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TCC NAR Competition Primer: USMRSC Rule 38, Flex-Wing Boost Glider Duration Competition (FW)


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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 36.

* This event can be flown as Multi-Round.


What is the Goal?

* In Flex-Wing Boost Glider Duration Competition you want to achieve the longest possible flight duration for a model rocket, one portion of which returns to the ground in stable, gliding flight, supported by flexible aerodynamic lifting surfaces. Only the gliding portion is timed. USMRSC 38.1


Are There Any Special Considerations?

* The gliding surfaces (wings) must be made of flexible materials. The wings can have edges that form the flexible material, but wing surface must remain flexible. USMRSC 36.1

* If your entry is staged, the gliding portion must be part of the uppermost stage, and must not be deployed until that stage has burned out. USMRSC 4.6, 4.8, 10.3 and38.1

* If your entry is clustered or staged, enough motors must ignite for it to meet the impulse class requirements or the flight will not be official. USMRSC 4.6, 4.8, 10.3 and38.1

* Your entry may separate into multiple parts, but non-gliding portions must descend safely. USMRSC 38.1, 9.2 and NAR Model Rocket Safety Code


* FW is divided into classes based on the allowed total impulse of the motor(s). USMRSC 38.3

* This event can be flown as Multi-Round.


Do I Have to Return My Entry?

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

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

* You have to return ONLY the GLIDING portion of your entry. USMRSC 38.1

* 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 official score is the sum of the durations achieved by your entry on up to two official flights. USMRSC 10.1, 10.3

* The duration starts at the first motion on the launch pad and ends when the gliding portion lands or the timer loses sight it. USMRSC 15.6


What Will Disqualify My Entry?

* Your entry will be disqualified if the gliding portion has a permanently attached streamer or parachute. USMRSC 38.1

* Your entry will be disqualified if, in the opinion of the contest officials, the glider fails to glide. USMRSC 11.1


How About Some Suggestions for New Competitors?

Good info for flexie flyers. The Jan-Feb 98 issue of StarDust, ASTRE #471, is used by permission.


You will not find kits hobby stores. QCR has flexie kits. See the vendor list below.

TCC Competition Vendor list:


Don’t paint your glider. Paint adds too much weight. Use colored permanent markers, with black on the bottom.


Follow the instructions in your kit for trimming your glider.


What Else & What Next?

Online Competition Rocket Plans:

NAR Competition Plans

Competition Model Rockets (Howard Kuhn) Plans


More flexie links:

1/8A flexie

Make flexie hinges


Use a piston launcher or tower to eliminate the launch lug and its drag.

Piston Launchers Explained


Simple Tower: by Bob Supak, NAR 65523

Take 3 1/4" aluminum rods, each about 24" long. Depending on what size model you want to launch, take an 18" piece of same body tube and put a few wraps of tape at each end. Place the 3 rods in a triangle around the body tube and secure with rubber bands, leaving 6" of the ends of the rods exposed. Now place the rods into a coffee can full of wet cement or plaster and let set. Voila - launch tower


Complex Tower:


Piston Launchers Explained – Apogee Components:


Floating Head Piston Launcher – The Odd Couple Team T-085, Jeff Vincent NAR 27910 and Chuck Weiss NAR 35775:

Use computer simulations to determine altitude various rocket and motor combinations. This is a bit more difficult for gliders as you must compensate for the extra drag of the gliding portion.

Free altitude simulations:  wRASP - and wRASP 32 -


Use computer simulations to determine altitude and sink rate for various rocket/motor/parachute combinations.

* Free altitude simulations: 


wRASP 32 -

* Free sink rate simulation:


TCC NAR Competition Bibliography


Yahoo group for discussing model rocket competition in general:


Yahoo group for discussing this event:


George Gassaway’s NARAM Tips:


Detecting Thermals:


US Spacemodeling (International Competition Tips):


US Spacemodeling Home Page (International Competition):


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



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