Unsanctioned HPR launches?

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Mach_Seven

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I drove across the Florida peninsula Thursday morning to visit relatives. At 7am there was a bright blue, cloudless sky and practically zero air movement in the state's interior which consists mostly of vast pastures and farmland. I thought to myself, "I could launch to 50,000 feet right now and never lose sight of it." Our club launches don't open the pads until around 10:30 when the wind and clouds have moved in. It would be a tall order to move the official start time up three hours, so I started thinking of an unsanctioned private launch. Assuming I'll be following all safety procedures, I'll have permission to use the launch site, I will contact the FAA for a waiver, and I'll be using a motor I am certified to fly are there any issues I need to be aware of? Besides the benefits of the insurance coverage I really can't think of any. And a fellow club member has a trailer-mounted launch tower...

Have any of you flown privately/unsanctioned? What was the launch site and circumstances? I'm really interested in doing a "full send" early morning flight right now.
0B8CD09B-9436-4D86-BC38-3F184BC8C178.jpeg
Taken at 7:05 am this morning. Zero wind. Infinite visibility.
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TheTank

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I have a waiver at a private field and fly there all the time. That said, getting the waiver approved by the FAA takes a couple of weeks once you have filled out the paper work and sent it to them for airspace review. Once it is approved, they typically require you to call in a NOTAM a few days ahead to flight services so that anyone flying in the area can be made aware. As for the altitude they approve you for, it all depends on the airspace review, IFR flight paths/Victor flyways, etc that may be traveling through that area or in the vicinity of that area.

The NAR site has all the steps laid out in a simple form on how to fill out and submit the paperwork to the FAA for review. I would start there first (get the GPS coordinates for your launch location), check all your safe distances against property lines, etc, and submit the paperwork to see what the FAA says first. I have found some places that I thought were going to be amazing sites... only to realize there was a small GA airport nearby with victor flyways in the vicinity that severely limited the altitude on the waiver I could get as they dont want you punching up into IFR flight paths nor will they issue a TFR under most circumstances.
 

Steve Shannon

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les

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I started thinking of an unsanctioned private launch. Assuming I'll be following all safety procedures, I'll have permission to use the launch site, I will contact the FAA for a waiver, and I'll be using a motor I am certified to fly are there any issues I need to be aware of?

I highlighted unsanctioned

If you've properly received the FAA waiver, use the proper sized launch site with the owner's permission, only fly motors that you are certified for, and follow the safety code, then it really is NOT an UNSANCTIONED launch. Getting all the proper permissions and following the rules technically makes it "sanctioned". You would still be covered by the NAR/Tripoli insurance
 

Mach_Seven

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I highlighted unsanctioned

If you've properly received the FAA waiver, use the proper sized launch site with the owner's permission, only fly motors that you are certified for, and follow the safety code, then it really is NOT an UNSANCTIONED launch. Getting all the proper permissions and following the rules technically makes it "sanctioned". You would still be covered by the NAR/Tripoli insurance
Good to know. Thanks!
 

FredA

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Our club launches don't open the pads until around 10:30 when the wind and clouds have moved in. It would be a tall order to move the official start time up three hours

Seems like your club is a little confused as to why people have gathered.....
Get them to get a earlier opening on the waiver.
The FAA really doesn't care what time you put on the paperwork.
 

Mach_Seven

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Seems like your club is a little confused as to why people have gathered.....
Get them to get a earlier opening on the waiver.
The FAA really doesn't care what time you put on the paperwork.
So just get the WAIVER opened earlier and launch at our usual site. Brilliant.
 

timbucktoo

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Seems like your club is a little confused as to why people have gathered.....
Get them to get a earlier opening on the waiver.
The FAA really doesn't care what time you put on the paperwork.

Our waiver is good from sunrise to sunset 365 days a year.

So just get the WAIVER opened earlier and launch at our usual site. Brilliant.
If you want to fly earlier, you need to discus with Tom since he hauls equipment and Dale who calls in NOTAM. Bring it up at next meeting which happens at end of next launch. Biggest problem I see is people show up just to launch and have no interest in setting up or taking down equipment.
 

Mach_Seven

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Our waiver is good from sunrise to sunset 365 days a year.


If you want to fly earlier, you need to discus with Tom since he hauls equipment and Dale who calls in NOTAM. Bring it up at next meeting which happens at end of next launch. Biggest problem I see is people show up just to launch and have no interest in setting up or taking down equipment.
Well, as I mentioned, another club member has a trailer-mounted launch tower and a safe launch controller is easy enough to rig up. Shouldn't need any of the club's equipment. I'll contact Dale whenever I settle on a date. As for helping set up and tear down, I've offered on every visit to help out and was declined with prejudice.
 

timbucktoo

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As for helping set up and tear down, I've offered on every visit to help out and was declined with prejudice.
Odd. Tom & I get there at 9 every launch and we always welcome help. Who declined your help, care to say? I know it wasn't me and i find it hard to believe Tom would turn away any help. Take down is always the same people, never see any others offering.
 

samb

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I’m going to go out on a limb and say every club wants to fly as much as possible. You can’t dismiss the logistics of range setup. Also, many landowner”s deals with clubs limit the kind of impromptu launch opportunities the op is proposing. I’d say talk to the club officers and proceed with caution.
 

Mach_Seven

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I’m going to go out on a limb and say every club wants to fly as much as possible. You can’t dismiss the logistics of range setup. Also, many landowner”s deals with clubs limit the kind of impromptu launch opportunities the op is proposing. I’d say talk to the club officers and proceed with caution.
What, exactly, is "impromtu" about a well-planned launch event which is what I actually proposed?
 

Mach_Seven

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Odd. Tom & I get there at 9 every launch and we always welcome help. Who declined your help, care to say? I know it wasn't me and i find it hard to believe Tom would turn away any help. Take down is always the same people, never see any others offering.
It was, in fact Tom. For the last three launches I attended: June, July, and October. I was one of the first to arrive in October and walked straight to the van and offered to help.
 

dr wogz

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What, exactly, is "impromtu" about a well-planned launch event which is what I actually proposed?
Your initial post implies you would like to fly at any opportunity, with or without the club / other people, but with the FAA waiver & land owner's consent in place.. (Like, you know tomorrow [Tuesday] will be a perfect day, call in the NOTAM, and show up at 7am with a few J420's loaded & ready to launch)

It's how you wrote it, and how I (and I assume a few others) read it..


An old R/C flying field I used to fly at had strict start times. 9am for electrics, 10am for gas / alcohol planes. The reason was noise (and a few complaints from the locals - one flyer in particular would show up at about 6am to have "clear skys" to practice in..) Your club may start at 10:30 due to noise issues, or other factors you may not be aware of..
 

Kelly

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You would still be covered by the NAR/Tripoli insurance
I think a NAR member is covered by NAR insurance whenever they launch, but don't you need to preregister your launch with TRA in order for Tripoli insurance to be in effect? @Steve Shannon?
 

Steve Shannon

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I think a NAR member is covered by NAR insurance whenever they launch, but don't you need to preregister your launch with TRA in order for Tripoli insurance to be in effect? @Steve Shannon?
Clubs need to specify whether their launches are held as NAR or Tripoli or which are which if they vary, but an individual member following all the applicable safety code rules could launch individually. A note to HQ certainly wouldn’t hurt, but I don’t recall a requirement to do so.
 

SDramstad

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As long as the club is okay with it. And it might not be. The landowner may view any launches there as club launches but even with out club supervision the club may be held responsible for what you or anyone else there does. Clubs have lost launch sites because of things like this. They may not want the liability.
 

Mach_Seven

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I’m going to have to talk to him. Had to be some misunderstanding. Dunno.
This is getting weird. Either you're implying I'm being dishonest - which I don't appreciate - or that Tom did something wrong - which he didn't. One thing I've never heard there after arriving early is anybody ASKING for help. If it's such a problem why not just get on the mic and say "If anybody can spare a few minutes to help set up, it would be appreciated,"? Instead, you're looking to confront someone for politely declining help. Nice.
 

Mach_Seven

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Ok, my apologies, “unsanctioned”. I hope it works out for you.
Yeah, an early morning launch. What a wildly ambitious idea.
Unsanctioned: Not sanctioned; not approved by a sanctioning body.
Impromptu: Done without being planned, organized, or rehearsed.
Words matter.
 

Sandy H.

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This is getting weird. Either you're implying I'm being dishonest - which I don't appreciate - or that Tom did something wrong - which he didn't. One thing I've never heard there after arriving early is anybody ASKING for help. If it's such a problem why not just get on the mic and say "If anybody can spare a few minutes to help set up, it would be appreciated,"? Instead, you're looking to confront someone for politely declining help. Nice.

As a 3rd party, just reading forum posts, not knowing anyone involved in the discussion and not even knowing the club being discussed, I don't think any of the comments are intended to be confrontational. Just my observation, as sometimes forum posts (or email etc.) can have people who are in full agreement feeling like they are arguing.

Sandy.
 

Mach_Seven

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Anyway, I've got my answers.

1. Ask club board for permission to do early morning launch outside of regular launch day.
2. Get permission from launch site land owner(s).
3. Contact FAA and inform them of launch if necessary (since waiver is already in place).
4. Provide own launch equipment including fire suppression water cans if club gear isn't available.
6. Follow all safety protocols.
 

Cnorm

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This is getting weird. Either you're implying I'm being dishonest - which I don't appreciate - or that Tom did something wrong - which he didn't. One thing I've never heard there after arriving early is anybody ASKING for help. If it's such a problem why not just get on the mic and say "If anybody can spare a few minutes to help set up, it would be appreciated,"? Instead, you're looking to confront someone for politely declining help. Nice.

Did you see the part where he said it must have been a misunderstanding? Because it seems like you missed that part.

Cope more, Mach.
 
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