Saturday, March 14, 2009

BAFTE Court Case Update

The NAR and TRA released a joint statement today about their court case with BAFTE (Bureau of Rednecks Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives), which a while ago decided to overstep its authority and classify HPR motors as explosive... even though they're not. The text of the statement:
Today Judge Reggie Walton, presiding in our case before the US District Court, heard arguments from both legal counsel for NAR/TRA and the BATFE. At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Walton stated that he was inclined to agree with our position. While this is extremely encouraging, there will be no formal written ruling until April, and BATFE may attempt to file additional information before that date. We expect that this ruling will provide some form of relief from the current regulatory situation.

We thank our members for their continued patience and their generous financial support. We will provide members with immediate status reports as this case reaches its conclusion.

Ken Good
TRA President

Trip Barber
NAR President

Basically, both sides presented their cases to the judge, and the judge tended to side with us rocketeers (yay checks and balances in action), but we won't know for sure till April. This is good news for the NAR and TRA; they've presented a solid case that BAFTE went way overboard, and they've pretty much won all the smll battles along the way. If BAFTE is forced to reverse their stance, then HPR motors, and actually all motors with over 62.5 g of propellant will be far easier to buy and use, plus be legal to store without a LEUP (Low Explosives User Permit) which is costly, difficult, and invasive (full background check and everything) toobtain. Plus, I suspect it might even make shipping HPR motors cheaper. This would make it easier for me to get my certification; I could buy the motor whenever, assemble it at home, and fly it for my cert when it's convenient rather than having to make arrangements ahead to buy the motor, then be forced to fly it on the same day.

Speaking of getting my cert, I'm looking into flying my Mozzie on a 29mm H128W-S (6-second delay), which'll fit in the smaller 29mm motor mount and get it only up to around 3000 feet - easily recoverable. The H128 is the famed 'baby H'; its small size and low impulse - barely into the H range - make it ideal for situations like this. The posibility exists that I'll do it between August 14th and 16th at NERRF at Pine Island, NY - the closest (3.5 hrs) HPR field. CATO used to use a field in Sterling for HPR launches, but it's currently being converted to sod and not usuable although the owners stated that CATO might be welcome in the future if they go back to corn.

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