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Well-Known Member
May 2, 2009
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are there any regulations concerning rocket cars?

i saw a really cool 3' long aluminum-frame rail dragster at the hobby shop last time i was there.

it looked like it wanted a cluster of APC motors
I do not know of any regulations against rocket cars. What I do know is that if you use HPR motors in anything but a rocket, the exception being a bench or ground test, the national orgs will not insure you, so you would be on your own.

Personally, I think there is too much fun to be had in the air...ground vehicles are just not that exciting.

before i give up on this...
maybe i won't.

i don't think i can buy HPR motors.
something about being certified or something...
i have a boatload of HPR motor hardware, a set of 38mm, a set of 54mm, a set of 29mm even, along with 18mm...
AeroTech is in a position to make a lot of money from me, but...
the only ones that are easy to find reloads in stock, i cannot buy.
i have several HPR-capable rockets that i've constructed.
i've been flying model rockets off and on since the early 70s
i'd love to fly my rockets.
i still can't buy any motors or fly them.
i have about a grand invested in rocketry stuff.
but i can't fly them.
something about certification...
of course, there are lots of launches to get certed at, i just have to fly across the country, or drive a thousand miles...or wait until october...

so, now you tell me how this is good for the hobby.

i have my own insurance, i don't need the tertiary coverage provided by the organizations. it is a waste of money to pay for supplemental coverage that isn't really going to help after my deductables, other policies pay off...

in the meantime, i know i'm welcome to fly my a-g powered birds with the 14-year-olds...
so, now you tell me how this is good for the hobby...

The hobby is doing fine as there is plenty of business out there as of late. But you obviously need to cert if you want to play with the big boys, and have been told in another post of orgs near you.

You may also be aware that you need to join NAR or TRA to cert, which is not a waste of money as you get more than insurance, to include Certification, a great Magazine through NAR, helpful support for programs such as TARC, etc ... But I think we mentioned this too.

Please don't "Dis" the orgs just because they don't suit your needs.

There used to be for a short while a national Rocket Car Association (name may be wrong). It's dead as far as I know. The guy that owns Extreme Rocketry mag and ROL ran it IIRC. You could email him and ask about it.
i never mentioned HPR in my first post
i was irritated that you assumed as much.

i am a member of NAR as you might notice by my sigfile.


anyway, like i said.
this thread wasn't ABOUT high-power rocketry.
you just assumed it was and turned it into one...


thank you for the reply!
i'll start a search there!

You have obviously made a hasty comment, but that's ok. We are a pretty understanding bunch here.

You indeed did not mention HPR in your first post, however, you did mention a 3' car and clustering AP, which you must admit could be contstrude as such. Moreover, I did not assume you were refering to high power, nor did your statement say it was not about the possible use of larger motors. Rather, I simply stated some facts of which I was knowlegable which just so happened to include the subject in question..

It was at that point you steered into a volley of HPR comments, many of which seemed a bit personal, but that was your least to a point. However, you must have taken offense when I mentioned some of your concerns had been already addressed in another topic; I was simply trying to remind you of previous threads as I sometimes forget some facts myself. This apparently was not taken well from the tone of your reply, however, that is not my concern. I simply want to make sure our audience is well informed as TRF is an "informational" forum. Moreover, I try to make sure we keep on track and on subject as some members as of late have crossed the line on our guidelines and we have had to pull these posts.

Maybe this thread's intent wasn't about HPR, but from the looks of your posts, you appear to be the one that converted the thread to such, which again is your right since you did indeed start it. Once again though I find myself trying to keep what has become with your help a borderline thread, inline with the original topic.

Best Regards, and your sig was noticied...

My opinion, and my opinion only follows...:eek: :eek:

If he were thinking of clustering motors, IMO, he would be talking about MPR motors because he is not certified, and you obviously cant certify with a rocket-car. If he were certified, he might as well just throw in a single big motor and light it off. It would be simpler and easier. But if he wants to put a cluster in a 3' dragster (not much room, I wouldent think), you cant even really fit more than one or two HPR motors in there.

Were you thinking of 24MM or 29MM single use motors for this rocket car idea? That would seem most logical to me. It would be more cost-efficient, and take up less space for, say, 5 24MM or 4 24MM and a central 29MM or something...

But, I cant really flame Carl, because he really didnt say anything wrong, in his first post at the least. He just said that if you used HPR motors in a car you wouldent get insurance. So an argument was started, out of pretty mcuh nothing. As I can understand. THe same thing has happened to me before, which ended rather nastily...:eek: ;) :p I would prefer not to elaborate any further than that:D

Back to the car... Very interesting idea... Someone very brave or very foolish attatched 8 G64s to a street luge and set the world record for speed on a street luge...:eek: Look in the Guiness Book of World Records. Its very interesting. I like your idea better cause you dont have 8 rocket motors burning half a foot from your head, though. :D

A single 29MM motor, maybe a G80, surrounded by 4 or 5 E15s would be very cool... The G and the Es might not light at teh same time, but its not like its going to arc over and prang like a real rocket would if that happened... It just wouldent go as fast.

So I think its a very interesting idea...

Pics, please? :)
This is one of my pet peeves which I have bought up before on this forum and which I dont intend to rehash here.
Carl everything you say is correct but....... the but strikes again.
As far as I know and can find out there is no law that says anyone cannot buy AP motors, it is something that was introduced by certain self appointed "officials" of various organisations. The reasons for this are many and varied and of no importance in the context of this post, the point is you DO NOT legally need to be cert'ed to buy AP motors. The problem being that it is almost impossible to find someone to sell them to you without that bit of paper.

This is the same in the States as in UK though there are other regs in both countries that you may need to comply with. ie LEUP,COER. These are not laws that stop you or make membership of any org compulsory, they usually are more concerned with storage and safety.

Nothing in this post should be taken as a negative against the various organisations as they serve a purpose and the thoughts expressed here are mine alone.

I must state that I agree with the reasons and principles behind the certification of HPR I just disagree with the element of compulsion and the way it came about.

Oh, boy. This'll be a live one till it gets pulled.

It's all about the perception. Right now, we're in a precarious position for HPR and it's legality. One of the very good arguments put forth by our side is that we're self-regulated enough. There have been several cases of the orgs and individuals working with federal officials to track down some suspicious behavior.

If we ditch the cert requirements, it's my opinion that we lose a significant amount of our moral high ground in the whole argument about what we should and shouldn't be allowed to do legally. Is the moral high ground going to carry any legal weight? I don't have the answer to that. Nobody does yet. However, if we lose that, we might lose everything we've worked for.
Sorry I can't offer any ionformation on the regulations regarding rocket cars.

However, I do recall finding a website that included rocket cars and one of the main participants was Brent McNeely (Rocketeer Media/Extreme Rocketry), that is IIRC.

I am not sure of the motors used but as you pointed out, that isn't so much the point. Perhaps you could ask the question on ROL forums (I assume Brent goes there but I don't know) or you might email him.

Len Bryan
if i mention a cluster of AP motors, i would appreciate it if you'd assume that i am not a lawbreaker, troublemaker, or any other misconceptions or preconceived notions you may have about me and just answer the question *as asked*

i was asking about rocket cars
thanks to rstaff and Len B for relevant answers!
thanks to karl for realizing that i did not say i wanted to break any laws/rules!
thanks to DavidRedf for the *real* story!

CT your replies seem trowlish...purposely inciting anger for your own amusement. I await your apology.

what comment did i make in HASTE?
i re-read the posts and i sure can't seem to find any hasty comments...not from me.
maybe it was you?

i have no idea of what 'construde' you mean construed, maybe? how about *misconstrued*?
as in: AP is not the same as HPR but it could be MISCONSTRUED to mean as much...

see what i mean?

the rant about my work speaks to the point you tried to make about how *easy* it is to get certification, as if everyone has weekends off work...or can travel thousands of miles on a moment's notice...walk a mile in my shoes before you deign yourself competent to judge me.

you can still apologize, even now.
Back on topic for now. It was Brent McNeely I referred to earlier. He also had a company that sold rocket car parts and AT motors. Per an article in the first Extreme Rocketry, this is defunct. However, he can tell you what, if any rules apply (above DOT,FAA,BATF, etc). NAR/TRA won't apply as the event has to be independent. He may also be able to tell you where to get parts, etc. An HPR mag article described how an L motor destroyed Ky Michaelson's car hehehehe.
In California, you need the permission of the property owner AND a permit from the local fire authority having jurisdiction to fire "Model Rocket Motors". When the 'rocket cars' appeared (custom ones years ago and again the new CPSC approved Estes cars now) I asked the CA State Fire Marshal about them. Their response was logical (and to some annoying, but it's still logical):

You need thae same permits to fire a rocket motor in a car as in a rocket. You can't take a "Model Rocket Motor" or an "Experimental high Power Rocket Motor" (as they are classified in CA) and fire it permit-less simply because you did not stick in a flying rocket. It is the act of firing the motor that they regulations cover. If you are flying the motor in a specific type of rocket covered by the regulations, then it is easier to get a permit, since those categories of rockets are defined.

Rocket cars are not defined in the CA regulations, but the CPSC approval of the plugged A motor powered cars helps a LOT. It should be easy to get a permit for plugged A motor cars.

Originally posted by Elapid
are there any regulations concerning rocket cars?

i saw a really cool 3' long aluminum-frame rail dragster at the hobby shop last time i was there.

it looked like it wanted a cluster of APC motors
The moderators should be hitting the "edit" key a lot pretty soon...:eek:

Well, I preffered not to elaborate on my similar expirence because it is rather embarrasing... But heres the story:

I wanted to make a behemoth rocket out of a huge sono-tube. I wanted to fly it on motors too big for me. high L2. But not L3, as I clearly stated. Even then I knew those were too big for me. Carl or someone started calling it an L3 bird... I naturally got real pissed because I had clearly stated that it WASNT an L3 bird. They ended up doing the right thing for the wrong reason, IMHO. They convinced me not to build it. If they hadent, something would have been destroyed. At the time, I didnt even know how to use unequal mix epoxies, let alone the techniques needed to make an 8" (or was it 12"? :eek: ) rocket. Im still angry about what they said, but they did the right thing, and I dont blame them anymore. They are nice people. Carl isnt as mean as you think he is right now, and not nearly as mean as I thought he was when I wanted to build a huge rocket before I could. Hes really a good guy. Its not worth it to be mad at him over a misunderstanding.

I cant find a comment you made that stands out as "hasty", and you can search old threads for anything I ever said about wanting to build an L3 rocket that was more than a "this would be fun..." comment...

Arguments were started out of both, even if they didnt even exist. Let it slide, and dont get too angry. These are all great guys here. :)

Yes, this IS a live one, Kermie! :eek: ;)

So am I saying "take a deep breath and get over it"? Pretty much.

Not that you dont have the right to be angry or anything. There were some hurtfull things said. I understand that. Just make sure you are not overacting, and try to keep calm about things.

I am pretty sure Carl doesent just say mean things for his own entertainment. If anythings a hasty comment, that was.:( :mad:
Originally posted by Neil

I am pretty sure Carl doesent just say mean things for his own entertainment. If anythings a hasty comment, that was.:( :mad:

i agree i thought it was high power to because it was 3' long and aluminum framed. also it should be edited soon... we shouldnt argue, we shold just give eachother advice and our opinion (unless it is offensive or insulting)

thats MHO
Davredf... you made some very good points and we appreciate your comments. Thanks for the input.

shreadvector... thanks for pointing out the local laws, again it is good to have diversity on the forum.

Neil, thanks much for the kind comments and an attempt to get us back on track...a very mature gesture indeed.

Karate....once again thanks for showing how a thread could be interpreted.

Finally, Elapid... I do not have any misconstrued perceptions about you and try to keep an open mind about all our patrons as I enjoy assisting them, yourself included. It's my way of saying thanks for all those that helped me out in the hobby when I began. Additionally, I do not try to incite anger and you apparently have read my post in a negative manner...that was not my intent. Anyone that has met me knows I have a calm, helpful and fun demeanor. Just as I thought your comments regarding my assumption of this being an HPR thread were hasty, you considered mine to be a personal attack, but that was also a misconstrued perception. Could it be that we were both quick to react...possibly. I simply wanted to get the thread back on track, however, it still seems to be going nowhere at this time.

I want to try and get us back online if at all possible and hope that you, as the creator of this thread and a valued member of TRF, will move forward and assist with this task.


Originally posted by rstaff3
Back on topic for now. It was Brent McNeely I referred to earlier. He also had a company that sold rocket car parts and AT motors. Per an article in the first Extreme Rocketry, this is defunct. However, he can tell you what, if any rules apply (above DOT,FAA,BATF, etc). NAR/TRA won't apply as the event has to be independent. He may also be able to tell you where to get parts, etc. An HPR mag article described how an L motor destroyed Ky Michaelson's car hehehehe.

Gee, I ran right past your message and then posted about the same thing. Oh well, great minds perhaps? Either that, or I read it, went away from the computer and blindly plagiarized it. Shows how it can happen. :kill: :D

About the Estes cars abd the plugged motors: Those cars run on a line to keep them "on track". I wonder if that is how they were origially designed or if Estes had to go that way to get approval. This could be an issue for the type of rocket propelled car that we are discussing here.

Len B
I've been gone for awhile, since when did things get so darn
I remember a bunch of fun guys that didn't take this stuff so serious...... Lets leave all the finger pointing to the little league parents.......
Now, everyone get back to your normal loving selves.....

Note......don't take this to seriously...:cool:
if we try to assume that everyone (or how about just me?) intends to follow the rules and respond from that point of view, we'll all be just fine.

Carl, thanks!
apology accepted.

i fully intend to use a guide line (not sure if this is wise, at high velocity it might act like a bandsaw!) if i ever do anything of this nature, though radio control might be a better alternative. i have lots of R/C car stuff. i was also intending to run it at a dragstrip. a real, 1/4 mile, timed run on asphalt. I have been running my car at sac raceway for years, i think i could talk them into letting me use the track for a few minutes between rounds.

i bet my toy can beat your car!
Well, that was interesting... :rolleyes:

RC stuff on rockets has been discussed before... I think the general concensus (yes, I know I misspelled that.. . :rolleyes: ) was that they were going way to fast to react... But, if the car were going slowly on lower-powered motors, it might be doable...

Dont ask me, I dont konw much about RC stuff.:rolleyes: But, I hear some RC jets go over 200 MPH, so if you can controll one of those things from half a mile away, I bet you could do a car doing 200-300 MPH...???:)