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ParallelLogic
22nd February 2012, 06:51 PM
I am building a rocket with a high powered motor in the US/Texas through my university. We will be using passive control on our design, but the question has come up - what are the laws surrounding active stabilization control systems?

I've seen articles discussing control with compressed gas thrusters and with fin rotation. There has been talk about "Autorotating" (I do not know what this means or what it entails). I have seen references to a certification required to launch a rocket with a control system.

I've seen references to NRA and Tripoli, but not to any specific laws that state in plain English that guided/stabilized rockets are not allowed to be built/launched or what regulations surround their design/launch. I have been unsuccessful in digging up any such links - please help me find links directly from the organizations that make it clear what the regulations are on stabilization control of rockets with high powered motors.

Thank you for your time

jadebox
22nd February 2012, 07:28 PM
As a part of a university, you're free of some of the regulations the rest of us have to follow such as requiring certification to fly a high power rocket. But, it's a very good idea follow our rules (we have an excellent safety record!) and to get certified if you can. By following the certification process, you'll receive help and guidance from experienced rocketry hobbyists, your university will probably be able to use the resources (launch equipment and site) of your local rocketry club (http://www.rocketreviews.com/rocketry-clubs.html), and you'll be able to fly high power rockets on your own at the club's high-power launches.

This subject has been brought up for discussion many times and no one has been able to cite any specific regulations against active stability (and, I'm not sure why anyone would expect there to be rules against it). It is against the safety code (and probably some laws) to aim a rocket at a physical target, but it is clear that you are not considering anything like that.

-- Roger

troj
22nd February 2012, 08:00 PM
Is it technically legal? Likely so.

Will doing anything other than making the system keep the rocket going straight up generate more attention than you likely want? You bet.

There have been a few hobby articles published about active stabilization, to keep the rocket on a straight course. That likely won't generate much governmental scrutiny, though I don't know for sure, as I'm not a lawyer.

Another factor to consider is if you're doing this as part of a university project, and you work on any sort of guidance, you may run afoul of ITAR.

-Kevin

jadebox
22nd February 2012, 08:13 PM
Kevin, I don't understand the paranoia that's often expressed when this topic is brought up. Government agencies, such as DARPA, often sponsor events where they encourage univerisity students to develop projects such as the one described. They encourage innovation and learning. One of the USLI teams that flies with one of my clubs is designing an active system. Florida Space Grant sponsored another local university team that's been working on an advanced project with active stabilaztion for several years. I'm sure there are many more examples.

-- Roger

ParallelLogic
22nd February 2012, 08:27 PM
By following the certification process
I'll refer the certification process to my team lead. I'm working on the electronics payload - I'll probably make a post about it in the Plans forum later, I need to draw up the "schematic" of the components I plan to use


I'm not sure why anyone would expect there to be rules against it
The way my team lead presented it, since we couldn't quickly prove at launch that our rocket wasn't a guided missile, then the regulatory agencies outright banned any control systems. That didn't fly with me, so that's why I'm asking here.


Will doing anything other than making the system keep the rocket going straight up generate more attention than you likely want? You bet.
Heh, we're only looking at going straight up. We're using a GPS and transmitter to find it as it's coming down


Another factor to consider is if you're doing this as part of a university project, and you work on any sort of guidance, you may run afoul of ITAR
It's for a club on campus

jadebox
22nd February 2012, 08:44 PM
The way my team lead presented it, since we couldn't quickly prove at launch that our rocket wasn't a guided missile, then the regulatory agencies outright banned any control systems.

It's simple. A guided missile is a weapon. You're not designing a weapon. Therefore, you are not designing a guided missile.

A longer answer can be posed as a question ... if a team of univeristy students can build a guided missile for $xxx in x amount of time, why does the government use hundreds of people and spend millions over decades to do the same thing?

-- Roger

EddieJ710
22nd February 2012, 08:57 PM
ParallelLogic, feel free to PM me. I won't speak on behalf of or for NAR, TRA, or the govt, but may give you some insight about similar projects that I've seen fly in the past. Would prefer not to discuss in a public forum.

Tominator 2
22nd February 2012, 09:06 PM
What's the the name of the University?

dave carver
22nd February 2012, 09:17 PM
Look up Zunofark Sunseeker.

Adrian A
22nd February 2012, 09:45 PM
Look up Zunofark Sunseeker.
The paper that comes up with that search is a pretty good introduction to the subject. It's pretty out-of-date, though. I had to chuckle at this:


The Japanese company muRata (that's the way they spell it on their
literature) makes a very compact, piezoelectric solid state rate gyro
that measures only 25 x 25 x 58mm and weighs only 45g. It is extremely
resistant to temperature, shock and noise. The down side is that it runs
$200 and that's for only one axis! If you're still interested, contact:


These days you can get a 3-axis gyro that's 4mm x 4mm x 1mm, weighs less than a gram, and costs under $10. I don't have the specs for the mid-90's muRata one, but I bet it's worse than what's in everybody's iPhone 4 and WiiPlus remote right now.

bobkrech
22nd February 2012, 10:45 PM
The Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&tpl=%2Findex.tpl) (e-CFR) is a currently updated version of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). It is not an official legal edition of the CFR. The e-CFR is an editorial compilation of CFR material and Federal Register amendments produced by the National Archives and Records Administration's Office of the Federal Register (OFR) and the Government Printing Office. The OFR updates the material in the e-CFR on a daily basis. The current update status appears at the top of all e-CFR web pages More (http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?sid=b11eb1af98a2523d2f4a64b7cff259d5&c=ecfr&tpl=about.tpl). You can most everything there.

You will find:

There are many laws and regulations that prohibit individuals and organizations rom making or operating weapons including guided or unguided rockets with the intend to do harm.
The launching of all rockets other than a Class 1 rocket by any individual or organization are tyrpically prohibited without an FAA waiver, but a waiver making it legal is not difficult to obtain.
There are no laws that prohibit an individual or orgaization from putting a guidance system, either active or passive, in a legal rocket that is not a weapon for trajectory control or safety.
NARr and TRA are nonprofit hobby organizations with no legal authority to enforce any civil regulations.
NAR and TRA are private membership organizations that can develop and enforce their codes of conduct upion their membership and their guests at their sponsored launches provded that their codes of conduct are not in violation of federal, state or local law.
Bob

gldknght
23rd February 2012, 03:58 AM
It's simple. A guided missile is a weapon. You're not designing a weapon. Therefore, you are not designing a guided missile.

A longer answer can be posed as a question ... if a team of univeristy students can build a guided missile for $xxx in x amount of time, why does the government use hundreds of people and spend millions over decades to do the same thing?

-- Roger

Just my opinion, don't really know about this, but after 24+ years in the military, I'm guessing this is exactly why guided hobby rockets may generate scrutiny by the Feds. We know it's not meant to be a weapon, but from the Fed's point of view, a guided hobby rocket is only one step away from a guided weapon.

From military experience a rocket guided to just fly straight is a whole bunch cheaper than a rocket guided to a stationary or moving target.


But, i think this is a cool project, hope you can make it work. Keep us posted.

bobkrech
23rd February 2012, 04:47 AM
It's simple. A guided missile is a weapon. You're not designing a weapon. Therefore, you are not designing a guided missile.

A longer answer can be posed as a question ... if a team of univeristy students can build a guided missile for $xxx in x amount of time, why does the government use hundreds of people and spend millions over decades to do the same thing?

-- Roger
Not exactly. The reason why a team of university students today can built guidance systems cheaply is because the government spent billions of dollars over the past 6 decades to figure out how to do it.


Just my opinion, don't really know about this, but after 24+ years in the military, I'm guessing this is exactly why guided hobby rockets may generate scrutiny by the Feds. We know it's not meant to be a weapon, but from the Fed's point of view, a guided hobby rocket is only one step away from a guided weapon.

From military experience a rocket guided to just fly straight is a whole bunch cheaper than a rocket guided to a stationary or moving target.

But, i think this is a cool project, hope you can make it work. Keep us posted.
You are absolutely correct. Building a guidance system to help a rocket fly straight is a lot simpler and cheaper than to build a tracking/targeting system to weaponize a hobby rocket. I really doubt the government is very worried about hobby rocketry from a security standpoint.

The current real world terror threat is the rogue hobby drone builder. Hobby UAV drone technology is cheap, accurate and available world-wide right now. For about $5K you can built an electric powered UAV drone with a gps corrected INS that can deliver a multi-kilogram payload to a target with meter level accuracy over several hundred kilometers. For $50K a determined, well educated terrorist coud acquire a private plane and use a hobby drone INS to deliver a several hundred kilogram package to within a few meters of a target at 1000 km. It's particularly easy when you make it single use.

Zeus-cat
23rd February 2012, 05:11 AM
As others have said, as long as you aren't building a system that tries to guide the rocket towards a target you should be OK. I'm not sure who you would need to ask about something like. Agencies that don't know won't be able to help you and the ones that do know probably will be reluctant to give you a straight answer. You have a sort of Catch 22 situation on your hands.

I have seen a video of someone who gimbaled a model rocket motor. It was discussed on several threads on this forum. The problem with this method is that most model rocket motors only burn for 1 to 3 seconds. This doesn't give you much time to correct flight anamolies. And once the motor burns out you no longer have an active control system.

As you mentioned, controlling the fins or using some sort of secondary thrust system would seem like a better method.

There is a possibility that you might run into ITAR issues, especially if you have foreigners involved on the project.

ClayD
23rd February 2012, 04:24 PM
to clarify for some, i think Bob's first posting was excellent.

a weapon, is an item that is intended to inflict harm... therefore a "hobby rocket" is never a weopon.

this would require proof, of use with intent to do harm. or the act of using it as a weapon itself.

a lamp, is a "dangerous weapon"... you cant be arrested for walking down the road with one, but you can be "after you do or intend to do harm."

that means guidance system, and rockets alone are not an issue. but, if there are emails, associate participation, and other elements that can paint a picture of harm. you will be hit with "constructive possesion" of dangerous weapon.

IF you move onto Bob's second post, I wish he hadnt gone full on drone... there was a guy arrested not but a few months ago, trying to obtain H.E. for his drone.(GPS guided F4 phantom) they didnt care about his "aircrafts" capability, until then. there were multiple documents where it was stated they guy was under survailance and not a threat untill the attempted procurement of H.E. (not a threat, until he tried to get explosive)

theres another guy that makes pulse jet drones, he is from newzealand, his site about making a 5k cruise missile is down right creepy.


IMO, in the laws of the universe, an automated guidance system can be proven no more a weapon, than a manual guidance system"R/c" (which is fairly prevailant.) Both show the user can inflict intent, if it was present.

cdw.lighting
23rd February 2012, 06:29 PM
I oo wanted to biuild a finle rocket using a gimbaled motor mount, however the response I got when asking about this from my local club. "Not on our field!" Seems the bigger issue will be finding a place to fly the rocket. For me not being university tied, I have to use inplace flying arrangments, and it would seem that most are unwilling to allow it. It would seem that this walks a grey line that nobody seems to understand. I thought it would fall under TRA research rules, but apparently that is for building your own rocket motors not building guidance systems.

I will say that I have an uncle who does electornics engineering for a living and according to him 4 seconds is a long time for anything electronic. The issue for me is the coasting phase, and because I don't want to create a finned rocket, I was trying to correct with a pendulum. But that might not work eighter.

Best of luck to you. Another thing when did we as americas decide that the government was out to get us?

mikec
23rd February 2012, 07:20 PM
Seems the bigger issue will be finding a place to fly the rocket.
If I were RSOing a rocket that could be unstable without active guidance, I would be asking some detailed questions about what bench and flight testing had been done to provide some assurance that the active guidance would work; that only seems reasonable. If a club didn't have anyone qualified to review such a design, it would be prudent IMHO to not let it fly.

Of course, I would be less worried about a smaller motor than a larger one.

rocketsmith
23rd February 2012, 07:40 PM
I think we may be confusing the term guided with homing. A guided rocket would be one that uses a system to control the direction of flight and alter that path according to a pre determined set of criteria. A homing rocket would be one that uses a system to guide the rocket to a defined point in space, which of course requires a guidance system and a method of determining the point to which the rocket will home (gps, laser, internal map or coordinants). Either could be construed as having the potential of being weaponized. An unguided rocket could as well, although the argument is somewhat suspect due to the inherent inaccuracy of unguided rockets.

As to Clay D's comment about intent, I wouldn't care to tempt the powers that be and be forced to prove my intent is different from theirs.

jadebox
23rd February 2012, 08:18 PM
Wow. I think some tin-foil hats need to be loosened a bit. :-)

There's nothing wrong with working on a active stabilization system for a hobby rocket. There are no laws against it. There are no black helicopters circling waiting to pounce on anyone trying it. And, it doesn't make a rocket into a weapon.

Hobbyists and students have experimented with it and there's no evidence of it raising any government scrutiny other than some groups receiving grants or other awards to help them continue their work.

-- Roger

troj
23rd February 2012, 11:10 PM
I was talking with a friend about this topic the other day, and learned from him that there are some books available on active guidance systems from Amazon. They're not cheap -- the ones he showed me were in the $350 price range.

Unfortunately, I didn't save the links. :rolleyes: Otherwise, I'd post them here.

Stabilization systems that help keep a rocket on a vertical flight path could be handy!

-Kevin

ClayD
23rd February 2012, 11:25 PM
I was talking with a friend about this topic the other day, and learned from him that there are some books available on active guidance systems from Amazon. They're not cheap -- the ones he showed me were in the $350 price range.

Unfortunately, I didn't save the links. :rolleyes: Otherwise, I'd post them here.

Stabilization systems that help keep a rocket on a vertical flight path could be handy!

-Kevin

save some headache,,, http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10736
plus another 100.00 and your good to go.

jadebox
24th February 2012, 01:42 AM
Here's an interesting report on an undergrad project to actively stabilize a small rocket:

http://aeroconsystems.com/tips/Active_Stabilized_rocket_Wyatt.pdf

Spoiler Alert:

I'm a little disappointed that he didn't try flying the rocket again. But, I think it must have been cool seeing it balance itself during testing.

-- Roger

gldknght
24th February 2012, 03:39 AM
Best of luck to you. Another thing when did we as americas decide that the government was out to get us?

Anyone who does not believe our government is out to get us, please check out this video, the good part starts about 1/4 of the way in. I don't know this guy, and certainly am NOT campaigning for him, but he has some very interesting things to say.

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=7n2m-X7OIuY






Wow. I think some tin-foil hats need to be loosened a bit. :-)


-- Roger
I threw mine away years ago, heard the focused brain waves cause insanity. :)

Reinhard
25th February 2012, 03:19 PM
The primary problem with active guidance is of a practical nature. It is hard to do right. If you want to fly it on a public launch you really don't want to steer it into the wrong direction by accident. It is relatively easy for an RSO to check if a rocket as passively stable. It is, for practical purposes, impossible for the RSO to do the same with an actively guided or stabilized rocket. Therefore "Not on my range!" comments aren't surprising.

Last year I've been to an experimental launch in France, hosted by CNES on a missile test range (DGAEM Biscarosse), and they were quite explicit about this. The only thing that they would allow, is simple roll control, with the condition that the steerable fins are mechanically coupled in a way that only torque on the roll axis could be exerted. Two or four individually controllable fins were not allowed - no matter how the software behind them looked like. Apparently the only acceptable way to do active guidance was in conjunction with a range abort system, which was way beyond the scope of the event.

If you want to fly an actively guided rocket, I'd suggest to keep it rather low profile for different reasons. Avoid to fly the rocket in front of big crowds. If the guidance system works not as intended, you don't want unnecessary people around that might be harmed.
Plan your flight profile around safety. For example you can design your rocket in a way that it stays passively stable and you delay activation of your control system until the rocket is high up in the air. If something goes wrong late in the flight, it will likely have less severe consequences.
Probably not an issue for you, but I mention it anyway: Keep it "small". Unless you really know what you're doing and you can present this in a convincing way, don't even consider approaching FAA with the intent to fly an active controlled class 3 rocket.

Reinhard

stantonjtroy
26th February 2012, 04:07 PM
Ok folks, time to play semantics; And YES we need to because the Feds do.
First are we talking "Active Stability" or "Active Guidance"? Active stability is simply keeping the thing going straight. I recall old articles in HPR Mag about a "Sun Seeker" and another on "Rollerons". These are Active forms of stability and ok to employ. Active Guidance is the ability to stear a projectile or vehicle from a balistic flight path and/or to a specific point. By definition this is the difference between a "Rocket" and a "Missile". It dosn't matter how WE want to define it, that's how the GOVERNMENT defines it. Guidance does not make it a weapon but a warhead does. Guidance just makes it a Delivery System. This is why the Fed percs up when they hear of it and why WE, the hobby comunity, try to stear clear. Just as a reminder, the V2 was Stabelized with active systems but was not "Guided" in the sense we're talking here. It flew a calculated ballistic trajectory. The stabelization system simply compensated for exterior forces. FWIW

fyrwrxz
27th February 2012, 06:21 PM
I vote we press gang Adrian in to do it. After the Perch and the new Tilt sensor-it's only logical. Who gets to nag him about THAT? I've done my share of scolding (see his post) so who wants to volunteer for this one?

(Hmm- active stabilization for $50....hmmm...)

jadebox
27th February 2012, 06:48 PM
Ok folks, time to play semantics; And YES we need to because the Feds do. [...] It dosn't matter how WE want to define it, that's how the GOVERNMENT defines it.

Can you please cite a reference?

-- Roger

Adrian A
27th February 2012, 07:25 PM
I vote we press gang Adrian in to do it. After the Perch and the new Tilt sensor-it's only logical. Who gets to nag him about THAT? I've done my share of scolding (see his post) so who wants to volunteer for this one?

(Hmm- active stabilization for $50....hmmm...)

Last year I took up RC gliders too, so yeah, I've been thinking about it. Once I get the tilt sensor working, I'll have most of the technology under my belt. But who said $50!!??:no:

I like the idea of keeping it mechanically simple and just hooking 2 canards directly to 2 beefy servos. That will cover pitch and roll. To yaw, the system would have to roll first to align the desired rotation to the pitch axis.

My long-term goal is an N5800-N5800 to space. Really tiny off-vertical angles cause 10s of miles of downrange distance for a flight like that, so it's possible that active stabilization will be more feasible than trying to keep it going that straight passively.

stantonjtroy
28th February 2012, 01:53 AM
Can you please cite a reference?

-- Roger

Sure. Give me a couple days to dig it up. I have it hard copy somewhere in this mess I call my ref library. I'll also try yo dig up an online resource.

bobkrech
28th February 2012, 03:47 AM
Last year I took up RC gliders too, so yeah, I've been thinking about it. Once I get the tilt sensor working, I'll have most of the technology under my belt. But who said $50!!??:no:

I like the idea of keeping it mechanically simple and just hooking 2 canards directly to 2 beefy servos. That will cover pitch and roll. To yaw, the system would have to roll first to align the desired rotation to the pitch axis.

My long-term goal is an N5800-N5800 to space. Really tiny off-vertical angles cause 10s of miles of downrange distance for a flight like that, so it's possible that active stabilization will be more feasible than trying to keep it going that straight passively.
The easiest way to actively control and correct for vertical flight deviations is to make a forward payload compartment with 2 axled sets of balanced canards and utilize the x- and y- axis tilt sensors to drive the x- and y- tilt controlling servos connected to the canards. The rocket stability will be largely controlled by the rear fins while the foward canards simply pitch the nose over to keep the trajectory vertical. The best part of this is that a single "dumb" control system will control verticallity regardless of number of stages and whether the motor is thrusting or burned out. There is no reason to worry about roll with this control system, so the overall system is much, much simpler mechanically and electronically than other methods.

For ground testing, you simply neaf to tilt the canard section around centerline and all the fins should remain vertical for reasonablr airframe angles. Your control algorithm does need to limit angle versus velocity to prevent g-load failures at high velocity, but this should also be straight forward.

Bob

stantonjtroy
29th February 2012, 03:29 AM
Sure. Give me a couple days to dig it up. I have it hard copy somewhere in this mess I call my ref library. I'll also try yo dig up an online resource.

Still looking. It was in an Ordinance training manual I got my hands on when I was in the Army. An actual DOD pub circa 1985ish.

jadebox
29th February 2012, 04:25 AM
For ground testing, you simply neaf to tilt the canard section around centerline and all the fins should remain vertical for reasonablr airframe angles. Your control algorithm does need to limit angle versus velocity to prevent g-load failures at high velocity, but this should also be straight forward.

In practice, if the controls move too slowly or quickly (or too little or too much), you'll run into problems. But, it would be a fun project to do.

For a long time, I've been researching a system like that. But, I want it to just reduce or eliminate the rocket's rolling to provide a better platform for on-board video recording. Eventually, though, I found that larger rockets, built more carefully, are an easier solution to the rolling problem.

I also considered a system like the one described in the paper I cited earlier (http://aeroconsystems.com/tips/Active_Stabilized_rocket_Wyatt.pdf) to be used in one of our "Akavish" (spider-themed) rockets. I was considering using an active thruster method like that to try to encourage the Akavish to land on its feet. But, I finally realized that getting it to land vertically was just half the problem. It would also have to not be moving relative to the ground. That's a tougher nut to crack.

-- Roger

Adrian A
29th February 2012, 04:40 AM
The easiest way to actively control and correct for vertical flight deviations is to make a forward payload compartment with 2 axled sets of balanced canards and utilize the x- and y- axis tilt sensors to drive the x- and y- tilt controlling servos connected to the canards. The rocket stability will be largely controlled by the rear fins while the foward canards simply pitch the nose over to keep the trajectory vertical. The best part of this is that a single "dumb" control system will control verticallity regardless of number of stages and whether the motor is thrusting or burned out. There is no reason to worry about roll with this control system, so the overall system is much, much simpler mechanically and electronically than other methods.

For ground testing, you simply neaf to tilt the canard section around centerline and all the fins should remain vertical for reasonablr airframe angles. Your control algorithm does need to limit angle versus velocity to prevent g-load failures at high velocity, but this should also be straight forward.

Bob

I've seen some really mechanically complex canard setups that appear to be motivated by a desire to minimize the number of servos to buy or control, or perhaps a fear of control in unwanted directions. But these days servos are really, really cheap and easily available. That's true even for high-quality, strong servos with good bearings and near-zero backlash. So if I were going to make a 4-canard design I would use 4 servos and just attach the canards directly to the servos. But I'm motivated to minimize the number of canards for drag reasons, and to prevent interference with possible 3-pole towers or sets of 3 passive fins. In the last year I've done a lot of aerobatic RC flight with 2-channel flying wings, so controlling 3-DOF attitude with 2 canards doesn't seem too daunting.

jadebox
29th February 2012, 04:41 AM
... an Ordinance training manual ....

An "Ordinance" manual is where I'd expect to find laws and regulations. :-)

I searched the US Code (http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text) for the word "rocket" and found 18 hits. Only two of the matches seemed remotely applicable. First there is the definition of a "Missile System Designed to Destroy Aircraft":



(1) In general.— Except as provided in paragraph (3), it shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly produce, construct, otherwise acquire, transfer directly or indirectly, receive, possess, import, export, or use, or possess and threaten to use—

(A) an explosive or incendiary rocket or missile that is guided by any system designed to enable the rocket or missile to—
(i) seek or proceed toward energy radiated or reflected from an aircraft or toward an image locating an aircraft; or
(ii) otherwise direct or guide the rocket or missile to an aircraft;
(B) any device designed or intended to launch or guide a rocket or missile described in subparagraph (A); or
(C) any part or combination of parts designed or redesigned for use in assembling or fabricating a rocket, missile, or device described in subparagraph (A) or (B).

(2) Nonweapon.— Paragraph (1)(A) does not apply to any device that is neither designed nor redesigned for use as a weapon.


The second is the definition of a "Destructive Device":


The term “destructive device” means

(1) any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas

(A) bomb,
(B) grenade,
(C) rocket having a propellent charge of more than four ounces,
(D) missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce,
(E) mine, or
(F) similar device;

(2) any type of weapon by whatever name known which will, or which may be readily converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant, the barrel or barrels of which have a bore of more than one-half inch in diameter, except a shotgun or shotgun shell which the Secretary finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes; and

(3) any combination of parts either designed or intended for use in converting any device into a destructive device as defined in subparagraphs (1) and (2) and from which a destructive device may be readily assembled.

The term “destructive device” shall not include any device which is neither designed nor redesigned for use as a weapon; any device, although originally designed for use as a weapon, which is redesigned for use as a signaling, pyrotechnic, line throwing, safety, or similar device; surplus ordnance sold, loaned, or given by the Secretary of the Army pursuant to the provisions of section 4684 (2), 4685, or 4686 of title 10 of the United States Code; or any other device which the Secretary finds is not likely to be used as a weapon, or is an antique or is a rifle which the owner intends to use solely for sporting purposes.

Note, in both cases, devices that are not intended to be weapons are excluded from the definitions.

-- Roger

Adrian A
29th February 2012, 04:58 AM
Thanks, Roger.

Another area of law that might be a problem are FAA regs on UAVs. Perhaps those are not applicable for vehicles operating within a rocketry waiver cylinder, however.

ClayD
29th February 2012, 03:37 PM
Thanks, Roger.

Another area of law that might be a problem are FAA regs on UAVs. Perhaps those are not applicable for vehicles operating within a rocketry waiver cylinder, however.

I think if you intended to fly it on the normal ballistic profile, the guidance wouldn't change the FAA deffinition from rocket to UAV.

The further you drift from the balistic profile, the closer you get to rocket powered UAV.

That is how i would see it. Still, a rocket powered aircraft with automated guidance, is no more than an R/C rocket plane.

stantonjtroy
29th February 2012, 05:53 PM
An "Ordinance" manual is where I'd expect to find laws and regulations. :-)

-- Roger

No it isn't. BUT it is a place to find definitions the government uses. Funny but when it comes to anything weapon related the Govt often turns to the military for defininitions and answers. Go figure.

nealkas
29th February 2012, 06:15 PM
...Still, a rocket powered aircraft with automated guidance, is no more than an R/C rocket plane.

Certainly my take on it.
If I built a Shuttle with r/c flight controls after separation, is it a weapon?
As long as you don't try to chase your kid brother and sister around the yard with it, it really isn't a 'weapon'. :D

Seriously, with no warhead and no intent and not aiming it at aircraft, proper safety precautions, etc, is it a weapon?

What if I just want to build R/C X-1, X-15 planes that I can fly?

Adrian A
29th February 2012, 06:51 PM
There have been a lot of possible rules tossed around with regard to first-person-video RC aircraft flights, but the new rule eventually adopted has gotten rid of the altitude limits and a bunch of other stuff that could have affected this topic.


FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012
Senate Bill, Section 607(g)
…exempts most model airplanes used for recreational or academic use from any UAS
regulations established by the FAA
Conference Committee Report
Senate bill with modifications… Language including model aircraft for the purposes of sports,
competitions and academic purposes is removed and replaced with ``hobby''. The modified
section includes language requiring that the model aircraft must be operated in a manner that
does not interfere with and gives way, to all manned aircraft. In addition, language that requires
that model aircraft flown within five miles of an airport will give prior notification to the airport
and the air traffic control (ATC), and that model aircraft that are flown consistently within five
miles of the ATC will do so under standing agreements with the airports and ATC. Lastly,
language is added that will ensure that nothing in this provision will interfere with the
Administrator's authority to pursue enforcement action against persons operating model aircraft
who endanger the safety of the national airspace system. In this section the term ``nationwide
community-based organization'' is intended to mean a membership based association that
represents the aeromodeling community within the United States; provides its members a
comprehensive set of safety guidelines that underscores safe aeromodeling operations within the
National Airspace System and the protection and safety of the general public on the ground;
develops and maintains mutually supportive programming with educational institutions,
government entities and other aviation associations; and acts as a liaison with government
agencies as an advocate for its members.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
SEC. 336. SPECIAL RULE FOR MODEL AIRCRAFT.
(a) In General.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law relating to the incorporation of
unmanned aircraft systems into Federal Aviation Administration plans and policies, including
this subtitle, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration may not promulgate any
rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft, or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft,
if--
(1) the aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use;
(2) the aircraft is operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and
within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization;
(3) the aircraft is limited to not more than 55 pounds unless otherwise certified through a design,
construction, inspection, flight test, and operational safety program administered by a
community-based organization;
(4) the aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned
aircraft; and
(5) when flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the aircraft provides the airport
operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the
airport) with prior notice of the operation (model aircraft operators flying from a permanent
location within 5 miles of an airport should establish a mutually-agreed upon operating
procedure with the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic
facility is located at the airport)).
(b) Statutory Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of
the Administrator to pursue enforcement action against persons operating model aircraft who
endanger the safety of the national airspace system.
(c) Model Aircraft Defined.--In this section, the term ``model aircraft'' means an unmanned
aircraft that is--
(1) capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere;
(2) flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft; and
(3) flown for hobby or recreational purposes.
See the following link for a more legible copy:
http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/HR658_020112.pdf

jadebox
29th February 2012, 07:30 PM
No it isn't. BUT it is a place to find definitions the government uses. Funny but when it comes to anything weapon related the Govt often turns to the military for definitions and answers. Go figure.

I was just being silly ... picking on you for misspelling "ordnance."

In any case, the definitions embedded in the laws themselves are what count, not what it might say in a field manual.

-- Roger

stantonjtroy
29th February 2012, 11:47 PM
I was just being silly ... picking on you for misspelling "ordnance."

In any case, the definitions embedded in the laws themselves are what count, not what it might say in a field manual.

-- Roger

I agree completely. No offence taken ( I saw the smiley :wink: ) As for the misspelling, what can I say, My public school education flies into action once again. Spell check was made for guys like me.

jadebox
29th February 2012, 11:52 PM
Spell check was made for guys like me.

Unfortunately, spell check wouldn't catch that one. It's like "lightening" and "lightning" ... both are properly spelled words, but mean very different things.

I just finished reading a book that not only used the phrase "fast as lightening," it also described the space shuttle deploying its "drag shoot" after landing. I like that ... "drag shoot." :-)

-- Roger

Adrian A
8th March 2012, 06:29 PM
Following up on another discussion, I took the time to read through the ITAR regs, and what is covered under the munitions list.

http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=9d25e6cdd4cdbc00605f4952430e19d7&rgn=div8&view=text&node=22:1.0.1.13.59.0.31.13&idno=22

http://www.fas.org/spp/starwars/offdocs/itar/p121.htm#C-XII

In section 121.1, category XII, part (d), there is something that might be applicable:


*(d) Inertial platforms and sensors for weapons or weapon systems; guidance, control and stabilization systems except for those systems covered in category VIII; astro-compasses and star trackers and military and [non-military] accelerometers and gyros. For aircraft inertial reference systems and related components refer to Category VIII.

the brackets mean that it's scheduled to be removed from the munitions list.

Category VIII says:


*(e) Inertial navigation systems, aided or hybrid inertial navigation systems, Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs), and Attitude and Heading Reference Systems (AHRS) specifically designed, modified, or configured for military use and all specifically designed components, parts and accessories. For other inertial reference systems and related components refer to Category XII(d).

The question that I can't figure out after reading this is whether inertial navigation systems not designed for a military application, are covered. Category VIII only covers the military ones, but it says to look at category XII for non-military ones. Section XII says for aircraft inertial reference systems, go back to VIII. I'm definitely not a lawyer, but maybe the intent is to cover inertial nav systems if it's for a military aircraft or any non-aircraft application? And would our hobby rockets qualify as an aircraft?

All of the above might put hobby inertial nav systems on the munitions list, but that only prevents U.S. exports, (including technology exports like forum posts), not development or use within the U.S. as far as I know.