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Meet The High-Power Safety Check Officer (HP-SCO)

(Blue Vest)

Image Prerequisites: The HP-SCO is an adult, 18 years old or older, with several years of experience and with at least a level 1 certification.

The High-Power Safety Check Officer examines all high-power rockets, certifies them to fly, and assigns them a pad.

The high-power rules apply for any engine or combination of engines that is greater than 120 N-s (H).

The high-power flight cards have check-offs for all the following inspections.

Structure Check

The HP-SCO first checks the structural integrity of the rocket, including:

  • Attachment of the fins
  • Attachment of the engine mount
  • Recovery system attachments to nose cone and rocket
  • Packing of the parachute
  • Fit of the nose cone.

Stability Check

The next step is to check the stability of the rocket. If the rocket is a kit, we will accept that the rocket is stable if built to the kit's specifications. If the rocket is not a kit, the flier will have to present some sort of documentation to show the location of the center of pressure (CP) so it can be compared to the location of the center of gravity (CG). The CG should be at least one caliber (body tube diameter) ahead of the CP to assure good stability. Rockets that do not conform to this rule will need compelling evidence, such as overlarge fins, to convince the HP-SCO that they are stable.

Engine Check

The next step is to insure that the engine is safe and appropriate for the high-power model being flown. The HP-SCO checks the type of engine and verifies that it is on the list of NAR certified engines. Only engines certified by the California Fire Marshal are allowed at club launches. The HP-SCO weighs the rocket and compares the launch weight to the recommended maximum weight for the engine. The HP-SCO uses an altitude chart to compare the maximum altitude and the appropriateness of the delay.

The altitude charts are in the Appendix. The charts plot the maximum altitude and time to maximum altitude and delay to maximum altitude (time minus propellant burn time) versus launch weight for different engines.

Electronics Check

For high powered rockets with electronic initiation of upper stages or of the recovery system, the HP-SCO checks the electronics to see that they are in good order. Specifically, the HP-SCO checks the condition of the:

  • Altimeter
  • Recovery system electronics
  • Batteries
  • Staging electronics

Pad Assignment

When all safety checks are complete, check off the appropriate boxes on the launch card and assign the rocket a pad by placing the launch card on the clipboard under the clip for the pad number assigned to the rocket. When the clipboard is full, give it to the LCO to be launched. When the rack is launched, the LCO gives back the clipboard. Note any rockets that are being given a second chance to launch and leave their launch cards on the clipboard. Remove any other launch cards and place them in the "Used Flight Cards" box.