Certification Info & Procedures

Introduction

High Power Certification provides model rocket flyers a means to progress to larger rockets using more powerful motors. It aims to promote good modelling practices and safe operating procedures.

This procedure does not replace local, state, and federal laws, and additional permits/licenses for the use of high power motors may be required. This study guide is available to all ARA members on request. A small fee is charged to cover printing and binding costs, or the document can be downloaded free from the ARA web site.

  • Certification for high power rocketry consists of three progressive levels
  • Level 1 allows the purchase and use of H and I impulse class motors; solid and hybrid. Certain F and G motors may also require Level 1 certification for purchase and use.
  • Level 2 allows the purchase and use of J, K, and L impulse class motors; solid and hybrid.
  • Level 3 allows the purchase and use of M, N, and O impulse class rocket motors; solid and hybrid.

ARA CERTIFICATION LEVELS

The following table lists the levels available to ARA Members and a summary of the requirements:

RequirementsFlight TestCertification will Allow you to fly
1 ARA Membership.
Permit to Purchase in your State.
Experience in flying
Rockets
Fly an H or I
Powered Rocket
Successfully.
H & I Motors With
Total Impulse up to 640Ns
2ARA Membership. Level 1 Certification Permit to Purchase in your State.Level 2 Exam. Fly a J, K or L Powered
Rocket
Successfully
J, K or L Motors up
to 5,120Ns
3ARA Membership. Level 2 Certification. Permit to Purchase in your State.
Level 3 Project File.

Fly an M, N or O
Powered Rocket
Successfully.
M, N or O Motors up to 40,960Ns

Who Needs HPR Certification?

A person needs High Power certification if they intend to

  1. launch models containing multiple motors with a total installed impulse of 320.01 N-sec or more, or
  2. A person needs High Power certification if they intend to launch models containing a single motor with a total installed impulse of 160.01 Newton-seconds or more, or
  3. launch rockets that weigh more than (1500 grams), or
  4. launch models powered by rocket motors not classified as model rocket motors, e.g.:
    1. average thrust in excess of 80.0 Newtons
    2. contains in excess of 125 grams of propellant, or
    3. hybrid rocket motors

Minimum Requirements

The individual seeking Level 1 High Power certification must be a minimum of 18 years old at the time of certification. A birth certificate or driver’s license is an acceptable proof of age. Note: Other requirements may be imposed by state, this document does not supersede any requirements imposed by the authorities having jurisdiction.

The individual must be a member in good standing with the Australian Rocketry Association INC (ARA) at the time of certification. Evidence of ARA membership will be requested prior to the certification attempt. Acceptable evidence of membership includes the ARA membership card.

Motors used for certification attempts must be currently certified by the NAR, ARA, CAR, UKRA, NZRA or TRA. Manufacturer’s designations, not certification test data, will be used to identify suitability for the certification level being attempted (e.g., an H128 is an H, a G75 is a G).


Certification Process and Documentation

Certification may be accomplished at any ARA sanctioned launch. CASA regulations requiring notification or permissions must be complied with and the launch site must have CASA approval for high power models at the time of launch. All conditions and restrictions imposed by the CASA must be satisfied and followed.

The member attempting certification must personally build the rocket that they wish to use for their certification attempt. The model may be either scratch built or a commercially manufactured kit. The rocket must be constructed in such a manner that it will perform safely under the additional stress of an HPR motor. Family/friends attempting to certify cannot use the same rocket, but rather are required to each build their own model. In addition, the member must use an active recovery system for their certification attempt, which usually includes parachute recovery; details of these recovery methods are described in the Blue Book. The modeller must demonstrate his/her ability to build and fly a rocket containing at least one H or I impulse class motor. Single use, reloadable, or hybrid technology motors are permitted. 

The model will be subjected to a safety inspection prior to flight. The safety inspection form is on the back of the ARA High Power Certification Application. During the safety inspection the modeller will be expected to provide oral answers to technical questions related to the safety and construction of his model. The questions may include (but not limited to) identification of the model’s center of gravity and center of pressure, methods used to determine model stability, and interpretation of the rocket motor’s designation. The certifying Flight Training Officer will initial (or check) the blocks indicating that model safety, motor certification, and the existence of a CASA Permission (if required) in effect were verified prior to flight.

The individual will fly his model. The flight must be witnessed by the FTO. Stability, deployment of the recovery system, and safe recovery should be considered when evaluating safety of the flight. Models experiencing a catastrophic failure of the air frame, rocket motor, and/or recovery system (e.g., shock cord separation) will not be considered as having a safe flight.

The model must be returned to the Flight Training Officer after flight and be inspected to verify engine retention and for evidence of flight-induced damage. The Flight Training Officer will initial the blocks indicating that a safe flight was made and that the post-flight inspection was satisfactory. In general, the guideline for acceptable flight damage is that the model could be flown again without repair. It is left to the judgement of the Flight Training Officer to differentiate between flight damage and “normal” maintenance to assure reliability (e.g., shock cord replacement to prevent future flight problems). “Zippering” of the body tube is another area of flight damage left to the Flight Training Officer for judgement and acceptability.

The Flight Training Officer will sign the certification sheet to indicate that the certification attempt was successfully completed. Both the certification sheets must be signed. 

The certification sheets are returned to ARA Headquarters. No fees are required. 

Falsification of data or statements by the certifying individual will result in revocation of the high power certification. Falsification of data or statements by the Flight Training Officer, e.g., failure to secure CASA permission, will result in revocation of ARA memberships and prosecution by CASA under state law.

Duties Of Individuals

ARA Section Delegate

The Section Delegate is a section member who performs official administrative duties in relation to certifications and other official business of the ARA, who is delegated this authority by the section committee. A section may have several section delegates to give flexibility. The ARA Section Delegate must approve all certification attempts (due diligence on behalf of the ARA). Their task is to ensure that the certification attempt is genuine and to ensure that the necessary records are maintained. The ARA Section Delegate can liaise between the member, the ARA section committee members, and Flight Test Officer to find the most suitable Flight Test Officer for the certification. A list and contact details of Flight Test Officers is available from the ARA on request. The ARA Section Delegate will give the final authorization upon a successful certification
attempt.

Flight Test Officer

The duties of the Flight Test Officer include administering flight tests, administering Level 2 exams, and mentoring individuals applying for certification. Only current ARA members who themselves are certified to the same level as the certification level required are qualified to administer the flight test. The Flight Test Officer must also be knowledgeable in the motor being flown. For example, if a hybrid motor is being used for the certification attempt, the Flight Test Officer must themselves have had experience in the assembly and flying of these motors. It is the responsibility of the member requiring certification to contact both the ARA Section Delegate and a Flight Test Officer to confirm their availability at a launch to conduct the flight test. Members should be understanding and patient with scheduling. Flight Test Officers should especially make themselves available at launches to conduct the flight test.
Unavailability of Flight Test Officers
In the case of a Level 3 certification flight, if a Level 3 Flight Test Officer is unavailable, two Level 2 Flight Test Officers can substitute.
In the case of a Level 2 certification flight, if a Level 2 or 3 Flight Test Officer is unavailable, two Level 1 Flight Test Officers can substitute.

Exam Administrator

A Flight Test Officer or Section Delegate may administer the Level 2 written exam. It is the responsibility of the member requiring certification to contact either the Flight Test Officer or the Section Delegate to determine a convenient time for both to take the exam. Members should be understanding and patient with scheduling. Section Delegates and Flight Test Officers should especially make themselves available by appointment, at launches or at meetings to administer the
exam.

HPR Flight Test Procedure All Levels

1. A flight test may be attempted at any ARA launch where a Flight Test Officer is available.
2. Relevant CASA regulations requiring notification or permits must be complied with.
3. The ARA High Power Rocketry Safety Code must be adhered to as a minimum.
4. The individual attempting certification must complete an ARA High Power Certification Application form prior to their certification attempt and have all current permits/licenses or the supervision of a license holder to suit the state where the launch is to occur. This includes (but is not limited to) pyrotechnics license for the state where the launch is to take place, air space clearance from CASA, council approvals, fire permits, and landowner’s consent. In the case of a Level 2 attempt, the individual must pass the exam before attempting the flight test.
5. If certification to a level other than Level 1 is desired, the individual must provide proof of previous certification(s).
6. The rocket will be subjected to a safety inspection prior to flight. The safety inspection form is
on the back of or attached to the ARA High Power Certification Application form.
7. During the safety inspection the individual will be expected to answer oral technical questions related to the safety and construction of their rocket. The questions may include (but are not limited to) identification of the rocket’s center of gravity and center of pressure, methods used to determine rocket stability, and interpretation of the rocket motor’s designation. The Flight Test Officer will tick the appropriate boxes in the “pre-flight” section of the High Power Certification Application form.
8. The individual will fly their rocket.
9. The Flight Test Officer must witness the flight.
10. Stability, deployment of the recovery system, and safe recovery should be considered when
evaluating safety of the flight.
11. Models experiencing a catastrophic failure of either the airframe, rocket motor and/or recovery system (e.g. shock cord separation) will not be considered as having a safe flight.
The condition of the rocket should be that no repairs are needed to re-launch the rocket. This excludes cosmetic damage, damage caused by colliding with objects on landing, getting dragged by the chutes, or damage to the chutes after landing.
12. The model must be returned to the Flight Test Officer immediately after the flight and be inspected to verify motor retention and for evidence of flight-induced damage.
13. The Flight Test Officer will complete the relevant section of the High Power Certification Application form indicating that a safe flight was made and that the post-flight inspection was satisfactory. The Flight Test Officer will sign the certification application and forward the document to the ARA Section Delegate for processing.
14. The ARA Section Delegate will endorse the certification by signing the document. A copy of this document will be retained by the ARA section (state or local rocketry club or incorporation). The original document is kept by the individual as proof of certification.
15. The ARA Section Delegate forwards a summary of the details of the certification to the ARA Secretary who updates the ARA records.

Level 2 – Additional Requirements

Flyer Requirements

Any individual attempting ARA Level 2 Certification must have a valid Level 1 certification and must be an ARA member in good standing.
It is a requirement that the Level 2 Certification Exam is successfully completed before a Level 2 certification flight is attempted.

Level 2 Exam

The Level 2 certification exam is made up of twenty (20) Technical questions and ten (10) Safety Code questions. This is a closed-book written exam to be completed in the presence of the Flight Test Officer or ARA Section Delegate. People with a disability may request alternative arrangements where these do not conflict with the inherent requirements of the task being assessed, provided that these are reasonable adjustments. This may include such things as an oral exam, or the assistance of a person to physically write answers etc. A passing score is 90% – no more than 3 missed questions out of 30. Upon successful completion of the Level 2 Certification Exam, the Flight Test Officer will keep the exam with the certification
application. Members who fail an exam shall not be allowed to re-take the exam for a minimum of seven (7) days. Failed exams shall not be kept on file.

Level 3 -Additional Requirements

Any individual attempting ARA Level 3 Certification must have a valid Level 2 certification and must
be an ARA member in good standing.
A project file must be presented to the Flight Test Officer before the certification flight with sufficient
time for the Flight Test Officer to analyze the information. This will include (but not limited to):
• Drawings of the rocket showing air frame components, fins, bulkheads, longerons,
adhesive joints, recovery system components, payloads, etc.
• Stability calculations/simulations.
• Flight simulations.
• A parts listing that includes material descriptions, adhesive types, screw sizes, gauges,
thicknesses, etc.
• Schematics of recovery system electronics that show batteries, circuit designs, wiring
diagrams, etc.
• Pre-flight checklist describing field assembly of the rocket, motor installation, recovery
system preparation, launcher installation, system arming, etc.

Rocket Requirements

1. The certification rocket must be substantially built by the individual applying for certification.”Substantially built” will be defined, as a minimum, as:
a) Fabrication of the engine mount with centering rings (if applicable).
b) Alignment and mounting of the individual fins (prefabricated fin canisters are specifically disallowed).
c) Installation of attachment points for the recovery system.
d) Mounting and installation of air frame electronics.
e) Final flight preparations including pyrotechnics installation, recovery system packing, motor assembly (as required) and motor installation.
Only the builder of the rocket may use that rocket for a certification attempt – anything outside this is specifically disallowed. Certification rockets may be built from commercially available kits and may contain components built to the specifications of the individual but fabricated by others. For example, fins can be fabricated by someone else, however, they must be mounted by the individual applying for certification.
2. The recovery system must have a backup method of deployment. Redundancy must be present in the power sources, recovery control electronics and output devices (e.g. bridge wires, electric matches). Redundancy is not required in the pyrogen materials, parachutes, attachment points,risers, and disconnects. All attachment points of the recovery gear must be secured to prevent unplanned detachment during flight, that is to say any bolts are to be prevented from spinning, rope attachments especially knots are to be held tight using tape, shrink on, laced etc. Rockets recovered by alternate methods, e.g. glide or auto-rotation, must be reviewed by a Flight Test Officer on a case-by-case basis. Motor ejection charges may be used as part of a redundant system but not as the primary ejection for any recovery event. All chutes, electronics, and ropes of recovery system are to be protected from heat damage (not including cosmetic damage) that arises from pyrogen ejection charges. A safe rate of descent of 20ft/sec (or 6m/sec) or slower is recommended within 2,000 feet (600m) of landing for any component weighing in excess of 22.6 grams.
3. External safe and arm provisions must be installed on a rocket for any items that have onboard control of an explosive charge, projectile or motor. This means the ability to physically break the connection between a pyrotechnic device and its power source.
4. The rocket must conform in all respects to any restrictions imposed by the ARA.

To contact  Flight Training Officers for your state please send an Email to the below address with your home state and ARA member number and the launch site you wish to use , and we will put you into contact with the closest Flight Training Officer to your home address.

Australianrocketryassociation@hotmail.com


High Power Certification provides model rocket flyers a means to progress to larger rockets using more powerful motors. It aims to promote good modelling practices and safe operating procedures.

This procedure does not replace local, state, and federal laws, and additional permits/licenses for the use of high power motors may be required.

This study guide is available to all ARA members on request. A small fee is charged to cover printing and binding costs, or the document can be downloaded free from the ARA web site.