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  1. #1
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    AeroTech Open Thread

    Hi Everyone,
    My name is Charlie Savoie and I am the General Manager at RCS/AeroTech/Quest. I am here today to comment on the JetHitch product as well as to gather as much information as possible in order to better our company. I have been lurking on this site for the better part of a year hoping to glean any insight into what is a very niche market. Though it has helped, direct communication with the end-consumer is something I have wanted to take part in for a while. I value all opinions, favorable or otherwise. We cannot improve if we do not first acknowledge that we can be better.

    A couple of notes before we start:
    - I do not know everything about the hobby
    - My strengths are currently geared towards the business side and not the science side of the hobby
    - I will be professional, please return the respect

    With that, I await your inquiries.


  2. #2
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    This should be fun...

    Model rocketry is not my religion.

  3. #3
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    A frequent complaint regarding AT is the inability of your customers to easily get information on motors, a current catalog, the lack of information on the website, etc. to the point that one of your customers (and a member of this forum) has been working on putting together this together (see here http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthr...ech-Motor-Data).

    What is AT doing to address this? Your 2 main competitors have much more informative websites, with one of these being a one man show.
    I'm not very smart, but I can lift heavy things...

  4. #4
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    Good afternoon Charlie.

    My question is:

    What advantage does the JetHitch have over existing competing systems?

    Correct me if I am wrong, but thrust doesn't matter in these applications, burn time doesn't compare to pyrotechnic gerbs, and they are more expensive and operate at a higher pressure (safety). And as a business guy can you show us or allude to the marketing strategies JetHitch has done to reach the I am sure even more niche market of "vehicular demonstrations".

    Thank you for being here Charlie, will I see you at ROCstock next month?

    Bryce Chanes
    Previous ROC Board Member
    NAR 89467, TRA 13928 L3
    KR0CKT General
    Follow me on: YouTube, Twitter, Google+, Facebook

    2011: 14,773Ns (44% N)
    2012: 38,670Ns (89% O)
    2013: 26,936Ns (32%O)
    2014: 7,392Ns (45%M)

    www.BryceChanes.com

  5. #5
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    Hello Charlie,

    Thank you for engaging the forum directly. You may have noticed that there are a couple of active threads here regarding the JetHitch products. There are a number of users who have expressed concern that broadening the market for rocket products beyond the rocketry community will lead to abuse, accidents, and increased regulatory scrutiny that could threaten the entire rocketry hobby.

    Others have much deeper knowledge of historical struggles with the BATFE, etc. so I will leave it to them to comment on that subject. One question that comes to my mind: Will you require some kind of accreditation for buyers of the JetHitch product, comparable to NAR or TRA certification for high-powered rocketry? That could help protect your company from liability as well as to distinguish users of this product from rocketeers.

    Thanks,
    M Rich

    Failure is just another word for 'data collection'

  6. #6
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    This complaint is 100% accurate. We are working on a matrix right now but that is a small step in my opinion. A larger concern of mine are the websites. It is a large project to be sure but one that we, as an industry leader, need to correct. In fact, here is the list of my current priorities:
    -catalog
    -website(s)
    -hardware

    If I had to prioritize them they would be 1a, 1b and 1c. Excellent point. I would say to expect the improved websites by mid-late June.
    Quote Originally Posted by AlfaBrewer View Post
    A frequent complaint regarding AT is the inability of your customers to easily get information on motors, a current catalog, the lack of information on the website, etc. to the point that one of your customers (and a member of this forum) has been working on putting together this together (see here http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthr...ech-Motor-Data).

    What is AT doing to address this? Your 2 main competitors have much more informative websites, with one of these being a one man show.

  7. #7
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    Welcome to the forum Charlie. Let me start by saying that I am very happy with your products.

    I currently burn about 75% Aerotech and 25% CTI. The main driver for me is value. This is not a complaint, but the recent 10% price increase will likely shift my purchasing habit in favor of CTI...especially for high power. I will still purchase some Aerotech products, mostly in the 24mm range I suspect. I realize that I only spend about $2,500 per year on motors so not a big impact.

    Cheers,
    Michael
    ROSCO | ICBM

    There are a thousand things that can happen when you light a rocket engine, and only one of them is good. -Tom Mueller, SpaceX propulsion chief

  8. #8
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    Charlie,

    Welcome to the forum! Thanks for taking time to engage us - it's appreciated. Looking forward to seeing an integrated Quest/AT webstore.
    Bill

    NAR #97213, L2
    Just a member of UROC
    Former member of NARHAMS and NOVAAR

  9. #9
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    Thank you for the update, and thank you for making yourself available to us in this forum. We look forward to a more active presence from AT here on TRF.
    I'm not very smart, but I can lift heavy things...

  10. #10
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    I am hoping to get out there for sure, especially after Dairy Aire. Hope to see you there as well.

    As far as the JetHitch is concerned, this project began before I started here so I am not sure of what strategies were initially planned for. That being said, it was a mistake to announce it the way we did. I know that Gary and Karl spoke with a few monster truck reps and they were pretty excited about it. In the end, we are always looking for ways to deploy our core competency (propellant) into new markets. Simply stated, more research needs to be conducted before moving forward.

    Hope this helps, if not hit me up again.
    Quote Originally Posted by bandman444 View Post
    Good afternoon Charlie.

    My question is:

    What advantage does the JetHitch have over existing competing systems?

    Correct me if I am wrong, but thrust doesn't matter in these applications, burn time doesn't compare to pyrotechnic gerbs, and they are more expensive and operate at a higher pressure (safety). And as a business guy can you show us or allude to the marketing strategies JetHitch has done to reach the I am sure even more niche market of "vehicular demonstrations".

    Thank you for being here Charlie, will I see you at ROCstock next month?

  11. #11
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    Even if used exactly according to the instructions on the Jethitch site, do you see any safety issues with the Jethitch product?

    Do you see any potential for misuse of the Jethitch product? If the product were to be misused, what do you think the likely result would be?

    Do you feel like the typical 18-year-old who might be attracted to mounting rocket motors to the bumper of their vehicle is likely to be responsible enough or experienced enough to take proper safety precautions with such a product? Is a simple age limit enough to ensure safe use, or do you think perhaps something similar to a certification process might be in order?

    What about the current HPR certification process for model rocketry? Do you personally feel that the current HPR certification process is more beneficial to the hobby and to your business, or do you think it is an unnecessary burden?

    Do you think that rocketeers who have been unable or unwilling to go through the Level 2 HPR certification process might use Jethitch as a way to obtain Level 2 class rocket motors that they otherwise could not obtain through rocketry vendors? If so, do you see any issues with that? Could that have any impacts on the hobby or your business?

  12. #12
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    Charlie,

    First and foremost thank you VERY much for coming on this forum to talk. This means a lot to me especially with all the Jethitch controversy.

    Second, I promise to be nice and I fully expect my forum compatriots to DO THE SAME THING.

    Third, the Jethitch issue really irritated a lot of us on a number of levels. We fought a 9 year legal battle with the ATF and we are concerned the introduction of such products may introduce alphabet agency regulation again. We spent A LOT of time and money on that fight. Also, it frustrates us because of the backlog of casing orders and lack of up to date motor information on aerotechs web site.

    Those are my thoughts in a very brief synopsis. Since you're new here I will be more than happy to answer questions you may have do feel free to PM me or post here. I'll keep an eye on this thread. Thanks again for having the courage to come here. There wi be a bit of negativity but don't let that discourage you. Having a active presence on this forum goes a long way with customers like me.
    Dave Brunsting | NAR 85879 | TRA 12369
    L1 - 11/04/07, Three Oaks, MI | L2 - 7/25/09, Muskegon, MI
    Michiana Rocketry
    Notre Dame Rocket Team Mentor

  13. #13
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    Hi Charlie,

    My name is Nate Yarger, and I'm 16. I fly mid and high power rockets from NJ with the RadRocketeers club, as well as METRA, through both the NAR and Tripoli. Since I got involved, I've been flying larger and larger rockets, all of which have been flying on larger and larger Aerotech motors, ranging from your 18/20 case, up to the 38/360 case. I have thoroughly enjoyed using your products, and have had a minute failure rate. They're some great motors, and I appreciate you guys being a vendor in this hobby.
    That said, the most recent, ehem, product launch, worries me greatly. I simply don't see how this can be a good idea. Selling motors to anyone 18+ that, normally, would require a NAR or TRA L2 certification to buy, and telling them to hitch them to their truck seems like an accident waiting to happen. The complete absence of a safety-interlock launch system is even more worrisome. If one of these motors goes off in a residential area, especially the sparky motor, there is a serious risk of fire. There is no mention of creating a clear area, or taking any precautions when lighting one of these. Additionally, simply recommending and enabling somebody to do this, regardless of whether or not safety instructions are provided, will lead to them being used in traffic and in completely inappropriate situations. Then there's the issue of CATOs. On your website, it recommends attaching these to go-karts. If a 98mm M motor blows up behind somebody's go-kart, they're in trouble. The shockwave, flying debris, burning fuel, and sheer destructive potential would make this a catastrophic event to the vehicle and anyone inside, undoubtedly severely injuring them. While this in and of itself is concerning, it would, in all likeliness, result in the shutdown of Aerotech, destroying the company so many of us love(d). Similarly, it would almost certainly result in much, much tighter regulation on hobby rocketry, damaging our hobby, and Aerotech's business.

    How would you address these safety concerns? do you believe that the average Joe is responsible enough to safely use bumper-mounted rockets?

    Also, this product makes these motors available to anyone who has any other idea in mind. In rocketry, in order to purchase motors of a specific size, as I'm sure you know, there is a certification process, and this new product bypasses it completely, allowing somebody with absolutely no rocketry experience or intention access to a potentially very dangerous toy/weapon. the certification process is designed to weed out people who would be purchasing motors for destructive or dangerous uses, so now giving them to anyone allows people the opportunity to use them for said dangerous purposes.



    Aside from JetHitch, I believe that the second major issue I have seen is the Aerotech website. Nowhere is there a clear listing of the products you make! when I first looked at it, I almost left immediately after seeing that the "products" tab brings me to a five year old catalog. At least take it down! It's old, outdated, and a major turnoff. Please either replace it with a new one or with something that accomplishes the same task. It doesn't need to be pretty (although it would be nice), it just needs to give us plenty of information, all in one place.
    Something else I'd like to bring up is Aerotech's lack of a coherent direction. You guys are putting out a new DMS line here, a switch to EZ there, a few new DMS motors over here, etc. I really like reloads. They're cheaper than SU, and one of the reasons I really do like Aerotech is that I do assemble the motor myself. I like doing it, and I like knowing that if something goes wrong because an O-ring was missing, I left it out, and I had the power not to leave it out- it's something I have control over. Thus, rather than producing more disposable motors, I'd really like to see a better return on investment for my hardware I bought. tons of people have your hardware, and then you come out with motors that don't need it. What?
    Lastly, I'd like a bit of explanation for your switch to RMS EZ. while it hasn't been much of a problem for me (yet) it seems like you guys are doing something no one asked for. I certainly don't mind putting together a forward closure, and I haven't heard anyone else say they do. If, perchance, you are trying to be like "brand C", well there's a reason we don't fly them, it's because we'd rather assemble it ourselves. Silly, perhaps, but it seems like it's someone nobody particularly wanted.

    I'm curious as to how you guys will respond to these concerns, and how things will proceed.


    Respectfully,
    Nate
    Last edited by nute; 16th May 2015 at 07:45 PM. Reason: reworded some stuff
    Nate Y, Radical Rocketeers NJ Jr. L1, KD2IKO, NAR:96432 Tripoli: 15627
    Impulse flown in 2013: about 2100 Ns
    In 2014 :4587Ns
    In 2015: 8631.23 Ns
    So far in 2016: 664.4 Ns, This is not a good trend...


  14. #14
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    My concern about the Jet Hitch isn't so much the vehicle but what else will people strap it onto, bicycles, skateboards, roller skates etc, the K motors 100lbs of thrust or whatever it is (I don't remember), on one of those items would be interesting to say the very least. If Aerotech is targeting the business sector for pyrotechnics, exhibitions then a method of controlling the purchase of these "motors" needs to be in place. Also as a number of people have pointed out, without modifying the case diameter so it doesn't fit in standard rockets there's absolutely no reason to buy your reloads at a far higher cost when (unless flying NAR/TRA events) you can fly a K for $69. As for them not having thrust rings or delays, so what the thrust rings an easy fix, and the delay isn't necessary with electronics.

    Our biggest concern is that irresponsible individuals will buy these and since they ARE rocket motors and do things that give this hobby a bad name, undoing all the things we have fought for years to protect.

    Rich Harshberger

    Edit: As to the other issues such as the website, and the lack of a comprehensive "motor matrix" (Karl Baumanns term), I sent an email earlier this week about all that, and Karl was gracious enough to return an email pretty quickly.
    Last edited by rharshberger; 16th May 2015 at 07:55 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrichhcirm View Post
    Hello Charlie,

    Thank you for engaging the forum directly. You may have noticed that there are a couple of active threads here regarding the JetHitch products. There are a number of users who have expressed concern that broadening the market for rocket products beyond the rocketry community will lead to abuse, accidents, and increased regulatory scrutiny that could threaten the entire rocketry hobby.

    Others have much deeper knowledge of historical struggles with the BATFE, etc. so I will leave it to them to comment on that subject. One question that comes to my mind: Will you require some kind of accreditation for buyers of the JetHitch product, comparable to NAR or TRA certification for high-powered rocketry? That could help protect your company from liability as well as to distinguish users of this product from rocketeers.

    Thanks,
    These are excellent concerns and questions that you pose. I will break them down individually to help answer them as direct as possible.

    You may have noticed that there are a couple of active threads here regarding the JetHitch products
    Yes I may have seen a couple

    Others have much deeper knowledge of historical struggles with the BATFE
    I was about 12 or 13 when we (my family) fought with them and it had a huge impact on our lives growing up. I didn't understand the issue specifically but I do remember driving reloads as 1.3C to Black Rock with my dad (Gary). I have no interest to return to those days, especially after the many sacrifices made by the hobby. I believe this to be the driving factor for much of the negative response to the JetHitch and I see their viewpoint. I have been in or around the hobby my whole life so I can understand that.

    Will you require some kind of accreditation for buyers of the JetHitch product, comparable to NAR or TRA certification for high-powered rocketry?
    This is something we are currently discussing. Liability is a concern for this product, no doubt about that. Currently the JetHitch line has been pulled until we look into some of these concerns. And also, these are in no way meant to "skirt around the motor testing procedures". We Just sent 2 new DMS motors for testing on friday.

    distinguish users of this product from rocketeers
    The JetHitch motors are made with the maroon epoxy and we are discussing changes to the label. We should have done a better job initially.
    Last edited by ATGM; 16th May 2015 at 07:51 PM. Reason: double quote

  16. #16
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    I agree Nate, the catalog is old and outdated, and 99% of the time I have to buy their products from another vendor.

    Bill

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by iqsy59 View Post
    Welcome to the forum Charlie. Let me start by saying that I am very happy with your products.

    I currently burn about 75% Aerotech and 25% CTI. The main driver for me is value. This is not a complaint, but the recent 10% price increase will likely shift my purchasing habit in favor of CTI...especially for high power. I will still purchase some Aerotech products, mostly in the 24mm range I suspect. I realize that I only spend about $2,500 per year on motors so not a big impact.

    Cheers,
    Michael
    Hi Michael,
    Raising prices, particualry in this hobby, can be a double edged sword. It wasn't a 10% increase across the board but some products did go up 10% or more. Many of the current issues we face are due to a strained cash flow. Many of our products (like the RMS EZ for instance) require more labor to produce but the price was not raised. We are counting on this increase to be able to solve the hardware issue, as an example. I would hate to lose your business but you have to do what you think is best.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 75Grandville View Post
    Charlie,

    Welcome to the forum! Thanks for taking time to engage us - it's appreciated. Looking forward to seeing an integrated Quest/AT webstore.
    Yes, this is a goal on the short list. It makes it easier for everyone involved. Good point.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlfaBrewer View Post
    Thank you for the update, and thank you for making yourself available to us in this forum. We look forward to a more active presence from AT here on TRF.
    I am glad to do it. My philosophy is that good products and services will always revolve around the people who request them. I am looking forward to engaging more of you here in the near future.

  20. #20
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    Big question I'm surprised nobody has asked yet....when can we expect a steady supply of all lengths of Q2G2 starters?

  21. #21
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    The product line seems a bit scattered currently. Are there plans to expand DMS to replace all single use motors, and RMS EZ throughout at least 38mm?

    Also, just for giggles, how about a Green 38/1320
    dizwolf has been retired.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by DizWolf View Post
    The product line seems a bit scattered currently. Are there plans to expand DMS to replace all single use motors, and RMS EZ throughout at least 38mm?

    Also, just for giggles, how about a Green 38/1320
    And a Red 29/40-120?
    I'm not very smart, but I can lift heavy things...

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlfaBrewer View Post
    And a Red 29/40-120?
    Please?

    Nate
    Nate Y, Radical Rocketeers NJ Jr. L1, KD2IKO, NAR:96432 Tripoli: 15627
    Impulse flown in 2013: about 2100 Ns
    In 2014 :4587Ns
    In 2015: 8631.23 Ns
    So far in 2016: 664.4 Ns, This is not a good trend...


  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThirstyBarbarian View Post
    Even if used exactly according to the instructions on the Jethitch site, do you see any safety issues with the Jethitch product?

    Do you see any potential for misuse of the Jethitch product? If the product were to be misused, what do you think the likely result would be?

    Do you feel like the typical 18-year-old who might be attracted to mounting rocket motors to the bumper of their vehicle is likely to be responsible enough or experienced enough to take proper safety precautions with such a product? Is a simple age limit enough to ensure safe use, or do you think perhaps something similar to a certification process might be in order?

    What about the current HPR certification process for model rocketry? Do you personally feel that the current HPR certification process is more beneficial to the hobby and to your business, or do you think it is an unnecessary burden?

    Do you think that rocketeers who have been unable or unwilling to go through the Level 2 HPR certification process might use Jethitch as a way to obtain Level 2 class rocket motors that they otherwise could not obtain through rocketry vendors? If so, do you see any issues with that? Could that have any impacts on the hobby or your business?
    Even if used exactly according to the instructions on the Jethitch site, do you see any safety issues with the Jethitch product?
    Unfortunately, yes. It has been my experience thus far that most instructions are ignored. I do not think the product is dangerous when used as instructed though. The people that may abuse it are what I would consider the danger. Much like guns.

    Do you feel like the typical 18-year-old who might be attracted to mounting rocket motors to the bumper of their vehicle is likely to be responsible enough or experienced enough to take proper safety precautions with such a product?
    The age limit is a variable out of our control. These are not for use on streets since they are obviously not street legal. This decision ultimately lies with the individual. Besides, I have seen individuals much older than 18 do completely idiotic things with rocket motors. I believe a solution to lie somewhere in your next point:

    What about the current HPR certification process for model rocketry?
    I like it the way it is, I have no issue with it. How it affects our business is not something I have worried about too much because, again, it is a variable that we cannot control. The reasons these do not require certification is because they are not designed for flight.

    Do you think that rocketeers who have been unable or unwilling to go through the Level 2 HPR certification process might use Jethitch as a way to obtain Level 2 class rocket motors that they otherwise could not obtain through rocketry vendors?
    Maybe a few but the JetHitch is designed to be distinguishable. As long as the RCO checks the aft of the rocket to check if it is black epoxy or maroon. I have faith in my fellow honest, law-abiding rocketeers.

    If so, do you see any issues with that?
    Of course. No question.

    Could that have any impacts on the hobby or your business?
    I suppose it could but I feel that the rocketry community does a good job of policing our own (see:JetHitch)

    Good questions, I hope this satisfies them.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by DAllen View Post
    Charlie,

    First and foremost thank you VERY much for coming on this forum to talk. This means a lot to me especially with all the Jethitch controversy.

    Second, I promise to be nice and I fully expect my forum compatriots to DO THE SAME THING.

    Third, the Jethitch issue really irritated a lot of us on a number of levels. We fought a 9 year legal battle with the ATF and we are concerned the introduction of such products may introduce alphabet agency regulation again. We spent A LOT of time and money on that fight. Also, it frustrates us because of the backlog of casing orders and lack of up to date motor information on aerotechs web site.

    Those are my thoughts in a very brief synopsis. Since you're new here I will be more than happy to answer questions you may have do feel free to PM me or post here. I'll keep an eye on this thread. Thanks again for having the courage to come here. There wi be a bit of negativity but don't let that discourage you. Having a active presence on this forum goes a long way with customers like me.
    Hi Dave,
    Thank you for the warm welcome. In regard to the alphabet boys (I used to be a TSA guy, it was the worst) these fears are not entirely unsubstantiated. See my reply below to mrichhcirm for more on that topic.

    Also, it frustrates us because of the backlog of casing orders
    This is a serious problem for us currently. While the hardware has began to trickle in it just never seems fast enough. I have designated myself as the hardware monitor because of the importance I place in it. Part of the problem is that it requires huge resources, usually all up front. But this cannot be our excuse. We must have hardware at all times. The good news is that now that we are the sole manufacturer of the hardware we can finally see what the annual demand for it is based on our own records. Since acquiring RouseTech we can see his hardware sales also which provides us with much more accurate information. It's hard to fly a reload without a case. Allegedly.

    Thank you for the outreach also, I will use it.

  26. #26
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    As someone new to composite motors, I'd say hardware availability is item #1 for me. With so few brick and mortar stores carrying your product, the ability to order up to G and even small high power reloads without dropping an extra $30 on hazmat fees is huge. But I can't, because I'm having a hell of a time getting the hardware in hand. You're concerned about cash flow, but here I am yelling "shut up and take my money" while you're out of the one thing I need to get started.

    I dont mind mind the catalog as much, but only because there are places like this that have the info if you know where to look. It's probably a hindrance to getting new customers though.

    I will say you ought to streamline, or at least better explain, your product offerings. High power vs hobby line, rms vs rms ez, single use,DMS, LMS - just a huge variety of things that are almost certainly increasing your overhead without an obvious advantage to the consumer.

    My my pipe dream would be to see Aerotech take a page from the Estes playbook and offer up small, low cost, easy build LPR kits and starter sets - but with composite motors! Heck with the way Estes prices are going you could probably even be cost competitive. I'd love to be able to walk into Hobby Lobby or some other big box craft store and snag some 18 or 24mm single use motors, but right now there's no Aerotech branded entry level product that would drive that interest. Who can find Aerotech without going off and looking for them? I think Aerotech has the ability to beat it's competitors on price and visibility, especially in the low and mid power market - but it doesn't seem like you're doing much to exploit that. That's the gateway drug!

  27. #27
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    Definitely like the 18mm and 24mm stuff, some here have even suggested some 13mm reloadables, but all thats definitley a business decision juggling act.

    I like the fact AT uses quality ALL metal hardware. I don't understand the reasoning for the RMS-EZ when you can just have regular reloads for less, both for ATs production cost and for us as consumers.

    I am still waiting to get my hands on a 18mm case, or two, or three. I think it would be neat to see some C impluse reloads in the 18mm line. Estes motors are definitely getting more expensive for what you get.

  28. #28
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    Charlie,
    As other have said, thanks for participating on the forum. I want to say something that may have gone over looked in market research. I love assembling forward closures! As Nate properly pointed out, plenty of people like actually building motors. I began the hobby with CTI 29mm's then their 38's. I never considered AT motors mostly because they seemed a little complicated and had a higher initial investment. All that changed last year, for some reason I bought a Rouse Tech 29-120 case. I flew a G79W and fell in love. I enjoyed building the delay chain and the color of flame and smoke left me wanting more. Over the winter I went on a buying spree. 100, 120, 180 and 240 cases in 29mm and 120, 240 and 360 in 38mm. I really enjoy your products but I am more that a little concerned you will switch everything over to the EZ system and change the motors I love. Or worse, make my expensive hardware obsolete. I understand part of the decision may to appeal to the CTI crowd and another may be to reduce the failure rate by controlling the delay train from the factory but it's a problem that doesn't need to be fixed. While I am not a trained business man, I do know that too many different products leads to trouble identifying your brand. Your brand should remain with your core competencies, kick ass motors and kick ass hardware. That said, I am not opposed to the DMS line but please don't put them above your RMS plus loads.

    BTW, if you want to tweak your RMS line please sell the loads with the longest delay that will fit. We can always drill them down but can't ever add more.

    Thanks for listening and hopefully not changing your motors..well except for the longer delays of course. Did I mention longer delays???
    Jarrett Dorough

    Most people are average

  29. #29
    Join Date
    19th January 2009
    Location
    Tucson, Az
    Posts
    2,320
    One thing that has always been an issue is that the newly (relatively) released propellants are available in only a limited number of case sizes. For example the great "Propellant X" is only available in one case size and there are a number of cases with only white lightning reloads available for them. I have little interest in the single use motors.
    more rockets then cents

  30. #30
    Join Date
    16th May 2015
    Location
    Cedar City
    Posts
    525
    Quote Originally Posted by nute View Post
    Hi Charlie,

    My name is Nate Yarger, and I'm 16. I fly mid and high power rockets from NJ with the RadRocketeers club, as well as METRA, through both the NAR and Tripoli. Since I got involved, I've been flying larger and larger rockets, all of which have been flying on larger and larger Aerotech motors, ranging from your 18/20 case, up to the 38/360 case. I have thoroughly enjoyed using your products, and have had a minute failure rate. They're some great motors, and I appreciate you guys being a vendor in this hobby.
    That said, the most recent, ehem, product launch, worries me greatly. I simply don't see how this can be a good idea. Selling motors to anyone 18+ that, normally, would require a NAR or TRA L2 certification to buy, and telling them to hitch them to their truck seems like an accident waiting to happen. The complete absence of a safety-interlock launch system is even more worrisome. If one of these motors goes off in a residential area, especially the sparky motor, there is a serious risk of fire. There is no mention of creating a clear area, or taking any precautions when lighting one of these. Additionally, simply recommending and enabling somebody to do this, regardless of whether or not safety instructions are provided, will lead to them being used in traffic and in completely inappropriate situations. Then there's the issue of CATOs. On your website, it recommends attaching these to go-karts. If a 98mm M motor blows up behind somebody's go-kart, they're in trouble. The shockwave, flying debris, burning fuel, and sheer destructive potential would make this a catastrophic event to the vehicle and anyone inside, undoubtedly severely injuring them. While this in and of itself is concerning, it would, in all likeliness, result in the shutdown of Aerotech, destroying the company so many of us love(d). Similarly, it would almost certainly result in much, much tighter regulation on hobby rocketry, damaging our hobby, and Aerotech's business.

    How would you address these safety concerns? do you believe that the average Joe is responsible enough to safely use bumper-mounted rockets?

    Also, this product makes these motors available to anyone who has any other idea in mind. In rocketry, in order to purchase motors of a specific size, as I'm sure you know, there is a certification process, and this new product bypasses it completely, allowing somebody with absolutely no rocketry experience or intention access to a potentially very dangerous toy/weapon. the certification process is designed to weed out people who would be purchasing motors for destructive or dangerous uses, so now giving them to anyone allows people the opportunity to use them for said dangerous purposes.



    Aside from JetHitch, I believe that the second major issue I have seen is the Aerotech website. Nowhere is there a clear listing of the products you make! when I first looked at it, I almost left immediately after seeing that the "products" tab brings me to a five year old catalog. At least take it down! It's old, outdated, and a major turnoff. Please either replace it with a new one or with something that accomplishes the same task. It doesn't need to be pretty (although it would be nice), it just needs to give us plenty of information, all in one place.
    Something else I'd like to bring up is Aerotech's lack of a coherent direction. You guys are putting out a new DMS line here, a switch to EZ there, a few new DMS motors over here, etc. I really like reloads. They're cheaper than SU, and one of the reasons I really do like Aerotech is that I do assemble the motor myself. I like doing it, and I like knowing that if something goes wrong because an O-ring was missing, I left it out, and I had the power not to leave it out- it's something I have control over. Thus, rather than producing more disposable motors, I'd really like to see a better return on investment for my hardware I bought. tons of people have your hardware, and then you come out with motors that don't need it. What?
    Lastly, I'd like a bit of explanation for your switch to RMS EZ. while it hasn't been much of a problem for me (yet) it seems like you guys are doing something no one asked for. I certainly don't mind putting together a forward closure, and I haven't heard anyone else say they do. If, perchance, you are trying to be like "brand C", well there's a reason we don't fly them, it's because we'd rather assemble it ourselves. Silly, perhaps, but it seems like it's someone nobody particularly wanted.

    I'm curious as to how you guys will respond to these concerns, and how things will proceed.


    Respectfully,
    Nate
    Thank you for the feedback Nate. I believe many of the questions regarding JetHitch and the website have been addressed elsewhere in this thread but please PM me if I can answer anything that I may have missed.

    I almost left immediately after seeing that the "products" tab brings me to a five year old catalog
    This will be remedied by the end of next week. This particular issue is extremely frustrating and there should always be a current and up to date catalog moving forward. The improved website will be focused on providing the most popular information first.

    Something else I'd like to bring up is Aerotech's lack of a coherent direction. You guys are putting out a new DMS line here, a switch to EZ there, a few new DMS motors over here, etc.
    Our customers all have their preferred lines or motors. It is extremely challenging to meet everyone's individual demands but we still try to. In our view, many of the flyers wanted something easier (EZ) so we are converting the 38mm RMS line to EZs. It isn't just for that purpose though. We are working on something that will better explain it but I am sworn to secrecy at this particular time.

    I like doing it, and I like knowing that if something goes wrong because an O-ring was missing, I left it out, and I had the power not to leave it out- it's something I have control over
    That is way responsible for a 16-year old, good for you. Reloads are our bread and butter so they aren't going anywhere. As for the DMS line, we just submitted the last 2 motors for testing so that line is set for a bit. Great feedback, thank you.


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