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jflis

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Not sure where this best fits, but it's an LPR related question so... :)

I will be doing a series of build sessions as well as launch demo's (hopefully) for the Boston Children Museum. The museum is about 5 miles from Logan airport (as the car goes) and about 3 miles (as the crow flies).

What are the regulations (or where can I find them) with regard to how far you need to be from an airport and what (if any) are the altitude restrictions within certain distances from an airport.

Lastly, is there a particular office I should contact at the airport for information (my concern is that I will get someone who hasn't a clue but hears the word "rocket" and then I get a knock on the door... :) )

What I am hoping to do is launch 4-5 models every two hours throughout the day. The models will be saucers and micro models, keeping the altitude under 100 feet or so.

thanks,
jim
 

shreadvector

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Model Rockets are exempt from the FAR 101 regulations IF AND ONLY IF you are operating them in a manner that does not present a hazard to aircraft (and they meet the physical requirements for a "Model Rocket").

If you call the airport manager or the FAA control tower you will cause confusion and probably get shut down. The FAA regulations clearly do not require us to "bother" them anymore. The entire "Large Model Rocket" era established that ALL "Model Rockets" are safe as far as the FAA is concerned when operated intelligently/safely.

So, what should you do to make sure you are not a "Hazard to aircraft"? Simple:

1) Determine where you launch site is with respect to the runways of Logan and the approach and departure path of the aircraft.
2) If you are directly on any of those paths, you will NOT want to launch unless you select an extremely low altitude limit and stick to it by choosing motors and models that will never exceed the limit. And pay attention to number 3.
3) (IN ALL CAPS FOR A REASON). NEVER, EVER, EVER LAUNCH A ROCKET IF ANY AIRCRAFT (FIXED WING OR ROTORCRAFT) IS ANYWHERE NEAR YOUR AIRSPACE AND CAN POSSIBLY SEE YOUR LAUNCH FROM ANY WINDOW ON THE AIRCRAFT. THEY HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY, EVEN IF A HELICOPTER DECIDEDS TO SIT OVER YOUR LAUNCH SITE FOR HOURS, THEY CAN DO SO AND YOU MUST "HOLD" UNTIL THEY LEAVE. There have been numerous reoprts of problems (severe problems) caused by rocket sightings from aircraft. Here is the most recent (see May 6, 2009):
http://dartrocketry.wordpress.com/
 

JoeG

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Our R/C club used to have an airfield less than a mile from the local airport and we had the same concerns. We were told as long as we kept our ceiling at 300 feet or below there was no problem and we didn't need to let them know when we were flying.

For what you are launching and the altitude you will be reaching I don't think I would do any stirring of the pile.

Opinion only.

Joe
 

Micromeister

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Jim:
Freds 1st post is spot on with regard to flying around airports.
 

AKPilot

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Jim,

Bottom line is, you're in the clear . . .

Here's the direct link to the Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) 101, regarding rocketry. FAR 101

You're in the Class 1 category, which there's no FAA notification necessary (provided you're outside of restricted airspace).

Have fun!
 

rokitflite

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A Richter Recker with Es would probably be a bad idea though!:)
 

sandman

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Jim, I've said this before so forgive me for repeating myself.

Gus and I fly AT an airport!

Granted, it's a rural airport with all grass runways but the owner doesn't mind and even sends his kids out to watch.

There are only two or three planes currently hangared there and the rest of the aircraft housed are ultralights.

Most of the pilots come out to watch us fly.

We just keep an eye out for aircraft and nobody seems to care.
 

mjennings

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Where SRA flies, we regularly have low level air traffic, and fly by if you hear a plane get it sported determine the flight path, and hold until the aircraft is well clear. That should keep you safe.

I used to fly solo in Saint Louis a few miles from the major airport and about a 3/4 mile from Creve Coure Airport, at Creve Coure Park's soccer fields and never had an issue.
 

billspad

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I will be doing a series of build sessions as well as launch demo's (hopefully) for the Boston Children Museum.
Are you planning on water recovery? Unless it's moved recently it's next to the water.
 

jflis

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Are you planning on water recovery? Unless it's moved recently it's next to the water.
OH, I am very familiar with the Children's museum :) Yeah I know it's near water but we have an area set aside where we should be able to launch without worry of the water.

By the way Bill, this is one of the 3 contacts you sent me (thanks). It looks like the other two are going to work out as well. I will keep you posted.

jim
 

LJBeachBum

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I hate to steer the thread in a different direction but...

Recently I got in involved with the DART/FAA fiasco, as referenced by shreadvector.

I know NAR has a 50 year history of safe flying, but when people hear "rockets", they think hazard. Are there any studies concerning Class 1 model rockets and aircraft that I can use to educate the local FAA?

Thanks, in advance, for any help.
 

billspad

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OH, I am very familiar with the Children's museum :) Yeah I know it's near water but we have an area set aside where we should be able to launch without worry of the water.
I'll be waiting for the pictures of that one. When you get done, walk over to the Barking Crab. Great seafood.

By the way Bill, this is one of the 3 contacts you sent me (thanks). It looks like the other two are going to work out as well. I will keep you posted.

jim
No, thank you. We've gotten several of these requests this year and I hate to see them go unanswered.
 

billspad

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I hate to steer the thread in a different direction but...

Recently I got in involved with the DART/FAA fiasco, as referenced by shreadvector.

I know NAR has a 50 year history of safe flying, but when people hear "rockets", they think hazard. Are there any studies concerning Class 1 model rockets and aircraft that I can use to educate the local FAA?

Thanks, in advance, for any help.

The NAR has a booklet on safety but I don't know if that will do you any good. Rockets and aircraft aren't supposed to be in the same place at the same time so what damage a rocket could do to a plane should be irrelevant.
 

shreadvector

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I hate to steer the thread in a different direction but...

Recently I got in involved with the DART/FAA fiasco, as referenced by shreadvector.

I know NAR has a 50 year history of safe flying, but when people hear "rockets", they think hazard. Are there any studies concerning Class 1 model rockets and aircraft that I can use to educate the local FAA?

Thanks, in advance, for any help.
I found something on the web years ago when we went through our nightmare after we "Notified" the local airport manager per the FAA regulations. I cannot find it anymore. It was a long article from the FAA detailing WHY model Rockets were extremely safe because of the way NAR clubs run their launches: specifically they have spotters for aircraft and if an aircraft is spotted, the keys are removed from the launch controllers until is is safe to resume launching. It may have been related to the adoption of the previous FAR revisions where the "LMR" category was created. I think it was an FAA publication for FAA folks and it was intended to explain the regulations and why these type of operations were so safe. It may have been forwarded to me by the FAA guy near LAX who used to be the "go to guy" in this region for facts about waivers.

Maybe someone can search and search and find it someday if it is still online.
 

jflis

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I'll be waiting for the pictures of that one. When you get done, walk over to the Barking Crab. Great seafood.

No, thank you. We've gotten several of these requests this year and I hate to see them go unanswered.
Feel free to send other requests my way. I want to be able to keep my summer filled with such outreach while school it out of session. Can't promise to take them all on, but I can either do their program or point them to others who can.

jim
 

falingtrea

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After reading what happened to DARTS, I was curious as to how this could happen, so I did a little research. What I found might help Jim with his question so I though I would pass it along.

It seems there is a section in FAR 101 that allows the FAA some control over any unmanned rocket, including model rockets. That is 101.23-b which states “The FAA may specify additional operating limitations necessary to ensure that air traffic is not adversely affected, and public safety is not jeopardized.” A standard “wiggle clause”, or what I would call a “rattlesnake clause” because it can wiggle around and bite you if you are not careful. And, unfortunately, open to interpretation of what could "adversely affect" air traffic.

So I wondered what would cause possible issues about the Fiesta Island location. So I started looking for information on the airspace in that area. This hang gliding website has a good description of airspaces and how to find them on a vfr map, which helps with this aeronautical chart website which has vfr maps you can view for free. Looking at the vfr map around San Diego, it looks like some of the Mission Bay area is in the worst Class B airspace, SFC/100 (which means surface to 10,000 feet). That Class B airspace layout is not a nice group of concentric circles, so it is hard to figure. So I can see why they might have issues. But not why it came up all of a sudden.

Looking at the the Boston area, the airspace is easier to discern, and the SFC/7000 ft section unfortunately covers most of Boston proper. So worst case, it could be a problem and might be worth at least contacting the proper authorities, especially if you are going to fly more than a few models.
 
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AKPilot

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Being a pilot and remembering my plight on TRFA (1.0) with the soccer dad and a local park, I'd add one thing . . . remember FAR 101 gives you the right to launch Class 1 rockets, provided you follow the guidelines.

If you're to ask any regulatory authority for their thoughts, be prepared for the answer you receive . . . Jim isn't going to do anything wrong and he should have the confidence to conduct such an event without any fear.

Remember Jim, you'll be in compliance and also have the right. IF any regulatory authority doesn't agree with you, they'll find you.
 

billspad

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Here's a picture of the Boston Children's Museum. Zoom out a little and notice the buildings near by. Assuming Jim is flying from in front of the building and hopes to recover what he flies, any pilot who is low enough to see the rockets is going to have to do a lot more explaining than Jim is!
 

mikec

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There was a "Model Rocketry Hazard Study" written by the FAA in 1991 -- http://www.ntis.gov/search/index.aspx?frm_qry_Search=N9121238&SimpleSearch=yes -- but I can't find a copy on-line. This may be what the earlier poster was remembering.

If you look at the change discussion from 1994 here: http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/archives/rec.models.rockets/FAA/faa.change.txt you see that the FAA said this:

"The FAA acknowledges a minimal risk increase in hazard potential
that accompanies the operation of larger, more powerful rockets. This
minimal risk increase was confirmed by a March 1991 FAA study, Model
Rocketry Hazard Study, conducted as part of the agency's analysis of
in-flight collision probability between aircraft and model rockets. In
concert with the study's final report recommendation, Notice 92-12
proposed certain guidelines for large model rocket launches. These
proposed guidelines, together with rocketeers' proven launch safety
vigilance, effectively lessen the minimal risk increase in hazard
potential associated with heavier model rockets."

With the current version of the FAR, these "large model rockets" were merged into Class 1 "model rockets".

I am not a lawyer, and the earlier posts about the wiggle clause are dead on, but the FAR is quite clear that there is no requirement to notify the FAA for Class 1 rockets unless you are in a "restricted area".
 

powderburner

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You know, Jim started out this whole thing with a statement that he did not plan to go much above 100 ft agl. That alone would make me go straight to the model rocket exemption and totally blow off any notifications to anyone.

All of my local launch locations are under (or very nearly so) the local approach routes to Ft Worth NAS (used to be Carswell AFB). If I launch from my side yard I try to keep below 1000 ft, preferably below 500 ft, just to avoid chasing rockets across neighbor's fences and picking them out of the treetops. If I go to a local schoolyard (nice open space, no trees) I might send 'em up to a couple thousand, but mostly it's just a bigger field that is clear of trees. If I see some air traffic coming from/going to the base I will definitely hold even if they are at 3-4-5 thousand feet and well above any altitudes my low-power stuff will reach (there may not be much chance of them seeing my launch, but in case they somehow do see it I don't want to give them a coronary).

But if the air traffic is coming from/going to DFW (and those aircraft are generally more like 10-15K by the time they over-fly the west side of Ft Worth) I usually ignore it and go ahead and launch. Otherwise, as busy as that airport is at "peak" times, I would never get to launch. Since there is no chance of my little 1000 ft flight reaching the DFW traffic, and there is very very little chance of them ever even seeing my launch, I don't believe I am posing any sort of danger of causing alarm or hazard to them. I think there is room here for some common sense and some practicality.

And I don't notify anyone. Unless sometimes I check with the local PD, and invite them to an informal "learn-n-launch" session.
 

mach7

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Jim, Airliners fly a 3-1 glide path for landing. It approximates 300 ft altitude per mile FROM TOUCHDOWN. usually 1000-3000ft down the runway. We are crossing the threshold at 50 ft. Keep it under 200 ft and you will have no problems. Remember the buildings are at least 6 stories in that part of town. The Seaport Hotel is closer to the approach path than the children's museum at I believe it is 15 stories.

When will you be doing the launch? If I'm flying into Boston I'll keep an eye out.

Good luck
 

jflis

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Jim, Airliners fly a 3-1 glide path for landing. It approximates 300 ft altitude per mile FROM TOUCHDOWN. usually 1000-3000ft down the runway. We are crossing the threshold at 50 ft. Keep it under 200 ft and you will have no problems. Remember the buildings are at least 6 stories in that part of town. The Seaport Hotel is closer to the approach path than the children's museum at I believe it is 15 stories.

When will you be doing the launch? If I'm flying into Boston I'll keep an eye out.

Good luck
I'll have to check my calendar. I'm scheduling one launch after another with various schools and libraries lately. I think that one is late July (28th/29th) but will have to get back to you on that one.

jim
 

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