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.