Low-Power Starter Guide

So You Want To Get Into Model Rocketry?

Model rocketry is an awesome hobby and can be a gateway to 

great engineering, education and careers

or just a fun thing to enjoy on your weekends 

Where to Start

You’ll need a rocket kit or parts, some motors, wadding, and a launch pad and ignitor. You’ll also need a launch site, preferably larger than 150m square.

Rocket Kits

You can purchase these from any Rocketry Supplier, you can find a list of some of the New Zealand suppliers at the end of this list.

These are re-usable rockets you can fly many times by fitting a new rocket motor. 

If you want to launch on your own you will need a “Launch Kit” which includes the launch pad and launch controller, these will require either 4x AA or 1x 9v batteries.

If you fly at an NZRA or Christchurch Rocketeers event then you will not need your own launch pad or controller.

We recommend starting with an RTF (ready to fly) or E2X (easy to assemble) kit

Rocket Motors

These are expendable, so you’ll need however many you want to launch! 

It’s recommended to start on the lowest motor recommended by your rocket kit and then work your way up once you’re comfortable with the height and distance it travels.

Rocket Wadding

This is needed to protect your rockets parachute from the exhaust gases during ejection. You can either purchase these, or make your own (see guide at end of list)

Launch Site

We recommend a local park or school field that is clear of sports games and is at least 150m2. Model rockets are authorised to launch in controlled airspace without any notification as long as you use engines that are less than D15, are under 2.5kg, and follow the Model Rocketry Safety Code (See at end of guide). Some councils ban “projectiles” at their parks, so best to flick them a call unless you know of someone else launching. 

Launching your rockets

Set your launch pad up in the centre of the field (if no wind) or on the windward side if it’s breezy as your rocket will drift downwind in the breeze once its parachute deploys. Add your wadding to the rocket body tube, fold the parachute as shown in the instructions of the kit, fit the motor and place on the launch pad/rail. Connect the leads from the ignitor. Check the area for flight safety, no planes/helicopters or persons within 5m of the launch pad. Give a nice loud countdown from 5 so any onlookers know what’s happening. Push and hold the launch button and watch it fly! 

Congratulations you are now a Rocketeer

Model Rocketry Suppliers

Webstore and Auckland Pickup

Webstore and Whangarei Pickup

Webstore and Rolleston Pickup

Webstore Only

Webstore and Christchurch Shop

Webstore order for collect from PB Tech Store

Homemade Rocket Wadding 

This can easily be made with household items:

Mix 1 teaspoon of Baking Soda to ¼ cup of water and stir until dissolved

Soak 1 Handy Towell sheet at a time and hang to dry

Once dry, split the multiple ply’s and then cut each into 4 equal squares

This is a sure fire way to make your own fireproof wadding, as the baking soda ignites it releases Carbon Dioxide essentially snuffing out its own flame. At less than a cent per sheet it is far cheaper than Estes recovery wadding.

Model Rocketry Safety Code

Model rocketry is recommended for ages 8 and above, with adult supervision for those under age 14. This code applies to:

Model Rockets - Motor Power Range A to D. You may fly with permission from the property owner using these rules as a guide.

Large Model Rockets - Power Range E to F and weight lower than 1.5kg. Must be flown in accordance with the NZRA Model Rocketry safety code.

High Power and Experimental rockets in the range G and above have a separate High Power Safety Code which is listed in the section below.