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Guide to NAR Contest Rocketry Information for Beginners


Your first introduction to NAR-sanctioned competition rocketry can be daunting -- Pink Book this, Contest Certified that, acronyms up the wazoo -- what does it all mean?!?

I've created this web page to try to ease the beginner's entry into the hobby/sport and to point you towards informational and material resources to get you up to speed quickly. The listings below should help you learn what you need to know to enter and enjoy contest flying. Good luck!

(And a special thanks to all of those who have created these resources that I have linked to.)

Jeff Vincent, NAR Northeast Regional Contest Board Chairman

Table of Contents

What is NAR-Sanctioned Contest Rocketry?

The National Association of Rocketry is a national organization of hobbyists in the United States who are interested in sport rocketry (building and flying model or high-power rockets which use pre-manufactured motors and models of safe, lightweight construction).

Recognizing the benefits of competition, both to the individual and the hobby as a whole, the NAR sanctions organized competitions. The competitions are divided into age divisions (7-13, 14-18, and 19+, as well as a team division) to better match the skills of the competitors. NAR clubs ("sections") host contests ("meets") that NAR members can compete in.

Each meet consists of several events -- these may be duration events (trying to achieve the maximum flight time), altitude events (trying to achieve the maximum altitude), or craftsmanship events (building models which are judged on craftsmanship, scale accuracy, and flight performance). Competition events are further classified by various tasks they require (Parachute Duration, Eggloft Altitude, etc.) and most events are flown in specific motor classes (1/2A Streamer Duration, B Boost/Glider Duration, etc.).

At each meet, contestants earn points for their performance in every event they fly. Every summer (usually the first week of August) the NAR holds NARAM (the NAR Annual Meet) somewhere in the country. At NARAM, contestants fly against people from around the country and earn more points. At the end of the week, the points are tallied and the National Champions are recognized.

For more general information on NAR competition, visit the Competition Rocketry section of the NAR's website (and be sure to check the "Contest Flying" links in the left-side navigation panel, since it contains some links not available from the main competition page).

What About TARC?

TARC (the Team America Rocketry Challenge) is a contest for middle and high school student teams that attempt to fly a model rocket and perform a mission (the most recent event required lofting an egg and recovering it successfully, while coming as close as possible to a pre-determined maximum altitude and total flight duration time).

While the NAR offers substantial educational and manpower resources to this annual event, this is NOT a "NAR-sanctioned competition" as we know it. While some of the resources here might offer some ideas on design, construction, and/or materials for models applicable to that task, most of the information does not apply.

For more information on TARC, visit the TARC website.

Competition Rules

Finding a Meet

Flying Your First Meet

Designs and Plans

There are a zillion contest rocketry plans available (or so it seems :). But first a few caveats: OK, with that out of the way, here are some sources for designs and plans.

Sources for Kits and Supplies


NARAM (the NAR's Annual Meet)

Page created by jeffvincent at verizon dot net
Last modified August 15, 2012

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