Sunday, December 7, 2008

Political News

Which of course is very rare here.
And good political news is even rarer.
First, the Bush Administration has actually done a bit of good for amateur geeks like me. According to here, they have unleashed a bazillion new laws. Some are evil, like supporting environment-damaging oil shale mining and limiting Congress's ability to stop mining, logging, and drilling on public lands and letting federal projects be allowed to ignore the endangered species list. Others are seemingly random, like laws about records for adult performers and magazines and expanding prisoner DNA collection. However, it also includes limiting explosive restrictions on rocket motors.
That is a good thing. Hobby rocket motors are not explosive. They are designed to be slow-burning*, to only emit gasses out one end, to hold together firmly, and, for reloadable casings, to be used more than once. Explosives are instant-burning, fragmenting, omnidirectional, and one-use**. If a hobby rocket motor explodes, then it's called a CATO, and it's bad. Even then, usually only the paper motor casing (if it's a single-use motor; reloadable casings are designed to fail without too much damage to the casing) and maybe the rocket are destroyed; no one has EVER been hurt by a CATO while following the NAR safety code in the last 45 years. That's over almost a billion flights.
According to Dick Stafford, effective February 2nd there are some important changes. Currently, all rockets over 1 lb need an FAA waiver and all over 3.3 lbs need more than that, plus certification. With the new rules, Class 1 rockets are up to 3.3 lbs and no longer need a waiver. (Both rule sets also say no more than 4.4oz (125g) of propellant, which includes some H motors like I plan to certify on.) Up to O class motors are class 2 and will require some extra documentation. Class 3, Advanced High Power Rockets, can have up to mid T motors and can go up to 150 km up. They're mostly semiprofessional stuff. Class 4 is anything else without a human in it.

This means that small rockets, from 1/8A to mid H, can now be flown freely anywhere with a big enough field. Great news.

*(except maybe this one)
**Except for dishwasher-safe stun grenade canisters. I'm not kidding.

Second, Obama is looking to create lots of new jobs by spending lots on infrastructure stuff like highways, electricity distribution, bridges, etc. Great news. Lots of domestic jobs + repairing the failing infrastructure = WIN. It also sounds like a new New Deal.

1 comment:

Maelstrom said...

Sounds pretty good, especially considering that I plan to reacquaint myself with the hobby this coming spring.