Model Rockets - Rocketry

Model Rockets

Model Rocket Safety Code

The National Association of Rocketry has developed a list of guidelines, reprinted below, that provide additional information about how to fly your model rockets safely and successfully.

My model rocket will be made of lightweight materials such as paper, wood, rubber, and plastic suitable for the power used and the performance of my model rocket. I will not use any metal for the nose cone, body, or fins of a model rocket.

2. Engines
I will use only commercially-made, NAR-certified model rocket engines in the manner recommended by the manufacturer. I will not alter the model rocket engine, its parts, or its ingredients in any way.

3. Recovery
I will always use a recovery system in my model rocket that will return it safely to the ground so it may be flown again. I will use only flame-resistant recovery wadding if wadding is required by the design of my model rocket.

4. Weight and Power Limits
My model rocket will weigh no more than 1,500 grams (53 ounces) at lift-off and its rocket engines will produce no more than 320 Newton-seconds (71.9 pound-seconds) of total impulse. My model rocket will weigh no more than the engine manufacturer's recommended maximum liftoff weight for the engines used, or I will use engines recommended by the manufacturer for my model rocket.

5. Stability
I will check the stability of my model rocket before its first flight, except when launching a model rocket of already proven stability.

6. Payloads
My model rocket will never carry live animals (except insects) or a payload that is intended to be flammable, explosive, or harmful.

7. Launch Site
I will launch my model rocket outdoors in a cleared area, free of tall trees, power lines, buildings, and dry brush and grass. My launch area will be at least as large as that recommended in the accompanying table.

8. Launcher
I will launch my model rocket from a stable launch device that provides rigid guidance until the model rocket has reached a speed adequate to ensure a safe flight path. To prevent accidental eye injury, I will always place the launcher so the end of the rod is above eye level or I will cap the end of the rod when approaching it. I will cap or disassemble my launch rod when not in use and I will never store it in an upright position. My launcher will have a jet deflector device to prevent the engine exhaust from hitting the ground directly. I will always clear the area around my launch device of brown grass, dry weeds, or other easy-to-burn materials.

9. Ignition System
The system I use to launch my model rocket will be remotely controlled and electrically operated. It will contain a launching switch that will return to "off" when released. The system will contain a removable safety interlock in series with the launch switch. All persons will remain at least 15 feet from the model rocket when I am igniting model rocket engines totaling 30 Newton-seconds or less of total impulse and at least 30 feet from the model rocket when I am igniting model rocket engines totaling more than 30 Newton-seconds of total impulse. I will use only electrical ignites recommended by the engine manufacturer that will ignite model rocket engines within one second of actuation of the launching switch.

10. Launch Safety
I will ensure that people in the launch area are aware of the pending model rocket launch and can see the model rocket's liftoff before I begin my audible five-second countdown. I will not launch my model rocket so its flight path will carry it against a target. If my model rocket suffers a misfire, I will not allow anyone to approach it or the launcher until I have made certain that the safety interlock has been removed or that the battery has been disconnected from the ignition system. I will wait one minute after a misfire before allowing anyone to approach the launcher.

11. Flying Conditions
I will launch my model rocket only when the wind is less than 20 miles per hour. I will not launch my model rocket so it flies into clouds, near aircraft in flight, or in a manner that is hazardous to people or property.

12. Pre-Launch Test
When conducting research activities with unproved model rocket designs or methods I will, when possible, determine the reliability of my model rocket by pre-launch tests. I will conduct the launching of an unproved design in complete isolation from persons not participating in the actual launching.

13. Launch Angle
My launch device will be pointed within 30 degrees of vertical. I will never use model rocket engines to propel any device horizontally.

14. Recovery Hazards
If a model rocket becomes entangled in a power line or other dangerous place, I will not attempt to retrieve it.

Launch Site Dimension

Installed Total Impulse (N-sec) Equivalent Engine Type Minimum Site Dimensions (ft.)
0.00--1.25 1/4A, 1/2A 50
1.26--2.50 A 100
2.51--5.00 B 200
5.01--10.00 C 400
10.01--20.00 D 500
20.01--40.00 E 1,000
40.01--80.00 F 1,000
80.01--160.00 G 1,000
160.01--320.00 Two G's 1,500