Scale Altitude is a combination of Scale and Altitude. The model must be an accurate representation of a flown rocket. The model must also achieve high altitudes. There is a challenging tradeoff between scale points and altitude depending on the impulse class flown.
For the full rules for this event, please see the Scale Altitude rules in the NAR Pink Book.
The score is the total of the Static Judging score, Flight score, and altitude (in meters). In summary:
- Similarity of Outline: 200 points
- Finish, Color, and Markings: 200 points
- Degree of Difficulty: 100 points
- Craftsmanship: 300 points
- Flight and Mission Points: 300 points
- Altitude (in meters)
Highest score wins.
by Chris Flanigan, NAR 17540
STRATEGIES. Scale Altitude can be flown in impulse classes from 1/8A to G. There is a challenging tradeoff between scale points and altitude. One strategy is to go with a simple model (such as an IQSY Tomahawk). You might not get a lot of scale points, but this model will achieve high altitude. The other strategy is to go with a more complex scale model (such as a Nike Apache). You’ll get more scale points, but you’ll (probably) sacrifice some altitude. What’s the best strategy? It may depend on the impulse class and other contest-specific conditions.
PROTOTYPES. Scale Altitude has been flown at many NARAMs, most recently at NARAM-49 (C Scale Altitude) and NARAM-53 (B Scale Altitude). Prototypes included the following:
- Astrobee 1500
- Athena II
- Black Brant III, IIIB, VB, VC
- IQSY Tomahawk
- Kappa-7-1, -9
- Little Joe II
- Nike Smoke
- Nike Tomahawk
- Sonda I, IIB
- Space Shuttle
- WAC Corporal
Winning entries tended to favor altitude over scale points.
Aerospace Speciality Products is an excellent source of small scale kits that might be used for Scale Altitude. Kits include Corporal, D-Region Tomahawk, IQSY Tomahawk, Kappa-7-1 and -9M, Super Loki Dart, and more.
The Estes Mini Honest John is an interesting candidate for Scale Altitude. It has a moderate degreee of difficulty, and it can achieve reasonable altitude. However, it may be in a “gray area” where it doesn’t get enough scale points and can’t achieve great altitude.
Apogee carries a great selection of scale models kits. Most tend to be on the large size, so it will depend on your strategy as to whether or not these kits are competitive.
Semroc carries many scale kits including the “Deci-Scale” line that might be good for certain impulse classes.
If you’ll be flying larger impulse classes, AeroTech has kits for Arcas, IQSY, and Astrobee D. The Astrobee D is very nice due to its large size and attention to detail including antennae and decals.
Rockets of the World by Peter Alway (available from NARTS) is a great source of scale data for many prototypes suitable for Scale Altitude. NARTSalso carries scale data for several attractive prototypes including IQSY Tomahawk, Super Loki Dart, Hopi Dart, Judi Dart, and more.