From: Don Carson, NAR# 11069
Type of Proposal: Regular
Brief Summary of the Proposed Change:
This change reduces the maximum height of the aft part of the entry (on its launcher) from 3 meters to 2 meters above the ground.
State Logic and Intent of Change: This rule generally limits the length of piston launchers. The 2017 Sporting Code increased the allowable length from 2 m to 3 m (~10 feet). Studies have shown that longer pistons do increase motor performance and contest results seem to support this. This has led to the development of large, elaborate piston launchers upwards of 10 feet tall, or more. The development, transport, and use of this class of ground support equipment is a significant investment in time, money and logistics. The current rule can make events more about the launcher than the rocket. The intent of this change is to limit launchers to a more manageable size so that more people can and will participate in competition.
Effect, if any, on current competition and NAR records: This change is intended to increase participation in competition by reducing a significant barrier to participation. The 2017 Sporting Code increased the allowable length from 2 m to 3 m (~10 feet). The design, construction, transport, and use of piston launchers upwards of 10 feet tall represents a significant barrier to participation in competition. Even a smaller size piston is a complexity that can intimidate beginning competitors. If, in order to be competitive, a modeler needs to build and transport a piston launcher of this size, many will not be interested. Additionally, many serious competitors now fly commercial airlines to contests, particularly NARAMs. The current rule greatly impacts those modelers. The whole sea change in the USMRSC was to encourage and increase participation in competitive model rocketry. This was one change that ran completely against that intent and needs to be undone.
Exact wording for the rule revision as it should appear (include section#):
5.5 Launcher Height.
No entry may be launched with its aft most part more than 2 meters above the ground.