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Last updated: Jan 11, 2008
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Launch Frequently Asked Questions

Please see the Launch Rules and Procedures page for more launch information and the MASA FAQ page for general questions.

Q:  What motors may be flown at MASA launches?
  All motors must be commercially manufactured and must be currently certified.  They must be listed on the combined CAR/NAR/TRA certified motor list as published by the NAR.  See to download a copy of that list.  The maximum allowable motor size depends upon which flying field is in use and whether or not a FAA waiver is in effect.

Q:  Why is a level 1 high power certification required to fly some F and G motors?
  The NFPA regulations for high power rocketry define HPR in three ways: In terms of thrust (average < 80N), propellant mass (< 62.5g), OR total impulse (< 160N-sec). There are several motors that are thus defined as HPR by NFPA, but not by NAR.

Among the motors used at MASA launches in the past, the NFPA list would require L1 certification to use the Aerotech single use F101 and G125 and the Aerotech RMS G33 (for the hobby line 29/40-120 case), and G75 and G104 (for the HPR 29mm cases).

Thus, in order to be consistent with NFPA, we have to require L1 certification for users of these motors. It is a tiny bit of a grey area: In Minnesota, NFPA compliance is taken as prima facie evidence of compliance with MN State Fire Code in those areas not explicitly addressed in the existing fire code. This includes HPR, in the opinion of the State Fire Marshall. What this means is that if you comply with NFPA, you can't be cited by a local fire marshal for code violations. If you don't comply with NFPA, you have to work it out with the local fire marshal. So given a choice about what to do, we have decided to follow NFPA restrictions.

Q: Can I get my level 1 high power certification at a MASA launch?
A:  Yes.  You must be a NAR member and meet the qualifications to be level 1.  Then, you have to wait for a launch at the Nowthen site because it's the only place where we can fly H or I motors.  Be sure to bring along your paperwork - your witnesses will need to fill it out.  If possible, let us know a few days ahead of time that you'll be attempting a cert flight.  There are typically large pads, rods up through 1/2" and a "1010" rail at MASA launches.  If you need other special launch equipment, you must either provide it yourself or make other arrangements.

Q:  What about launch rods and pads?
A:  If the launch will be using a centralized "rack" layout, these rod sizes will be provided at the launch: 1/8, 3/16, 1/4, 1/2", and "1010" rails.  If you require an oddball size rod, you'll have to bring your own.  Some pads will be provided, but you're encouraged to bring one.

If the launch is using a "misfire alley" layout, you need to bring your own launch pad, rods, and launch controller.  If you don't have this equipment, there are generally a few pads set up for anyone's use.

Q:  Can I go out on my own and fly some rockets at one of the MASA launch sites?
A:  Yes and no.  The White Bear Lake site is a public park.  You may fly rockets there on your own, but organized athletics have first call on the park.  The Elk River site is private land owned by the VFW.  You can fly rockets there, but you should check with the VFW first.  Again, organized soccer stuff has first call on the field.  Other launch sites that are located on private property may ONLY be used for organized club launches.

Q:  What's being a RSO or LCO all about?
A:  For more info, download and read the slides (PDF) from the MASA LCO / RSO training meeting.  Also, the RSO & LCO checklists.