First time in ... 30? years.

Discussion in 'Low Power Rocketry (LPR)' started by Stephen Henderson, Mar 31, 2019.

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  1. Mar 31, 2019 #1

    Stephen Henderson

    Stephen Henderson

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    Greetings!

    When I was a kid, I was really into rocketry. I'd be down at Hub Hobby here in Minnesota all the time getting new kits, etc.

    That was a long time ago. Now, my daughter (she's 7) wants to give this a try. While she is obviously too young to purchase engines or get the fins on straight (I'll have to do that!), I want to give her a glimpse into how much fun I had as a little boy.

    However, EVERY TIME I search google looking to see if the laws had changed (back in the 80s, here in Minneapolis, we just launched at the park down the street and no one cared), I get all sorts of laws about high powered rocketry, discussions about insurance, getting permission from a fire marshal, etc.

    Can someone help me determine where I can launch rockets D and under without getting into trouble? Is it still totally relaxed, or am I getting my daughter excited about something that's going to take permits and a great headache?

    Thanks very much in advance!
    (Got myself kind of excited, too!)
    - Stephen
     
  2. Mar 31, 2019 #2

    kuririn

    kuririn

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    D motors and below are considered low power rocketry, laws and ordinances pertaining to high power do not apply.
    NAR membership automatically covers you under their insurance policy, but neither membership nor insurance coverage is needed to participate in the hobby.
    AFAIK only California and North Dakota requires a permit from a fire marshall. But if there is a drought/fire alert in your area I wouldn't launch.
    Check your local county ordinances on whether model rocketry is allowed in the local parks. In my county there are designated parks where you can legally fly.
    Consider joining a local club/NAR section. Lots of fun launching with a group for young and old.
    Here's some links to get you started:
    https://estesrockets.com/state-regulations/
    https://masa-rocketry.org/about-masa
     
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  3. Mar 31, 2019 #3

    dhbarr

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    You want to to look in your town ordinances, or ask an appropriate person about them.

    For instance, in my town I looked at the statutes and there's a prohibition on fireworks but rockets are not addressed.

    HTH,
    -dh.
     
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  4. Mar 31, 2019 #4

    Locksmith

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    Guy launching small rockets with there kids I highly doubt anyone will care, just find a local baseball field thats empty and go to middle of it. I launch small c-d rockets with my nephews at school football fields, baseball fields wherever. No one ever says anything but have fun
     
  5. Mar 31, 2019 #5

    neil_w

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    Google Maps satellite view is excellent for scanning your area for good fields, and you can actually measure field sizes with it (right click->measure distance).

    I've launched LPRs in a local park, but I admit to being a bit gun-shy about setting up and launching in some public areas. That's why I do almost all my launching with clubs now. After you have a launch or two under your belt, if you want to keep going with it then definitely scout out a nearby club launch. It's a whole different experience.
     
  6. Mar 31, 2019 #6

    SwingWing

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    look up the local club -https://masa-rocketry.org/
     
  7. Mar 31, 2019 #7

    dpower

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    Here in WI, as in most states, there are no restrictions, except for a few municipalities that have ordinances against the hobby. Most ball fields can be good for small rockets, when they’re not being used for games or practices. One thing you may run into is folks thinking it’s dangerous, (though it’s far safer than soccer/ football/ bicycling/ etc), so it’s best to use fields when others are not anywhere nearby. When my son was young, we would just cruise the local parks or schools until finding one empty.

    Checking with the local NAR club may be better than asking the municipality, officials that don’t understand the hobby, and confuse it with fireworks, may say it’s not allowed when there are no explicit ordinances.
     
  8. Mar 31, 2019 #8

    JERRYR708

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    There are times when I don't want to make the 15 minute drive all the way to the dry lakes, so I launch at the local school field just 2 miles away. I like to launch my delicate models there for the softer landings on the tall lush grass. I also use this field to test models for stability on low altitude motors. I go when nobody is around early morning and no wind. The crowds show up afternoon and winds pick up by then. I usually fly just one rocket with streamer or small chute and then leave, so if there is a complaint, I'm already gone and home in just 2 minutes.
    I never stick around long enough to lose my free warning card.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2019
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  9. Mar 31, 2019 #9

    afadeev

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    Stephen,

    What you are contemplating is NOT high-power rocketry.

    Around here, in NJ, there are zero prohibitions on rocketry launches, aside from common sense safety precautions. Just to be sure, I called the police department of my town and that of the next town over, and was politely told to enjoy my hobby safely, and don't bother law enforcement with my past time habits.

    I've been launching from the local HS baseball diamonds and foot ball fields for the last few years, and the only time I got negative attention was when my kids' rockets were too distracting to the local baseball team that was preparing for a game nearby.
    :)

    If in doubt, call your local police department and inquire!

    Flying with local NAR/Tripoli clubs is good monthly fun, but nothing beats hopping in the car and launching a few rockets in ~10 minutes when you have your kids excited and their interest peaked !

    HTH,
    a

    P.S.: With the amount of over-regulation we have in NE, I would assume mid-west would be just as, if not more accommodating.
    P.P.S.: Cali - likely the opposite.
     
  10. Mar 31, 2019 #10

    Bat-mite

    Bat-mite

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    Simplest thing to do is to call your fire marshal. I did that,and he said that as long as I was flying store-bought rockets with store-bought motors, unmodified, I could launch wherever there was enough space. Obviously, he was sorting of avoiding HPR/LPR, but figuring anything you can buy at Hobby Lobby is okay.

    However, some state/local parks do not allow rocketry, just like they may not allow dogs to be off their leash, etc.

    When I started, before I joined a club, we launched at a local high school on weekends and no one ever seemed to notice or care.
     
  11. Apr 1, 2019 #11

    jqavins

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    What Paul (dpower) said about launching when others are not around, I'm not contradicting. I am, however, stating that there's another side to the coin: for all the people who tell you it's dangerous there are people who think it's cool and come over to see what's going on, ask questions, and (you never know) might get hooked too.

    Add my voice to those saying join the local club (if there's one local enough). And bring your daughter with you to meetings as well as launches; if your club is anything like the ones I've been in they'll be delighted to have "young blood" and will be very supportive.

    As for attaching fins straight, consider acquiring one of these:
    [​IMG]
    After you demonstrate its use a time of two, and with a little help, she'll be attaching her own fins with the best of us.

    Welcome Back!
     
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  12. Apr 1, 2019 #12

    Bat-mite

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    One time when my family was out on a sports field launching, a crew showed up to set up the field for a rec&parks rugby game. We thought, uh-oh, they're going to kick us off the field.

    Instead, a guy came over and said he used to fly rockets and wanted to watch us while he worked. When we launched something on an E motor, there was a cry of woo-hoo! from the crew, and the guy who had talked to us yelled, "I know what I'm doing after the game today!"

    Of course we left before the game started. ;)
     
  13. Apr 1, 2019 #13

    DaveW6DPS

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    If you post your location, that would help. Regulations vary from state to state and widely within each state.
    Generally, even in California, it is not to difficult to launch model rockets. But you should look into what is required for your specific location. At the site I launch at with a 4H group, rocket launching is prohibited, literally, across the street.

    It is always a good idea to look up your local club. Even if there are none close a club in your state will be able to help you with regulatory requirements.

    Welcome back! I hope you an your daughter have a great time together!
     
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  14. Apr 22, 2019 #14

    Stephen Henderson

    Stephen Henderson

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    Thank you everyone for the well thought out responses! My fears have been allayed regarding launching LPRs in my general area!

    I'm off to the hobby shop now because the "starter kit" (I wanted something easy for my daughter) is actually a plastic rocket (ick!), but I needed a launch pad anyway and it was cheap. (I'd NEVER seen a plastic kit before... WTH?)

    I did get a fin guide (I had one when I was a kid, and it'll make things easier for my kid), so thanks for that suggestion.

    When she arrived in the US (coming from Japan) I showed her the kit box and she was pretty excited. She's been nagging me to get it built so we can fly it. At least after a trip to the shops today, she'll have 1 or 2 to build!

    As someone who hasn't done this for so many years, I have to admit I'm kind of excited and have been looking into getting into higher power rockets in the future.

    Thanks so much for the warm welcome and encouragement!

    ^_^ stevehelium
     
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  15. Apr 22, 2019 #15

    Raindog

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    I'm rejoining the club as well. As a kid, I was heavy into rocketry, building my own designs (using Estes and Centuri parts), starting a junior high rocketry club and even used rocketry as a science project. I bet that, if I tried to launch a mouse in a rocket now, I would be jailed, but I digress.... Now, at 58 and retired, I have the time and funds to enjoy the sport. I have built a couple LPR rockets and am waiting for my Loc IV to arrive so that I can start building it. Unfortunately, my nearest club is 70 miles away and the last two monthly launches have been rained out. I'm really looking forward to meeting those guys and getting their inputs. My daughter showed little interest in rockets but now I have a granddaughter and hope to get her involved.
     
  16. Apr 22, 2019 #16

    crossfire

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    You poor guy 15 minutes to a launch site.
     
  17. Apr 22, 2019 #17

    samb

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    Welcome back Stephen and daughter ! And kudos for doing your part to get the younger folks in your orbit interested in the building part of our hobby. Estes has done a pretty good job striking a balance between offering builders kits that appeal to a few of us old farts and the ready and almost read to fly models for those who want to get in the air right away. And the thing is, they are shiny and fun and really good fliers ! Which ones did you get ? How about a picture or three ? :)
     
  18. Apr 22, 2019 #18

    samb

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    I think you'll find that many municipal parks and rec departments have added model rocketry to their list of "can't do's" on their (your ? if you're a tax payer) multi-thousand dollar soccer and softball complexes. So making an inquiry to those folks is on you. Contacting the locals in the NAR and Tripoli club near you is a good way to get the lay of the land as well. When you are ready for more power you will be contacting those folks anyway.

    https://www.nar.org/find-a-local-club/nar-club-locator/

    http://www.tripoli.org/Prefectures
     
  19. Apr 22, 2019 #19

    Stephen Henderson

    Stephen Henderson

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    View attachment 380654

    This is what we went with, samb. There were some "cooler" kits at the shop, of course, but on a bit of a budget. The Alpha III is a plastic kit (I'm still a bit surprised by that, but times change - didn't have those when I was a lad) and the Hi-Flier seems to be a good "starter" kit with balsa.

    I don't believe we'll have any issues with launching at the majority of our parks (Minnesota is quite famous for its park system, and there are plenty of city block sized parks that, even if I get a finger shaken at me, I can enjoy just fine, IMHO.

    Raindog - I guess we're both going to be having some fun, soon! My daughter seems pretty excited to see how they work (and I can't wait to explain the basic science!), so hopefully your granddaughter will, too! IMG_0120.jpg
     
  20. Apr 22, 2019 #20

    OC-Patrick

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    I live in Orange County, CA. Checked with the local fire authority, OCFA and got this:

    https://www.ocfa.org/Uploads/CommunityRiskReduction/OCFA Guide-G01-Model Rocket Safety.pdf

    So for D impulse and less, just follow the OCFA guidelines in addition to NAR ad you should be ok.
     
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  21. Apr 22, 2019 #21

    DaveW6DPS

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    You can get a lot of help and advice from a local club, particularly about regulatory stuff.

    In Orange County be sure you are in the county, as incorporated cities have widely varying rules in addition to the OCFA ranging from outright bans to actual permits from their fire or parks department.

    You might want to look up SCRA, for a low power club that is not too far from you: https://www.nar.org/local_club/southern-california-rocket-association-scra-430/

    Of course I am somewhat biased, and would like to invite you to the ROC launches at Lucerne Valley. Second Saturday of the month, weather permitting. In particular we are hosting the National Sport Launch June 7, 8, and 9. A bit longer drive, but not too bad from Orange County. https://rocstock.org/
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
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  22. Apr 22, 2019 #22

    Stephen Henderson

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    Sorry, I overlooked the post asking for my location.

    Minneapolis, MN

    I read the OCFA recently and, coupled with other replies, am quite confident there's no issue with the majority of the local parks. We have an extensive park "system" here which might have stricter rules, but any community park in my area I'm sure is just fine, as it was 30 years ago. I used to walk just a block away from where I grew up and launch to my heart's desire.
     
  23. Apr 23, 2019 #23

    K'Tesh

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    Save yourself some money... Go to Payloadbay.com, to the tools section enter the values of your rocket (body tube size, number of fins, fin span, and fin thickness). Then head over to your local dollar store for some foam core, and make your own templates for the cost of the paper you printed, the glue you need to secure it to the foam core, and the buck for the foam core. These templates also don't have the problems created by fins that cause the rocket to stand well above the base you are using.

    [​IMG]
     
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  24. Apr 23, 2019 #24

    jqavins

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    Jigs like that assure the fins are evenly spaced and normal to the tube surface, but don't ensure they are not canted. (One could use two of them at least an inch apart, which would assure that they are all canted the same.) And they're only as good the cuts you make in the foam board.

    For a klutz like me, and for many kids, the wall that the Estes jig puts against the fin, and way those walls are forced to vertical, are invaluable. Sometimes the rocket needs to be held above the base, but for me that's a lot easier to work around (just put something under it) than are the ways that the simpler jigs allow things to go wrong. In other words, if the jig allows me to screw something up, I will. My visual acumen and hand-eye coordination stink, so I have to rely on jigs, techniques, and other aids that can't fail. Even the grey Estes jig isn't perfect, because the walls' mounting to the base isn't completely stiff so canting is possible, and I've had to redo fins because of it, but quite rarely. Little kids benefit greatly from can't fail aids as well.

    "Measure twice, cut once, curse lots, do it over."
     
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  25. Apr 23, 2019 #25

    milehigh

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    Welcome back to the fold! You are now what we in the hobby call a 'BAR' - Born Again Rocketeer. I came back about 3 years ago after a 33 year absence from the hobby. Great that you are bringing your grand-kiddo into the action, as well. You've definitely come to the right place to catch up on the state of model rocketry. Lots of collective knowledge here.
     
  26. Apr 23, 2019 #26

    K'Tesh

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    Well, then there's these...

    [​IMG]
     
  27. Apr 23, 2019 #27

    jqavins

    jqavins

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    Card stock gives even less protection against canting than foam board. Two of those with structure in between to keep the slots aligned would do pretty nicely. Of course, one would need at least two in each tube size to accommodate different fin thicknesses. Slots every 30° looks handy*. Really nice would be another set with slots every 72° (or 36°) for those occasional 5 fin designs, which the Estes grey jig can't do.

    * The Estes jig can to 6 or 12 fins, you just have to attach them in multiple steps.
     
  28. Apr 23, 2019 #28

    Steve Shannon

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    One foam board fin guide together with a piece of aluminum angle will allow you to attach your first fin straight, uncanted, and evenly spaced.
    After attaching the first and letting it set, additional fins can be attached easily using two fin guides. The first fin will keep them straight.
     
  29. Apr 23, 2019 #29

    BABAR

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    Go with a B or A engines for your first flights. This will increase the probability that each rocket will have a SECOND flight.

    Straight Trails!
     
  30. May 8, 2019 #30

    David Schwantz

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    Stephen, it just so happens that our first launch is this Sat the 11th in North Branch, MN. Can fly all kinds of low to high power stuff. If you go to Tripoli MN you will find our website, it will give driving directions, field rules and such. We are even going to have a special launch from Buddy and Ky Michealson, can only think it will be impressive. Have included the link. Hope you'll make it , there are lots of youngsters that attend. Even if you do not have a rocket ready, we can probably find one that you guys can fly. I'll be in a red chevy pickup.

    Hi, nice sunny day today. Hope it is there also. Dave.



    http://www.tripolimn.org/mission-statement/
     

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