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(Billings Gazette)   Wyoming Senator wants model rocket engines exempt from Homeland Security Act   ( divider line
    More: Spiffy  
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4632 clicks; posted to Main » on 28 Feb 2003 at 6:03 PM (14 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

70 Comments     (+0 »)

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2003-02-28 11:59:26 AM  
Go Enzi!

Though, um, I shouldn't be writing this, the rocket engines don't explode but a secondary charge in the rocket ... never mind, I've said too much.

Actually shot down an RC airplane with an Estes Mosquito launched from a carpet tube. Boy was that dude ticked. One in a million shot.
2003-02-28 12:45:35 PM  
I loved my Estes rockets when I was a lad. Pretty expensive hobby considering the cost of the engines and the fact that my launch and recovery record was...well...not quite as good as NASA's. about two in three of my shots went as planned. I had to climb lots of trees.
2003-02-28 01:08:01 PM  
Why not just let Wyoming do whatever the hell it wants?
2003-02-28 01:38:02 PM  
Why not just prosecute criminals instead of citizens who are enjoying a relatively safe hobby?
2003-02-28 06:08:56 PM  
Heeeyaaa. I live in Wyoming. and totally agree with you
JerseyTim. we do that anyway though. not much law around these parts.
2003-02-28 06:12:42 PM  
I used to fly those things. They were sweet.
2003-02-28 06:13:30 PM  
Used to live outside of Kinnear. Whenever I'd write a letter to Senator Alan K. Simpson, he'd call me back. At work.

The senators really listen to their constituents. After all, there were less than 450K in the entire state when I lived there.

Also, the law enforcement community did things that you just don't see anywhere else - like escort you home at 20mph if you lived close by and were too drunk to drive normally.

Wonderful state. Too bad jobs are scarce.
2003-02-28 06:13:44 PM  
can't believe estes is still in business with all of the stoopid lawsuits these days. good for them. always did love strapping on a d size engine to my pinewood derby cars and seeing how far i could get it to go down the road... the engine usually won that battle.
2003-02-28 06:14:27 PM  
UUUuuuuu.....doesm't gasoline and diesel fuel work on the principle of rapid (explosive) combustion? Why aren't these items on the ATF watch list?
2003-02-28 06:14:46 PM  
being certified level 3 by tripoli, i know something about this. model rocket engines are not explosives. it was ridiculous for the batf to ever classify them as an explosive. they are accelerants. most are made ammonium perchlorate. all it does is ignite and burn. the burning produces a gas that fills the motor chamber and is forced out throught the nozzle. this produces the thrust. other components are added to the main propellant to control the rate of burn or the color of the flame and type of smoke.

just recently ups stopped shipping motors. this is assinine. it takes quite a bit to even ignite these motors.

this just pisses me off to no end as i have a substantial investment in the hobby.

here is my buddies' site.
2003-02-28 06:16:19 PM  
Spiffy and Hero, all in one.

Model rocketry is fun, and I don't think you should have to get a permit to purchase the engines for your rocket. It would take quite a few of those engines to do any major damage.
2003-02-28 06:18:06 PM  
Uh, bad idea buddy. All you need to build a bomb is a model rocket engine, a brick, an empty Co2 canister (like the kind used for those insta-pump shoes) and a fuse.
Not that I've done this before, of course.
Excuse me, I hear someone knocking at my front door...
2003-02-28 06:20:06 PM  
You'll shoot your eye out!
2003-02-28 06:20:54 PM  
DAMN Pdrake.

Them's some serious rockets. Hell, they're bigger than a lot of missiles.

What altitudes you get on some of them?
2003-02-28 06:21:00 PM  
Dear Sen. Mike Enzi,
While your at it, see what you can do about restoring my civil liberties and maybe letting me carry a nail file or a plastic fork on an airplane.
2003-02-28 06:21:26 PM  
Now that I think about it, you might as well add anything that is dusty to that list too. If you've ever seen a grain elevator explosion or know what I'm talking about, you would probably agree.
Paint can+ any kind of dust+ candle+ 4 foot long plastic tube= big ass boom.

Explosives can be fun if you do it safely.
2003-02-28 06:21:50 PM  
this deserves the HERO tag- what happy boy's childhood would
be complete without a good couple of years' rocketry as a
hobby. I built something like twenty of them, and that's
seventh and eighth grade experience I wouldn't trade for
anything. and the classes- where else are you going to
see a badly built cardboard rocket lose its clay nose weight
and zing past the teacher's head at a distance of three feet? one particular two-stager I built liked to get
about twenty feet off the ground on the first stage, then
turned and flew level over the ground on the second. lost
that one to a sabotaged motor. (some clever puppy put
a nice cap of glue over the ejection charge- the shrapnel
shredded my cruise missile) Rocketry is a great american hobby, and should NOT be farked with by homeland security.
2003-02-28 06:21:52 PM  
I'm glad our politicians are fighting for the big issues.

2003-02-28 06:22:20 PM  
here is my level 3 launch with an animal works m1815. 600lbs of thrust for about 6 secs.


[image from too old to be available]
2003-02-28 06:25:11 PM  
...and NOTHING, NOTHING beats the way a ten or twelve year old's eyes will light up when you say "hey- wanna go shoot
some rockets?" you'll never get a "no" answer to that one... if this passes we'll be stuck making hot air balloons
out of suit bags. now there's a good one- cheaper than rockets, and they can stay aloft for a lot longer than
a rocket. next they'll wanna ban suitbags...
2003-02-28 06:26:16 PM  
That's it, there needs to be a moratorium on passing laws in this country. Let's just fix the ones we already have.
2003-02-28 06:27:41 PM  
the rocket in that picture got to abouat 9700'. it was a pretty heavy rocket. topped out at about 47lbs. i've seen some buddies of mine go to about 25k. the point to these is to design them, build them, launch them and then get them back and do it all over.

every rocket person i know is extremely safety concsience and intelligent.

you really do have to know rocket science to do this at this level.

that launch alone cost me about 2 grand.

this is me with that rocket.

[image from too old to be available]
2003-02-28 06:29:38 PM  
Estes are sold at WAL*MART - All kinds of engines - I really don't think they (WAL*MART) really knows what they are (?)
2003-02-28 06:29:42 PM  
Pdrake: What kind of engines do you put in a thing like that? What is the range on that thing?
2003-02-28 06:31:17 PM  
So what's the deal with air traffic?
2003-02-28 06:32:51 PM  
I love rockets. You have the best hobby, PDrake.
2003-02-28 06:37:54 PM  
Seems to me you have to get a clearance from the FAA when
you're firing something like that- if a rocket gets up to
25k feet, it wouldn't be good for it to cross paths with
any airplane of any sort- 'specially a passenger aircraft,
which are usually around 25-30k at cruising altitude...

Pdrake: My hat's of to you! Rock(et) on!
2003-02-28 06:38:00 PM  
this rocket, i called it "wife", used this motor:


remember the estes motors? the a, b, c, and up.

well the letter represents the impulse class of the motor. that was an m.

i've seen up to p motors. pretty impressive.

we have to get waivers from the blm and the faa to cover for airplanes.
2003-02-28 06:39:03 PM  
how do you track that thing back to the ground? all my estes went up then drifted to nowhere.

2K wow!!
2003-02-28 06:40:18 PM  
The can have my rockets when they pry them from my cold dead hands!!!
2003-02-28 06:41:55 PM  
sorry, it was the M1850 and it only had a burn time of 3.3 secs.
2003-02-28 06:50:16 PM  
well, with a rocket that heavy you need a pretty big chute. i think the chute i used on that was about 15' in diameter. the rocket has tracking smoke and when the chute comes out you can see up to about 15k with the naked eye. chutes are usually brightly colored.

when they start going higher it's time to put some tracking equipment inside.

they do get lost though.

heh, i know it's a small photo, but that's me on the left and my two best friends. the rocket in the back might be the future of high power rocketry. it has a nitrous oxide tank inside it.

[image from too old to be available]
2003-02-28 06:50:40 PM  
Boy there's enough red flag keywords in this thread to raise the alert level to orange.
2003-02-28 06:56:05 PM  
You can stuff a lot of explosives and bioagents in a model rocket.
2003-02-28 06:56:12 PM  

Those are some beautiful rockets. $2,000 for the launch? Does that incluse the cost of building the rocket, or just the launch?
2003-02-28 07:00:47 PM  
"You can't make a bomb out of it"

Can too. Just gotta grind them up.

2003-02-28 07:00:48 PM  
nay IMJack, you're supposed to put mice and gerbils in them.

2003-02-28 07:02:38 PM  
It is good to know model rocketry s alive and well. I had some friend in college decades ago who used to go out every weekend and launch 'em. They ended up getting married and the last I heard they were still launching. Sweet people who wouldn't hurt a fly. Good for Enzi et al. The gov't can be fukkin' nuts sometimes.
2003-02-28 07:03:55 PM  

if your going to stuff explosives and bioagents in a rocket, i'm sure you could get a motor from wherever you got your other illegal poisons.

this is just penalizing the people who do this for a living and the hobby. it won't stop anyone that wants to do something nasty. look at "gun control"

repsychler 2k was for everything except counting the hours of my time.
2003-02-28 07:07:40 PM  
Um....wouldn't that law also apply to BULLETS??

They pretty much "function by exploding," right??

Maybe I should go read the actual bill.
2003-02-28 07:11:45 PM  

"Bullets" don't use "explosives", per se; they use a propellant.

If you pour out the smokeless powder in a cartridge and light it, it burns at a fairly stable rate.

But it doesn't explode. Put in a pipe bomb, it's the pressure from expanding gases, not the explosive properties of the powder, that blow the pipe apart.
2003-02-28 07:12:49 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
2003-02-28 07:23:21 PM  

Gotcha. Thanks. But don't the rockets also use a "propellant"? Or is that pretty much the issue here.
Poorly written law made in a time of panic.
2003-02-28 07:26:08 PM  
It's always funny to see FedGov restrict or ban something you don't like or care about until it happens to you. Gun owners have had to put up with this sort of nonsense for decades- since 1934 to be exact.

Hopefully this will make some previously unconcerned Americans realize it's always bad to let the goverment tell you what is legal to own. This applies to all sorts of things- be they drugs, rocket motors or firearms. If they can ban my hobby then they can and eventually will try to ban your hobby.

Good luck to all the rocketeers out there! I hope somebody can clear things up and get rid of the red tape.
2003-02-28 07:31:24 PM  
Model rockets can be used for biological warfare. All you have to do is put an infected mouse in the rocket, then shoot it into the Russian embassy.

I know this is true, because I saw it on Diff'rent Strokes.

You're all terrorists...every one of you!!
2003-02-28 07:35:47 PM  

Some of the rocket guys could better explain it; I think they said the rocket motors are "accelerants". How they differs from propellants, I'm not sure. But there certainly is a big difference. Otherwise, your average firearm would prolly --literally-- fly out of your hands and provide considerable amusement to people like me.
2003-02-28 07:44:13 PM  
THis sounds a lot like some liberal plot to allow weapons of mass destruction to fall into the hands of potential terrorists under the guise as "educational"

Think about it, what kinds of kids play with rockets? Thats right, NERDS, and we all saw "Wargames" we know what these "harmless" nerds can do after growing up with shows like "MacGyver" showing them how to build weapons. Lets not let the terrorists gain a potential weapon, lets stop rocketeering, and lets put all the smart kids in concentration camps so they can be re-educated about good american themes!

2003-02-28 07:45:09 PM  

SILENCE, INFIDELerrrrr, I need a drink.
2003-02-28 07:47:29 PM  
Dayam, and I thought a cluster of four B6-4's was impressive in my Saturn 1-B model. Or the C6-7 in that "Orbital Transport" thing that looked like an SST with a sort of space shuttle hooked on top.

Now I see that model rocketry has gone quite far since I gave it up about 25 years ago...

Anybody remember Centuri models? They were Estes' main competition for a while, had wackier designs and more plastic. I started out on them then switched to Estes at the end.

Agreed with other comments here, model rockets was one of the cool parts of being a kid, and the nitwits that outlaw these things just make the country worse for those of us that actually want to live in it, as opposed to run in fear of terrorists they think are everywhere, but aren't.
2003-02-28 07:49:45 PM  

No, we need to start repealing all of the idiotic overreaching invasive crap that has been enacted in the past several decades.

A multitude of laws in a country is like
a great number of physicians,
a sign of weakness and malady
-- Voltaire
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