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 Regulations & Certifications 

HPR Level 4 Certification

CAR/ACF was created in 1965 as an advocate of the model rocketry hobby. Over the past three decades the hobby has grown to encompass rocket motor types and performance unavailable to the modeler at the CAR/ACF's inception. In response to this growth the CAR/ACF offers a certification process which permits individuals to purchase and use rocket motors whose physical constraints and performance exceed traditional model rocket boundaries. Rocket motors which exceed model rocketry motor definitions and the models that use these motors are collectively referred to as High Power Rocketry.

Certification for High Power Rocketry consists of four progressive levels:
  • Level 1 allows the purchase and use of H impulse class motors.
  • Level 2 allows the purchase and use of I impulse class solid motors and hybrid rocket motors.
  • Level 3 allows the purchase and use of J,K and L impulse class rocket motors and hybrid rocket motors.
The procedures for Level 1, 2 and Level 3 certification are documented seperately.
  • Level 4 allows the purchase and use of M, N, and O impulse class rocket motors and hybrid rocket motors.
Unlike Level 1-3 certifications where the rocket is simply inspected immediately prior to flight, a Level 4 Certification attempt requires in-process reviews of the certification model design and construction prior to flight. In addition, more documentation is required to confirm flight worthiness.

This balance of this document contains the following information:
  • Minimum Requirements
  • Level 4 Certification Attempt Outline
  • Level 4 Certification - General Comments
  • Formal Certification Procedure
Please note that the CAR/ACF high power certification is only one consideration when purchasing and using high power rocket motors. Compliance with local, NRCan ( Natural Resources Canada ) and TC ( Transport Canada ) federal regulations is also required. High power certification is intended to provide a measure of the modeler's competence to avoid gross violations of good modeling practice and safe model operation. The program is not foolproof. A single demonstration of a modeler's skills does not guarantee consistent safe performance. The certification program does not replace the application of safe handling practices and common sense.
Minimum Requirements
The individual seeking high power certification must be a minimum of 18 years old at the time of certification. A driver's license or a birth certificate is an acceptable proof of age.

The individual must be a member in good standing with the Canadian Association of Rocketry / Association canadienne de fuséonautique (CAR/ACF) at the time of certification. Evidence of CAR/ACF membership will be requested prior to the certification attempt. Acceptable evidence of membership includes the CAR/ACF membership card, a canceled check indicating payment of membership fees, or participation in a CAR/ACF event where membership status is verified and indicated on the event materials.

Motors used for certification attempts must be currently certified by either the NAR or other organizations (e.g. Tripoli) with a recognized certification program and be accepted by NRCan or covered under a general importation permit issued by NRCan. Hybrid motors used shall be approved by TC. Manufacturer's designations, not certification test data, will be used to identify suitability for the certification level being attempted (e.g. an H128 is an H, a G75 is a G).
Level 4 Certification Attempt Outline
All level 4 attempts shall have a main motor of at least 5120.01 Newton-seconds. Clustering to achieve minimum installed impulse is not be permitted. Cluster flights should only be permitted if needed to attain a proper thrust to weight ratio. Certification flights shall be of single stage design. All level 4 certification attempts shall be principally constructed by the flyer; as such, team projects shall not be permitted.

Electronic recovery is required and must function as designed. Back-up systems are also required.

The aspiring level four flyer shall have sole responsibility for contacting L4CC, thirty days is minimum, and it is expected the the applicant will have been discussing the project with the chosen L4CC representatives throughout the design phase of the project.

A documentation package consisting of at least drawings, materials lists, altitude predictions, CG. and CP. calculations, at least one photograph of the builder working on the project and a filled out L4 Data Capture Form shall be submitted for L4CC review not less than THIRTY days prior to the flight attempt.

All level 4 projects shall be substantially complete before L4CC signoff for flight. At least one L4CC member must physically inspect every level 4 project before flight signoff.

The Field RSO shall have the ability to override the decision to launch any vehicle on his or her range.

Sign-off of a level 4 certification flight with minor or cosmetic damage shall be left to the discretion of the authorizing Level 4 certification committee (L4CC) member(s).

Any failed level 4 attempt shall be resubmitted to the L4CC committee before a second attempt. Completed data capture form shall be sent to L4CC chairperson, successful or not.

Don't assume any launch sponsor will be expecting you. Let them know you are coming and take care of any logistical problems in advance.

Finally, GOOD LUCK and ENJOY!
Level 4 Certification - General Comments
A level 4 certification allows a member to purchase and fly rockets with M, N and O motors. Level 4 certification is a serious proposition and not taken lightly by the Canadian Association of Rocketry / Association canadienne de fuséonautique. Level 4 projects are typically large, heavy and complex. The procedures are quite formal, and while a brief overview of the certification process is presented here, please refer to the Level 4 - Formal Certification Procedure Section for additional details.

A member must first document their level 4 project. Then he or she should contact the nearest Provincial Representative. The Provicial Representative will arrange to have two L4CC members assigned to the project. Once notified of the L4CC team, the project documents should be sent to assigned L4CC members for their approval. The L4CC members review the project and sign off on the members multi-part certification form IF THEY APPROVE. At least one pre-flight L4CC member must physically inspect the project in a nearly complete state before being approved for flight. After 2 members of L4CC have signed off on the multi-part certification form, the member can then attempt their level 4 flight. When attempting a level 4 flight, the multi-part form and the documentation submitted to L4CC should be made available to the launch RSO. The RSO has final say as to whether the level 4 flight can occur at their launch. The flight can officially be witnessed by a member of L4CC ONLY and only a L4CC member can sign off on the flight granting level 4 certification status. It is the MEMBERS responsibility to send the signed multi-part form to headquarters with a self-addressed envelope or supply postage funds to assist the L4CC member with returns of Level 4 materials.
Level 4 Certification - Formal Certification Procedure
Flyer Requirements
Any individual attempting CAR/ACF Level 4 Certification must be a Level 3 (5120 N-s) high power certified CAR/ACF member in good standing.

Any individual attempting CAR/ACF Level 4 Certification must show proof of at least 2 flights at Level 3 certification that incorporate electronic recovery.

Rocket Requirements
The certification rocket must be substantially built by the certifying flyer. Individuals using rockets with substantial "prefabricated" components will be required to demonstrate suitable construction knowledge to the satisfaction of the L4 Certification Committee. Only the builder of the rocket may use that rocket for a certification attempt. Rockets built by other than the certifying flyer are specifically disallowed. Certification rockets may be built from commercially available kits and may contain components built to the specifications of the certifying flyer but fabricated by others.

Multiple stage rockets are specifically disallowed for Level 4 Certification flights.

The rocket must contain a redundant mechanism for performing the initial recovery event in that they must not share any component parts such as battery, pyrotechnic device, wiring or altimeter. For single event recovery, the main parachute must have redundant mechanisms for ejection. For drogue-main recovery systems, the drogue parachute must have multiple mechanisms for ensuring drogue deployment. Motor ejection charges may be used as a redundant ejection mechanism, but rockets depending primarily on motor ejection for any recovery event are specifically disallowed.

The capability must exist to externally disarm all pyrotechnic devices in the rocket. In this context, "disarm" means the ability to physically break the connection between a pyrotechnic device and the power source of its igniter. Simply turning off the device controlling the pyrotechnic(s) is not sufficient.

The rocket must conform in all respects to any restrictions imposed by the CAR/ACF High Power Safety Code and Transport Canada.

Certification Procedure
The flyer must obtain and fill out a CAR/ACF Level 4 Certification Form. This form documents the certification procedure steps. The flyer must also prepare a Certification Package as defined in these requirements.

During the construction of the rocket, the flyer must complete the Rocket Construction section of the Certification Form. This package will consist of one of the following three options:
  1. The flyer may present the rocket for inspection to one member of the Level 4 Certification Committee (L4CC) prior to its final assembly. The purpose of the inspection is to verify, to the satisfaction of the L4CC members, that the rocket is being constructed in a manner suitable for the stresses encountered in a Level 4 flight. The L4CC members performing the inspection will sign his/her approval on the Certification Form; or,
  2. The flyer may prepare a construction packet with descriptions of the construction techniques, and including photos and/or diagrams. If a construction packet is used in lieu of a physical inspection, this package must be approved and signed by one member of the L4CC; or,
  3. The flyer may build and document a test flight of the rocket. The test flight must utilize a Level 3 motor with thrust characteristics similar to the intended Level 4 certification motor. The flyer must be able to show that the rocket received stresses approaching that anticipated in the Level 4 flight (either by flight simulation or by recording altimeter or accelerometer).
The L4CC member accepting the Construction Package will sign the Level 4 Certification Form at the indicated location.

Prior to the certification flight, the flyer must present a Recovery Systems Package to one L4CC member. This document package must contain the following components:
  • - A description of the recovery system components, including the type of electronics, where redundancy is employed, the type and size of pyrotechnic devices, and the sizes of parachutes or streamers being utilized;
  • - A schematic/wiring diagram of the ejection control system. This diagram should show the wiring between the ejection devices, disarming "switches" and controlling electronics/power source(s);
  • - Description of expected descent rate with the main recovery device deployed and explanation of how the descent rate was determined, or other description explaining why the main recovery device is suitably sized for the certification rocket (manufacturer's recommendation, etc.);
  • - Documentation describing how the basic functioning of the recovery electronics has been demonstrated prior to the certification flight (use of untested ejection control electronics is not permitted). This may be accomplished by either of two methods:
    1. 1. The flyer may document a Level 3 test flight utilizing the recovery components intended for use in the Level 4 certification flight, including the primary ejection electronics to be used in the certification flight; or
    2. 2. The flyer may document the ground testing of the recovery electronics.

    The L4CC member accepting the Recovery Systems Package will sign the Level 4 Certification Form at the indicated location.

    At the time of the Certification Flight, the flyer will present a completed Certification Package for approval as described in the Certification Package Guidelines. Upon approval of the Certification Package, the flyer must make a successful certification flight as described in Certification Flight Requirements.

    Upon successful completion of the certification flight, the completed, approved certification package will be sent to CAR/ACF headquarters for final processing as described in Final Procedures After Certification.

    If the certification flight fails or is disallowed, one of the Flight Witnesses will complete and send in the Certification Form as described in Failed Certification Procedures.
Certification Package Requirements
The Level 4 Certification Package will contain all of the following:
  • - The certification rocket Construction and Recovery packages;
  • - A scale drawing of the certification rocket showing major dimensions, calculated center of pressure, and expected center of Gravity in Level 4 Certification flight configuration.
  • - A description of the expected flight profile using the intended certification motor(s). This profile should include, as a minimum, estimates for the following:
    • o Maximum expected altitude.
    • o Maximum expected acceleration.
    • o Maximum expected velocity.
    • o Velocity as the rocket leaves the launch system.
  • - A pre-launch checklist covering rocket and motor preparation and setup and procedures for hangfire/misfire anomalies.
  • - A post-recovery checklist for "safeing" the rocket in case of a failure. This would include steps required for disarming pyrotechnics, removal of unfired igniters, etc
Certification Flight Requirements
Prior to the Certification Flight, the flyer will present the certification rocket and Certification Package to two senior members of the CAR/ACF, who will act as Flight Witnesses, for pre-flight inspection. Both of the Flight Witnesses must be at least Level 3 high power certified. One of the Flight Witnesses must be a member of the L4CC. Both Flight Witnesses must approve the rocket for flight.

The actual flight must meet all of the following requirements:
- The rocket must use at least one motor with total impulse greater than 5120NS;
- The flight must be made while a valid Transport Canada launch Authorization is in effect;
- The rocket must make a stable, safe flight;
- The rocket must fully deploy its recovery system;
- The rocket must remain intact, with no separation of parts that do not deploy their own recovery device(s);
- The rocket must be returned for post-flight inspection.

If the recovered rocket is plainly visible but not retrievable (such as hung in high power lines or in an inaccessible location) the flyer may direct the Flight Witnesses to the location of the rocket for visual inspection at that location.

By signing for final approval on the Certification Package, the Flight Witnesses are also certifying that they have looked over the entire Certification Package and to the best of their knowledge, it is complete and acceptable.

Different Certification Committee members may be used for Construction/Recovery Package approval and Flight witnesses.

Either Flight Witness may disallow the certification attempt if, in his or her opinion:
- The flight did not demonstrate the flyer's ability to successfully fly a Level 4 High Power rocket; or
- The rocket did not fully meet all of the flight requirements for Level 4 certification.
Final Certification Procedures
The flyer will remove and keep the signed, lower section of the Certification Form. This may be used as temporary proof of Level 4 certification.

One of the Flight Witnesses will return the completed Certification Form to CAR/ACF Headquarters.

The flyer will receive an updated CAR/ACF membership card, showing the new Level 4 certification level, by return mail.
Failed Certification Procedures
One of the Witnesses shall fill out the Failed Certification Flight section on the Level 4 Certification Form. The form shall then be mailed to CAR/ACF headquarters, in its entirety.

These forms will not be used to track failures by individuals. Failed certification attempts do not count against an individual. The forms will be used to track the effectiveness of the CAR/ACF Level 4 certification procedures. They will also be used to track the frequency and types of failures. This information is needed in order to improve the certification procedures over time.
Expired Memberships
Members do not lose their certifications levels if they do not renew their memberships.

Canadian Association of Rocketry / Association canadienne de fuséonautique reserves the right to charge missed memebrship fees, charge an administration fee, and or to have other action taken as the Board sees fit.

Canadian Association of Rocketry / Association canadienne de fuséonautique reserves the right to change this policy without notice.
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