AERO-PAC Board considers the safety of people attending launches to be their most important responsibility. The Tripoli Safety Code is sound but cannot consider every launch site and every launch event. Since our events tend to be of a large size with people attending from many states and countries, we feel it is prudent to take a somewhat more conservative position on certain aspects of safety. We also occasionally find certain equipment restrictions to be in keeping with running a smooth and safe schedule of events.
It is not the intent of these regulations to supplant or replace the regulations contained in the Tripoli Safety Code, but rather to extend the safety code in order to increase the safety of spectators and participants during the preparation, launching, and recovery of large, complex high performance rockets at AERO-PAC sponsored high power launches.
1.1 These regulations shall
apply to the preparation, launching, and recovery of specific rockets flown at
high power rocket launches sponsored by AERO-PAC.
1.2 These regulations do not
supplant or reduce in any way the Tripoli Safety Code or the National Fire
Prevention Association (NFPA) Code 1127.
1.3 These regulations shall
apply to specifically designated high performance rockets, as well as to special
rockets that incorporate on board motor ignition and more than 2560 N-sec (576
lb-sec) of total impulse, and to rockets flown at night.
1.4 These regulations shall
apply to high performance rockets that, by their design and weight are capable
of achieving extreme altitudes and impacting with sufficient force as to likely
cause severe bodily injury.
1.5 These regulations shall
apply to rockets with specific design features or characteristics that are
either restricted or disallowed.
2.1 It is the intent of
these regulations to ensure the safety of the participants and spectators at
AERO-PAC high power launches by adding further guidelines regulating the
preparation, launching, and recovery of high performance and special rockets.
2.2 These regulations are
intended to specify conditions for the flying of high performance and special
rockets that go beyond those described in the Tripoli Safety Code and the
National Fire Prevention Association Code.
The final action that enables an electrical ignition system to fire, usually by
either throwing an arming switch or pulling a safety pin.
A special launch area for specific rockets that is located at a distance farther
from the main launch control area than is reached by the main launch controller
Any rocket having more than one motor, whether staged or clustered, or staged
and clustered. (See also "Special
Bowling ball rockets are rockets built with or containing bowling balls, usually
for the simple challenge of altitude contests involving the lofting of a
specific size of bowling ball.
The action of making the final electrical connections to the igniter wires after
it is placed in a rocket motor.
High performance rocket.
A rocket with impulse of 2560 N-sec or greater, or capable of attaining a
significantly high altitude so as to pose a special hazard.
Launch Control Officer (LCO).
The person who is responsible for operating the launch controller and initiating
the ignition sequence.
The person elected to the AERO-PAC Board of Directors who is officially
responsible for the operation of all AERO-PAC rocket launches.
Non-traditional rockets are rockets such as spool rockets, rockets made from
bar-be-queues, picnic tables, lawn chairs, or in the likeness of any object that
does not lend itself to the traditional CP/CG stability analysis that an
RSO is required to verify.
On board ignition system.
Refers to an electric or electronic device, such as a timer, G-switch, motion
detection switch, or altimeter switch that uses a battery contained within the
rocket to ignite a rocket motor.
The placing of an igniter into a rocket motor, exclusive of the final
preparation, which consists of electrically connecting the igniter.
Range Safety Officer
(RSO). The person
who is officially responsible for the safe launching of a rocket which he
inspects and certifies as air worthy prior to its flight.
An electrical switch or pin that reduces the risk of accidental ignition by
either shunting across the igniter leads and/or opening the power circuit to the
A team composed of the AERO-PAC Launch Director, or his designee, and one other
Refers to "Complex Rockets" staged and other multi-motor rockets that
incorporate on board ignition systems and more than 2560 N-sec
(576 lb-sec) of total impulse.
Special Night Rockets. Refers
to rockets flown at night with total installed impulse greater then 1280
N-seconds ("K" and above.)
Special Preparation Area.
An area away from the spectator and parking area that is designated by the
AERO-PAC launch director for motor and igniter preparation of special rockets,
or an area agreed on by the RSO, near an away cell, where a specific rocket will
High performance rockets with total impulse of 2560 N-sec or greater, and all
special rockets using on board ignition systems, shall have the motor igniter(s)
placed into the rocket motor(s) only while at the designated Special Preparation
Area, Away Cell, or at the launch pad with the rocket secured in an upright
Rockets using low current igniters, such as electric matches or flash bulb
igniters, with combined total impulse of 2560 N-sec or greater, shall have the
motor igniter(s) placed into the rocket motor(s) only while at the designated
Special Preparation Area, Away Cell, or at the launch pad.
All rockets in the Special Preparation Area and Away Cells must be oriented so
that if a premature ignition accidentally occurs, the rocket will be propelled
in a safe direction away from the spectators and other fliers.
No smoking is permitted while placing an igniter into a rocket motor, carrying a
motor with an igniter in it, standing in the flight line awaiting pad
assignment, or at the rocket pads. No smoking is permitted in the Special
4.5 Only authorized crew,
launch officials, and persons directly involved in the preparation of high
performance and special rockets, will be permitted in the Special Preparation
High performance rockets, and multi-stage rockets using on board ignition
systems, may exceed the experience level of the RSO on duty when presented.
In this case the RSO should require that the rocket be inspected and
certified by the Safety Team before being taken to a Special Preparation Area or
given a pad assignment.
The design of onboard ignition systems must be reviewed by the RSO or the Safety
Team to ensure that the planed arming procedure is safe.
Generally this calls for a "Top Down" process wherein the recovery
systems are armed first prior to any motor igniting systems, and working down
from the top of the rocket (if on ladders) so that the final arming is done from
the ground (if possible).
When there is significant concern regarding the safety or stability of a high
performance or special rocket, the rocket must be reviewed and approved by the
Safety Team before it is launched.
Following motor and igniter placement in the Special Preparation Area or the
Away Cell, the igniter(s) shall be shorted until ready for final preparation.
Final preparation, consisting of electrically connecting the igniter wires to
the ignition circuit, shall be done only after the rocket is placed in the
launch device and is secured in an upright position.
A minimum of persons needed to assist the main operator shall be present at the
time of final preparation.
Arming of onboard ignition systems shall be accomplished as the last step by the
main operator only.
High performance rockets shall be launched at an angle of no less than 3 degrees
from vertical and oriented in a direction away from the LCO and spectator area.
The Safety Team has the right to require a larger launch angle if indicated by
wind and flying field conditions.
The minimum distance for high performance rockets to be launched from the LCO
and spectator areas is specified in the Safe Distance Table (see below).
High performance rockets that are flown from Away Cells will be in two-way
communications with the AERO-PAC LCO at all times.
The launch of a high performance or special rocket from an Away Cell shall be
under the voice control of the AERO-PAC LCO who shall announce the final
countdown on the public address system.
Signs shall be posted at Aero-Pac high power launches to alert passersby that
potentially hazardous activities are being conducted in the vicinity.
It is expected of
all participants and spectators that they will conduct themselves in a manner
that will not place them selves or anyone else in a potentially hazardous
During launch hours there is NO bike riding, and NO sitting in chairs or
on the ground on the flight line. We
require that your dogs be on a leash and that your young children are closely
supervised during launch hours as well. At all times, listen and pay attention
-- when you hear a siren and/or a heads up call, stop what you are doing and
The discharge of
any weapon or pyrotechnic device, including fireworks, explosives, and hand held
launchers such as bazookas, is expressly prohibited at all AERO-PAC launches.
The BLM has a "leave no trace" policy, this means
that AERO-PAC also has the same policy. This
means that you MUST take out EVERYTHING that you bring onto the playa.
This includes pet waste, peanut shells, sunflower seed hulls, cigarette
butts -- everything. Nothing
biodegrades on the playa, so again please take all of your trash/waste with you.
A pet waste bag dispenser has been provided for your convenience and is
located by the RSO table.
Also, there will be NO pit
fires; all fires must be in above ground containers.
The BLM considers burn marks and ashes on the playa as damage to the
playa, and a violation of the leave no trace policy.
NOT throw trash in the porta-potties. AERO-PAC
pays a significant price to provide toilet facilities and to transport them to
and from the launch site. If the
vendor finds trash in them we get fined heavily.
Carry your trash out with you like everybody else!
Safe Distance (ft)
Safe Distance Complex
rockets (multi-staged or multi-motored) require next higher distance.
rockets (multi-staged or
multi-motored) are not allowed during night launch operations at all AERO-PAC
launched rockets must conform to minimum FAA lighting requirements (additional
lighting is allowed).
restricted to using motors with total impulse of 1280 N-seconds or less ("J"
impulse range maximum) without pre-approval from the AERO-PAC Board of
The Board of
Directors may give approval to fly a "Special Night Rocket" with a
total installed impulse in excess of 1280 N-seconds if in the view of the Board
the flight planed has a high potential for success.
The board may choose to limit the number of Special Night Rocket flights
approved for any Aero-Pac event (by setting a quota).
The quota may be as low as zero.
To be eligible
for consideration, the request must be made no less then one week (7-days) prior
to the Club Meeting held before the launch event, and it is advisable to submit
requests as early as possible. Submissions
should be made through the Launch Director.
The Board will
render a decision on the submissions no later then the Board Meeting held in
advance of the club meeting prior to the launch event.
The Board will
decide to approve, deny or defer the request.
Requests may be deferred pending a request of further detail or because
the quota has been reached for special night rocket flights for the event.
To be considered,
the requests for approval from the Board should include all of the following:
An accurate and detailed design of the rocket must be
presented to the board. Unless other
arrangements are made with the Board, this plan should be in a ".RKT" file
An accurate description of the lighting plan,
including the lighting that meets FAA lighting requirements must be submitted.
The lighting plan MUST include a high reliability light on each major
section of the rocket to reduce the possibility that recovery failure, shred,
separation, or other in flight failure might result in a large or heavy object
freefalling without lighting.
A detailed flight plan must be submitted.
The flight plan must identify the motor that will be used (total impulse,
average thrust, maximum lift off weight, and burn time), as well as the lift-off
weight of the rocket, thrust to weight ratio at lift-off, maximum speed, and
altitude calculations. The flight
plan must also include the recovery plan data.
The recovery plan must include number of separate rocket components
(parts not tethered together) that will come down under parachutes.
The each separate component must be identified and include: recovery
mass, parachute size or sizes, and calculated decent rates.
Rocketeer & Ground Crew information.
The rocketeer must provide their name, certifying organization and member
number, their current certification level and certification date, and the number
of flights flown in the previous year at or above the level of the proposed
flight. (If certified longer than
one year at the level of the flight, you may choose to state a number of years
& flights.) Similar information
on other members, if this is a team effort, requested but not required.
Special Night Rockets approved by the Board must be
presented for RSO inspection to the Safety Team during daylight hours on the day
of the launch. The rocket is subject
to standard RSO requirements, plus they must meet the design submitted to and
approved by the Board.
Rail Buttons: Because they have been found to be the cause of major and
unwarranted wear, metal rail buttons are not allowed on AERO-PAC provided launch
rails. Rockets with these buttons
may be flown, but only on user provided launch rails.
Aluminum (or non-metallic) "conformal" launch guides are allowed.
Tall Rockets: Rockets requiring pad preparation
access higher then the rocketeer must be prepared using safe and proper
equipment such as ladders, scaffolding or other man-rated devices which are
positioned in such a way as to not hinder retreat from the rocket.
Ball and Non-Traditional Rockets:
The AERO-PAC Board is not in favor of blanket restrictions, but in the
interest of safety, the board requires pre-approval to fly bowling ball rockets
because of safety concerns. The
Board also requires pre-approval for non-traditional rockets because of the
difficulty that these rockets present to an RSO.
Please seek board approval prior to any launch event where you hope to
fly such rockets. Refer to the
approval process described in 11.8 for guidelines in requesting advanced board
13. Procedures for flights over 35,000 feet
For M and above staged flights, we will enforce these maximum sustainer drogue sizes.
14. Separate waiver required for Class 3 flights
FAA regulations have changed as a result of the 12/08 amendments. Our 09 waiver is in place based on the new regulations. It is clear that any rocket with total impulse above 40,960 N-sec (P and larger) is now a Class 3 Advanced High Power Rocket and not covered by our blanket waiver
15. Tripoli Mentor Program (TMP)
TRA developed the Tripoli Mentor program (�TMP�) to encourage young people to participate in high power rocketry. As a part of that program, members between 12 and 18 years of age can complete a training program, pass a test and gain access to high-power pad areas. Under the supervision of a appropriately certified mentor for the flight, these junior members are permitted to assist with some aspects of HP rocket flights. Because all AeroPac launches are conducted under research rules, to avoid conflict with other regulations, and to clarify parts of the program, Aero-Pac will enforce the following with respect to qualified junior members under the TMP :
1. On completion of the training program and after passing the TMP test the junior member is qualified to assist in HP flights.
2. The junior member's name can be listed on the flight card along with the mentor�s.
3. The junior can accompany the mentor to the high-power pad area(s).
4. The junior can provide assistance to the mentor in the preparation and launching of a high-power rocket.
5. Any assistance provided must be compliant with NFPA 1127, thus the junior member is specifically restricted from performing motor assembly, motor installation, significant transportation of the loaded rocket and installation of ignition devices.