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Level 3

Level 3 Certification Procedure


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

Prerequisites for attempting Level 3 certification: 
  • The candidate must have completed their Level 2 certification BEFORE commencing their Level 3 certification process.
  • The candidate must also need to demonstrate proficiency in flying Level 2 rockets with electronic recovery.
  • Before beginning construction of an L3 certification project, your project design must be approved by your TAP members. 
  • The candidate must successfully design, build, fly and recover a rocket using a certified HPR motor in the M-O impulse range.
Airframe – The rocket must be built by the flyer. The rocket shall 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. 3D-printed fin cans that are substantially designed and entirely printed by the candidate may be used if, and only if, their TAPs approve.

Construction - TRA members designing or preparing to fly a level 3 project must present details of their design to 2 TAP members of their choice. BEFORE commencing construction, 2 TAP members must have signed off on the member’s certification form. TAP members should be kept informed of any changes during construction. In general, the TAP member for objectively assessing the rocket will need the following information:
  • A completely filled-out Pre-Flight Data Capture form
    Drawings of the rocket showing airframe components, fins, bulkheads, recovery system components, payloads, etc...
  • A part's listing that includes material descriptions, adhesive types, screw sizes, gauges, thicknesses, etc...
  • A simplified electronic recovery system wiring diagram that shows the major components.
  • A checklist that describes:
    • field assembly/preparation of the rocket
    • motor installation
    • recovery system preparation
    • launcher installation
    • system arming and disarming, etc.
  • These items should be neatly drawn and, if possible, lists typed. The primary preparation criteria are those drawings and lists that are neat and legible. All items will be returned to the submitter if desired. A self-addressed envelope or supply postage funds to assist the TAP member with returns.
  • Do you have to document my build with pictures?  The more pictures, the better for the TAP members involved with your certification process. You will also need to supply at least one photograph of the builder working on the project.
Motor – The certification flight must have a single certified M or larger motor (total tested 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 the TAP member or their designated representative during the assembly (if a reload or hybrid) and preparation of the motor.

Electronics – Before 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 backup means of recovery system deployment.

L3 Project Approval and Build Diagram

Certification Flight
– Level 3 Certification flight may take place at any insured launch. The TAP member must be present and witness the certification flight. In addition, the TAP member must witness the rocket ascend stably and descend in a stabilized manner controlled by the recovery system.

L3 Flight Certification Process

Post-Flight Inspection – The rocket must be presented to the certifying member for inspection. If the rocket cannot be recovered but can be inspected in place (power lines, tree, etc...), this is acceptable. The certifying 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.

Non-certification – 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 are not attached to the recovery system.
  • Any other violation of the TRA safety code associated with this particular flight.
  • Any other legitimate reason the TAP member deems merits non-certification. 

Level 3 Certification Resources 

Below are some resources that will be important throughout your Level 3 Certification.


Tripoli  Rocketry Association, Inc.
P.O. Box 87, Bellevue, NE, 68005
HQ@Tripoli.org
(402) 884-9530 - phone  /  (402) 884-9531 - fax