NAR/NFPA launch site dimension requirements and RC RG models.

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tab28682

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Wondering what other RC RG folks think about the 1000 foot min launch site dimensions for E-G class mid power motors?

My two prime RC sites (other than scheduled rocket launches that meet the site dim requirements) do meet the 1000 foot requirement.

However, given the fact that I am also a member of the AMA, it would seem that if I wanted to and had permission to do so, I could operate a rocket propelled RC model with a mid power class motor under the AMA Safety Code (and AMA insurance) at a site of somewhat lesser but safe dimensions, per RC model practice.

I suppose the central question would be: does the NFPA consider anything operating with a model rocket motor in it to be a model rocket? Or, is a model aircraft that happens to have a JATO assist installed not considered to be a model rocket, but simply a model aircraft?

At a NAR or Tripoli launch, I feel that a mid powered RC RG does fall under the classification of a model rocket for the purposes of a launch like that. On the other hand, in other venues, I feel it is simply an RC model powered by a rocket motor.

What does every else think?
 
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mikec

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However, given the fact that I am also a member of the AMA, it would seem that if I wanted to and had permission to do so, I could operate a rocket propelled RC model with a mid power class motor under the AMA Safety Code (and AMA insurance)
IANAL but this seems like a reasonable interpretation of the rules. The AMA code explicitly talks about rocket-propelled aircraft. https://www.modelaircraft.org/files/105.PDF

Of course, AMA insurance is not that great IMHO; it's not primary insurance like NAR's is for one thing. I personally always fly my RCRGs per the NAR safety code, but we have a large enough site for me to do so easily. And an RCRG has one problem that other RC models don't have -- you can't shut the motor down any time you want. Of course if you're not trying to control under power, that's not an issue really. But the extra space provides added safety.
 

burkefj

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If you read the ama code, it it's 100% clear, it says ama members will follow nar safety rules for rocket flights, it doesn't say that rocket boosted gliders are "rockets" however, so conservative says ama requires you to use nar rules for any rocket powered flight, more lax view would be that it is an rc flight and abides by ama rules...

Frank
 

mikec

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If you read the ama code, it it's 100% clear, it says ama members will follow nar safety rules for rocket flights, it doesn't say that rocket boosted gliders are "rockets" however
If the AMA code just wanted to say that everything that had a rocket motor was to be flown under NAR rules, they could have left out all of the following:
Model aircraft pilots will not operate model aircraft carrying pyrotechnic devices that explode or burn... Exceptions: Rocket motors (using solid propellant) up to a G-series size may be used provided they remain attached to the model during flight.
That said, the AMA code also says that "all model flights must be conducted in accordance with... any
additional rules specific to the flying site" witch presumably includes any local or state regulations like NFPA that apply to rockets.

Bottom line: maybe OK depending on where you are, but safer to just operate under NAR rules, and the insurance is better.
 

tab28682

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Interestingly enough, the NAR Safety Code, which is a condensed version of NFPA 1122, does not include the alternative launch site dimensions that NFPA 1122 part 4.9.4 allows: the launch site dimensions must be at least 1/2 the height of the expected altitude of the rocket.

Ergo, you could use a site that is 400 feet x 400 feet and fly to 800 feet or less.

Makes more sense to me than simple launch site restrictions by motor size.
 

tab28682

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If the AMA code just wanted to say that everything that had a rocket motor was to be flown under NAR rules, they could have left out all of the following:

That said, the AMA code also says that "all model flights must be conducted in accordance with... any
additional rules specific to the flying site" witch presumably includes any local or state regulations like NFPA that apply to rockets.

Bottom line: maybe OK depending on where you are, but safer to just operate under NAR rules, and the insurance is better.
Note the definite of a model rocket by NAR and NFPA basically precludes models getting lift from aerodynamic surfaces as they ascend into the air from being considered as model rockets:

https://www.nar.org/contest-flying/us-model-rocket-sporting-code/introduction/definitions/

My take on the AMA safety code is that you can fly any RC model with up to a G motor installed and be covered by the AMA under a AMA rules. If it is a model rocket by definition, them to be covered by AMA, you must follow the appropriate NAR safety code.

I have zero issues with the AMA insurance. Note that AMA insurance is primary insurance for any AMA member that does not have personal liability coverage. I have appropriate personal liability insurance on my own and view the AMA insurance as what it is intended to be: umbrella insurance for model aircraft operations. For every RC RG flight I make, I probably fly 200-300 flights of normal RC aircraft.
 

tab28682

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One of the reasons I brought this up for discussion is that the local club has a new 500 foot min dimension site. Currently, E motors are not allowed, based on the normal field size chart.

I emailed Trip Barber about this, he being the NAR safety and NFPA expert, and he confirmed that a flight of a model to 1000 feet or less from a field of a minimum dimension of 500 feet is legal per the NAR and the NFPA and that NAR insurance would be in force. This would include any size motor up to an G.

Now, to convince the club, hopefully.
 

georgegassaway

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Note the definite of a model rocket by NAR and NFPA basically precludes models getting lift from aerodynamic surfaces as they ascend into the air from being considered as model rockets:

https://www.nar.org/contest-flying/us-model-rocket-sporting-code/introduction/definitions/
That is for CONTEST flying, not the actual NAR Safety Code.

It is supposed to distinguish between the old ancient "Jetex" type model planes that used very low thrust long burn engines that made shallow climbs supported by wing lift as the rocket thrust was too low for a steep climb. Yes that contest rule was almost surely written by G. Harry Stine on Day One of the Stone Tablets used for the first Pink Book.

The actual NAR Model Rocket Safety Code is here:

https://www.nar.org/safety-information/model-rocket-safety-code/

It makes no mention of wings, no mention of aerodynamic surfaces, and no mention of lift other than liftoff.

Anyway, keep in mind the R/C Rocket Boosted Glider Safety Code:

https://www.nar.org/safety-information/radio-control-rocket-glider-safety-code/

Now, unfortunately, the issue with launch site dimensions was not addressed in the R/C RBG code (since things not specifically covered by the R/C RBG codes default to the other safety codes). And indeed the code is nearly 20 years old when IIRC the regular safety code dimensions were 50% of the expected altitude.

We could certainly request the NAR Board to make a change to the R/C RBG Code to fix this problem, such as using the old 50% of expected altitude dimension for R/C RBG's.

Till then..... I myself would not make an issue of it. If a club says no, OK, fine.

But I have been at launches by an NAR section where for HPR, the site was supposed to be AT LEAST 1500 feet from a busy road ..... and their site was 500-750 feet from a busy road. So, they ignored the code for their own convenience (as the site topography, driveable road-path, and fencing made it very difficult to set up farther in). That 1500 foot distance also applies to inhabited buildings, and also is often overlooked (it can be downright ridiculous. A site on a farm requires that for HPR to be legal, the home owner has to LEAVE THEIR HOUSE when an HPR rocket is being launched, so it can be "unoccupied". When for SAFETY reasons they'd be better off inside!). Of course in this case we are not talking HPR, but E-G power. But I bring this up as an example of a distance rule that some clubs do not follow.
 
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tab28682

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George, thanks for the comments.

I linked to that definition in the contest section as the NAR Safety code does not actually contain the definition of a model rocket. Note that I did not claim it was from the safety code.

I am indeed familiar with the NAR safety code for R/C boost gliders.

The local issue has been resolved. The individual person getting the permit from the city for the club to launch at where the 500 foot min dim launch site is located is not comfortable with models larger than D launched under the half expected height field size, no matter that a NAR rep or two has said it is OK. Since the permit is in his own name, I think he gets to be a little extra conservative. I respect that and I will not bother him about it again. Discussion with other club LCOs have established that we can use the alternative field sizing option, per Trips advice, for other club launch sites, if needed and if it makes sense to the LCO.

I still think it is an interesting discussion.

I believe I saw in print on the NAR web site that it states that the NAR Safety Code is a "condensed" version of the rules under NFPA 1122. I think that alternative launch site sizing option simply got left out for brevity.
 

UhClem

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That is for CONTEST flying, not the actual NAR Safety Code.
If you look at NFPA 1122 (and 1127) you will find that 1.1.5 states that it doesn't apply to model aircraft that sustain their mass solely through aerodynamic lift. Well, it applies to the rocket motors but not the aircraft.
 

UhClem

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The local issue has been resolved. The individual person getting the permit from the city for the club to launch at where the 500 foot min dim launch site is located is not comfortable with models larger than D launched under the half expected height field size, no matter that a NAR rep or two has said it is OK.
It depends on what you mean by OK. The question in that case was if NAR insurance would be in effect.

You could launch an A parachute duration rocket from a site just 200' in diameter and that would be fine so far as the safety code is concerned. Stupid in other ways but fine with the safety code.
 

tab28682

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It depends on what you mean by OK. The question in that case was if NAR insurance would be in effect.

You could launch an A parachute duration rocket from a site just 200' in diameter and that would be fine so far as the safety code is concerned. Stupid in other ways but fine with the safety code.
I think the key concern with the alternative field size option is that the model needs to recover safely on the site and for R/C rocket gliders, that is not an issue.

Do you really think Trip would have said it was OK if the NAR insurance would not cover that situation?

It is probably worth working with the NAR to make sure this field sizing option is expressed directly in the model rocket safety code, just as it is in the high power safety code. If the NAR really had an issue with this, it would not be part of the high power safety code.

In any case, as stated, I do respect the decision and desires of the person with their name on the launch permit.
 
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