What Is MDRA?
MDRA is the Maryland Delaware Rocketry Association, Inc. The MDRA is a nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation that supports educational and research endeavors associated with the hobby of rocketry. MDRA was incorporated in January 2000. Our mission is to provide a venue for witnessing and participation in the hobby of rocketry and to inspire thought, action, creativity, and challenges for our members. We are dedicated to making these experiences available and accessible to as many members of the community as possible, with an emphasis on reaching and nurturing our children, regardless of gender, race, religion, ability, age or socioeconomic status in the possibilities that exist through their interest in rocketry. We are working partners with various educational, research, and community organizations as well as with our adult members.

What Happened to Maryland Tripoli?
Maryland Tripoli is alive and well. The Tripoli Rocketry Association (TRA) and the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) are the national organizations, and most members of MDRA belong to one or the other or both. We continue to support, register, and certify members for both organizations.

What Procedures Should I Follow to Fly Rockets at an MDRA Launch?

  1. Register for the launch, by seeing the Treasurer for that launch. You must have completed the waiver (read it and sign it) and have paid the annual membership fee and the launch fee.
  2. Once you have registered, you will receive a Membership Card. The Membership Card must be displayed at all times above the waist, in plain view.
  3. You will also receive flight cards to be completed for each rocket you fly. You must fill them out clearly and completely to fly a rocket.
  4. Prep your rocket, without the igniter in the motor, and take it to the Rocket Safety Officer (RSO) table with the flight card completed on the front. The RSO will inspect your rocket against a mandatory safety checklist.
  5. After the RSO table, walk to the designated staging area at the flight line. You will be advised whether it is safe to proceed onto the Range. When the Range is determined safe, you may enter the Range.
  6. Take your rocket to the appropriate pad. Only at this time may you put your igniter in your rocket motor, after you have set it up on the pad. Should you need help, there is a Pad Manager (PM) to help you. If you need help and the PM is busy, wait for him or her.
  7. Return and place your Flight Card Board at the LCO Table. Stand behind the flight line and enjoy the show.
  8. If you are certifying to Level 1, 2, or 3, make sure the Prefect, TAP, or L3CC is watching and the LCO knows it is a certification flight.
  9. Remember, if there is anything you are not sure of, ask!

Does MDRA Have a Certification Program?
No, all certification is done through either TRA or NAR. The MDRA member must be certified with one of the above listed national organizations to fly HPR at an MDRA launch, which means flying H motors and above. Since MDRA supports and certifies both TRA and NAR members at our launches, we comply with their certification criteria and motor-power limitations.

Do You Have Project and/or Motor Limitations at an MDRA Launch?
Typically not; however, if you have a large project planned, you must submit it through the MDRA Big Project Page for consideration and approval. It should be well thought-out and should be thrust-to-weight proportional for the field size and the associated waiver. Remember that we have a couple of fields that have their share of trees, and they don’t like giving up those hard-earned rockets.

Flying over 6,000 feet at Higgs?  Contact us via our Special Projects page: https://mdrocketry.org/special-projects/
How Many Fields Does MDRA Have?
MDRA launches primarily from two different fields. The winter field is Higgs Farm. This field is used during the period when there are no crops present, typically from December through early March. The other field is the Central Sod Farm, which is used when Higgs Farm is not available. Typically this field is used April through November.

What Are the Waivers on the Different Fields?
Central Sod Farm has a waiver of 14,000 feet AGL. The suggested maximum altitude is 3,600 AGL due to the proximity of the trees.
Higgs Farm has a waiver of 16,900 feet AGL. However, we have Max Altitude Limits listed here: https://mdrocketry.org/higgs-max-alt-safe-distance/ In addition, maximum altitude limits may be adjusted downward subject to weather conditions. This is to protect you, our land owner and ultimately the field.  Please plan accordingly.

What is the MAX impulse class allowed?
Central Sod Farm: “M” class motors.
Higgs Farm: “N” Class Motors/Complex “M”

Are Visitors Welcome?
Yes. Rockets never fail to put a smile on your face. If you have any questions, please contact us through the MDRA e-mail link posted on the front web page.

Can I Launch a Rocket as a Spectator at MDRA?
Yes, we encourage everyone to launch rockets. It is a rocket launch, after all. We have a “Bucket of Rockets” available for spectators and their children to use. MDRA supplies the rocket, the motor, the field, and the launch system. All we ask you to do is have fun.

Do You Ever Cancel Launches Due to Weather?
We try not to. Watch the website and our Facebook page; we will post a cancellation if it is determined before the launch that it is not reasonable to fly. We do launch in the cold, with snow on the ground. Our recommendation is to watch the website, and plan accordingly. Use common sense. If there is no cancellation posted, consider the launch on.

Do You Have Equipment for Static-Testing EX Motors?
Yes; however, if you want to do any testing with MDRA equipment, contact us through the web site. If you just want to fire the motor, we have two test stands. The smaller stand will accommodate up to a 98mm motor. The larger stand will accommodate up to a 114mm motor. We typically have the smaller stand at both the Central Sod Farm and at Higgs Farm. The larger stand is typically only used at Higgs Farm.

I am a NAR Member and Would Like to Make Research Motors. Can I Fly Them at a MDRA Launch?
Yes, you can. We don’t discriminate. We do require that you be certified at the level of the research motor you are making, whether it is static-tested or flown.

It Seems that MDRA Launches Many Large Projects. What about the Smaller Estes-type of Rockets?
MDRA welcomes fliers of all ages, abilities, and certification levels. Check out the photo galleries on our web site; the pictures and the video are worth a thousand words.

Do You Have Ground Support Equipment for Hybrid Motors and Similar Systems?
No, you will have to make your own arrangements for the ground support equipment for any type of hybrid motor.

Can I Help at the Launches?
Yes, sign up on the web site or see us at the launch. Many hands make the going light, and we want all the members to be involved. It is your club.

How Do I Retrieve My Rocket If It Lands off the Launch Landowner’s Property?
Come and see one of the MDRA BOD members, the RSO, or the LCO. Each neighbor at the different launch sites must be dealt with differently, for a variety of reasons, and you will receive different retrieval directions, depending where your rocket landed. Typically, a MDRA BOD Member will accompany you to the neighbor’s property. Never go knocking on the neighbor’s door without MDRA permission. There is a reason many of these folks live out in the country. Trust us; we know the drill and the best way to get your rocket back.  Never enter any of the adjacent properties without approval and guidance from an MDRA BOD member and/or launch-field landowner. MDRA will get your rocket back, provided you follow the rules and work with us. No individual’s rocket is so important that MDRA loses a flying field for the entire membership.

What will it Cost to get my Rocket back?
It could cost as much as $400.00 or more to recovery your rocket. Many of the neighbors will only let one designated Tree Climber onto their property. He sets the price due to the difficulty and the number of rockets he needs to recover. He is the only hope of seeing your rocket again, if it ends up in the trees. You need to work with MDRA, so we can work with you.

That sounds Expensive, how to I minimize the potential of putting my Rocket in the Tress?
Over the years MDRA has strongly suggested flying only to about 4,000’ at the Central Sod Farm, our summer field. Most people have listened and fly accordingly. Higgs Farm is another story. Traditionally this is where the big, high flying projects are launched to the extent of our 17,000’ waiver. Over the years we have put more and more rockets in the trees mainly due to either high upper level winds, early deployment of the main parachute or a combination of both.
MDRA fliers are some of the best in the country and are very proficient in recovering their rockets. However, do not let go fever dictate how you will fly. Use common sense when the conditions are not perfect. Have a Plan B where you can fly a big motor in a big rocket. There is nothing wrong with keeping it “low and slow”.
If conditions are adversely affecting your recovery efforts, the MDRA BOD will lower the waiver. This is to protect you and to protect the field. We can not fly with unhappy neighbors.

Do You Have a Regular Vendor on Site?
There is no guarantee a vendor will be present at any given launch. Plan way ahead for your needs, and be responsible to yourself. Do not wait until the last minute, or you may be sorely disappointed.

What Is the Key to MDRA’s Success?
The key to our success and the success of any hobby rocketry organization is the people. Their passion and their commitment to the hobby is what will get us through the tough times. It is important that each person be conscientious and fly within their limits. It may be common sense, but our safety record is our most valuable asset. It is every member’s responsibility to keep it intact. Each member needs to think out the project that he or she is involved with. If you have questions, there is no shortage of people at either a launch or at your fingertips who are willing to help. You need to see the big picture. These are not the easiest times to engage in the activities that we hold so dear. It is our intent to satisfy all the requirements of our landowners and their neighbors, and of course local, state, and federal agencies. We are an open book; we have nothing to hide. This philosophy should help us as continue to move forward as an organization. Following the rules and flying safely are crucial to continued success. Nothing is carved in stone, and we will be flexible to future change and regulatory issues.

About Insurance
 Does the TRA or NAR Insurance Cover Us at an MDRA Launch?
Yes, but only if you are a current member of one of the national organizations.

Does MDRA Have Insurance?
Yes, MDRA currently has a Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy that covers the landowner. To be clear; bodily injury and property damage to anyone or their vehicle arising from rocketry activity are excluded.

What Does That Mean?
After much discussion and review of the national organizations’ policies, we have come to the realization that the rocketeer is primarily responsible for his or her actions if there is a major accident caused by the rocket. We suggest that each individual review the TRA insurance, the NAR insurance, their individual home and umbrella insurance to make their own judgments. That is the bad news; the good news is that we as a group—TRA, NAR and MDRA—have an excellent safety record. A major part of that is attributed to the fact that we launch in the middle of nowhere, and there is little or nothing to damage, other than our egos.

What Should I Do as a Member to Make Sure I Am Covered?
Many of the MDRA members currently have a personal “umbrella policy” that covers them from a potential incident resulting from their participation in hobby rocketry. This is your choice and is arranged through your personal insurance agent.

I’m Confused; What Does MDRA Insurance Cover?
The purpose of our insurance is to provide coverage for the landowner. Our policy covers only nonparticipants from non-rocket related incidents, such as someone tripping over your tent leg and breaking their leg. Any accident must be reported to a member of the MDRA BOD. We can’t help you, if we don’t know about it.

  1. If you have a rocket-related incident with another participant at a launch, neither you nor the other participant will be covered under anyone’s policy. This includes both the national organizations and MDRA’s insurance. Both participants are there at their own risk.
  2. If there is a rocket-related incident between you and a nonparticipant, the MDRA insurance will not cover you. Depending on the type of incident, the nonparticipant may be covered under their own insurance. Some examples are as follows:
    1. You hit a car with your rocket. You would have to work out the particulars with the vehicle owner, as you are responsible for your actions.
    2. You hit a house or building with your rocket. The same principle holds true. The homeowner may be covered by their insurance, and once again you would have to work out the particulars with the homeowner as you are responsible for your actions.
    3. You hit power lines with your rocket. You are responsible for any costs associated with retrieval and potential damages caused by your actions.

The bottom line is that you are responsible for your actions first and foremost.

About LEUPs
On March 16, 2009, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton issued a ruling that vacated BATFE’s regulatory oversight of the solid rocket-motor propellant. This means APCP is no longer on the BATFE’s list of explosives. This also means there is not a requirement to have a LEUP to purchase high-powered motors. In the sale of high-powered motors, it is the vendor’s responsibility to ensure you are over 18 years old and are purchasing motors within your certification level.  Refer to the BATFE, TRA, and NAR links for additional information to assist you in researching the need for a LEUP.