Monday, July 25, 2016

Captain, she's on fire!

The National Association of Rocketry (NAR) hosts two big launches every year - the National Sport Launch (NSL) at the end of spring and NARAM in the summer. NSL is what we call a "fun fly"; rocketeers load up their birds and fly them at their discretion - achieving a certification is the most serious thing going at this launch. NARAM is a totally different beastie - while there is a sport range for fun flying, it is NAR's contest launch, designed and conducted for the continually decreasing crowd of diehard competition rocketeers. These folks square off in events such as parachute duration, rocket glider duration, C altitude, plastic model conversion, scale modeling, and R&D; in these, materials, skill, and knowledge are everything - practically anyone can do a level 1 or 2 certification, but it is very tough to win a NARAM competition event. High power folks are justifiably impressed when a rocketeer joins the ranks of the Level 3 Certified; however, with all due respect to my HPR brethren, I am more awestruck by the person who can win Scale at NARAM, as there are some incredibly talented and skilled competition rocketeers out there.

NARAM 58 is currently underway, and there is a wonderful web site,, where you can get a flavor of the action. I was perusing this site yesterday, and noticed a spectacular series of images taken at NARAM's opening sport launch on Saturday. They depict a rocket suffering a motor malfunction (CATO), and were so striking that I downloaded the set. After I did so, I noticed that NARAMlive had posted on its YouTube channel a live video of the flight, so let's take a look at that first, in real time:

Pretty cool, eh? Now consider this animation I made of the downloaded images:

This is one of the most awesome CATO sequences I have seen, so good in fact, that it prompted me to get off my rear and do a blog post. That is awesome indeed!

If you have some time, check out the NARAM action at Makes me wish I was there (my last NARAM was NARAM 30, back in 1988)...

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