Level 3 Certification allows flyers to fly High Power Rockets with a total installed impulse greater than 5120 n-sec


The rocket must be built by the flyer. The rocket shall have a display on the exterior identifying the calculated center of pressure. The rocket must be of “conventional rocket design”. “Odd Rockets” including flying pyramids, saucers and flying spools will not be allowed for any certification flight. The rocket may be either a kit or scratch built. Scratch built rockets may contain commercially built components. Commercially available pre-fabricated fin cans, either as part of a kit or obtained separately, may not be used for Level 3 certification flights.


Flyers designing or preparing to fly a Level 3 project must present details of their design to two TAP members of their choice. BEFORE attempting a Level 3 flight, two TAP members must sign the flyer's certification form. It is best if the TAP reviews are performed before the day of the launch to allow adjustments to the rocket design if deemed necessary by either of the two TAP reviewers. The TAP reviewers should be kept informed of any changes during construction. In general, the TAP reviewers will need the following information to objectively assess the rocket:

  • A completely filled out Pre-Flight Data Capture form
  • Drawings of the rocket showing airframe components, fins, bulkheads, recovery system components, payloads, etc.
  • A parts listing that includes material descriptions, adhesive types, screw sizes gauges, thicknesses, etc.
  • A simplified wiring diagram of the electronic recovery system that shows the major components.
  • Pre-flight checklist describing: field assembly of the rocket, motor installation, recovery system preparation, launcher installation, system arming, etc.
  • These items should be neatly drawn, and, if possible, lists typed. It is important for these drawings and lists to be neat and legible. All items will be returned to the submitter if desired. A self-addressed envelope or reimbursement for postage should be supplied to assist the TAP reviewers with returns.

Do you have to document my build with pictures? 
The more pictures the better for the TAP reviewers that are involved with your certification process. You will also need to supply at least one photograph of the builder working on project.


The certification flight must be with a single certified M or larger motor (tested total impulse greater than 5120.01 n-secs). Staged and/or Clustered rockets may not be used for certification flights. The flyer shall be observed by one TAP member or their designated representative during the assembly (if a reload or hybrid) and preparation of the motor.


Prior to a Level 3 certification flight, the flyer shall successfully fly at least one rocket in the Level 2 range using an electronic device as the primary means of recovery system deployment. Level 3 certification flights shall include at least two completely separate electronic devices, with independent power sources, wire harnesses, and ignition devices for the primary and back-up means of recovery system deployment.

Certification Flight

Level 3 Certification flights may take place at any insured launch. One TAP member must be present and witness the certification flight, and must witness the rocket ascend in a stable manner and descend in stabilized manner controlled by the recovery system.

Post-Flight Inspection

The rocket must be presented to one TAP member for inspection. If the rocket cannot be recovered, but can be inspected in place (power lines, tree, etc...) this is acceptable. The TAP member shall inspect the rocket for excessive damage. Excessive damage shall be considered damage to the point that if the flyer were handed another motor, the rocket could not be put on the pad and flown again safely. Damage caused by wind dragging will not cause a disqualification.

Any of the following will result in non-certification for a certification flight:

  • Motor Cato
  • Excessive Damage
  • No recovery system deployment or tangled recovery system deployment
  • Rocket drifting outside the specified launch range
  • Components coming down not attached to the recovery system.
  • Any other violation of TRA safety code associated with this particular flight.
  • Any other legitimate reason the TAP member deems merits non-certification.