen, yet the anti-talent? we seem to have in real abundance is defining us, the ability to shoot ourselves in the foot every chance we get.
Aside from all this......is it just me or does rocketry seem to attract a lot of middle-aged fat guys with serious control issues? It seems every other person I talk to at a launch is very intent on telling me exactly how to herd my cats. And hasn't seen their, uh....belt buckle....in a loooong time.
Of course I have an excuse, I'm a Chef and if I'm not tasting I'm not doing my job ;). I however learned as a young man that pride of opinion will bite you in the butt every time.
Sorry for hijacking this thread.
And I also apologize for bragging, but it was almost 80F at the launch yesterday, isn't it a bit cooler in the NE?
Jim Rutkowski Executive Chef - TrailerTrashAerospace
All kidding aside - it sometimes seems that ALL organizations have leaders with control issues. After all... who else would take on such a task? Most of us just want to build and fly our toys, but there has to be *somebody* to organize things, right? And who better for the job than control-freaks, right? The problem is that we put all of our trust in them to do the Right Thing for all of us... but most are intent on simply exerting their control over us.
Look at politics - exactly the same thing.
My solution - abide by the rules that I'm comfortable with, and ignore the ones I find distasteful. :-)
Any voluntary elected position of authority will attract some control freaks. Fortunately they can be voted out if the membership doesn't think they're doing a good job.
Then there are the other kinds of control freaks. The ones who don't want to do the work but demand obedience to their will. Or the ones who can't convince enough people that their way is the right way, and then spend the rest of their days complaining about how others are doing things.
If they thought they wouldn't be allowed on the launch site, they were mistaken; we welcome everyone with an interest in rocketry. That said, the launch in question was a NAR launch, so they would not have been allowed to fly non-certified motors.
If they had asked me (I was RSO at that launch charged with enforcing the nasty
-rules-), I would have told them about AHPRA's monthly experimental launches, and introduced them to Mr. Rutkowski and his associates from trailertrashaerospace because the AHPRA launches are safe, and Jim and his cronies are very knowledgeable.