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BATF Hires the "Wrong" Contractor!

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sandman

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I Just got this emailed to me.

Recall that back in October we heard that the ATFE had purchased some J350s and G80s for "testing" and possibly trying to shoot down airborne targets?

ATF, through the USAF, hired an independent contractor to conduct some tests. ATF purchased a number of J350, G80s and other motors for these tests. They also purchased some kits from at least 2 manufacturers. The tests, being conducted here in Utah (off I80, north of mile marker 60) have been taking place most of November through last week.

Supposedly, they affixed a launcher in the back of a van and were
launching from the van. As to why, we can only speculate. They also had numerous reloads in the same van while launching.

One of the J350s catoed and ignited the rest, burning the van to the ground. (It did not blow up, it just burned up.) So much for hired experts who supposedly should know better.

(the above came from Bruce Kelly, former TRA pres.)

sandman
 

n3tjm

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Such a waste of APCP... and a good quality van. I wonder what the ATF would conclude from that ;)
 

powderburner

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I just love it (assuming no one got hurt).
Kinda conjures up an image of Keystone Kops stumbling around, huh?
I wonder if the OMB (alleged watch-dogs of inept government spending on idiot projects) will ever investigate this?
 

jflis

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Originally posted by n3tjm
Such a waste of APCP... and a good quality van. I wonder what the ATF would conclude from that ;)
that APCP can be used to destroy *vans*, which we KNOW can be used as a terrorist weapon.

Sounds like we's the hero's here :D
 

powderburner

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Sandman,
Any chance that you can work your contact to see if there were any pictures taken of this mess?
What about the video that they were supposedly taking----did it end up classified (hey, a new DOD marking for "It makes us look too stupid")?
That Air Force Base is in the middle of Ogden, there are roads and city all around, surely SOMEONE got some photos?
 

Rocketmaniac

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Wow, very interesting...... I would love to see some pic or video....... Does anyone have any idea how much money the ATF has spend trying the "test"???? This should be a something covered with a show on 20/20 or 60 minutes...........
 

eugenefl

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I think over on ROL someone had posted this EXACT possibility! WOW! What a great prediction! I think someone else had replied to this prediction by saying something along the lines of "sounds like a good Darwin Awards candidate." LOL! That is too funny! Hmm, so that's why there is such a thing as "minimum safe distance when launching a rocket."

Sandman, thanks for the laugh. If you mysteriously disappear one day for distributing this information, can I have your stash of rockets? LOL! :D

Anyone ever seen the movie "Office Space?" Those agents doing the testing are what are called "---clowns." LOL! :D

(Ok, this was somewhat not in my nature to belittle, but given the ridiculous state of affairs, it's only fair that we get the last laugh. I just hope something positive comes of this - rockets ARE NOT suitable weapons!)
 

illini

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Originally posted by powderburner
That Air Force Base is in the middle of Ogden, there are roads and city all around, surely SOMEONE got some photos?
Hill AFB is large and sprawling, even though in a residential area. I used to live about a mile from there...would be really hard for someone on the outside to get pics of anything worthwhile inside. Come to think of it, a former colleague of mine in the Solid Rocket Motor industry works for a contractor on site at Hill AFB. He was pretty incompetent, had an interesting role in the Challenger disaster. Makes me wonder...
 

loopy

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Yes, Hill AFB is QUITE large, landwise, and they also have a test range on the other side of the big, stinky lake that's completely desolate. If I'm not mistaken, the flight lane is also fairly obsured from any road areas, so depending on where these tests were being launched from, the surrounding area may not have even noticed. The sound of a J350 is nothing compared to the F-16s coming out of there all the time...

That's a great story, though!!! lol "Let's leave the brainwork to those with the brains, shall we?"
 

PGerringer

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LOL, this is funny. I bet we don't see that report in the papers. :) Reminds me of the joke:

The Supreme Court has ruled that there cannot be a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. this Christmas.

This is not a religious or a constitutional issue, they simply have not been able to find three wise men and a virgin in the nations capitol.

There was however, no problem finding enough donkeys to fill the stable.
Editors note: The previous word was edited and replaced with donkeys. :D
 

Larry

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I received this same report in an e-mail from our club president. It also had this question. If APCP explodes as they claim, why were they igniting motors with other APCP in the van and with people sitting in the van? Would they have conducted the same test the same way with TNT??? If you ask me it pretty much proves their APCP explosives theory wrong.
Larry
 

sandman

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Would they have conducted the same test the same way with TNT???
Well, IMHO...from the sound of it, I think these guys would.

sandman
 

rabidsheeep

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wow im probably the worlds stupidest pyromaniac and i would never do that... well... maybe... ill put that on my list of things to do if i had alot of money, and invinsibility... like it'll be up there with tying rockets to a chair and shooting it off...

also, i would upload some pictures of my projects but all ive gotten recently was buying a 12 volt battery for 20 somewhat dollars, copper wire, electrical tape, and fighting with my dad over who lost the jigsaw blades...
 

Ryan S.

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that is amazingly funny, and awesome at the same time. I feel bad about all that lost AP but at least it went to a good cause.

Sometimes I wonder what people are thinking, I mean seriosuly how stupid can you be?
 

DavRedf

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I never underestimate the power of official stupidity.
 

cydermaster

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This sounds like the BATF have hired The Chuckle Brothers* to do their work for them.

You can just imagine the scene:

Paul: "To me"
Barry: "To you"

>BANG<

Barry: "Oh dear, oh dear!"
Paul: "Silly me!"

:D

* = "The Chuckle Brothers", are British kids entertainers, who have recorded nearly 200 shows for Kid's BBC. They are not all that dissimilar to Laurel & Hardy.
 

izzy

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[from the ARSA news webpage]

ATFE Forces Aerotech To Provide Motors For ATFE Anti-Rocketry Video
from http://www.space-rockets.com/arsanews#force

December 20, 2003 - Since the publication by ARSA of the ATFE's attempt to produce an anti-rocketry video on the dangers of hobby rockets to commercial aircraft, vendors and manufacturers have refused to sell to the ATFE. This resulted in a letter from the ATFE to the president of Aerotech, Gary Rosenfield demanding that they deliver 40 G80 motors to the ATFE. The ATFE letter claimed the hobby rocket motors were needed in the interest of national security. The letter claimed Aerotech had no other option under the law and the motors were to be delivered to ATFE agent David Shatzer. Aerotech delivered the motors on December 9th.

---
Did The ATFE Accidently "Torch" Their Van?
from http://www.space-rockets.com/arsanews#torch

December 20, 2003 - Rumors have been circulating through the rocketry community for over a month that the ATFE accidently "torched" their van when trying to launch a high power rocket out of it. According to the story, the ATFE and their contractor Applied Research Associates were conducting tests on November 3rd to provide proof that high power rockets could be used to shoot down commercial aircraft during landings and takeoffs. (See related story by clicking here.) Apparently, one of the motors failed upon ignition sending a burning gain into a box inside the van. The box contained several propellant grains for further tests that day. The propellant gains inside the box ignited. This resulted in the entire van being destroyed in a roaring inferno as ATFE agents and Applied Research Associate employees stood by and watched. Also, according to the story, video was taken of the test and the resulting fire. To complicate matters further for the ATFE, the van was believed to have been a rental.

ARSA has been trying to confirm or disprove this story, but has not been able to locate anyone with first hand knowledge of the incident. However, Bruce Kelly from the Tripoli Rocketry Association sent out a communication where they state the incident to be true.

=== Tripoli Statement To Members:

1. There is a rumor floating around about ATF "blowing up" a truck during the Utah tests. Most of what is being said is inaccurate. Here is what we know.

ATF, through the USAF, hired an independent contractor to conduct some tests. ATF purchased a number of J350, G80s and other motors for these tests. They also purchased some kits from at least 2 manufacturers. The tests, being conducted here in Utah (off I80, north of mile marker 60) have been taking place most of November through last week.

Supposedly, they affixed a launcher in the back of a van and were launching from the van. As to why, we can only speculate. They also had numerous reloads in the same van while launching. One of the J350s catoed and ignited the rest, burning the van to the ground. (It did not blow up, it just burned up.) So much for hired experts who supposedly should know better.

=== End of Tripoli Statement


- reposted by iz
 

Justy

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Originally posted by izzy
[from the ARSA news webpage]

To complicate matters further for the ATFE, the van was believed to have been a rental.
A couple months ago I was in Victoria on a rented scooter, and I took a corner a bit quick when I was still getting used to the whole powered two-wheel vehicle thing. Ended up on some slick wet leaves, the scooter slid out from under me, and suddenly I was moving across ashphalt at 50km/h without a vehicle. That was fun. It was also expensive (physics tells us that two solid objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time with any kind of smile on their faces; the scooter tried to displace the curb, and lost), and stupid. I thought after the fact that driving too fast on a wet residential street (speed limit 30km/h) in a vehicle I wasn't used to was about the dumbest thing you could ever do with a rental.

I was wrong.

Using a device with a minimum safe distance of several hundred feet within a motor vehicle that you don't even own, is now the dumbest thing ever done with a rental.

Let's thank the Booze, Smokes & Guns folks for giving us a graphic example of why we stand back when we push the button... just like any number of hobbies, if you don't take the appropriate safety precautions, someone will suffer.
 

MattEx

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Using a device with a minimum safe distance of several hundred feet within a motor vehicle that you don't even own, is now the dumbest thing ever done with a rental.

Let's thank the Booze, Smokes & Guns folks for giving us a graphic example of why we stand back when we push the button... just like any number of hobbies, if you don't take the appropriate safety precautions, someone will suffer.
LOL! :p Very nicely put indeed. It just shows how meaningless it is for officials to impose regulations on us and basically call us incompetent, then to try launch improperly assembled reloads from the back of a van, with APCP grains they say are explosive (but aren't) in the same van , and to subsequently burn it to the ground. Oh, and it wasn't even their van :rolleyes: . Let me just say: Well done ATF... you have earn't yourselves a Darwin Award. :D
 

arthur dent

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Sounds like a great way to destroy a perfectly servicable van:D
 

BlueNinja

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If they think AP is explosive... Why are they sitting in a van full of the stuff? It didn't even explode when the whole box of the stuff lit up! I hope this goes to prove something to them.
 

astrowolf67

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Well, if they try to file any warranty claims, they will be denied for failure to follow the safety codes, and mfg's recommendations. I wonder if they even had a LEUP?
 

astronboy

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OK< I do not want to get this thread into Politics, but I just want to say that I hope that the politicians representing us rocketeers are putting the heat on someone to release this info, or possible video of this incident.....

What I find really funny is that the general public will believe this story if it is released by a politician, but not if it is released by 'grown men who play with rockets'..... ;)
 

bobkrech

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Folks

I agree with the last post about avoiding politics, however I'm just a bit skeptical of this story considering it's source. My guess is that the next claim could be that all of the back issues of High Power Rocketry Magazine were burned up in the van along with a ton of ammonium nitrate fertilizer.

Seriously, I don't believe that the BATFE are a bunch of stupid boobs, nor is their alleged contractor incompetent. Applied Research Associates are a legitimate company with a pretty good track record in pyrotechnics and explosives. http://www.ara.com/ They are not stupid.

Believe what you want to (because everything posted on the internet is true, isn't it?), but I think if this project were going on you wouldn't hear about it.

First off, I think it would probably be a classified national security project, and secondly the BATFE would go directly to the motor manufacturer, pull a government priority, and get whatever motors they wanted without waiting for anything. Aerotech (and ISP) are government contractors, hold government permits and licenses, and they would have no option put to comply with a BATFE purchase request and keep their mouths shut. G80-13T motors are used by the Navy in the Vaisala RK91 Low Altitude Rocketsonde, and other Aerotech motors are used by the military to deploy lines, etc. ISP made lots of military motors. Aerotech knows the rules about keeping confidential stuff confidential.

The related FEDEX subplot is hillarious. The BATFE basically hijacks a delivery truck to get their stuff? Right. FEDEX is going to beat a government delivery any day of the week just on the paperwork. LOL.

The whole story doesn't hold together. I seems to me just another way to inflame the rocketry community.

My 2 cents worth of comment.

Bob Krech
 

flying_silverad

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Now don't you think that someone, somewhere hada camera on this. Wouldn't you think a fire department or police agency was called? Somebodies got to have something more ont this. I think this would make a great subject for talk radio!
 

rstaff3

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I tend to agree with Bob. These tests are being done on remote government installations. No fire depts outside of their own would would be called. LEUPS and certifications are not required for the goverment to acquire/use motors.

Somehow I missed the 'FEDEX' subplot, but I might believe that's where all the missing HPR issues went :)
 
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