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Newbie Q: What's in HPR's future?

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Joel E.

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I am quite interested in getting into high-powered rocketry. I have a question or two that I hope can be addressed on this forum. First, will over-regulation kill the hobby of HPR? Here’s why I am asking - in Minneapolis we only have one hobby store that strongly supports HPR. Engine reloads are no longer sold at this store and must be purchased through a vendor at an approved launch site. Federal regulations involving the storage of motors have made selling the motors at the hobby store too cost prohibitive. I am guessing that the same regulations have also made it difficult for me to legally store motors in my home. I am hoping that I am wrong here and certainly don’t mean to sound overly pessimistic, but as I see it, all it would take to end the hobby here in Minneapolis is for the launch site vendor to decide to get out of the market. Actually, the vendor may not even have a say in the matter if transportation services (such as FedEx and USPS) decide to place ammonium perchlorate on a list of banned substances. All of this leads into my main question - where do you think the hobby will be five years from now?

Next is a plea for advice (I have no previous High Power building experience, but has built several Estes D and E powered rockets). I am looking into attempting my level one certification with a four inch BSD Horizon on a H128 motor. Has anyone flown the Horizon on this or any other motor? Please share your advice/overall comments/ experiences that you have had with this rocket. Thanks!
 

powderburner

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One thing I can strongly encourage you is this: fly some (a lot) of mid-power before you take the step all the way to high power.

If all the rockets you have launched had BP motors, you are in for a bit of a shock. Composite motors are entirely different critters to get ignited. They require a much bigger electrical system than your little Estes port-a-pad and 4xAA-cell hand-held thingy. You may as well learn what you gotta learn a little more inexpensively, by flying E-F-G size stuff.

The mid-power rocket kits will also be much less expensive. And construction flaws will not be quite as disastrous (or expensive).

By all means, if you want to play with the big toys, go for it. But I think more people than just me will advise you to take a few steps in between, instead of one giant leap.

And welcome to TRF, Joel!
 

LarryH

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But if you DO wanna jump head first into HPR, Public Enemy is probably the least expensive way to do it, I dunno if I could live with myself if I trashed a $300 kit! Public Enemys average going price for L1 and L2 HPR kits is around $70(I've seen ESTES kits that cost more!), and they're GOOD kits! very high quality, excellent fit on the parts with no sanding needed, easy to assemble and soilid as a rock once they're built.

As for the future of HPR, I agree, it's kinda 'up in the air' right now(no pun intended), but I think it will continue to flourish as long as there are still people willing to do it, this "anti terrorism" legislation is putting the brakes on alot of perfectly legitimate hobbies, shooting and ammunition reloading, cannon saluting, Nitro driven R/C vehicles, fireworks and pyrotechnics, just to name a few..... but the fact is we're all still hanging in there and surviving, these hobbies will be around forever in some form or another because there will always be people interested in doing them. I choose not to sit around and worry about which of my 'evil and dangerous' hobbies will still be around tomorrow, my time is much better spent enjoying them while they ARE here.... as that sneaker comercial used to say all the time..... "just do it!":)
 

loopy

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I agree with Larry - we'll be all right as long as people continue to fight for the freedom of the hobby.

Also along Larry's lines - public enemy are great kits, as are kits by Public Missiles. Very easy to build, reasonably priced, and look great!

Echoing what powderburner said as well - get a mid power 29mm40-120 reload casing, and build some Aerotech kits, and some of the LOC/Precision mid power kits out there to get experience with AP before jumping into HPR. Man, it's a blast (pun definitely intended!) to build that first MPR load and watch it go. Personally, I recommend the Aerotech Initiator launched on an F40-7 reload. Guarantee you'll be hooked for life, if you aren't already.

Loopy
 

shockwaveriderz

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I remeber back in 67 when i first started flying model rockets that the only way for me to get engines was to purchase them direct from Estes and later Centuri...In fact almost all my model rocket purchases between 67-72 was via mailorder. Why? well there wasn't any hobby shops around where I lived, the closest being 50 miles away(and I'm sure they had rockets and engines)....But this didin't mean that model rockets and engines weren't available in most hobby shops of the times....they just all happened to be mostly in more urban areas....

I posted over in the Propulsion forum a lisiting of approx. 30+ rocket vendors that are currenelt selling engines via mail....some will even sell aerotech EZ access H-J, and Pro 38 H-J, if you have your L1/2 Certs,without a LEUP....


My thoughts on the future of HPR is that hopefully at worst, people will have to get an LEUP to purchase HPR engines.....In fact I would take an executed guess that a large number of HPR flyers have already taken this route.... Some,like me will just absolutely refuse to go the photo/fingerprint route just because of our political points of view.....but even in that case I can still fly HPR by getting a person who has an LEUP to allow me to assist in my rocket...I just won't be able to purchase and store....I will still be able to use under the direction of a LEUP holder....
Others will just plain stop flying as thousands have over the past 5 or so years.......

I think HPR is cool and it took me awhile to come to this conculsion....but I personally wish, there was 13mm AB for competition, BP DEFG for competition and sport use.....
 

swimmer

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shockie,

I had an interview just last Thursday with ATF as the last step in receiving my Limited Users Permit. I too thought that "sponsorshp" was an alternative to a LEUP/LUP but the inspector informed me that no one, and she emphasized no one, should handle a HPR motor purchased by you as a permit holder.
The motor is to never leave the permitee's possession. There is a form that the permit holder can submit which is called an "Employee Possessor Form". As a permit holder I can name my wife as an employee possessor, she would have to submit the form and be approved by the ATF. Then, she can go with me and handle HPR motors that I have purchased.

I, too, had reservations but figured if I was to fly HPR I would resign myself to the process. I also had reservations on submitting fingerprints, a photo and background check. What I have found out is the process is educational and enlightening. I do have a problem with the storage issue and I hope pending litigation will eventually allow unfettered, if not limited, storage. But, time marches on and I want to fly rockets.
 

shockwaveriderz

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swimmer:

are you saying the following scenario is illegal:

A LEUP holder can take Joe's money, go over to the vendor and buy an HIJKLM motor. He can then take the motor back to Joe's tent and stick around while Joe and his 12 year old son
assemble the motor and prep the rocket. (or alternatively, let the LEUP holder assemble the motor and place it in Joe's rocket for Joe) He cannot leave the area or site and leave Joe alone with the motor. He must witness the motor going into the rocket and the rocket going out to the pads. He must also witness the big flame and cloud of smoke an M makes when it ignites. If Joe changes his mind and doesn't want to fly because of wind or some
such, the LEUP holder must take possession of the motor. If Joe doesn't want to give it back, the LEUP holder must call the BATF and report it as stolen.


I have no doubt "your" ATF agent may interpret the law the way you say. ANd this is the problem and continues to be the problem: You have ATF agents in one part of the country interpreting the ATF regulations one way, another ATF agent in another part of the country interpreting the ATF regulations completely diffrenet,so on and on.......I also know that around the country the above scenario is being played out on a regular basis and nothing is said or done about it. If push comes to shove I will fly G level 62.5 g motors....
 

Zak Orion

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I agree with most of the others about going with a LEUP. I am just starting out the process of getting one(finally found a place for storage but can't build a magazine until after spring thaw). As for the question about the hobby in 5 years, I belive that either we will get some relief from regulations or ppl will learn to accept the rules and try to abide by them. The section of rocketry that I am more worried about is MPR. HPR has several different motor manufacturers(aerotech, animal works, kosdon, ellis mountain, CTI) but the number of manufacturers for MPR is considerably less and the major manufacturer isn't putting out anywhere near the supply considering the demand(I can't find anywhere that has any f21's or E30's in stock and the local hobby store that is willing to carry them has been told by his suppliers that they don't know when they can send any).

Also, if a LEUP is a problem for some people then there is always the Hybrid route(what I really want to get into).
 

swimmer

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shockie,

Easy answer... yes... according to the Orange Book. Not what I have said or any inspector has said.

Is this going on... again yes. And... whatever others are doing is none of my business. As for me, and I only speak for myself, I choose to follow the guidelines.

Check the Orange Book: The Federal Explosives Law and Regulations. What "my" ATF inspector said jived with what is in the book. I did not notice any self-interpretation by her. I was ready and would have questioned her in that event. Figured that is my job.

I did not go into the process ignorant but read and studied as much as I could find before starting the process.

The Orange book she left is a year 2000 copy and she pointed out the changes in it, which were few. It is a very interesting read and will answer all aspects of the scenerio you offered.

Am I an expert, hardly, but just an old guy wanting to fly rockets. Do I want to argue, nope, and I won't, lifes too short. However, I do want to cover the place I sit down on, cause it is mine and I alone am responsible for it . Hence, a LUP for me.
 

ThreeFoot

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I recently got into high power rocketry and like many I was into model rocketry as a kid, had a love of it and then got busy with life. However recently as soon as I saw that there was such a thing as HPR other than NASA etc, I wanted more. My first advice is to tell you to join a local club and national organization. I joined two local clubs and both national organizations TRIPOLI & NAR.

I have done soooo much reading, research, studying, building etc in the short time I have been into HPR. I am not disuaded about the future of our hobby really and the fact that we the average person can't purchase and store a HPR motor at home w/o satisfying all the ATF rules on storage etc. does not bother me. The fact is I don't really need to or want to for that matter store the motors at home. I am not going to purchase more than I need and although I have only attended a couple of launches now, there seems to always be some local vendors happily peddling their wares. In fact just to make sure I call or send an e-mail to one of the vendors to make sure he'll be bringing what I need. That way IF he does not have it in stock he'll have it there for me on launch day. I just purchase at the launch what I will fly that day, and yes there are other options, sometimes you may find someone that has a permit and a storage magazine that will for a minimal cost store it for you, or you can in fact do some research and apply for a permit. My advice is don't let that deter you.

There are so many very cool things about this hobby, electronics, chemistry, physics, etc. Very educational. I don't disagree with those that suggested you transition into medium power rocketry, but ... if you are like me and others and want to jump in just realize it is not cheap and do yourself and the future success of the hobby a favor and be responsible. Learn much, as much as you can and enjoy along the way, before you try to apply it.

Lots and lots of great sources out there. Some of what I personally (and everybody will have their own opinion so don't be afraid to get lots before you make your own) am interested in is:
Public Missles kits ( http://www.publicmissiles.com/ ), I did my level 1 certification on one of their bullpuppy's on a Cesaroni I205 motor. I am currently working on a PML AMRAAM 4 that has been modified a bit. But has an updated electronics bay to take both my Co-Pilot altimeter and G-Wiz MC altimeter. I also have made a seperate bay for a GPS Flight transmitter.

An old timer and I use that term loosley and fondly as I have known him for many years, but he has been into HPR for some time and he recommended the Cesaroni motors. They are not cheap in that you have to purchase the motor casings and the motors. I purchased a single 38MM - 3grain motor case for use in my Level rocket. Since then I have purchased the complete pro38 motor system as well as the pro54 system. They are just very slick and easy to use, as compared to the others you have to put together. http://www.pro38.com/mainpage.html

I guess my point is don't be afraid to ask people, but please get involved with a local and national club and organization and remember these people donate their time and can always use help at the launches. I don't sign up to volunteer yet, but I make sure I try to do my part in helping out in take-down or whatever is necessary. I think everyone should remember that these clubs exist so that we can all participate and we should all lend a hand.

Hope this helps.
 

LarryH

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Here's what gets me about the LEUP though. Loose BP may be purchased without an LEUP in quantitys up to 25lbs at a time, and stored without an LEUP in quantities up to 50lbs (this is correct the last I heard, regulations may have changed over the last few years), yet you need an LEUP to purchase and store ONE dinky little H motor???? Are they saying that one itty bitty H motor has all the explosive properties of 25 or 50lbs of BP?!?!?! I know to be fact that ONE pound of BP can launch a 100lb anvil 50 feet or more into the air.... anvil launching is a tradition that dates back to I believe colonial times, they would often perform this ceremony before calling a town meeting to get everyones attention... it was refered to as 'the ringing of the anvil' because the anvil would make a distinctive 'ringing' sound as it was being thrust into the sky, there are a few people today still keeping that tradition alive, infact I believe there have actually been national anvil shooting competitions and clubs established.
 

loopy

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Originally posted by LarryH
Are they saying that one itty bitty H motor has all the explosive properties of 25 or 50lbs of BP?!?!?!
Larry,

That's exactly my argument - 50 lbs of AP will never explode. Even in a fire, it will not explode, but burn. 50lbs of BP will fairly efficiently destroy your entire house, as well as anyone in it. The problem is that they're not regulating APCP because it's explosive, they are regulating APCP because they want to control and keep an eye on who's using it to ensure that it's not being used by terrorists. I guess.

Loopy
 

Chilly

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I didn't realize how truly ridiculous the situation was until purchasing my first RMS casings last fall. Right now my rocket toolbox contains multiple E16, F40, and G64 reloads (not to mention a dozen or so single-use G's), none of which require a permit. How many grams of AP do you think that is? Yet I can't legally purchase & store a single H128 or -180 reload, even though there is way more than an equivalent amount of AP sitting in my basement right now.
 

jetra2

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It's sad, isn't it, Chilly?

Now I don't want to get too political, but I think that all we can do as followers (of the national groups) is try to put our hobby in the public spotlight as a safe hobby, such as I did with my news story last March (which I'm having trouble getting a link to). Just write letters to the editors of newspapers and letters to reporters, trying to show them that it is a SAFE hobby, and having them doing their job by putting our plight in the public's view.

Jason
 

Bobrogg

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Hi all, I just down loaded the paper work to apply for LEUP. My question is, do I need to have a storage container at my place of residence even if I only plan to buy and use H power and above motors at the launch site (and not take anything back with me to my home)?
Thanks,
 

LarryH

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bobrogg my understanding(and you WILL want to get a second opinion!) is that you may legally purchase motors without an LEUP if you and the vendor are in the same state of residence and the transaction occurs face to face(ie: no mail order), IF you intend to use the motor right away and do not plan to store it, you also may not transport a motor you have purchased via interstate. Like I said, you might want to get a second opinion, but if you dont intend to store them you might not even want to bother with getting an LEUP
 

Chilly

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From what I understand the Ohio ATF agents are giving us a pass until the NPRM gets finalized in October. But chances are after that we'll all have to get LEUPs. Anyone else in OH have some input here?
 
A

Austin

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Chilly,

I have not heard one way or another on the LEUP situation with our local ATF, however, I do know that they consider any motor over 62.5gr to require a LEUP, whether or not they can be broken down into individual grains...they count what the weight is for the assembled motor. This means all of us down here already need to have one if we fly H or above, through that interpritation. Our agents have been very good, realize we are just hobbyists trying to follow the law and do their best to accomodate us.

I figured once the smoke clears on the litigation, we will know better where it sits. In the meantime, you guys are forgetting there are still options such as Hybrids...and they are cool in themselves.

Carl
 

UhClem

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Originally posted by Swimmer
shockie,

I had an interview just last Thursday with ATF as the last step in receiving my Limited Users Permit. I too thought that "sponsorshp" was an alternative to a LEUP/LUP but the inspector informed me that no one, and she emphasized no one, should handle a HPR motor purchased by you as a permit holder.
The motor is to never leave the permitee's possession. There is a form that the permit holder can submit which is called an "Employee Possessor Form". As a permit holder I can name my wife as an employee possessor, she would have to submit the form and be approved by the ATF. Then, she can go with me and handle HPR motors that I have purchased.

I, too, had reservations but figured if I was to fly HPR I would resign myself to the process. I also had reservations on submitting fingerprints, a photo and background check. What I have found out is the process is educational and enlightening. I do have a problem with the storage issue and I hope pending litigation will eventually allow unfettered, if not limited, storage. But, time marches on and I want to fly rockets.
A couple of points.

1) In my opinion, no one should get a Limited User Permit. It has exactly the same application and storage hassles as a Type 34 (LEUP) permit, limits you to only six transactions per year, (don't lose your coupons!), and only saves a minor amount of money. If you renew the permit twice, it will have cost you $49 for the permit vs. $100 for the Type 34. After that it is $36 vs. $50 per three years.

2) Check the ATF's web site Q&A's on the Safe Explosives Act for the official version of who can handle "explosives". Believe it or not there is a double standard. Employees must fill out an EPQ and be approved by the ATF. You can let unpaid volunteers assist if, so far as you know, they are not a "prohibited person".

http://www.atf.gov/explarson/safexpact/documents/scenarioqa.pdf

Question 4

Dave
 

UhClem

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Originally posted by LarryH
bobrogg my understanding(and you WILL want to get a second opinion!) is that you may legally purchase motors without an LEUP if you and the vendor are in the same state of residence and the transaction occurs face to face(ie: no mail order), IF you intend to use the motor right away and do not plan to store it, you also may not transport a motor you have purchased via interstate. Like I said, you might want to get a second opinion, but if you dont intend to store them you might not even want to bother with getting an LEUP
You could have done this until May 2003 when the Safe Explosives Act took effect. Now EVERYONE who purchases regulated explosives MUST have a permit. Well, they are trying to make a very special exception for "Explosive Pest Control Devices". Noise makers to scare away birds that are eating a farmers crop. Someone figured out that by the time the farmer completed the permitting process, the birds and the crop would be gone. :)

Congress closed the "loophole" that allowed for intrastate sales even though the consitution only allows the federal government to regulate interstate commerce.

Dave
 

RocketboyG80

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Might I just ask who is making sure that those who store HPR motors have LEUP's. What is stopping one from buying Easy (come restricted) Access HPR motors from an online vendor and storing them in their own home. I've only seen a few online vendors actually advertise that they will ask you for proof of a permit.
 

UhClem

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Originally posted by bobrogg
Hi all, I just down loaded the paper work to apply for LEUP. My question is, do I need to have a storage container at my place of residence even if I only plan to buy and use H power and above motors at the launch site (and not take anything back with me to my home)?
Thanks,
When the BATFE published the regulations to implement the Safe Explosives Act, they also removed the one sentence that allowed you to get a permit without storage. (see <A HREF="http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/05dec20031700/edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2003/aprqtr/27cfr555.49.htm"> 27 CFR 555.49(a)(2)(vi)</A>) Even though there is nothing in the Safe Explosives Act that required or even suggested that change.

The BATFE is requiring that you either have your own storage or arrange (and document) contingent storage with another permitted person.

I find this very annoying as I have had a permit without storage (contingent or otherwise) since 1997. When I renew my permit this year, I will have to make arrangements for storage. This will be a hassle but there are benefits. I will no longer have to worry that I will not be able to use a motor that I purchased and had delivered at the launch site. I will also be able to purchase motors from other than vendors that deliver to the launch site.

Dave
 

Chilly

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Here's what annoys me though...

$100 for the LEUP (not counting local cop fees for photo & fingerprints)

$200 for a storage magazine IF the ATF allows me an exemption to store in an attached garage.

Not to mention the waiving 4th amendment rights part.

I cannot afford a LEUP, period. 300 bucks is pretty much my yearly budget for AP reloads. If I'm gonna lay down that kind of $$ I'll buy hybrid gear instead.
 

loopy

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I'm in pretty much the same boat as chilly. It's alot of money that I don't have, plus I don't even have an attached garage. I have a one car detached garage about 15 feet from my house, and I don't think I'd trust putting motors out there to freeze over in the winter and bake in the summer. I'm stuck if we need a leup with storage to fly HPR.

Loopy
 

LMazza

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Ditto that. I desperately want to be able to store reloads myself but the cost, not to mention the paperwork, is just out of the question at this point. Adding to all this is the fact that I'm 17 and my Dad would be forced to do it.

I do, however, live 2 miles from one of my clubs launch sites. Maybe I can work out an arrangement for club/vendor storage, and receive some kind of financial help.
 

Chilly

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A lot of guys in our Prefect with LEUPs have offered to purchase and store motors for me to use at launches, which is fine considering how often I'll be flying (not very much between work and weather). What I'd really like is for everyone to pool their money to buy hybrid GSE and make it all moot.
 

artu

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>> CTulanko said anything H and above needs a leup where he's at.

I don't understand here CTulanko. Easy access IS easy access until the NRPM becomes law. Anyone saying otherwise is wrong.

Easy access was at first not being sold by some dealers in a CYA mode, until they got their papers to prove easy acecss was still easy access. Just a few still play in teh CYA mode, and that's fine for them to do so, but you can still buy and store it leagally untill the NRPM becomes law or gets overturned.
 

shockwaveriderz

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reply to rocketboyg80:

excellent point...

right now we have several vendors who will sell you either aerotech EZ access HIJ or Pro38 HIJ motors without an LEUP, so there is no way for anybody other than the vendor themseleves to know who and what they sold to who.....

In fact thats what a lot of people are doing: purchasing HIJ from vendors who don't require a LEUP and storing such purchases in their homes for later use.....

Obviously the ATF could I suppose at any time, come swoping down onto these vendors with subpeona's and get the customers who they sold to without a LEUP, but I doubt that would happen

I seriously doubt these vendors would be selling these motors without LEUP without at least some input from their local ATF people...

As I have said before until:

1. the NAR/TRA loses their lawsuit against the ATF
2. NPRM 968 (the 62.5 g limitiation) becomes law

a number of vendors and customers will continue to sell and buy HIJ without an LEUP......

and even if #1 happens, the NAR/TRA will appeal......or if we win, the ATF will apeal.....so theres another what? 2-4 years?... and then depending on who wins/loses the appeal it may appealed all the way to the Supreme Court

and #2 is scheduled to go into effect 10/2004, but if it does I am sure the NAR/TRA will either ask for an injunction to prevent it taking effect and or filing an additional lawsuit.....

And all of the above does NOT even take into consideration that the NAR/TRA may get somewhat favorable laws passed that will make 62.5 g and LEUP all moot points anyway.......

So it may be 5 years or more before the current "gray" areas become black and white.......
 

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