If you are contemplating attending a Blue Mountain Rocketeers launch event, we welcome the opportunity to introduce you to the exciting and fun world of model rocketry! Our hobby is something that the entire family can enjoy; both young and old. Whether it's rockets you came for, the unique camping experience we have to offer, star gazing at night, or standing around the camp fire in the evening talking to new-found friends, we are confident that once you've attended a BMR launch, you will keep coming back!
In order for you to more fully understand and enjoy your model rocketry experience with us, we have created this web page.
If this is your first experience with model rocketry, chances are you'll want to know just exactly what it is that we do! You can find out what the hobby is all about by reading our Frequently Asked Questions page. The link to this page can be found below.
The hobby of model rocketry is an extremely safe pursuit, due in part to the safety codes that we all follow. These safety codes are the reason that launch activities are conducted a certain way. To better understand how a launch operation is conducted, we recommend you read the National Association of Rocketry Safety Codes. Links to the Model Rocketry Safety Code and the High Power Rocketry Safety Code can be found at the bottom of this page. Since model, mid-power and high power rockets are flown at our launches, we recommend you take some time to familiarize yourself with these rules. In addition to these nationally adopted safety rules, each model rocketry club has there own range safety rules that are specific to their launch field, altitude waivers and site conditions. Our group is no exception. Our range rules can be accessed for review via the link at the bottom of this page. If you intend to fly any model rockets with us, you might also take a moment to read over the pre-launch safety briefing, also located via the link at the bottom of this page.
There are three positions within any model rocketry group that are important to the successful operation of any model rocketry launch event. These positions are filled by volunteer members of our club. Members donate their time in order to insure everyone else has a safe and pleasant experience. These positions are the Launch Director, the Range Safety Officer and the Launch Control Officer. Let's take a moment to introduce you to these folks:
BMR's Launch Director is our Section Advisor, Tim Quigg. Tim organizes each of our launches. He coordinates with the land owners and club volunteers to insure that the launch site is properly maintained and in a condition to safely launch rockets. He maintains the club's ground support equipment and transports it to and from the launch site. He activates our FAA waiver before each launch. He's responsible for making sure that the launch equipment is placed in the proper location for current wind and weather conditions and that all the equipment functions correctly. He makes sure there are enough Launch Control Officers and Range Safety Officers to safely conduct launch operations. His job is to greet and welcome all new arrivals, to walk around and make sure everyone's needs are being adequately provided for by the club. If there is a problem, Tim is usually the club's "go-to" guy!
RANGE SAFETY OFFICERS
Range Safety Officers (also referred to as "RSO's") at BMR launches are easily identified as the persons wearing a yellow safety vest with a name tag that says "Range Safety Officer". There are several members of our club who have taken extensive pre-requisite training in order to act as a RSO. Most RSO's have been in the hobby for many years, and have a great wealth of knowledge relating to the hobby. As the name implies, the job of the Range Safety Officer is to promote and insure the safety of everyone attending the launch. They do this in part by conducting safety inspections of all of the larger mid-power and high power rockets before they are flown at our launches. A person cannot fly a larger rocket at a BMR launch unless it is first inspected by a RSO and the flight card is signed off. RSO's are constantly on the lookout to insure everyone abides by the National Association of Rocketry Safety Codes, as well as our club's specific range rules and policies. If you want to learn more about the hobby of model rocketry, one of BMR's Range Safety Officers would be an excellent person to strike up a conversation with!
LAUNCH CONTROL OFFICER
Launch Control Officers (also referred to as "LCO's") are the people sitting out in the elements flipping the switches on the launch control panel launching the rockets. Like our RSO's, all of our LCO's have received extensive training in range safety rules and launch procedures. Many of these volunteers also have a great deal of experience and knowledge in the hobby of model rocketry. After model rockets have passed a safety inspection by the RSO, a flyer takes their card to the LCO, who then issues a launch pad assignment. The LCO is the person responsible for insuring the sky is clear of aircraft, and that the range is clear of people before the launch sequence begins.
So, how does a launch event function? Good question! The Blue Mountain Rocketeers sets up the launch site. Tim and the volunteer "Range Roadies" set up all of the equipment needed to launch the rockets. It usually takes a couple of hours or longer (depending on the number of people willing to dive in and help) to set up the range. To familiarize yourself with a launch setup, it would be a great idea to arrive early and help set up. Since our events go all day long, and sometimes over the course of three days, we always need volunteers!
There will be:
A parking / camping area - This is a large corral area planted to grass where people park their vehicles, set up their tents, trailers and motor homes. People often bring pop-up canopies to shade them from the sun.
A flight line barrier - An orange rope barrier separates the parking / camping area from the range, designating the spectator area from the actual launch operation. It is clearly marked with signs. Unless you are flying rockets, for your own safety, we request you stay on the spectator side of this barrier.
The launch operations area - Here you'll find the launch control equipment that operates the ignition system for each launch pad, the PA system, and clip boards where each flyer's flight card will be clipped to once assigned a pad. This is where you will find the LCO.
Vendors - Sometimes areas are reserved for vendors we know are coming, but usually they are some of the first people to arrive. At each of our larger launch events, there is usually a vendor that sells model rocket kits, motors and supplies.
Some things you might want to bring - If you've never been to one of our launches before, here are a few things you might want to consider bringing...
A good pair of comfortable shoes or boots - You will be hiking in an alfalfa field most of the day.
Sun screen -You can burn pretty easily at our launch site.
Food - You can either bring food with you to eat, or you can make the five minute drive into Dayton.
Hydration! - Lots of water! You can dehydrate really easy after going out to recover your rockets.
Bug Spray - Although not a big problem, there are ticks at the launch area.
Shade - A pop-up or awning, chairs and a nice wide-brimmed floppy hat.
How it works...
Everyone arrives and sets up their "rocket camp" where they can prepare rockets. First come, first served is generally the rule. When a rocket is ready, a flight card is filled out at the flyer's information table and then the rocket is taken to a Range Safety Officer (RSO) for inspection (if the rocket is flying on an E impulse or larger motor.)
After the rocket has been checked and okayed by the RSO, the flyer must wait for the LCO to open the range head. The rocket is then taken to the LCO where a pad assignment is given. The rocket can then be taken out to the pads and prepared for launch.
When rockets are ready on the pads the range is closed by the LCO, he or she will then begin to launch the rockets one by one. The LCO will first read the information on the flight card, check the sky for aircraft, check the range for people, then conduct a five second countdown to launch. Once the range is opened again, you may walk out into the alfalfa field to recover your rocket.
How can you get started? It's pretty simple, actually.
Read all you can - There are links on this site that will lead you to all the information you'll ever need.
Join the Blue Mountain Rocketeers! - You will learn a lot from the great people in BMR. The club handles much of the regulatory issues. The club has a great launch site and all of the support equipment you need. Best of all, unlike other rocketry clubs that charge yearly membership dues and pad fees to fly rockets, membership in BMR is FREE! You can join BMR on line via the link at the bottom of this page.
Join the National Association of Rocketry - BMR is a chartered Section of the NAR, and national membership provides you with liability insurance, and a subscription to Sport Rocketry Magazine. You can join the NAR on line via the link at the bottom of this page.
Join BMR's Discussion Forum - Not only will you gain access to breaking club news and hobby information, but this will be a great way to meet members of BMR, post questions and get answers. You can join our discussion forum by following the link at the top of the home page of this website.
Join BMR on Facebook - We have a great website on Facebook where club news and information as well as a photo albums from all of our launch as far back as 1994 are located.
Please Note: As a youth model rocketry group, The Blue Mountain Rocketeers has adopted a “zero tolerance” position for the use of alcohol and drugs. Any member or guest who is determined to be under the influence of intoxicating liquor and/or drugs during a launch event, or who is observed in the act of consuming intoxicating liquor and/or drugs is subject to immediate dismissal from the event, and revocation of all membership privileges.
Well, that's it! You'll find the hobby of model rocketry very exciting! We highly recommend that you take some time to explore the rest of our website, familiarize yourself with our group, and visit some of the rocketry-related websites on our links page. We hope that your upcoming experience with the Blue Mountain Rocketeers is an enjoyable one!