Night Launch Notes - Pichan's

MTMA launches are open to all.

There is no high-power (Class 2 or higher) rocket waiver for this field. Rockets flown shall be limited to NFPA 1122 Model Rocket and FAA Class 1–Model Rocket. According to NFPA 1122, a model rocket weighs no more than 1,500 g with motors installed; is propelled by one or more model rocket motors having an installed total impulse of no more than 320 N-sec; and contains no more than 125 g of propellant weight. A model rocket motor has a total impulse of no greater than 160 N-sec, an average thrust of no greater than 80 N, and a propellant weight of no more than 62.5 g. A model rocket's structural parts, including the body, nose cone, and fins, shall be made of paper, wood, or plastic and shall contain no metal parts (metallic reloadable motor casings are permitted). According to FAR 101.22, Class 1–Model Rocket means an amateur rocket that (1) Uses no more than 125 grams (4.4 ounces) of propellant; (2) Uses a slow-burning propellant; (3) Is made of paper, wood, or breakable plastic; (4) Contains no substantial metal parts; and (5) Weighs no more than 1,500 grams (53 ounces), including the propellant. (This is a combination of the old "Model Rocket" and "Large Model Rocket" designations.)

The field is smaller north-south than the old Summit County Fairgrounds field, but a bit bigger east-west. Extreme altitude is not recommended, although an Estes Comanche III has been flown there during the day and fully recovered--after much searching.

The daylight sport launch will be a typical MTMA rocket launch--just held later in the day than usual. It is not limited to night launch participants. Any Class 1-Model Rocket that passes a safety inspection can be flown during the daylight sport launch.

The launch control area, the launch pads, and all control wires will be equipped with low-intensity lighting and/or glow sticks for the night-time portion of the launch. Other man-made trip hazard will also be lit. MTMA will supply all ground support equipment for the night launch. MTMA will also supply all ground illumination, glow sticks, and red film wrapping for flashlight filters.

To offset additional costs, a $1 "Night Launch Range Fee" will be charged for the night launch. If you only launch during the day, the standard fees apply. If you launch both day and night, or only at night, you will be charged the standard fee plus $1. Our standard range fees are $2 for members and $5 for non-members. Annual membership dues are $10. Range fees are "once-per-day", not "once-per-flight". Dues and fees are all "per-family".

Red filters on lights help to preserve your ability to see in dim lighting. It also helps to wear dark neutral gray sunglasses whenever you go outside on the day of the night launch.

Spectators should bring chairs or blankets--and use them! The fewer people moving around in the dark, the better.

The field is part of an old sod farm. At night, cold air settles into this low-lying area. Dress for about 10 degrees colder than the forecast low temperature.

Rocket fliers, assistants, and recovery teams are advised to wear long pants--bumping into or tripping over an obstruction in the dark doesn't have to lead to bloodshed.

Here is a link to a great page from LUNAR (NAR Section #534) titled "Lights and Flashers for Night Launches":

Last updated: July 26, 2010.