Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Geezer TARC has started!

Now that the rules have been released for the 2020 TARC competition, the annual Geezer TARC contest can begin. I'm looking forward to it, and encourage anyone interested to participate. Who knows? You might be crowned the new TARC Geezer, or maybe even win the coveted Skunk trophy, given to the contestant with the biggest mess…er, most interesting rocket or flight.

The rules are the same as those for the 2020 TARC challenge (link to rules) with the following exceptions:

1) Geezer TARC begins with the announcement of the 2020 rules in May and ends with the contestants’ rockets being launched at a single event (date TBD, probably on a Saturday on or near the start of the college football season in September).

2) The altitude goal shall be 800 feet and the duration goal shall be 40-43 seconds. Geezer TARC was never intended to simulate Nationals, the focus being on what it takes to qualify. This practice will be continued this year, as it will help the mentors guide the local teams in their practice and qualification flights. Besides, we have enough trouble hitting the altitude mark even if we explicitly design for it.

3) Each contestant may enter up to two rockets. These rockets may not fly before the official launch date, and the score shall be determined by the first flight of each on that date. The contestant's score shall be the better of the two flights, or the score of one flight if only one rocket is entered.

4) Contestants must use one of the regulation TARC altimeters (APRA, PNUT, or Firefly) as the "official" measure of altitude. A re-flight will be allowed in the event of an altimeter malfunction, provided the flyer can demonstrate it was not his or her fault (i.e., did not forget to turn it on or provide vent holes to the outside). The altimeter used to record altitude may be used for no other purpose, though the use of a Jolly Logic Chute Release or other altimeter type/flight computer is permitted for flight control.

5) There is only one rocket per design, and there are no test or sub-scale flights permitted for the design. Its merit will be judged solely by the rocket’s performance at the contest launch. If two rockets are entered, they must be of substantially different design - different number of motors, fins, or something major - an inch shorter or taller does not constitute a substantial difference, nor does the same design at a different scale.

I am in the midst of building my first design - an Alpha-esque, 4 motor beauty I call "Oeuf." That's french for egg, and it also sounds like what I may mutter if one or more motors fail to ignite. Still working on design #2.

Let the fun begin!

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