Safe Rocketry

Safe Rocketry

The United Kingdom has a body that provides an extensive framework to ensure that the hobby is encourage and conducted safely and their safety code is as follows…

UKRA Model Rocket Safety Code

1 – General Rules

  • 1.1 Safety is the concern of all rocket flyers. Persons causing serious damage/injury to third parties, livestock, vehicles, or property whilst involved in rocketry of any kind must report the incident to the Safety Officer or a representative of the rocket club. You can also send a report directly to UKRA using our contact form. Accident reporting allows us to give guidance and help to flyers and to make rocketry safer for the future.
  • 1.2 Payloads – All rocket flyers undertake never to carry live animals or any payloads that are intended to be flammable, explosive, or harmful.

2 – Equipment

  • 2.1 The Rocket – All rockets flown under this safety code shall be made of lightweight materials such as paper, wood, rubber, or plastic.
  • The Safety Officer must be satisfied that the rocket is flight worthy and sufficiently robust to survive launch, aerodynamic, and recovery system loads.
  • All rockets must use a recovery system that will return it safely to the ground so it may be flown again.
  • 2.2 Motors – The rocket motor must only be used in the manner recommended by the manufacturer. It is not permissible to alter the motor, its parts, or its ingredients in any way.
  • 2.3 Igniters – The Safety Officer must be satisfied with the igniter system that is connected to the rocket motor. Wherever practical igniters should not be installed in a motor until at the launch pad.
  • 2.4 Weight & Power – Any rocket must not have a mass greater than the manufacturer’s recommended maximum lift-off mass for the motors used.
  • 2.5 Launch Controller – The launch controller must include a safety key to immobilise the system when removed. This key should only be in place at the time of the launch and should be removed immediately after an ignition attempt, especially in the event of a misfire.

3 – The Launch Site

  • 3.1 Flying Site – Launch sites should be a suitable open area for launching and recovering rockets. It is usual to gain the landowner’s permission before flying. The table of minimum flying site dimensions according to motor power can be found here. Further guidance on flying sites can be found in the full UKRA Safety Code.
  • 3.2 Safety Officer – A Safety Officer for model flying is a nominated responsible adult and should be familiar with the concepts and risks associated with model rocketry.
    The Safety Officer has authority over and above all other persons present at the launch site and has the power to delay or cancel any launch until satisfied that it can proceed safely.
  • 3.3 Personnel – Only the flyer of the rocket may approach nearer the rocket than the minimum Safe Distance during or after igniter installation. Flyers may only approach nearer than the Safe Distance with the approval of the Safety Officer.
    • 3.3.1 Spectators – All spectators/onlookers/press at launch must be kept at least the minimum Safe Distance away from the launch area as determined by the total impulse of the rocket motor(s) according to the Safe Distance Table.
    • 3.3.2 Minders – Any persons at the launch site who cannot watch the rocket, e.g. due to their monitoring of equipment must be protected; either by a physical safety barrier or by persons beside them who can watch the rocket and issue a warning or take protective action.
    • 3.3.3 Visual Rule – All persons at the launch site should be aware of their own safety. It is good practice that for their own safety they should keep their eyes on the rocket from at least two seconds before launch until either the rocket lands or until visual contact is lost.
    • 3.3.4 Safe Distance Table – All persons, except those required for the launch of a rocket, should keep at least the given minimum distance from the rocket motor during and after igniter installation. A table of minimum safe distances can be found here.

4 – Flying

  • 4.1 Launch Permission – Before launching, the flyer must obtain permission to launch from the Safety Officer.
  • 4.2 launching – A clearly audible countdown of at least five seconds must be given, either by the launch person, the Safety Officer or any person recognised by all present as responsible for the countdown and authorised by the Safety Officer.
  • 4.3 Misfires – If a rocket suffers a misfire, no one may approach the launch pad until waiting for one minute. After this time the Safety Officer should give permission for one person to approach the rocket.

I am sure most countries have a governing body that will help you get into the hobby and help you stay safe.

Click here for information on you countries model rocketry association.

Happy landings or at least have some fun trying

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