Suggestion: Think before you post safety failures.

Discussion in 'Rocketry Forum Feedback & Announcements' started by cwbullet, Nov 19, 2018.

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  1. Nov 19, 2018 #1

    cwbullet

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    Please think about posting safety failures. This forum is an open forum that centres on learning and passing on lessons to others, but we do not want to glamorize failures. In rocketry, we should learn from our mistakes and seek to improve. When you post your missteps, please post them as a learning examples of what not to do.

    Be careful of your language and make sure it does not suggest impropriety or violation the law or regulations.
     
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  2. Nov 19, 2018 #2

    BDB

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    I know what you are getting at, Chuck. We need to be careful, particilaulrly with our choice of terms and tenor when we post about failures. We don’t want to sound like idiots playing with fire.

    But I don’t want to discourage posting about failures. That is akin to the culture at NASA that led to the Challenger disaster. (Full disclosure: I just finished reading Feynman’s account of investigating the shuttle disaster in What Do You Care What Other People Think?—great read!)
     
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  3. Nov 19, 2018 #3

    Steve Shannon

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    I also don’t want to prohibit people from discussing and learning from failures. An exchange of ideas can make us safer and more successful. That is one of the main reasons I participate here. By definition that must include discussion of failures. That’s how I understood CWBullet’s post as well.
    But it’s important to realize how such a free discussion, without appropriate context, can make us appear. It’s also important to remember that an open forum such as this is visible to many who don’t understand the significance or lack of significance some things have, such as catos which happen at safe distances, or recovery failures which happen safely downrange.
    If you think people don’t notice, I can assure you they do. Every time someone posts something to the Tripoli Facebook group that appears to show a lapse of judgement or worse an intentional disregard for our Safety Codes, I receive numerous emails or Facebook messenger messages almost immediately. I enjoy that because it informs me that most people do care and actively work to ensure we follow our own rules.
     
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  4. Nov 19, 2018 #4

    cwbullet

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    Steve, That is exactly what I mean. I do not what inhibit free discussion, but I do want to encourage folks to think about how their post might be interpreted by others. We do not want anyone to think we are encoruaging unsafe, illegal, or unethical behavior.
     
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  5. Nov 20, 2018 #5

    caveduck

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    I totally agree about being careful about posting things to the more public media, especially in a sensationalized way. We all get a wry grin about axial motor blowouts and the like, which are in reality not very dangerous, but look like it to people outside the community. That said, legit failures need to be documented and discussed. There has been a rash of college team failures, some of which can be attributed to them being very ambitious (which I love) but not knowing they're in "serious mistake" territory (which I do not love), and I feel like there is currently no curated source of information to combat that. Forum search is great, but you have to know the lingo, and there's no way to know that you have been comprehensive without a really large amount of experience that you can't get in four years of university.
     
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  6. Nov 20, 2018 #6

    jsdemar

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    There's a difference between "safety failures" and "safe failures". The latter is an example of how our safety codes work when something inevitably goes wrong.
     
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  7. Nov 20, 2018 #7

    Steve Shannon

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    Very nicely put, John.
     
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  8. Nov 20, 2018 #8

    cwbullet

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    I have to also agree.
     
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  9. Nov 20, 2018 #9

    Bat-mite

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    But what about all those "cool and really cool" videos by Rockets Magazine? ;)
     
  10. Nov 20, 2018 #10

    Steve Shannon

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    To draw from John DeMar’s post, catos that happen out on the range, separated from people by safe distance “are an example of how our Safety Codes work when something inevitably goes wrong.” It’s all a matter of context. Cato videos can help us emphasize why we comply with safe distances, but they can also frighten people away, so they can be a double edged sword.

    The posts I have an issue with are those that show people violating Safety Code rules, FAA FAR 101, or other Federal, State, or local laws, or performing stupid acts that could make it difficult for us in any efforts to achieve regulatory relief, access launch sites, or participate in educational activities. Similarly, I think we need to use correct terminology when we discuss rocketry.
    Due to constant efforts by Tripoli, NAR, and CAR, rocketry has a very good reputation with FAA and ATF. But an FAA official told me at BALLS this year that a single significant accident that reflects badly on our culture could change how they look at us. It’s really important that we improve how we do things and we’re working on that, but while we’re doing that we don’t want the irresponsible actions of a few to sensitize government agencies and reduce the threshold that would drive them to seek additional regulations.
     
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  11. Nov 20, 2018 #11

    cwbullet

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    I really have no issue of posting CATOs at a safe distance. I have no issue with posting mistakes to learn by as long as it is in humor or for education. We should not start having a contest or encouraging safety violation to get hits on YouTube. Blatant acts are a concern. Learning from failure is one thing, but if we glorify failure, we are likely to attract the attention of several of the sensitive government agencies that might try to further regulate our hobby in the name of safety. We need to learn from out mistakes and “self-regulate” our hobby.
     
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  12. Nov 20, 2018 #12

    DankMemes

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    Absolutely, Self regulation is one of the things that has kept rocketry as open as it is. As a RC aircraft enthusiast I can attest to what happens when those don't take the hobby and safety seriously get involved, this happened with the advent of commoditized drones, and next thing you now the FAA is involved, and after that many people bailed from the hobby as flying fields closed.

    I once saw a video on youtube of idiots that load 20g of flash powder into a rocket and launched it in a park adjacent to a residential area, definitely called this out on youtube. won't share the link here for obvious reasons... I've also seen videos of similar activity at what appear to be LPR club launches

    The self regulation in rocketry is what allows an individual to build a rocket in his garage, that is capable of entry into space, launch it and recover it safely all with minimal government intervention...

    I'm Chuck on this one, good to encourage free and open conversation, but also don't want the government to regulate the hobby into oblivion either....
     
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  13. Nov 20, 2018 #13

    Bat-mite

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    Good comments, Steve and Chuck. So thankful that NAR and TRA are working hard to keep us in good graces with the feds.
     
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  14. Nov 20, 2018 #14

    Steve Shannon

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    Thank you for being the NAR and/or the TRA whom the feds respect.
     
  15. Nov 23, 2018 #15

    RoyAtl

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    Here's a ferinstance... A few years ago I flew my level II cert at an event on a cloudy day, shooting video of the flight. My rocket went to about 2800', just below the ceiling. I followed my rocket on its way down (no dual deploy-- normal apogee ejection), and while I did, the next rocket, a much larger one, was launched. I panned around to follow it into the clouds just after burnout, which means it went much higher than the ceiling. I then resumed tracking my rocket to the ground.

    Within a couple of hours after posting the video on my Facebook page, a friend - formerly in my rocket club back in the early 70's but now an airline pilot - commented "did I just see that other rocket break the cloud base? Do you guys allow that?" I tried to assure him that no, that was an anomaly (though at that launch, it wasn't).
     
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  16. Nov 23, 2018 #16

    Steve Shannon

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    Great example. Failure to adhere to FAA requirements can easily result in cancellation of a COA. That could also lead to legal actions. It also negates our insurance coverage. If anyone believes that FAA will never hear about it, our friend’s disbelief is a clear example of how they would. We have to self police.
    Thank you for an excellent example.
     
  17. Nov 27, 2018 #17

    djs

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    I wanted to post about my HPR 2 stage failure earlier this year. It was a failure in that the sustainer motor didn't ignite (the ignitor went, the motor didn't actually start). But I consider it a success because the staging electronics worked when they were supposed to (altitude lockout + timer) and all recovery devices deployed successfully. I consider this one of the "safe failures" in that an off-nominal flight still wasn't a danger to anyone or breaking any rules.
     
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