How high can we fly? We will be applying for our standard waiver of 18,000 feet (AGL). Beware! Given the size of the field and the winds, flights above 2 or 3 miles run the risk of losing rockets to the surrounding forest. To make sure rockets land within the designated area. We limit flights to 12,000 feet.
Is there a limit on weight and motor size and type? Yes. MC2 and HARA equipment requires a weight limit of 60lbs or less. You may provide your own pad for rockets in excess of 60lbs as long as it will not damage the turf. No vehicles are allowed on the sod. Pads must be towed by hand. We are flying at a sod farm and we do not want to lose this site due to destruction of product.
Is Southern Thunder open to only Music City Missile Club (MC2), Huntsville Area Rocketry Association (HARA) and Southern Area Rocketry (SoAR) members? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! EVERYONE IS WELCOME!!!!!!!!This launch is open to everyone with an interest in rocketry! Whether you are an expert flyer or a beginner flying low, mid or high power, you are welcome to join us!
Are the launches safe? MC2 and HARA conduct our launches according to the safety codes of the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) and the Tripoli Rocketry Association (TRA) safety codes. We also follow all national, state and local laws and regulations covering our sport. Our Range Safety Officers (RSOs) and Launch Control Officers (LCOs) will do everything in their power to keep everyone safe, however the sport carries some inherent risk. Remember, it is also your responsibility to be aware of your surroundings and the direction being given so that you know how to respond. Guests that disregard the safety rules may be asked to leave the field. Copies of the NAR and TRA safety codes are available below.
Can I consume alcohol and fly? Is alcohol allowed at the launches? Absolutely not! Launches are family events. Alcohol consumption at the launch site is a violation of the rules of safety, as is launching while intoxicated. This is not allowed by MC2 or HARA.
Are firearms or fireworks allowed at launches? Firearms and fireworks are against the safety rules and are not allowed at any MC2 or HARA launch. Love fireworks, but please do not bring or use fireworks at a launch.
Is there a Code of Conduct? YES! There is always a risk that a rocket might behave unexpectedly, but flyers and guests are expected to conduct themselves in a safe and responsible manner. Do not lessen other's enjoyment with foul language or unsafe behavior. Follow the rules while attending any MC2 or HARA event.
I am not a flyer. What if I just want to watch? Spectators are always welcome at any of our launches! As always, watching is completely free. Of course all rules of safety apply to spectators as well.
Health and Safety? Be prepared for the weather!
Heat injury is a real risk. Temperatures can exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Keep yourself and your family hydrated. Even if there is cloud cover, sunburns may still occur. Apply sunscreen in the morning and reapply several times during the day.
Summer Storms may develop quickly in Manchester! Flash floods and cloud to ground lightning may be a hazard. The RSO will announce if activities must be suspended or ended due to unsafe weather conditions.
For other medical issues, first aid kits will be available at the RSO and registration tents. We will have a paramedic on site.
Who is in charge? The RSO on-duty is the ultimate authority on all rocket launch activities and is located at the RSO tent. MC2 President Christopher Gill is the Chief RSO and the final authority on any safety related disputes ( be it a rocket stability concern or poor behavior of flyers or spectators). The Chief RSO may expel anyone from the launch site for safety or behavioral issues.
What are the people like? MC2, HARA and SoAR members are a warm and friendly group of people. We welcome you, your family and your friends to join us. If you are new to the hobby, you will feel welcome. We were all newbies at some point and you will find our members are happy to discuss their rocket projects with you and answer questions.
Will I get the same help without being a member of MC2, HARA or SoAR? Yes! Absolutely Yes! We are always happy to help anyone interested in our hobby! Member or not, you are welcome to fly with us and we will assist you in any way we can!
Are children allowed at the launch? Of course! Kids and absolutely welcome! For safety reasons, they need to be supervised by you, not us. They need to listen to all announcements, including range opening, closing and the "heads up! "air horn. They are welcome to fly rockets and we are happy to answer their questions. Getting kids hooked into the hobby is the goal of both clubs. We seek to nurture future rocket scientists!
Are there restrooms at the site? YES! We provide toilets at major annual launches such as Southern Thunder.
What about pets at the launch? You are welcome to bring your pet, but they must be under your control at all times. Pets must be gentle natured and able to safely interact with children and other pets. Rocket launches are loud and can easily frighten pets that are not accustomed to the noise. Bring plenty of water for your pet a toy or two.
What if my rocket lands in a tree? The club and flyers do not own the surrounding trees and do not have the right to cut them down. In fact part of the field shares a border with a nature preserve. MC2 has a 50 foot fiberglass pole that can help retrieve rockets. There are some flyers that can also help you retrieve your rocket, however there may be a finders fee. If we find your rocket we will photograph it and place the image in the Lost & Found page on this site.