The US Model Rocket Sporting Code (“Pink Book”) describes rules for 27 different rocket competition events.
NAR Competition covers three main skill areas:
- Altitude – How to maximize altitude within a given power limit. There is more to optimizing a rocket for maximum altitude performance than making it as light and small as possible. Rockets that consistently and reliably outperform others models typically exhibit a high degree of craftsmanship and careful design of the airframe and fin shape to minimize drag.
- Duration – How to maximize duration with a particular type of recovery system, yet still get the rocket back after flight. Rockets that win in duration events have a high degree of reliability in recovery system deployment and exhibit great skill in designing the recovery device for maximum lift once it is deployed. Then there is either the technical challenge of terminating flight after a controlled amount of time, or the athletic challenge of chasing the rocket downwind in order to get it back.
- Craftsmanship – Building flying scale models of sounding rockets, missiles, and space launch vehicles requires the highest degree of modeling craftsmanship skill. The product of your work is a model that draws admiring comments for its beauty, then gives you bragging rights because it does not just look good, it flies well.
Additionally, there are a few events that do not quite fit into one of the above categories.
- Miscellaneous Events – Spot Landing and Research and Development are two of the most popular of the miscellaneous events.
Official US Records can be set in many of these competition events.