LAWS, REGULATIONS, AND CODES

Regulation of model rocketry is broken into two classes with different regulations applied to each.

  1. Fiesta Island Launch Rules
  2. Model Rocketry
  3. High-Power Model Rocketry
  4. Calilfornia Rocketry Rules
  5. NAR Model Rocket Safety
  6. Combined Motors By Impulse (PDF)

Fiesta Island Launch Rules

Clearance is required for every launch date.  72 hours prior to the launch, Chris Flanigan will send an email notification to the Lindbergh Tower staff.  Chris will  request a return receipt and that is considered confirmation from the staff.  If an email confirmation is not received 24 hours prior to launch, a call will be made to the Tower and confirm.

All launches at Fiesta Island are straight through from start to finish!!! There will be a short safety lesson prior to the launch for new comers or a refresher for the rest of us.
 

At 1200 Chris will call Lindbergh Tower and close the launch session.
All launches are to be flown under 1000 feet MSL unless a request is called in to request clearance to 1500 feet MSL the day of the launch.

You may now launch your model rocket a) with a metal-cased reload, such as
Aerotech 24mm or 29mm, Cesaroni Pro24 or Pro29, b) with a motor containing
more than 125 g propellant, such as an Aerotech G75 or a cluster of 6 or
more Estes D12, c) with a "Sparky"-type propellant such as Skidmark, or d)
G-impulse greater then G80, **PROVIDED**
that you observe the 1500g maximum weight, the 1000' maximum height, total
impulse limited to "G" [<160 Newton-sec], AND that you use only the far
away[100'] pads for this; minors may not approach the 100' pads without a
parent or guardian. To launch rockets with more than G80 power or more
than 125g propellant, you must as always have a NAR or Tripoli L1 Cert.

If a member wishes to launch rockets with a), b), c) or d) above, the
Fiesta Launch for that day will be conducted under modified NAR High-Power
Rules, as required by the CA Fire Marshal.

NOTIFY the LCO running the launch [Chris Flanigan or John Bowman usually] so
that he may announce that HPR Safety Code Rules are in effect for the day.
The full DART Model Rocket Safety Code under NAR HPR Rules is attached for
download as a WordPad file.

The main practical differences are that the the 100' pads must be used for
ALL metal-cased reloads, "D" throught "G" power, minors may not approach
these pads without a parent or guardian, and that "Sparky" fuel or G-power
greater than G80 may now be flown [>G80 requires L1 Certification, or
Junior L1 with adult present].



Fiesta Island dimensions allow use of up to G motors. Please see the following rules and regulations for low-mid power.

 

 

Model Rocketry

There are generally few regulations applied to model rocketry, with most of those applied at the state and local level. Forty eight states (all but Rhode Island and California) adhere to a common code of regulations for model rocketry known as National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Code 1122. This code defines the power, weight, and other limits to which a rocket must comply in order to be classified as a "model rocket."

At the Federal level, according to FAR 101.1 model rockets are exempt from FAA regulation, provided they are operated in a manner so as not to pose a hazard to aircraft. The only exception to this rule is that if a model rocket weighs between 454 and 1,500 grams, you must notify the nearest FAA control tower before launching them. Model rocket kits and motors do come under the jurisdiction of the Consumer Product Safety commission where they must satisfy the same basic product safety requirements as toys.

The State of California treats model rockets as a special class of fireworks and requires:

  1. You must be at least 14 years old to purchase model rocket engines (1/4A through D class).
  2. You must be at least 18 years old to purchase engines larger than D.
  3. To launch, you must secure the written or verbal permission of the local fire authority having jurisdiction over the location where you wish to launch. Within San Diego, Fiesta Island is the only place within the city where you can legally launch model rockets.


High-Power Rocketry

High Power Rocketry, also known as HPR, is similar to model rocketry with differences that include the propulsion power and weight increase of the model. They use motors in ranges over "G" power and/or weigh more than laws and regulations allow for unrestricted model rockets. Like model rockets, High Power rockets are typically made of safer, non-metallic materials such as cardboard, plastic, and wood, however, construction and recovery techniques usually differ somewhat, due to the requirements imposed by the use of HPR motors. This means that these models must be constructed in such a way that they have the ability to safely fly under these higher stress conditions.

High Power rocket motors cannot be purchased over the counter by the general consumer and typically are not carried by your average hobby store. They can be mail-ordered or purchased at some launch sites by adult modelers who are High Power certified, which is a requirement to purchase and use them. The NAR offers a three level certification program for modelers who want to fly high power rockets. Also, High Power rockets must be flown in compliance with their own separate High Power Rocket Safety Code.

Launching High Power rockets requires more preparation than launching model rockets. Not only is a larger field needed, but FAA clearance must be arranged, well in advance of the launch date. There may also be local or state regulatory issues to be addressed before you can fly your first high power rocket. This is another good reason for joining a NAR Section -- many organized clubs already have the personnel and experience in making these tedious arrangements, freeing you to concentrate on the actual flying.

 


NFTA

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Codes 1122 (for model rocket motors) and 1127 (for high-power rocket motors)

Internet: http://www.wpi.edu/~fpe/nfpa.html


 

FAA

Federal Aviation Regulations Part 101 (Section 307, 72 Statute 749, 49 United States Code 1348, "Airspace Control and Facilities," Federal Aviation Act of 1958)

Internet: http://www.faa.gov/avr/afs/fars/far-101.txt


 

State of California Regulations

Model Rockets are included in the Health and Safety Codes (HSC), sections 12500 through 13000.

The complete collection of model rocketry regulations the California Fire
Marshal wants followed can be found in the "California Fireworks Handbook,
2011 Edition
", click to download as a PDF file.

Internet: http://www.jhhw.com/codes/index.html

Office of State Fire Marshal
Prefire Engineering
P.O. Box 944246
Sacramento, CA 94244-2460

Model Rocket Safety Code

  1. Materials. I will use only lightweight, non-metal parts for the nose, body, and fins of my rocket.

  2. Motors. I will use only certified, commercially-made model rocket motors, and will not tamper with these motors or use them for any purposes except those recommended by the manufacturer.

  3. Ignition System. I will launch my rockets with an electrical launch system and electrical motor igniters. My launch system will have a safety interlock in series with the launch switch, and will use a launch switch that returns to the "off" position when released.

  4. Misfires. If my rocket does not launch when I press the button of my electrical launch system, I will remove the launcher's safety interlock or disconnect its battery, and will wait 60 seconds after the last launch attempt before allowing anyone to approach the rocket.

  5. Launch Safety. I will use a countdown before launch, and will ensure that everyone is paying attention and is a safe distance of at least 15 feet away when I launch rockets with D motors or smaller, and 30 feet when I launch larger rockets. If I am uncertain about the safety or stability of an untested rocket, I will check the stability before flight and will fly it only after warning spectators and clearing them away to a safe distance.

  6. Launcher. I will launch my rocket from a launch rod, tower, or rail that is pointed to within 30 degrees of the vertical to ensure that the rocket flies nearly straight up, and I will use a blast deflector to prevent the motor's exhaust from hitting the ground. To prevent accidental eye injury, I will place launchers so that the end of the launch rod is above eye level or will cap the end of the rod when it is not in use.

  7. Size. My model rocket will not weigh more than 1,500 grams (53 ounces) at liftoff and will not contain more than 125 grams (4.4 ounces) of propellant or 320 N-sec (71.9 pound-seconds) of total impulse.

  8. Flight Safety. I will not launch my rocket at targets, into clouds, or near airplanes, and will not put any flammable or explosive payload in my rocket.

  9. Launch Site. I will launch my rocket outdoors, in an open area at least as large as shown in the accompanying table, and in safe weather conditions with wind speeds no greater than 20 miles per hour. I will ensure that there is no dry grass close to the launch pad, and that the launch site does not present risk of grass fires.

  10. Recovery System. I will use a recovery system such as a streamer or parachute in my rocket so that it returns safely and undamaged and can be flown again, and I will use only flame-resistant or fireproof recovery system wadding in my rocket.

  11. Recovery Safety. I will not attempt to recover my rocket from power lines, tall trees, or other dangerous places.

LAUNCH SITE DIMENSIONS
Installed Total Impulse (N-sec) Equivalent Motor Type Minimum Site Dimensions (ft.)
0.00--1.25 1/4A, 1/2A 50
1.26--2.50 A 100
2.51--5.00 B 200
5.01--10.00 C 400
10.01--20.00 D 500
20.01--40.00 E 1,000
40.01--80.00 F 1,000
80.01--160.00 G 1,000
160.01--320.00 Two Gs 1,500

Revision of March, 2009

 


 

High Power Rocket Safety Code

 

  1. Certification. I will only fly high power rockets or possess high power rocket motors that are within the scope of my user certification and required licensing.

  2. Materials. I will use only lightweight materials such as paper, wood, rubber, plastic, fiberglass, or when necessary ductile metal, for the construction of my rocket.

  3. Motors. I will use only certified, commercially made rocket motors, and will not tamper with these motors or use them for any purposes except those recommended by the manufacturer. I will not allow smoking, open flames, nor heat sources within 25 feet of these motors.

  4. Ignition System. I will launch my rockets with an electrical launch system, and with electrical motor igniters that are installed in the motor only after my rocket is at the launch pad or in a designated prepping area. My launch system will have a safety interlock that is in series with the launch switch that is not installed until my rocket is ready for launch, and will use a launch switch that returns to the "off" position when released. If my rocket has onboard ignition systems for motors or recovery devices, these will have safety interlocks that interrupt the current path until the rocket is at the launch pad.

  5. Misfires. If my rocket does not launch when I press the button of my electrical launch system, I will remove the launcher's safety interlock or disconnect its battery, and will wait 60 seconds after the last launch attempt before allowing anyone to approach the rocket.

  6. Launch Safety. I will use a 5-second countdown before launch. I will ensure that no person is closer to the launch pad than allowed by the accompanying Minimum Distance Table, and that a means is available to warn participants and spectators in the event of a problem. I will check the stability of my rocket before flight and will not fly it if it cannot be determined to be stable.

  7. Launcher. I will launch my rocket from a stable device that provides rigid guidance until the rocket has attained a speed that ensures a stable flight, and that is pointed to within 20 degrees of vertical. If the wind speed exceeds 5 miles per hour I will use a launcher length that permits the rocket to attain a safe velocity before separation from the launcher. I will use a blast deflector to prevent the motor's exhaust from hitting the ground. I will ensure that dry grass is cleared around each launch pad in accordance with the accompanying Minimum Distance table, and will increase this distance by a factor of 1.5 if the rocket motor being launched uses titanium sponge in the propellant.

  8. Size. My rocket will not contain any combination of motors that total more than 40,960 N-sec (9208 pound-seconds) of total impulse. My rocket will not weigh more at liftoff than one-third of the certified average thrust of the high power rocket motor(s) intended to be ignited at launch.

  9. Flight Safety. I will not launch my rocket at targets, into clouds, near airplanes, nor on trajectories that take it directly over the heads of spectators or beyond the boundaries of the launch site, and will not put any flammable or explosive payload in my rocket. I will not launch my rockets if wind speeds exceed 20 miles per hour. I will comply with Federal Aviation Administration airspace regulations when flying, and will ensure that my rocket will not exceed any applicable altitude limit in effect at that launch site.

  10. Launch Site. I will launch my rocket outdoors, in an open area where trees, power lines, buildings, and persons not involved in the launch do not present a hazard, and that is at least as large on its smallest dimension as one-half of the maximum altitude to which rockets are allowed to be flown at that site or 1500 feet, whichever is greater.

  11. Launcher Location. My launcher will be 1500 feet from any inhabited building or from any public highway on which traffic flow exceeds 10 vehicles per hour, not including traffic flow related to the launch. It will also be no closer than the appropriate Minimum Personnel Distance from the accompanying table from any boundary of the launch site.

  12. Recovery System. I will use a recovery system such as a parachute in my rocket so that all parts of my rocket return safely and undamaged and can be flown again, and I will use only flame-resistant or fireproof recovery system wadding in my rocket.

  13. Recovery Safety. I will not attempt to recover my rocket from power lines, tall trees, or other dangerous places, fly it under conditions where it is likely to recover in spectator areas or outside the launch site, nor attempt to catch it as it approaches the ground.

MINIMUM DISTANCE TABLE
Installed Total Impulse (Newton-Seconds) Equivalent High Power Motor Type Minimum Diameter of Cleared Area (ft.) Minimum Personnel Distance (ft.) Minimum Personnel Distance (Complex Rocket) (ft.)
0 -- 320.00 H or smaller 50 100 200
320.01 -- 640.00 I 50 100 200
640.01 -- 1,280.00 J 50 100 200
1,280.01 -- 2,560.00 K 75 200 300
2,560.01 -- 5,120.00 L 100 300 500
5,120.01 -- 10,240.00 M 125 500 1000
10,240.01 -- 20,480.00 N 125 1000 1500
20,480.01 -- 40,960.00 O 125 1500 2000

Note: A Complex rocket is one that is multi-staged or that is propelled by two or more rocket motors

Revision of July 2008