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TCC NAR Competition Primer: USMRSC Rule 32, Helicopter Duration Competition (HD)


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This primer presents, in one place, all the information you need to succeed in NAR model rocket competition in this event.

TCC has provided a link to the official rules whenever we discuss a rule.


All Entries

Your entry must:

* Comply with the NAR Model Rocket Safety Code: USMRSC 2.2

* Be a model rocket as described by the United States Model Rocket Sporting Code. USMRSC 3.1-3.9

* Use NAR Contest Approved motors: USMRSC 4.1, 4.4

* NOT eject its motor casing(s) without a recovery system. USMRSC 9.2

* Have your NAR number or your name on the outside, large and clear enough that the contest officials can easily read it. Teams must use the Team number or name. USMRSC 9.4

* Have been constructed by yourself or by one or more members of your Team. You may not enter Ready-To-Fly rockets (no construction required) in NAR sanctioned competition. USMRSC 9.9


Know the rules

Your having a grasp of the bigger picture can increase your enjoyment of NAR competition. You can read the Pink Book Lite to see only the rules for competitors, not for Contest Directors or other contest officials. Read the full USMRSC (Pink Book) to see all the rules.

* Pink Book Lite:

* Full USMRSC:


General Competition Tips:

TCC NAR Competition 101

TCC NAR Competition Strategy and Tactics

Contest Etiquette by Kevin Paul Wickart, NAR 59720, cr 1998, the author

Beginning Competition -- The RSVP Principle by Kevin Paul Wickart, NAR 59720, cr 1998, the author

Guide to NAR Contest Rocketry Information for Beginners by Jeff Vincent, NAR 27910, Northeast Regional Contest Chair


Which are the Main USMRSC Rules for This Event?

* The main rules are 9, 15 and 32.

* This event can be flown as Multi-Round.


What is the Goal?

* The goal of Helicopter Duration Competition (HD) is to attain the longest flight time with a single stage model rocket using the principle of autorotation as the sole means of recovery. USMRSC 32.1


What is Autorotation?

* A model rocket is using “autorotation”, or “helicopter”, recovery when it spins around its long (vertical) axis to slow down as it descends. USMRSC 32.2


Are There Any Special Considerations?

* The model may not separate into two or more parts or eject the motor(s). USMRSC 15.2

* Recovery wadding does not count as a part of the model. USMRSC 1.1

* The surfaces that cause the entry to auto rotate must not be plastic film or cloth. They must not be shaped like a parachute or inverted bowl. USMRSC 32.3

* HD is divided into classes based on the allowed total impulse of the motor(s). USMRSC 32.4

* Your entry must be single stage, but can be clustered. USMRSC 32.1

* If your entry is clustered, the sum of the total impulse of the motors you use cannot be more than the total impulse limit for the event class you are flying. USMRSC 4.6, 4.8, 32.4

* If your entry is clustered, enough motors must ignite to meet the impulse limits for the event class you are flying. USMRSC 4.6, 4.8, 32.4

* This event can be flown as Multi-Round.


Do I Have to Return My Entry?

* You must return your entry after at least one qualified flight in order to place in 1st-4th. USMRSC 15.10, 13.1

* If you cannot return your entry after at least one qualified flight, you’ll only get Flight Points. USMRSC 13.1, 13.4, 13.5

* The Contest Director can require that you return your entry. USMRSC 9.10


How Many Flights Can I Make?

*You can make up to two flights. USMRSC 10.1

* You can use more than one model. USMRSC 9.7


How is the Competition Scored?

Your final score is the sum of your entry’s flight durations (in seconds) on up to two official flights. USMRSC 10.1, 10.3


What Will Disqualify My Entry?

* Your entry will be disqualified if it separates into two or more parts or ejects the motor(s). USMRSC 15.2

* Your entry may be disqualified if, in the opinion of the contest officials, it does not comply with the competition rules or is unsafe in operation. USMRSC 11.1, 11.2


How About Some Suggestions for New Competitors?

You will probably not find a good HD model at your local hobby store. Three vendors offer kits that you’ll find interesting:

* Apogee Components

* Qualified Competition Rockets
* FlisKits


Also, see the online plans below.


Use a computer simulation to help you select the best delay time, such as wRASP or wRASP32


What Else & What Next?

Online Competition Rocket Plans:

NAR Competition Plans

George Gassaway’s Mini-ROTAROC

John DeMar, NAR 52094, Whirl-a-While


Use a piston launcher to eliminate the launch lug and its drag. Piston Launchers Explained


TCC NAR Competition Bibliography


Yahoo group for discussing model rocket competition in general:


Use computer simulations to predict altitude (wRASP or wRASP32


George Gassaway’s Competition Tips – TAKE NO PRISONSERS!


US Spacemodeling (International Competition Tips):


US Spacemodeling Home Page (International Competition):


Detecting Thermals:


rmr Frequently Asked Questions – Part 9: Competition and Records:



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