Status of Reloadable Motor System and 'G' Class Motors With the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

12/21/93 Recently, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) denied an AeroTech petition for federal rulemaking which requested permanent exemption of AeroTech's metal-cased reloadable rocket motors in "model rocket" ('B' through 'G') sizes and single-use "G" class rocket motors from classification as "banned hazardous substances" under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA). These regulations place restrictions on the total impulse and construction materials of rocket motors that are intended for use by children (individuals under 18 years of age as defined by the CPSC). A similar exemption for non-metallic single-use rocket motors of "F" class and below has been in force for many years. Up until this time, AeroTech had been marketing its Reloadable Motor System (RMS) products and "G" class rocket motors under temporary "stays of enforcement" issued by the CPSC which allowed their sale while the petition was being evaluated.

In their response, the CPSC acknowledged that AeroTech's metal-cased reloadable rocket motors and 'G' class rocket motors could indeed be as safe or safer than currently exempted rocket motors. However, the CPSC expressed a concern that insufficient test data was included in the petition to support AeroTech's position. AeroTech is preparing to work with the CPSC to establish criteria for a test plan that would produce data which will be acceptable to the CPSC.

The CPSC has stated that it will reconsider AeroTech's petition once this testing is completed. Nevertheless, because of the uncertainty of this process, AeroTech has decided to restrict sales of 'G' class and RMS rocket motor products to adults only (individuals 18 years of age and older) during the testing period, rather than pursue additional stays of enforcement. The existing stays were withdrawn by the CPSC effective as of 11/12/93, and all 'G' motors and RMS motors and reload kits manufactured after that date must display new cautionary labeling.

Retailers and distributors will notice this new cautionary labeling on the RMS motor casing & reload kit packaging and on RMS Initiator Starter Sets, similar to that used on previous shipments of 'G' class rocket motors. It is important to note that AeroTech's "G" class rocket motors and RMS products do not meet the total impulse or construction criteria in the Federal Regulations which permit the sale of rocket motors to children. Therefore, the sale of these rocket motors and components to individuals under 18 years of age is prohibited and constitutes a violation of the FHSA. Retailers and distributors who violate the FHSA by selling to individuals under 18 years of age may be subject to civil penalties of up to $1,250,000.

AeroTech's distributors have been asked to enclose a copy of a version of this announcement with every shipment of "G" class rocket motors, RMS motor casings, reload kits or RMS Starter Sets made to hobby retailers for a period of one year. AeroTech is providing copies in every master carton of 'G' motors and RMS products for the distributors' convenience. In the announcement, AeroTech is directing its retailers not to sell any "G" class rocket motors, RMS motor casings, reload kits or RMS Starter Sets to individuals under 18 years of age. Prior to any sale, retailers must verify that the purchaser is 18 or over by viewing the person's driver license. The retailer is to record the driver license number on the sales ticket. AeroTech will discontinue sales of "G" class rocket motors, RMS motor casings, reload kits and RMS Starter Sets to retailers and distributors that do not comply with these requirements. Strict adherence to these sales restrictions by hobby retailers and distributors is critical to avoid violating the law and being subject to substantial fines.