This year I earned my Level 2 certification for High Power Rocketry from the NAR. This allows me to fly rockets with J and K motors, in addition to the H and I from the Level 1. I passed the flight test on the second attempt. The first attempt was not successful because the chute release got tangled in a chute line and the chute did not properly deploy. The second attempt, a month later, was more successful as I tied the chute release to a line to avoid the tangles. The venerable Zephyr, after repairs, enabled me to get the certification.
The upper section of the rocket plus the ebay doubled the mass of the rocket. This was ok because the motors were so much more powerful. The ebay allowed me to fly my own instruments on the flight and gather information. Flying actual rockets really helps me to learn about constraints such as power, space, and mass that real payloads to other planets and my balloon instruments will face.
Earlier this year, I attended some launches of a local group that has high power flights. They have two sites that allow HPR with flight ceilings of over 10,000 feet! They have large rockets that fly with L size motors and above. I was able to build an Apogee Rocketry Zephyr rocket and fly to get my Level 1 High Power Rocketry Certificate.
Here is a shot of me and the Zephyr before my certification flight:
Following the Level 1 flight, I upgraded the Zephyr by adding an instrument/electronics bay (ebay). Here is the rocket taking off with the extended electronics bay using an I500 rocket motor. This is about the most powerful motor that I can fly with a Level 1 cert, and needed because the rocket is a lot heavier with the added electronics bay.
For this flight I flew my Adafruit M4 based instrument package. Unfortunately, the recovery system did not deploy properly and the rocket ended up in a tree. The trees are visible in the background here. The Zephyr ended up spending 2.5 months in a tree before a club funded (and personally reimbursed) recovery guy got it down for me. There was some damage to the rocket which is being repaired. The instrument package survived ok, and I was able to get the data off the micro SD card. Below is the altitude chart:
I have taken the written test for the Level 2 Certification and passed. I am hoping and planning to fly the Zephyr again with upgraded recovery system and get my Level 2 Certification before the end of the year. Once I have the Level 2, I can fly J and K sized motors and will be able to test more advanced avionics similar to what will be needed for the balloon flights.