Getting Started in Midpower Rocketry

How do you get started in midpower rocketry? Ask this question on any rocketry forum and you’ll get a wide range of opinion.

Here is my simple advice:

  1. Buy a rocket kit from a vendor such as LOC (www.locprecision.com), Public Missiles (www.publicmissiles.com) or Binder Design (www.binderdesign.com). They all make excellent rocket kits that have been thoroughly tested. You can argue all day about the merits of specific kit features or materials, but in the end they all can be flown successfully if you follow the instructions.
  2. Stick with a 29mm motor mount for your initial kit. Some will advise you to go 38mm in the event you want to fly larger motors later. But right now you don’t know much about flying 29mm motors and you’re not certified to fly larger motors! You can fly pretty high and fast on a 29mm motor. Buy and fly a 29mm kit, and if you later want to get certified to fly bigger motors, buy another kit.
  3. Stick with single use motors initially. Keep it simple. You’re new to midpower rocketry – which also means you’ve probably never built a reloadable motor before. Minimize the cost and complexity of what you are doing until you have more experience. You can always buy reloadable hardware later.
  4. There is no need to buy software such as Rocksim for your first midpower rocket. Just follow the kit manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations. Rocksim is a great program and I highly recommend it, but it is not really needed for your first kit.
  5. The higher the flight, the further you will have to walk to recover your rocket. The more time you spend recovering rockets, the less time and energy you have to fly. Moderate heights (1,200 to 2,500 feet) make for good flights.

That is it. In a nutshell, keep it simple. You can always do complex later.