Pleading to land owners? Tampa/HERC

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Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Apr 22, 2009
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Greetings fellow TRFers and rocketeers. Rocketry in Tampa is stirring. I have this immense feeling that there are a lot of rocketeers in this area willing to meet monthly if only we had a permanent field to fly on.

Recently, a group of about 7-9 local rocketeers (mostly TRFers) started gathering in Tampa to fly rockets. We now informally call ourselves HERC or "Hillsborough Exploratory Rocketry Club." Our current flying field is slated to become a Sam's Club and they should be breaking ground any day now. We have a lead on a new field that is open, unmarked, and unmonitored. As much as we'd like to walk on and start flying rockets (which others have done successfully in the past with the owner watching!), we would formally like to organize an NAR chapter and have the land owner's blessing.

Unless you have any experiences of your own, please take a moment and talk to your section leaders about how your club got its field. I'd personally like to know what their experiences were with approaching the land owners to formally request permission to fly on their fields. I imagine safety and liability are large concerns, but if only we knew what works and what doesn't I'd like to hear from anyone out there. This field is one of our last opportunities to secure a place to fly rockets to altitudes approaching 5,000 ft. and we'd like this to be our best presentation.

Thanks in advance for your input. Maybe in the near future you will be attending Tampa HERC launches.
BluesRockS has 3 Launch sites : the Masterson Station Park in Lexington, the Old Hardin County Landfill in Elizabethtown and the Sims farm 10 miles East of Etown. The Sims Farm is a 1000+ acre working soybean farm.

I called the owner on the telephone, introduced myself, and then asked him if he had ever heard of model rockets. After a 15 minute conversation , he basically said, sure go ahead...

This filed is only available from late Nov to late Apr, so in February we had our first BlueSkies HPR launch there and I invited the owner to come out and meet the guys in the section and watch some HPR.....

I stresed that we would have NAR site insurance, that only NAR or TRA members would be allowed to do HPR ( we have NO requirement that people who are BluesRockS members, be NAR/TRA is they are doing Model Rocketry, although we do try to convert them), that we woulsd have the applicable FAA waivers, and that not one piece of trash would ever be left on the farm....and that we would alwasy have onsite fire extinguishers just in case and somebody at the field would have a cell phone for emergencies....
In addition, because this is a working farm, we can only drive/park right off the only dirt road that bisects the field.....

Land owners will have some objections, it is your responsibility to anticpate what those objections might possibly eb and assure him that you will take care of any possible problems... One idea is to take some Estes material to introduce him to Model Rocketry and then HPR..... You might make an appointment to talk to the "powers that be", you might bring some representative models and engines to shown them and elt them touch them...They are guys after all.....we like to touch "stuff"... and then offer a demostartion and point out taht sometimes there are mishaps , but also stress the safety record for 50+ years......

The Landfill site is also the home of the local AMA club so I approached the RSO of the club and talked to him first. Then let informed me that his club members would have no problem with sharing the landfill site with model rocketeers.. There is a gravel road in this landfill but we can driv eonto the grass and park where we like and we just keep the place clean, ie NO trash left behind.

Finally, I might add, that the person that is doing the "presentation" should be comfortable giving presentations, ie speaking to people, ie somebody that can "shoot the bull".......I take the "old boy approach" which works here in Ky with people...just be polite and have and show good manners, shakes hands, introduce people, smile, say "pleased to me you",etc.....
Just basic personal relationship management...........

Patrick our section advisor talked to the Park folks so maybe he will chime in what he did...
Well, I don't know exactly how our club got our field, because I've only been there a year, but what is interesting is that the public park we use actually put up a rather nice sign for us to let people know that the park has a rocket launch field! Pretty neat, I'd say. Now this park also hosts numerous dog and horse shows, so they put up another sign for us on the actual field telling people that rocket launches would not be permitted when a horse show is in progress. The dogs don't seem to mind rockets, though....

My dog totally dislikes the rockets. For example, just this last weekend, we took her out to the field with us (she is part Shihzu, part poodle, part stupid mix :p black and white) and as soon as we got there, she was ALL over the field, running around like crazy. Then we launch the first rocket, and ZOOM - she's back in the SUV, under a seat! :eek:

Dogs are fine, unless they decide to retrieve your rockets. Teeth marks are a pain to fill on body tubes.