New Motor Certifications

10/27/94: Two additional reload kits in the AeroTech long-burn High-Power Reloadable Motor System (RMS) line, the J135 and K185, are now Tripoli certified. AeroTech is awaiting details regarding measured performance values, etc. from the Tripoli Motor Testing (TMT) Committee. These kits are currently being shipped loaded in their hardware as Rocket Motors, 1.3C, UN0186, until the appropriate Department of Transportation (DOT) paperwork is received. The J90 reload kit received Tripoli and DOT certification earlier this year, and may be shipped in unloaded form.

New AeroTech High-Power RMS Catalog Available

AeroTech's latest High-Power RMS catalog, #94-2, is now available. Major changes to the catalog include the recently Tripoli-certified long-burn 54mm reload kit thrust curves and motor data. The RMS-38/600 forward seal ring and several new RMS delay kits are entered in the price list as well.

BATF Update

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) recently issued a ruling to AeroTech, as well as to the High Power Rocket Manufacturers and Dealers Association (HPRMDA), clarifying the intent of two long-standing exemptions for "propellant actuated devices" and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)-classified Class "C" explosives (which include some hobby rocket motors and reload kits) from the requirements of the Federal explosives laws. BATF is now ruling that in most cases these exemptions shall apply only to those single-use rocket motors containing no more than 62.5 grams of propellant and those reload kits using propellant grains containing no more than 62.5 grams of propellant each.

Any single-use motor containing more than 62.5 grams of propellant, or any reloadable rocket motor reload kit using a propellant grain containing more than 62.5 grams of propellant, is now subject to Federal explosives licensing and storage requirements. For AeroTech products, this includes all single-use motors of 'H' size and larger, and the 38mm Black Jack and all 54 and 98mm RMS reload kits.

During the 1994 spring NFPA Pyrotechnics committee meeting, BATF officials indicated that they would afford the high-power rocket industry a reasonable period of time to comply with these regulations. This time period, or so-called "stay of enforcement", was informally stated to last approximately six months. As this time has now passed, high-power dealers are required to possess a low explosive dealer license from BATF prior to receiving any further shipments of AeroTech class 1.3C motors and reload kits.

Likewise, retail sale of non-exempt motor products can only be made to Tripoli or NAR-certified individuals possessing a valid BATF low explosive user permit, except in the case of those consumers who are purchasing their motors in the state of their residence. In this situation a special "non-permittee" BATF explosives transaction document must be filled out by the purchaser and dealer.

In all cases, high-power rocket motor products exceeding the propellant weight limits listed above must be stored in magazines in accordance with Federal explosive storage requirements, even if a Federal license/permit is not required for purchase. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Individuals can obtain a copy of BATF publication 5400.7 (ATF-Explosives Law and Regulations) and an application for a dealer license and/or user permit, ATF Form F 5400.13/5400.16, by calling the ATF Licensing Center at 1-800-366-5423, writing the ATF Distribution Center, 7943 Angus Court, Springfield, VA 22153 or by calling or visiting your local BATF office. Publication 5400.7 covers the Federal explosives law in detail.

Efforts are still underway to gain an exemption for high-power motor products from the regulations and/or amend the Federal explosives laws to exclude high-power rocket motor products. Until that happens, however, the high-power rocket community must bring itself into full compliance with the law as it is now being interpreted.

New Class 1.3C Single-Use Motor

AeroTech will be releasing a new Class 1.3C single-use motor in the very near future, tentatively designated the "H110". It is a phenolic-cased 29mm "Fast Black Jack" propellant motor, 9.875 inches long, weighs 250 grams with a propellant weight of 170 grams, and is rated at 230 newton-seconds total impulse with a thrust duration of approximately 2.1 seconds. Suggested retail price is $19.95 each. Available time delays will be 6, 10 and 14 seconds. Due to its low price and moderate thrust profile, this motor will be perfect for Tripoli and NAR high-power user certification. AeroTech has submitted samples of this motor to the TMT Committee for certification testing.

Hybrid Rocket Motors

AeroTech is developing a reloadable hybrid propellant rocket motor using liquid nitrous oxide (N2O) oxidizer and a safe, inert solid fuel. The motor will operate in the 'H' through 'J' total impulse range and is 54mm in diameter. Advantages of this technology include no current BATF restrictions on sale, storage or use, minimal DOT regulation, and significantly lower cost per flight (approximately 1/2 the cost of equivalent power solid propellant RMS reload kits). Product release is planned for early 1995, depending partly on the time frame of the inclusion of this technology into the Tripoli safety code and By-laws. Fortunately, this process is already underway. AeroTech will release additional information on this product as soon as it is available.

New DOT Exemption?

AeroTech is still awaiting a response from the DOT on a petition to exempt limited quantities of Class 1.3C motors and reload kits as Articles, Explosive, n.o.s., Class 1.4C. The granting of this exemption would have a major positive impact on the availability and shipping of these larger motor products.

Order fill rates

AeroTech's consumer and dealer orders are being filled in a much more timely manner than they have been in the past. This is a result of a slow recovery from the events of 2-1/2 years ago. This trend is anticipated to continue, barring any other unforeseen circumstances.