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Last updated: Jan 11, 2008
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Rules and Procedures for all MASA Club Launches

General Rules

  • The NAR safety code will be strictly followed at all times.  (Almost goes without saying, eh?)

  • "Estes" (tissue paper) style recovery wadding is NOT allowed at any MASA launches.  Instead, cellulose wadding is always provided for your use, free of charge.

  • Visitors and spectators are welcome at MASA launches.  They will be expected to "behave themselves" and follow all club rules.  Young children must be supervised by their parents or a responsible adult.  If you bring along a pet, it must be on a leash at all times.

  • Non-club members may fly rockets at MASA launches. However, they are limited to rockets that weigh less than one pound, use engine sizes up through "D" and have a maximum combined total impulse from all engines (if clustered or staged) of 20 Newton-seconds (a single Estes "D" is 17 Newton-seconds).
  • To fly rockets that weigh more than one pound or use engines bigger than "D" or have a combined total impulse from all engines of more than 20 Newton-seconds, you must be a MASA member.

  • To fly rockets using "H" or "I" motors, you must be a MASA member, NAR or TRA member and hold a level one (or higher) high power certification.  To fly rockets using "J" motors, you must be a MASA member, NAR or TRA member and hold a level two (or higher) high power certification.

  • Safety Checks.  The following types of rockets must be checked over and approved by the RSO (or other designated safety officer) before flight:

    • Any rocket flying on an "E" or larger engine.

    • Any rocket using more than one motor - either clustered or multistage.

    • Any rocket weighing more than one pound.

  • Please check your area at the launch for any garbage and debris (regardless of whether it's yours!) and pick it up.  Launch sites are a precious commodity, and we want to keep ours!

  • If at all possible, please arrive early and help to set up the launch equipment and/or stay a bit late and assist in disassembling and packing the launch equipment.

  • Volunteers are always needed to cover the range duty during the launch.  For insurance reasons, RSO and LCO volunteers must be both MASA members and NAR members.

  • The edge of the launch range is marked off with a flag line.  Please stay out of the launch range unless you need to be there.

  • "Sparky" type motors, such as Aerotech Metalstorm, CTI/AMW Skidmark, or any other brand of motor that emits showers of sparks, are NOT ALLOWED at any MASA launch.

  • Neal Higgins typically has the following rods & rails in his trailer available for use at MASA launches:  1/4", 1/2", 6' standard rails, 12' large rail
    "Community Pads" (if available) typically have 1/8", 3/16", and 1/4" rods available.

  • On NAR ranges, the default launch guide angle shall be 5 degrees (approximately one inch per foot of launch guide) away from spectators. For local conditions, this angle may be reset at the discretion of the RSO.

Rules specific to each launch site are covered on those web pages:

In recent years, MASA has been using a "combined" style launch range.  We have a few "community pads" that are "rack style", open for use by anyone, and controlled by the LCO.  We also mark stations where people can set up their own pads and controllers in misfire alley.

Launch Procedures ("misfire alley" style with many individual controllers)

  • SETUP  The LCO will direct you to where you can set up your own launch pad and controller. Your equipment must meet safety code standards, or we will not allow you to use it!  You must have a minimum of 15 feet of cord between controller and pad for up through D engines; a minimum of 30 feet for bigger than D, 100 feet for H.  Small / rickety pads will not be allowed to launch large rockets.  Pads will be spaced out at intervals depending upon what size rockets will be flown from them.  The whole idea of misfire alley is to allow frequent launching using many pads spaced over a larger area.  It's an alternative to the traditional "fill the whole rack, launch the whole rack" method.  Plus, you always get to push the button to launch your own rocket!  Many clubs have successfully used misfire alley for years now.
  • FLYING  When you have a rocket ready to fly, you will fill out a flight card (one per flight per rocket).  Take your rocket and the flight card to the SCO (Safety Check Officer), primary RSO (Range Safety Officer), or a "Roving RSO"; they will be wearing special badges.  The safety officer will inspect your rocket and ask you a few quick questions.  If he approves, he will initial your flight card.  THE SAFETY OFFICERS HAVE THE FINAL WORD.  ATTEMPTS TO CIRCUMVENT OR IGNORE SAFETY OFFICER APPROVAL WILL BE DEALT WITH HARSHLY.
  • Go out to your pad (or somebody else's pad that you've asked to use in advance) and get your rocket all set and ready to fly.  You should check igniter continuity, but DO NOT LEAVE YOUR LAUNCH CONTROLLER IN AN ARMED STATE!  While at your pad, be attentive to LCO instructions, they will alert you if a nearby pad will be launching.
  • When your rocket is ready to launch, clip your launch card to the pad board to let the LCO know that you’re ready, then go back and wait by your launch controller.  (The LCO will reject your flight card if it isn't fully filled-out, or if it hasn't been initialed by a safety officer.)
  • LAUNCHING  The LCO will say "yourname, raise your left arm if you're ready to launch."  The LCO will read the details off your flight card (the LCO will also warn people at adjacent pads to yours and make them back away if necessary), and then give a short countdown (5..4..3..2..1..[launch]) over the PA.  After "1", you get to push the button on your launch controller to launch your rocket.
  • If your rocket fails to launch, please retrieve your flight card from the pad board, bring it back there again only when you're ready to make another launch attempt.
  • Always be mindful of safety.  Be aware of the other launch pads, launches, and rockets coming down in the pad area.  Be sure that you can hear the LCO over the PA system at all times.
  • When you're ready to leave, you just pack up your personal launch equipment and go.  Please pick up all used igniters and other trash around your pad.

 

Launch Procedures (Rack style with central controller under LCO control) - ("community pads")

  • For this setup, MASA provides the launch control, ignition system, and launch pads.

  • One or two volunteer officers are running the launch at any time:  the RSO and LCO.  (at small launches, we may combine these two jobs)

    • RSO: Range Safety Officer.  Inspects rockets.  Supervises pad sign-up.  Assists with pad operations.  Responsible for overall safety of the launch range.

    • LCO: Launch Control Officer.  Announces racks lineups.  Operates the launch controller.  Controls the open or closed status of the launch range.  Assists with pad operations.  Assists with range safety.

  • Here's a sample procedure to follow when you want to launch a rocket.

    • Get your rocket ready to fly.  Make sure that you're using a properly certified engine, safe recovery system, and cellulose wadding.

    • Go to the signup table and fill out a flight card (one per flight per rocket).

    • Take your rocket and the flight card to the SCO (Safety Check Officer), primary RSO (Range Safety Officer), or a "Roving RSO"; they will be wearing special badges.  The safety officer will inspect your rocket and ask you a few quick questions.  If he approves, he will initial your flight card.  THE SAFETY OFFICERS HAVE THE FINAL WORD.  ATTEMPTS TO CIRCUMVENT OR IGNORE SAFETY OFFICER APPROVAL WILL BE DEALT WITH HARSHLY.

    • Bring your rocket and flight card to the LCO.  He will take your card and assign you to a "community pad".

    • When the LCO announces that the range is open, you may go to your pad and get your rocket set to launch.  If you need assistance, ask the RSO or LCO for help.

    • When all rockets in the rack are ready, the LCO will go down the list of pads and launch the rockets.  If you want to push the button to launch your rocket, you need to be at the launch control table when the LCO gets to your rocket.

    • If your rocket launches successfully, you can go and retrieve it.  However, do not walk onto the launch range until the LCO gives the OK.  Please do NOT try to catch any rockets!

    • If your rocket fails to launch, wait until the LCO gives the OK.  Then, you will need to remove your rocket from the launch pad, replace the igniter (or whatever is necessary) and sign up again for a new pad in a later rack.

  • If you ever have any questions about proper launch procedures, ask either of the range officers on duty or anyone wearing a MASA name tag.

  • Have fun; be safe!