New Themed Package Sets
We've had a number of newbies ask about beginners' models this weekend on the public forum, and as I tried to create an answer, I found myself thinking along the same roads that NASA went down in the early years. One thought that I started to develop was that NASA simplified their projects to gain bits of experience with each flight, instead of a "go-fer-broke" single mission to do everything needed to get men to the moon. Project Mercury was like their Alpha/Astra/Astro-1 flights, showing them how a flight should look when it does go right. Project Gemini allowed them to increase the complexity in small steps, and could be likened to the Vigilante/Bandit/ARCAS models. Project Apollo would be still more complex, like scale birds such as the S1-B and SatV.
As Estes had the "Estes Aerospace Club", where you built up models of increasing complexity to gain those additional color bar decals, what about a series of special model packages designed to progressively advance a builder from simple 3FNC designs to detailed scale subjects? Each of these models would be sold as part of a "curriculum series" to teach the builder a different skill. To achieve a "diploma" for a given "Skill Level", the builder would have to build and fly a pre-determined number of "skill subjects" within each "class", and answer a simple "quiz" provided with each kit. The questions would be taken from various chapters of The Handbook; the builder would also have to have a personal copy of The Handbook in order to find the answer.
This might also provide a simplified answer to what we need in a starter's set. Some of the printed material might be the first "lesson" in this program; an included copy of The Handbook would be an important "premium" for completing the "course". No one could gain the diploma without having this starter set, as the paperwork for beginning this "course" would only be included in this set. No one could complete the "quizzes" without The Handbook, as some questions might be along the lines of "What problem did G. Harry resolve from the MIT research work of Trip Barber? What technique did this research lead to?" If you haven't read the book, could you answer these questions?
Each "Skill Package" would include a model kit designed to demonstrate a specific subject. Each skill "level" would have eight or ten "packages" of separate "skills" to be learned; to complete the "course", the builder is given a requisite number of "skills" to master, and one or two of these may be a "pre-requisite" set of must-haves. When the builder has achieved the complete set of diplomas, a special "award" might be presented including maybe an upper-end kit like the S1-B (or a kit of similar value that is not yet developed). The builder's name could be included in a "Hall Of Fame" page on the website, as a way of encouraging others to "get with the program".
Great idea Craig,
The NAR has a program called the NARTREK program and have added a Cadet program but, basically you are on your own as far as what products to buy and were to buy. If I understand you correctly you are thinking of combining a program like NARTREK along with a company like SEMROC which has all the parts, service and support a new fliers needs.
Yes, I guess my suggestion is similar to the NAR programs. My idea was to create a package containing both a kit and the additional printed test materials for taking the quiz. Each kit would be selected to highlight a given skill. The NAR program appears to take the person farther than what I intended; my idea was to tailor the program to the true beginner, who comes into rocketry without any of the basic skills (or with only a few...).
Needs more work on the idea to keep it from growing out of hand, granted.
All in all though, Craig, a fantastic idea. A simpler approach for the new rocketeer's would be better that the NARTREK program, which is rather complicated. Sounds like we could start with a list of items to include in a Semroc Starter Set.
-Beginner Launch Pad
-Rocket kit (skill level 1)
-Handbook of Model Rocketry
-NAR Saftey Code
-Flight Log Form
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