Model rocketry as a hobby activity has been around for over 50 years. Prior to that there were amateur rocketry societies and individuals experimenting with rocket propulsion, but it took the availability of commercially available solid rocket motors to propel the hobby into the mainstream as a safe, educational activity. It has been estimated that since the late 1950’s well over a million model rockets have lifted off from school yards, athletic fields and backyards across the country.
The AMA covers model rockets in its National Model Aircraft Safety Code, so as long as you follow the code, you can enjoy flying model rockets, or using model rocket motors in your RC projects at your local flying field. Beyond the simple thrill of a rocket flight- the fire and smoke of liftoff, the rapid ascent to a dizzying altitude, holding your breath as the model coasts over the top and waiting for the parachute to deploy, and the gentle floating recovery to earth- AMA members can construct advanced electronic payloads to measure performance or modify the flight path of the model, construct and fly scale models of rocket powered aircraft, or compete in FAI sanctioned contests that pit the modeler’s skill against the best international competitors from around the world.
I hope to cover a little bit of each of these topics in future articles, and hope that you come along for the ride. Hopefully we can expand the model rocketry hobby across the district and find ways to integrate rocketry into your club activities.