Discussion: Should the Rocketry Hobby embrace the Fourth of July?

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Kirk G

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This has probably been covered before, but it occurs to me now.

Our local television station has done a news story about the fireworks tents
and corner sales that are popping up in our community. They claim the state
regulations have changed, allowing more dramatic "roman candles" and other
such fireworks to be sold.

Question: Are we missing an opportunity to promote our hobby and industry by
not taking advantage of the public's fascination with exploding fireworks. Perhaps
setting up alternative sales tents or handing out fliers with links to our clubs is
a way to lead responsible adults and parents to our hobby?

What do you think?
 

manixFan

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I don't think we should associate our hobby with fireworks. Unlike fireworks our rockets are designed to fly more than once, and more importantly, not to explode. In scouts the number one issue I had to contend with when doing model rockets was parents thinking they were fireworks meant to explode at apogee or something similar. The number one comment was 'don't they blow up'?


Tony
 
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rharshberger

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I don't think we should associate our hobby with fireworks. Unlike fireworks our rockets are designed to fly more than once, and more importantly, not to explode. In scouts the number one issue I had to contend with when doing models rockets was parents thinking they were fireworks meant to explode at apogee or something similar. The number one comment was 'don't they blow up'?


Tony
+1, lets not associate our hobby with fireworks.
 

georgegassaway

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I get how useful that could be in theory.

The reality is that the kids and "Adults" who want to do dumb crap with fireworks if they could buy bottle rockets and such, would use the model rockets for their dumb stuff instead. Like firing them horizontally.

Odds of people who got and flew a model rocket for July 4th, to find it interesting enough to continue with the hobby later, very very small.

Oh yeah, worst case, model rocket with fireworks payloads. Like a Roman Candle stuck inside the BT-50 of an Alpha, likely random fire generator.

I even know someone who once flew at night a "Streaking Comet", which was three Sparklers on top of a rocket, which produced way more intense sparks due to the airflow. At least he flew it over a dirt field, nothing flammable, in the early 70's. I see that guy every time look in a mirror.... :)
 
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Marc_G

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Agreed. It's hard enough keeping fireworks and model rocketry separate, that I don't think any 4th of July association would be helpful.
 

dhbarr

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Not to mention city officials both in and out of uniform.
 

tomsteve

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'wow,look at that firework!!"
"wow, look at that rocket!! i bet i can put that firework in that rocket, run a fuse down to the motor, and have it go off really high in the air!"
 

georgegassaway

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Friend of mine mentioned this, when he was in high school in the early 70's. Someone put a live shotgun shell, primer-end forward, in an Alpha-like rocket, launched it, and let it impact nose first on purpose, hoping the shell would be fired on impact. Fortunately it did not.

What was stupider than that? The person who did it, was a football coach, also hired as a "science teacher" at that school. And this was done AT THE SCHOOL, as part of the "science" class!

BTW - I once also had a football coach as a science teacher, 8th or 9th grade. A "fun guy" but terrible science teacher. Most of the class had his football players, and yeah, 2+2 = 4. Football coach as science teacher and so many of the football players just by "coincidence" getting HIM for their science teacher? And all managing to get passing grades in science class? No conflict of interest there, nope, not one whiff of a tiny bit of a scintilla of a smidgen of any conflict of interest...... :eyeroll: But, actually the class was not that hard. It was dumbed-down (for such obvious reasons), which is why I really came to resent the situation and had no respect for him as a science teacher. I know that coaches CAN also be great at teaching other subjects, but not in these two cases.

But at least he didn't do something as stupid as a model rocket with a live shotgun shell.
 
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rharshberger

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Friend of mine mentioned this, when he was in high school in the early 70's. Someone put a live shotgun shell, primer-end forward, in an Alpha-like rocket, launched it, and let it impact nose first on purpose, hoping the shell would be fired on impact. Fortunately it did not.

What was stupider than that? The person who did it, was a football coach, also hired as a "science teacher" at that school. And this was done AT THE SCHOOL, as part of the "science" class!

BTW - I once also had a football coach as a science teacher. A "fun guy" but terrible science teacher. Most of the class had his football players, and yeah, 2+2 = 4. Football coach as science teacher and all the football players just by "coincidence" getting HIM for their science teacher? And all managing to get passing grades in science class? No conflict of interest there, nope, not one whiff of a tiny bit of a scintilla of a smidgen of any conflict of interest...... :eyeroll: But at least he didn't do something as stupid as a model rocket with a live shotgun shell.

Shotgun shell was definitely a stoopid stunt.

I didn't have a football coach for science, but my coaches wife was my science teacher, I had a hard time with Biology so I spent some of my practice time with Mrs. Mariakis being tutored (I love science and am fair at science, just not biology).
 

RocketFeller

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The shotgun shell story reminds me of something we did when I was ten or eleven years old.

We had been busy making our own black powder (saltpeter from the pharmacy, artist's charcoal from the stationery store, and Sulfur from the barn) and were looking for an interesting project. We took a shotgun shell, removed the pellets, and filled it back to the top with home brewed BP.

A cork with a nail through it was attached to the primer end and we were off to the city park. We made several attempts to get it to go off by throwing it off the foot bridge, but we couldn't get it to hit correctly.

We finally attached some streamers to the shell (CP matters) and got it to drop primer first. When it finally went off it was loud enough to send us scurrying off before anyone showed up - the police station is about half a block away from the park...
 

Bat-mite

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Way better to associate with STEM programs, set up at local hobby stores, attend "town days", etc.
 

JStarStar

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This has probably been covered before, but it occurs to me now.

Our local television station has done a news story about the fireworks tents
and corner sales that are popping up in our community. They claim the state
regulations have changed, allowing more dramatic "roman candles" and other
such fireworks to be sold.

Question: Are we missing an opportunity to promote our hobby and industry by
not taking advantage of the public's fascination with exploding fireworks. Perhaps
setting up alternative sales tents or handing out fliers with links to our clubs is
a way to lead responsible adults and parents to our hobby?

What do you think?
Our rockets are very specifically designed NOT to blow up or burn up during flight.

Fireworks are extremely hazardous to property and persons when handled by idiots, which accounts for a high percentage (witness news reports over the next couple of weeks).
 

tmacklin

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In Texas, most high school football coaches teach history, not science. The damage to young minds is irreparable. :2:
 

Nytrunner

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Just a week ago I was with a couple club guys helping at a Scout launch at the USSRC. Overheard one of the parents discussing with a friend how they enjoyed putting an M80 in front of -0 motors for "a little more fun". (this guy was also an engineer, so I can only hope he had thought through risks)


So there's a strong possibility of disaster occurring when fireworks and rockets are sold right next to each other for the general masses.
 

tmacklin

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Our rockets are very specifically designed NOT to blow up or burn up during flight.

Fireworks are extremely hazardous to property and persons when handled by idiots, which accounts for a high percentage (witness news reports over the next couple of weeks).
It is an interesting footnote to model rocket history that Vern Estes came to model rocketry by way of Mile High Fireworks, a firm his parents started in Denver. I can't help but wonder how many of his motors were attached to sticks and used to launch explosive reports to celebrate our nations birthday back in the days before such activity became politically incorrect?

https://www.vernestes.com/images/Sport Rocketry Articles/SR - Part 1 with cover.pdf

Happy Birthday America!
 

manixFan

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It is an interesting footnote to model rocket history that Vern Estes came to model rocketry by way of Mile High Fireworks, a firm his parents started in Denver. I can't help but wonder how many of his motors were attached to sticks and used to launch explosive reports to celebrate our nations birthday back in the days before such activity became politically incorrect?...
What? Can you give me an example where it's politically incorrect to shoot off fireworks? I have never heard of that before. I even Googled it and couldn't find any real references.

I know there are lots of restrictions on fireworks, especially aerial and firecrackers in city limits. But those are based on noise and fire safety, not PC. I remember when 3 houses in Plano burned to the ground and 2 others were damaged when a single bottle rocket landed on a roof and started a fire which quickly spread.

Banning certain kinds of fireworks in city limits is not being PC, it's just being safe. Kinda like why we can't launch model rockets in the nearby cul-de-sac.


Tony

Here's what I typically shoot off at my sisters farm up in SD every 4th of July. Middle of nowhere and no restrictions other than fire safety and common sense: (those gold things in the black boxes are motor shells we fire in volleys of 6, lots of fun. The ones in the lower left though almost burned down the farm last year, they are now banned!)

Fireworks.jpg
 
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georgegassaway

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Really ridiculous thing in Homewood is that shooting fireworks at all is supposed to be illegal. BUT, there's a fireworks stand open for 2 weeks before the 4th and before New Years. So, they'll take the tax $ from fireworks being SOLD, but not allow them to be used.

Should be illegal to SELL if not legal to USE, or legal to USE if legal to SELL.

Of course people shoot them off inside city limits anyway, never heard of anyone being fined. There certainly were times when neighbors overdid things. Like setting a Roman Candle kind of thing , set on the ground as it was designed to (but it was grass, not pavement, and not a wide base), which fell over on its side when the first ball shot, and all the rest were fired into the side of their house (Karma).

Also a scary time when the adults went inside at dusk, and the kids were looking inside a paper bag at what fireworks to use next. Too hard to see, so a Warner Brothers Cartoon almost played out before my eyes - one of the kids flicked on a lighter and lowered it INSIDE THE BAG to see better! Fortunately, nothing got accidentally lit, if anything had lit the whole bag's worth would have gone off. By the time I realized what was happening (looking over from 100 feet away across the road), a couple of seconds to comprehend they really were that stupid, it was too late to stop them, and fortunately they pulled the lighter out soon after without incident.
 

tmacklin

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What? Can you give me an example where it's politically incorrect to shoot off fireworks? I have never heard of that before. I even Googled it and couldn't find any real references.

I know there are lots of restrictions on fireworks, especially aerial and firecrackers in city limits. But those are based on noise and fire safety, not PC. I remember when 3 houses in Plano burned to the ground and 2 others were damaged when a single bottle rocket landed on a roof and started a fire which quickly spread.

Banning certain kinds of fireworks in city limits is not being PC, it's just being safe. Kinda like why we can't launch model rockets in the nearby cul-de-sac.


Tony

Here's what I typically shoot off at my sisters farm up in SD every 4th of July. Middle of nowhere and no restrictions other than fire safety and common sense: (those gold things in the black boxes are motor shells we fire in volleys of 6, lots of fun. The ones in the lower left though almost burned down the farm last year, they are now banned!)

View attachment 323049
By "politically incorrect", I mean politically unacceptable to those who make our laws and ordinances. While the Texas legislature allows the sale and use of consumer fireworks on and around four holidays (New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day), city and county governments may restrict such activities in their areas of jurisdiction. The city of McKinney where I bank and shop has (or had) highway signs posted which read, "possession of fireworks within the city limits of McKinney is prohibited. Violators are subject to...". So if a cop in McKinney were to stop you for a busted tail light and notice a stash of fireworks in your hatchback while traveling to SD, you would be subject to a fine notwithstanding your patriotic fervor.

I have no problem with reasonable restrictions on certain activities based on public safety concerns, but there are also those in positions of power who find things like public displays of patriotism, posting of the The Ten Commandments, wishing each other a Merry Christmas and similar activities offensive and seek to outlaw such things. That's what I mean by PC.
 

manixFan

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Oh, got it about the politically incorrect part. Yes, both you and George have a good point about how restricted they are. But as I pointed out in my post and George in his, fireworks and stupidity seem to go hand in hand. Often alcohol is involved.

For the record, my nephew has a fireworks permit and buys our stuff wholesale in North Dakota. (He went to North Dakota State) so the fireworks are purchased and consumed up in the Dakotas. (My family lives in SD.) But yeah, funny to think that if I brought some back to my Texas suburb which has the same warnings about fireworks possession I'd get in trouble.

Nice thing about the farm, all the fireworks and firearms we want and the neighbors are only too happy to come over and join in rather than call the cops.


Tony
 

LW Bercini

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In Texas, most high school football coaches teach history, not science. The damage to young minds is irreparable. :2:
It was the same in NC. They were abysmal teachers. And now, 45 years later, I have a pathetic knowledge of history.
 

cwbullet

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Our club in SC has a launch when the 4th falls on a weekend. It is called SCI Power. We do not launch fireworks but we do have a night launch. I think it is best to keep the two separate.
 

tmacklin

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What about celebrating our nation's birthday with rockets, as in "the rockets red glare", but sans "the bombs bursting in air"? Such events could be scheduled as daytime activities, along with BBQs, watermelons and other July 4th traditions. Seems to me that would be a great way to dispel some of the sinister myths which surround this hobby and introduce new people to it.
 

Nytrunner

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What? Can you give me an example where it's politically incorrect to shoot off fireworks? I have never heard of that before. I even Googled it and couldn't find any real references.

I know there are lots of restrictions on fireworks, especially aerial and firecrackers in city limits. But those are based on noise and fire safety, not PC. I remember when 3 houses in Plano burned to the ground and 2 others were damaged when a single bottle rocket landed on a roof and started a fire which quickly spread.

Banning certain kinds of fireworks in city limits is not being PC, it's just being safe. Kinda like why we can't launch model rockets in the nearby cul-de-sac.


Tony

Here's what I typically shoot off at my sisters farm up in SD every 4th of July. Middle of nowhere and no restrictions other than fire safety and common sense: (those gold things in the black boxes are motor shells we fire in volleys of 6, lots of fun. The ones in the lower left though almost burned down the farm last year, they are now banned!)

View attachment 323049
What is that, 600$ worth of fireworks?

Mortars are also my favorite. They just require discretion and forethought on where they're launched. Back home in south texas, we had an empty lot next to the house that made a perfect QD for candles and mortars, but we never really liked the rockets or other things that came down in large pieces.
We had similar yearly exceptions for the 4th and New Years.
I haven't learned the fireworks laws around hunstville, and I live in an apartment, so I won't be trying anything spectacular this year.
My pyrotechnic budget seems to go towards rockets these days anyway.
 

Dave A

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What about celebrating our nation's birthday with rockets, as in "the rockets red glare", but sans "the bombs bursting in air"? Such events could be scheduled as daytime activities, along with BBQs, watermelons and other July 4th traditions. Seems to me that would be a great way to dispel some of the sinister myths which surround this hobby and introduce new people to it.
On a similar note, NOVAAR , the NAR club out of Northern Virginia usually does a demo of rockets at the huge July 4th festival at The Plains. Flights are around the J-K range, to ~800-1200' due to field size. (Much like what has been done at TARC every year)
They are well announced and at a safe distance. It's part of all the Helicopter, Polo, Soccer and other demonstrations.
Some rockets on display, lots of crafts, food, music and fun for all.
Only at sundown come the fireworks. The professionalism of the rocketry demo is obvious and no connection to the fireworks is assumed.
 
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manixFan

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What is that, 600$ worth of fireworks?..<snip>
Well, if you look closely you can see that the boxes go several layers deep into the family truckster. So it is a few dollars worth of fireworks. But compare that to the CTI N1560 I am hoping to fly at BALLS this year (sadly likely not going to be available) and the fireworks are a bargain. Last a lot longer and I'm happy when they blow up, not the other way around.


Tony
 

Sooner Boomer

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Should the Rocketry Hobby embrace the Fourth of July?
Yes, if it's a model of a Congreve rocket. Bonus points if it's full scale. BUT, it HAS to follow the NAR safety code (launch straight up (+/- 15 degrees), recovery system, etc.).
[h=2][/h]
 

ksaves2

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Ummmm, If a bunch of rocket guys want to go to their launchsite on the Fourth and fly have at it. Just don't mix it with daytime fireworks unless your
state allows it as does the land owner. Otherwise, I don't see a problem with a simple rocket launch on the 4th.
I forgot to add, if you "are" the landowner, you can do whatever you want provided you're within local law or willing to risk getting in trouble. Kurt
 
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timb

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This has probably been covered before, but it occurs to me now.

Question: Are we missing an opportunity to promote our hobby and industry by
not taking advantage of the public's fascination with exploding fireworks. Perhaps
setting up alternative sales tents or handing out fliers with links to our clubs is
a way to lead responsible adults and parents to our hobby?

What do you think?
I appreciate the "thinking out of the box" but I think this is a bad idea. I've recently been working with a private school to start a rocketry club and the first question the board chairman asked was, "How are these different from fireworks?" I was glad that she could recognize a difference; a surprising number of people cannot. I think it best to keep fireworks at the most distance possible from our hobby.
 
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