Unsanctioned HPR launches?

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Steve Shannon

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Anyway, I've got my answers.

snip…
3. Contact FAA and inform them of launch if necessary (since waiver is already in place).
snip…
#3 is incorrect. If you’re not the person named on the COA, you don’t have the authority to activate the COA early. There’s a specific procedure that must be followed to activate each COA and the control center will not appreciate it if random people start calling and saying they’re going to launch. You could cost the club their COA.
 

timbucktoo

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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.
Not implying anything and not accusing anyone of lying. I’m only going to ask Tom why he he refuses your help with “prejudice”. Makes no sense.
In addition, the PA is usually the last thing set up before pads open.
 
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tsmith1315

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#3 is incorrect. If you’re not the person named on the COA, you don’t have the authority to activate the COA early. There’s a specific procedure that must be followed to activate each COA
This subject is one that many people have probably wondered about. I know I did when first starting in HPR. It can be confusing, so here's a little further clarity for anyone interested:

COA = Waiver.

Step 1) - Application is made to the FAA for a COA/waiver to conduct rocket activites on the site, with max altitude and range of dates. These are not dates for a specific launch, but long-term operation dates for the site. The dates will typically be for the entire year or flying season. This may take several weeks to be reviewed and approved.

Here's the actual verbiage on a COA:

_COA.png


The person who applied/signed as the Responsible Party for the COA is the Certificate Owner. Their name and phone number are on the waiver.

Once the waiver is received, then:
Step 2) 1-3 days prior to the launch, call LEIDOS to request a NOTAM, specifying the launch dates, site/radius, altitude, and daily launch window. This is where actual range opening/closing time is specified for the launch.

Step 3) On each launch day, call your Air Route Traffic Control Center just before the range opens & just after the range is closed.


All that being said, if you find a new site and get landowner permission, it's not that bad of a process to apply for a COA/waiver. The NAR has great instructions on how to do it.
 

Mach_Seven

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Not implying anything and not accusing anyone of lying. I’m only going to ask Tom why he he refuses your help with “prejudice”. Makes no sense.
In addition, the PA is usually the last thing set up before pads open.
Grievance: Not enough help with ground duties on launch day.

Relief sought: Less worky, more launchy.

Suggested Solutions:
1. Email notifications to members that if they attend, they are expected to assist if at all possible.
2. Permanent post on club website expressing the need for help with all the hard work.
3. Have members check in upon arrival and assign tasks as necessary.
4. Remind attendees during launch day that there is a lot of work after the fun and to please pitch in.
5. Send me around to recruit volunteers. "Good morning! Are you flying today? Well, that launch gear won't set itself up now, will it? How 'bout you get your ass over there and DO SOMETHING with your life?" (I may polish this up a little).

It's been my experience that, in general, folks want to help and contribute. But they need a starting point or a little instruction so they know how to do so.
 
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Mach_Seven

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#3 is incorrect. If you’re not the person named on the COA, you don’t have the authority to activate the COA early. There’s a specific procedure that must be followed to activate each COA and the control center will not appreciate it if random people start calling and saying they’re going to launch. You could cost the club their COA.
Understood. I'll keep the club officer in charge of this informed and let him take any required action. Of course, this is all hypothetical at this point. It really started just by me observing the dramatically more favorable atmospheric conditions in the hour or two after sunrise. Zero wind. Near-infinite visibility. Plus, the onboard photos and videos would be spectacular. And these mornings are relatively easy to predict. This is almost every day unless a storm system or front is in place, which you can see coming for days.

I may have given the impression that I'm going rogue somehow. Not so at all. If it can be done legally and safely, then hell yeah - let's do it! But if it jeopardizes either of those, the club, or the hobby in general then it's a no-go. Simple as that. But if it IS a go, it might be a "full send" on the CTI L1030...
 

dr wogz

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One thing I've noticed at clubs (Any!) is that the same few always help set up & take down. these people tend to have it in their nature to do so. Some can't for medical reason, or a prior commitment. But one thing that does stand out is that some are a little intimidated by the work involved, mainly their lack of knowledge in how to set stuff up.. One thing we did at one of our club launches is have a teaching day, where we all grouped around a pad, and went thru all the nuts & bolts of how to set it up, how to adjust it, how to, etc... that went a long way.

Sometimes your help may be needed / wanted, and you do what you think is a good job, but you soon see a 'regular' pull your work apart.. being lazy, or quick, or .. may get you snubbed the next time you ask.. (It's sometimes easier to not have the help & do it yourself [as you see as 'properly'] than undo someone else's help or have to stop & teach (each time!!)

I would also add (and this also applies to regular work) that someone might offer to help, but take forever as they tend to talk, to stop & help others, etc..
 
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Steve Shannon

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Understood. I'll keep the club officer in charge of this informed and let him take any required action. Of course, this is all hypothetical at this point. It really started just by me observing the dramatically more favorable atmospheric conditions in the hour or two after sunrise. Zero wind. Near-infinite visibility. Plus, the onboard photos and videos would be spectacular. And these mornings are relatively easy to predict. This is almost every day unless a storm system or front is in place, which you can see coming for days.

I may have given the impression that I'm going rogue somehow. Not so at all. If it can be done legally and safely, then hell yeah - let's do it! But if it jeopardizes either of those, the club, or the hobby in general then it's a no-go. Simple as that. But if it IS a go, it might be a "full send" on the CTI L1030...
Great!
Also, I should add that there is a way that you might be able to do what you’re suggesting. I’ll explain the process I use with Salt Lake City ATC.
  1. I’m the COA responsible person. I’m required to request permission to activate my COA a week in advance. It used to be 24-72 hours before, but it has been lengthened as part of my COA Special Conditions. The workgroup I request permission from work Monday through Friday. My launches are on Saturdays so I send in my request on Friday the week before.
  2. My requests must have my NOTAM number attached. This is impossible to do on Friday the week before because NOTAMs are not issued more than a week in advance. So, on Saturday or Sunday I call Lockheed-Martin to request a NOTAM. I reply-all to my email where I requested permission to activate the COA with the NOTAM number (DLN 11/001 for instance). I also include it in a briefing sheet, a one or two page explanation of where, when, how high, and whom to contact.
  3. In every single case I name myself as the point of contact (POC) for the COA. That means I am the person that will call in on the morning of the launch. I’m required to call twice in the morning, once at 45-30 minutes before the launch and again 15 minutes before the launch. I’m also required to call if we are going to stop launching for 30 minutes or more and at the end of the day. Of course ATC can call and ask me to pause to let some traffic through or even order me to stop the launch. I’m required to be reachable by telephone during the entire launch.
  4. On Monday, the person who handles the COA requests takes the information they received from me and gets a TFR. They add that number to the briefing sheet and send it back to me, the flight desk, and military desk, so when I call ATC I’m looking at exactly the same information they are.
  5. On Saturday I drive to the launch site. I call the FAA with the 45-30 minute notification. Then we set up the range. When we’re nearly done I call in the 15 minute notification.
  6. So here’s where you could fit in if the club you’re with is willing. The waiver holder (person whose name appears on the COA) can specify a different POC for the launch at the time the COA is requested to be activated (step 1). If the COA holder agrees and if your ATC doesn’t mind, that person could be you, But generally speaking the POC must be available the entire launch and handles all communications with ATC. It’s also necessary that the POC be directly connected to the LCO at all times. Those practical requirements can cause other problems: As the POC, if I fly a rocket I might have to have someone else retrieve it or I might even need to pause the launch while I go retrieve my rocket.
 
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timbucktoo

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So here’s where you could fit in if the club you’re with is willing. The waiver holder (person whose name appears on the COA) can specify a different POC for the launch at the time the COA is requested to be activated (step 1). If the COA holder agrees and if your ATC doesn’t mind, that person could be you, But generally speaking the POC must be available the entire launch and handles all communications with ATC. It’s also necessary that the POC be directly connected to the LCO at all times. Those practical requirements can cause other problems: As the POC, if I fly a rocket I might have to have someone else retrieve it or I might even need to pause the launch while I go retrieve my rocket.
Steve,
We have done this is the past as we have had requests for special launches on off launch days and I wasn't able to attend. ATC had no issues either. My name is still currently on COA but that will change next month when new COA is issued and as I stated in earlier post, @Mach_Seven needs to make request with current president.
 

Mach_Seven

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Steve,
We have done this is the past as we have had requests for special launches on off launch days and I wasn't able to attend. ATC had no issues either. My name is still currently on COA but that will change next month when new COA is issued and as I stated in earlier post, @Mach_Seven needs to make request with current president.
Will do. I will attend the post-launch club meeting in December if only to see who's who. I joined in May and I think I can name four other members lol. By the way, are you the same Tim that takes the great photos? I just got a half-decent Minolta with a good "burst mode" to get liftoff shots. Open to tips on that.
 

timbucktoo

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Will do. I will attend the post-launch club meeting in December if only to see who's who. I joined in May and I think I can name four other members lol. By the way, are you the same Tim that takes the great photos? I just got a half-decent Minolta with a good "burst mode" to get liftoff shots. Open to tips on that.
Yes, that's me. Dale Ellis is current president. Tom you know. Gary Dahlke you probably know. The other officers are hit or miss at launches.
 

Tim51

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One thing I've noticed at clubs (Any!) is that the same few always help set up & take down. these people tend to have it in their nature to do so. Some can't for medical reason, or a prior commitment. But one thing that does stand out is that some are a little intimidated by the work involved, mainly their lack of knowledge in how to set stuff up.. One thing we did at one of our club launches is have a teaching day, where we all grouped around a pad, and went thru all the nuts & bolts of how to set it up, how to adjust it, how to, etc...
The teach-in is a great idea. But how close one lives to the range can also be a factor. My club has a committee, elected yearly. When you get elected to the committee, amongst other things you get a set of keys to the onsite range store, where all the GSE is kept. It's the job of the committee members to set up and take down all the LPR and HPR. However, committee members who live 20mins drive away (rather than, say 1hr 30) get to the range earlier and leave later.
 

bschultz32

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There are a number of outdoor activities where an early morning start is not only possible, heck, it's expected. Think hunting and fishing, for example. Here in Michigan, you show up at a Department of Natural Resources boat ramp at sunrise, you'll be greeted by the site of dozens of empty boat trailers filling the parking lot; the boats and their good-ol'-boy owners are all out on the water, fishing! Numerous times in the high power rocketry hobby I've suggested a dawn start to take advantage of calm ideal flying conditions, just like that shown in Mach Seven's photos above. Every time, my suggestion has been greeted with incredulous looks of horrified amazement. I concluded a long time ago that rocket people are not early riser people. But there's hope! This past July, at LDRS on the Bonneville Salt Flats, we arrived at about 0700 on Saturday morning, and were delighted to see exhaust trails of launching rockets in the distance as we left the paved road and began the drive eastward across the salt. Apparently the boys and girls of UROC get it!
Bob Schultz
 

Chuck Neff

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kzimmerman

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One thing that I am surprised by is that no one has mentioned trespassing. The club may have an agreement with the neighbors that they will not launch until a certain time. I mean, honestly, who wants someone knocking on your door at 7;00 in the morning asking if they can go get a rocket. Just a thought.
 

Steve Shannon

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Hey Steve,

My FAA Rep. said that COA submission process was only for COA's related to drone usage, not rockets. He said that for rockets, the FAA wants us to continue to use the Form 7711-2 and submit them to the appropriate service area email address for processing.
Thanks, Chuck! I was surprised to see it. That makes sense.
 

Mach_Seven

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One thing that I am surprised by is that no one has mentioned trespassing. The club may have an agreement with the neighbors that they will not launch until a certain time. I mean, honestly, who wants someone knocking on your door at 7;00 in the morning asking if they can go get a rocket. Just a thought.
Well, it would be pretty unlikely at this site. There are three homes on small lots between .8 and .9 miles to the southeast. The next closest are 1.25 miles or more to the east. Clear north, south, and west for about 1.5 miles. Should be plenty considering the point of the exercise is to launch in no/very low wind and high visibility conditions.
 

kzimmerman

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It was more of a general piece of advice to anyone reading this thread to think about when they launch in an informal setting. We must be careful to consider ALL aspects of these type of launches because we do not want to abuse our privileges'!
 

rharshberger

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There are a number of outdoor activities where an early morning start is not only possible, heck, it's expected. Think hunting and fishing, for example. Here in Michigan, you show up at a Department of Natural Resources boat ramp at sunrise, you'll be greeted by the site of dozens of empty boat trailers filling the parking lot; the boats and their good-ol'-boy owners are all out on the water, fishing! Numerous times in the high power rocketry hobby I've suggested a dawn start to take advantage of calm ideal flying conditions, just like that shown in Mach Seven's photos above. Every time, my suggestion has been greeted with incredulous looks of horrified amazement. I concluded a long time ago that rocket people are not early riser people. But there's hope! This past July, at LDRS on the Bonneville Salt Flats, we arrived at about 0700 on Saturday morning, and were delighted to see exhaust trails of launching rockets in the distance as we left the paved road and began the drive eastward across the salt. Apparently the boys and girls of UROC get it!
Bob Schultz
When you live on Hell's Doorstep (Salt Flats) you need to rise early to beat the heat and the wind. Part of the reason launches don't start earlier are that due to limited club personnel set up has to be done when they can bring the equipment, if setup takes two hours and flying starts at 0800 that means setup starts at 0600, and the club leadership has to start at 0400ish and will be there until after dark....
 

Five

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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.
Spontaneous is a good word for “impromptu”
 

Five

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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.
View attachment 491828Taken at 7:05 am this morning. Zero wind. Infinite visibility.
View attachment 491829
I understand what you were getting at.
Im always getting that itch to fly right then and there without having to drive my car several miles through a dirt rode. But fortunately there are clubs that follow the rules and regulations set in place for the safety of people, private property…
 

Five

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Im just curious, what type of penalties are there for a “unsanctioned launch”. How and who would be the one to penalize you?
Remember just asking out of curiosity.
 

Steve Shannon

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Im just curious, what type of penalties are there for a “unsanctioned launch”. How and who would be the one to penalize you?
Remember just asking out of curiosity.
A sanctioned launch for Tripoli means it’s covered by Tripoli insurance, so an unsanctioned launch (at least as far as Tripoli is concerned) is one which is not covered by Tripoli insurance. If you do nothing that requires coverage there’s no “penalty.”
 

3stoogesrocketry

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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
I still would think you would need to have a prefecture and actual club to be sanctioned . I think if a privateer walked outside and started flying legally and had a accident , TRA/NAR's insurance would dismiss the claim
 

Mach_Seven

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Thanks for that. This project would be almost unviable if it weren't for our perpetual waiver, friendly owner(s) of the launch site, and the blessing of the club. Going it alone at a random site is a pretty steep hill to climb, apparently. As usual, I post the questions and you guys give me the education.
 

Steve Shannon

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I still would think you would need to have a prefecture and actual club to be sanctioned . I think if a privateer walked outside and started flying legally and had a accident , TRA/NAR's insurance would dismiss the claim
Nope, as Tim posted above, Tripoli Members can launch rockets independently of any club and still be covered by Tripoli insurance. They just have to follow all the rules.
 

heada

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Nope, as Tim posted above, Tripoli Members can launch rockets independently of any club and still be covered by Tripoli insurance. They just have to follow all the rules.
Same for NAR insurance. If you follow all the rules and regs, then NAR insurance covers you. Fail to follow the rules and regs and you're on your own.
 

Buckeye

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When you live on Hell's Doorstep (Salt Flats) you need to rise early to beat the heat and the wind. Part of the reason launches don't start earlier are that due to limited club personnel set up has to be done when they can bring the equipment, if setup takes two hours and flying starts at 0800 that means setup starts at 0600, and the club leadership has to start at 0400ish and will be there until after dark....
On the other end of the spectrum, I have been to plenty of launches where, at the scheduled start time of 10 or 11 am, the guy with the keys to the equipment trailer is nowhere to be found. Or, he has to be roused from bed....
 
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