Requirements for Amateur Rocket Activities, 73768-73782 [E8-28703]

Download as PDF 73768 § 1430.211 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 234 / Thursday, December 4, 2008 / Rules and Regulations [Amended] 9. Amend § 1430.211 in paragraph (a) by removing the words ‘‘September 30, 2007’’ and adding, in their place, the words ‘‘September 30, 2012.’’ ■ 10. Amend § 1430.212 by revising the section heading and adding paragraph (c) to read as follows: ■ § 1430.212 Contract Modifications and Statutory Changes in Program. * * * * * (c) Payments otherwise due under this subpart or the program will be adjusted or denied to the extent provided for by a statutory change in program eligibilities or requirements of any kind irrespective of whether the program contract preceded the statutory change. Operations will be given the option of accepting the changes or terminating the contract. ■ 11. Amend § 1430.213 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows: § 1430.213 Reconstitutions. (a) A dairy operation receiving MILC benefits may reorganize or restructure such that the constitution or makeup of its operation is reconstituted in another organizational framework. However, any operation that reorganizes or restructures after October 1, 2007, is subject to a review by FSA to determine if the operation was reorganized or restructured for the sole purpose of receiving multiple or additional MILC payments. * * * * * Signed in Washington, DC, on December 1, 2008. Teresa C. Lasseter, Executive Vice President, Commodity Credit Corporation. [FR Doc. E8–28710 Filed 12–1–08; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3410–05–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Parts 1, 101, 400, 401, and 420 [Docket No. FAA–2007–27390; Amendment Nos. 1–62, 101–8, 400–2, 401–6, and 420– 4] RIN 2120–2120–AI88 Requirements for Amateur Rocket Activities Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Final rule. erowe on PROD1PC64 with RULES AGENCY: SUMMARY: This final rule amends amateur rocket regulations to preserve VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:50 Dec 03, 2008 Jkt 217001 the level of safety associated with amateur rocketry and to reflect current industry practice. The new regulations update and align FAA regulations with widely used advances in the amateur rocket industry, specify the required information collected from operators of advanced amateur rocket launches, and define amateur rocket classifications. This action also corrects minor inconsistencies in the current rule. DATES: These amendments become effective February 2, 2009. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical questions concerning this final rule contact Charles P. Brinkman, Licensing and Safety Division (AST– 200), Commercial Space Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue, Washington, DC 20591, telephone (202) 267–7715, e-mail Phil.Brinkman@faa.gov. For legal questions concerning this final rule contact Gary Michel, Office of the Chief Counsel, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue, Washington, DC 20591, telephone (202) 267–3148. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Authority for This Rulemaking The FAA’s authority to issue rules on aviation safety is found in Title 49 of the United States Code. Subtitle I, Section 106 describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, Aviation Programs describes in more detail the scope of the agency’s authority. This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Sections 40102, 40103, 40113–40114, and 44701– 44702. Under those sections, the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations that govern air traffic rules on the flight of aircraft (which include unmanned rockets). This regulation is within the scope of that authority because it defines classes of unmanned rockets and details the information the FAA would require to issue a certificate of waiver or authorization to allow launching of an amateur rocket. Background Historically, the FAA relied on State and local regulation, voluntary selfregulation, and its own analysis to fulfill its oversight responsibility for unmanned rocket operations under part 101. Until now, the voluntary selfregulation and State and local regulations adequately protected the public and ensured safe operation of amateur rockets. Amateur rocket performance continued to improve and participation in amateur rocket launches increased significantly. PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 The FAA believes these activities need appropriate regulation for continued safe operation. This rulemaking is intended to preserve the safety record of amateur rocket activities, address inconsistencies, and clarify existing amateur rocket regulations. Summary of the NPRM The Requirements for Amateur Rocket Activities notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published in the Federal Register on June 14, 2007 (72 FR 32816). The proposal added two new categories of amateur rocket operations and amended the definitions of the existing two categories. The new category structure would be numbered from Class 1 to Class 4. The two new categories would be Class 3—HighPowered Rocket and Class 4—Advanced High-Power Rockets. These two new categories would capture amateur rockets that require significant FAA analyses to determine whether they can be safely operated within the National Air Space (NAS). The Class 1 and Class 2 rocket categories, meanwhile, would be slightly modified to incorporate current definitions of model rocket and large model rocket, respectively. We proposed to re-classify the existing information requirements and operating limitations currently required before a proposed launch for the more advanced amateur rocket activities. Low risk Class 1—Model Rocket operators would continue to be exempt from information requirements. Operators of Class 2—Large Model Rockets would continue to provide their names, addresses, highest anticipated altitude, location of the launch, date, time, and duration of the launch event. This information enables us to take appropriate action to ensure safe operation in the NAS. The notice also proposed to specify reporting practices for the new category Class 3 and Class 4 rockets. Operators of rockets with these characteristics generally file for a certificate of waiver or authorization to conduct their operations. They are exempt from launch license regulations in part 400. Operators are often contacted for additional information when the FAA receives their waiver application. As proposed, most, if not all, information would be submitted on the initial waiver application, which would save the FAA and the operator’s time and expense. Amateur rocket regulations were written when the amateur rocket community used mainly solid rocket motors. Now the amateur rocket E:\FR\FM\04DER1.SGM 04DER1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 234 / Thursday, December 4, 2008 / Rules and Regulations community also uses liquid propellants. We proposed to redefine amateur rocket activity to reflect this advanced rocket environment and codify safe practices being used by the amateur rocket community. Summary of Comments The FAA received comments from 33 entities including rocketry associations, a pilot association, and individuals. Associations commenting on behalf of their memberships include the National Association of Rocketry (NAR), Tripoli Rocketry Association (TRA), Rocketry Association of California (ROC), Rocketry of Central Carolina, and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). Many individual commenters also identified themselves as members of these organizations. In general, commenters supported the proposed requirements and suggested several changes. The comments fall into the following categories: • Definition of classes for amateur rockets; • Prohibition of amateur rocket activities within 5 miles of an airport; • Separation distances from amateur rocket activities and participants, and persons or property not associated with the activities; • Need for the presence of someone at least 18 years old; • Need to take measures to control any fire caused by amateur rocket activities; and • Specific information and notice requirements. Discussion of the Final Rule Below is a more detailed discussion of the rule as it relates to the comments we received. erowe on PROD1PC64 with RULES Amateur Rocket Definitions The FAA proposes to define amateur rocket as an unmanned rocket propelled by a motor or motors having a combined total impulse of 889,600 Newtonseconds (200,000 pound-seconds) or less, and cannot reach an altitude greater than 150 km (93.2 statute miles) above the earth’s surface. The ROC commented that the value of 889,600 Newton-seconds falls in the middle of the ‘‘T’’ impulse range, using the values in common usage by amateur rocket hobbyists. As a result, the value in the NPRM definition does not correspond with any natural dividing line between impulse levels. The ROC recommended the FAA increase the total impulse limit for amateur rockets from 889,600 Newtonseconds to 1,310,720 Newton-seconds. The FAA believes the current total impulse limit represents a reasonable VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:50 Dec 03, 2008 Jkt 217001 boundary based on the potential performance of a rocket with that total impulse. The FAA adopts the definition language in § 1.1, as proposed. Proposed § 101.22 would require an amateur rocket be launched on a suborbital trajectory. Two individual commenters suggested the FAA begin to consider rulemaking for amateur rockets that may go into Earth orbit. One addressed the limit of 150 km specified in § 1.1. The second suggested the FAA re-examine the requirement that amateur rockets be suborbital, as proposed in § 101.22. The FAA believes that 150 km is the best limit for amateur rocket launch operations. Any rocket that goes above the 150 km altitude limit will involve licensing issues, i.e., foreign policy, national security, and safety concerns. Location of Amateur Rocket Regulations The FAA proposed to move the rules governing operation of model rockets from Subpart A—General (§ 101.1) to Subpart C—Unmanned Rockets (§ 101.21). This proposal would align all definitions and operating requirements for unmanned rockets in a single subpart. We would continue to allow model rockets to operate without FAA oversight. We received no comments on this action. The FAA adopts this proposal without change. Amateur Rocket Definitions We proposed two new classes of amateur rockets. We defined Class 1 as an amateur rocket using less than 125 grams (4.4 ounces) of slow-burning propellant and weighing no more than 454 grams (16 ounces) including the propellant. We defined Class 2 as an amateur rocket using less than 125 grams (4.4 ounces) of slow-burning propellant and weighing no more than 1,500 grams (53 ounces) including propellant. The NAR, ROC, and 13 individual commenters noted that the only difference between Class 1 and Class 2 is weight. The NAR conducted computer flight simulations of these two classes of amateur rockets to demonstrate the ‘‘heavier models have far less velocity and altitude potential.’’ The NAR’s flight experience with rockets meeting the specifications of both classes indicates that both types can be flown using the operating limitations proposed for Class 1. The NAR, as well as the other commenters on this section, recommended combining Class 1 and Class 2 into a single classification—Class 1. The other classes would be renumbered. Therefore, requirements specified in the PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 73769 NPRM for Class 3 and Class 4 now apply to Class 2. The FAA created the two classes, model rocket and large model rocket, in 1994. Since that time amateur rocket hobbyists have established a history of safe operation for large model rockets. We have analyzed the performance of proposed large model rockets, in light of NAR’s suggestion, and found they can cause more significant damage to persons or property than model rockets. However, neither model rockets nor large model rockets can affect air traffic if operated in accordance with this regulation. Since local ordinances cover hazards due to the reckless use of model and large model rockets on groundbased property and persons, the FAA agrees that combining these two classes is appropriate. Therefore, the FAA combines the proposed Class 1—Model Rocket and Class 2—Large Model Rocket into a single Class 1—Model Rocket. We have decided the operating limitations contained in § 101.24 of the NPRM are not necessary for the combined Class 1 Model Rockets, and, therefore, proposed § 101.24 is removed. We proposed a new Class 3—HighPower Rocket as an amateur rocket other than a model rocket or large model rocket propelled by a motor or motors having a combined total impulse of 163,840 Newton-seconds (36,818 pound-seconds) or less. Several commenters recommended the upper limit for Class 3 be reduced from 163,840 Newton-seconds to 40,960 Newton-seconds. They stated this reduction would place the upper limit at the ‘‘O’’ class, as documented in the TRA safety code. Some commenters noted that a rocket carrying a motor above the ‘‘O’’ class, or 40,960 Newtonseconds, could reach altitudes greater than 7,620 meters (25,000 feet). These commenters suggest any rocket with the ability to reach greater altitudes belongs in Class 4—Advanced High-Power Rockets. The FAA agrees. In addition to creating a class of rocketry that is inconsistent with the TRA safety code, the proposal, if adopted, would be inconsistent with the 2008 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1127 Code for High-Power Rockets. This code also addresses rockets having total impulse up to 40,960 Newton-seconds (9,208 pound-seconds) or ‘‘O’’ motor class. Further, most amateur rocket activities involve rockets with a total impulse of 40,960 Newton-seconds or less. The FAA has reconsidered this proposal and revises the criteria and class for high-power rockets. The Class 2—High Power Rocket is defined as having a combined total impulse of E:\FR\FM\04DER1.SGM 04DER1 73770 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 234 / Thursday, December 4, 2008 / Rules and Regulations 40,960 Newton-seconds (9,208 poundseconds). Operating Limitations We proposed the following general operating limitations for amateur rocket activities: An amateur rocket must be: • Launched on a suborbital trajectory, • Unmanned, and • Not cross into the territory of a foreign country unless there is an agreement between the United States and the country of concern. We further included a condition that we may specify additional operating restrictions necessary to ensure that air traffic is not adversely affected, and public safety is not jeopardized. We received no comments on this section. These requirements are adopted, as proposed, although the section is renumbered as § 101.23. We proposed an additional operating limitation for Class 1 model rockets in proposed § 101.23. Specifically, persons operating this class of rocket must do so in a manner that does not create a hazard to persons, property, or other aircraft. No comments were received on this proposal. However, after further review, we realize our intent was to apply this requirement to all classes of amateur rockets. We have removed any specific reference to Class 1 model rockets. These requirements now apply to amateur rockets in general. Amateur Rocket Activities Within 5 Miles of an Airport erowe on PROD1PC64 with RULES Proposed § 101.25(b) would prohibit operating High-Power Rockets within 8 kilometers (5 miles) of any airport boundary. We received comments from the NAR, ROC, Rocketry of Central Carolina, and 13 individual commenters stating the proposed rule does not provide flexibility for waiving this requirement. They commented further that the proposal does not consider airport size, frequency of flight operations, facilities, location, or history of safe operations, and maintained that it is unclear whether this requirement can be waived. The FAA understands High-Power Rockets have a long history of safe operation within 5 statute miles of airport boundaries and agrees such operations should be allowed to continue, when appropriate, under a certificate of waiver or authorization. Separation Distances From Amateur Rocket Activities Proposed §§ 101.25 and 101.26 would stipulate that, no person may operate a high-power rocket or advanced high- VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:50 Dec 03, 2008 Jkt 217001 power rocket within 457 meters (1,500 ft.) of any person or property not associated with the operation. The same separation distance exists in the current regulation. This distance from any person or property not associated with the operation also applies to Class 4— Advanced High-Power Rocket (§ 101.26). Several commenters questioned the requirement regarding proposed separation distances. One commenter requested clarification regarding whether uninvolved public includes spectators. The commenters note the 2008 Edition of NFPA 1127, Code for High Power Rocketry, specifies differing minimum separation distances for spectators and participants that relate to the classifications of rocket motors. Commenters recommended the FAA adopt the NFPA standards that establish minimum separation distances between the launch point, spectators, and other exposed elements of the public. Commenters also noted that both NAR and TRA follow the safety requirements of the rocketry-related codes published by NFPA. In developing this proposal, the FAA considered amateur rocketry events and participants involved, their families and friends, and a few casual spectators. Various rocketry groups do not include spectators in the 1,500 feet separation distance for persons or property not associated with the operations. In fact, the 2008 Edition of NFPA 1127 recognizes this disparity by providing separation distances for spectators and participants that are less stringent than the existing FAA requirement. However, we do not intend to encourage the presence of large crowds of spectators close to the launch because their presence would pose a significant threat to those spectators. Most commonly launched amateur rockets are small and their hazards typically are also small. No serious accidents or incidents have been reported by NAR and TRA. While there have been no reported accidents associated with launches of larger amateur rockets, the risk associated with a large amateur rocket launch could be considerably greater. Participants and spectators, clearly associated with the activity, are not required to comply with the specified separation. We retain the provision in § 101.23(b) to specify additional operating limitations, as necessary, to ensure air traffic operations are not adversely affected, and public safety is not jeopardized. The FAA routinely attaches conditions to certificates of waiver or authorization for larger amateur rocket launches specifying separation distances greater PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 than 1,500 feet applicable to spectators and persons not associated with the operation. The FAA agrees, in principal, with the commenters’ suggestion to adopt the NFPA standard. Generally, those engaged in amateur rocket activities have applied the 457 meters (1,500 ft.) distance requirement to the uninvolved public. As stated in the NPRM, the FAA seeks primarily to codify existing practice. Current amateur rocket activities, especially those under the auspices of various rocketry associations, have not resulted in harm to persons not associated with the operations. The FAA believes the 1,500 feet separation distance has served a useful purpose, and we retain this separation minimum in the final rule for High-Power Rockets and Advanced High-Power Rockets. In consideration of the comments recommending the FAA adopt the NFPA 1127 separation distance requirements, we will require an additional separation distance from any person or property not associated with the operation. This decision is based on the minimum site dimensions provided in NFPA 1127. In the regulation, we instead specify this as an equivalent separation distance assuming the launch location is in the center of the site. This minimum separation distance is equal to one quarter of the expected maximum altitude or 457 meters (1,500 ft.), whichever is greater. Under normal conditions, this requirement will be adequate to protect public safety. When greater separation distances are required to protect spectators, the FAA will specify additional operating limitations in any certificate of waiver or authorization it may grant. The FAA believes its principal responsibility is to protect those individuals and property not associated with the launch. This approach differs somewhat from that taken under 14 CFR Chapter III where the FAA counts spectators as part of the public in its risk analysis. The rationale for this different approach reflects the good job rocketry associations do in protecting spectators. Usually, spectators viewing amateur rocket launches are more closely associated with the operations than those viewing FAA-licensed launches and do not have as great a potential for a catastrophic accident, such as loss of life or serious injury. Need for Presence of Someone at Least 18 Years Old Proposed § 101.25(f) stipulates that no person may operate a High-Power Rocket unless a person at least 18 years old is present; that person is charged E:\FR\FM\04DER1.SGM 04DER1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 234 / Thursday, December 4, 2008 / Rules and Regulations with ensuring the safety of the operation and has final approval authority for initiating high-power rocket flight. The NAR supported this requirement. We received no other comments on this proposal. The FAA adopts § 101.25(f) as proposed. Measures To Control Fire Caused by Amateur Rocket Activity The FAA proposed that no person may operate a High-Power Rocket unless reasonable precautions are provided to report and control a fire caused by rocket activity. The NAR supported the proposal and went on to reference the NFPA 1127 Code for High Power Rocketry. Conversely, the ROC does not believe this provision is necessary or appropriate for codification. We disagree. This requirement is consistent with our mission to ensure the safety of any person or property not associated with the operations. In developing the proposed rule, our goal was to eliminate duplicate requirements imposed by other Federal agencies or state or local governments. For example, this proposal contains no explicit requirements concerning hazardous materials because other Federal and local laws are applicable. The proposal is intended to protect the ‘‘uninvolved’’ public, on the ground and in the air. It would not supersede any other laws or ordinances. Operators of high-power and advanced high-power rockets would be required to take reasonable precautions to control and report a fire. Additionally, operators would comply with local ordinances as applicable, because a fire in some of the remote areas where amateur rocket launches occur could have serious consequences. The FAA adopts § 101.25(g) as proposed. erowe on PROD1PC64 with RULES Operating Limitations for Advanced High-Power Rockets The FAA proposed additional operating limitations for Advanced High-Power Rockets to ensure air traffic is not adversely affected and public safety is not jeopardized. We received no comments on this section. Therefore, the FAA adopts § 101.26 as proposed. Notice Requirements We proposed that FAA Air Traffic Control (ATC) must receive notice requirement information no less than 24 hours before and no more than 3 days before the amateur rocket activities take place. Three commenters expressed concern that this proposed rule means a temporary flight restriction (TFR) must be in place before an amateur rocket VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:50 Dec 03, 2008 Jkt 217001 launch can occur. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) recommended adding clear guidance to prohibit the use of TFRs for amateur rocket activities. Two individual commenters urged that there be no change in the current NOTAM procedures. Another commenter questioned the necessity of collecting personal information about amateur rocket operators and requiring operators to apply for a certificate of waiver or authorization before conducting amateur rocket activities. The FAA stresses that the only change proposed was to the timeline for giving information to ATC. Operators must still notify ATC no less than 24 hours before amateur rocket activities begin. We proposed to change the second half of the timeline from ‘no more than 48 hours’ to ‘no more than 3 days’ before amateur rocket activities begin. This change would synchronize FAA regulations with FAA Order 7930.2, Para. 4–1–1, Notice to Airmen. We did not propose changes to requirements for NOTAMs or TFR procedures. Because we did not propose any changes, any ban on the use of TFRs for amateur rocket activities is outside the scope of this rulemaking. The information requested in the notice requirement is needed to ensure the safety and integrity of the NAS, to issue a NOTAM, or take other action. The FAA adopts the timeline requirements in § 101.27, as proposed. However, the title was changed to include ATC notification for all launches. Latitude and Longitude, Information Required 45 Days Before Rocket Activities, and Estimated Number of Rockets As proposed in the NPRM under § 101.27(d), no person may operate an unmanned rocket, other than a Class 1— Model Rocket, unless that person provides the FAA with the location of the center of the affected area in latitude and longitude coordinates. Proposed § 101.29(a)(7) lists the launch site latitude and longitude among the detailed information requirements a person operating a High-Power Rocket must submit to the FAA when requesting a certificate of waiver or authorization. The information must be provided at least 45 days before the proposed operation. The NAR, ROC, and eight individual commenters proposed a modification to this notice requirement. Previous sponsors of launch activities have submitted distances along a VOR radial to describe their location. An individual commenter noted that his organization PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 73771 has provided latitude and longitude coordinates in its certificate of waiver or authorization applications. According to this commenter, its organization has been asked to give the location as a VOR radial and distance. These commenters suggest there are other acceptable methods to locate a launch pad, such as checking distance along a VOR radial. We find that latitude and longitude coordinates provide the most accurate method of fixing an exact location. Further, a latitude and longitude location is consistent with FAA charting practices. The FAA adopts the requirements of § 101.27(d) and § 101.29(a)(7), as proposed, except these requirements are located in § 101.29(a)(6). The NAR, TRA, ROC, and 16 individual commenters questioned the need for the 45 days in advance of the rocket activity. An individual commenter noted that due to uncertainties in schedules and weather, among other things, participants in rocket launch events involving HighPower Rockets may not know if the event is really going to occur, if they are going to attend, and what rockets they are going to fly until shortly before the event, the day of the event, or even during the event. The commenter contends these last-minute changes occur for bona-fide reasons involving matters such as wind direction and speed and cloud cover that cannot be predicted with any assurance. The commenter further contends rocket launch events involve multiple participants who need to be able to have flexibility to lower their flight plans if weather deteriorates at the last minute or raise them if weather improves. The NAR and ROC cite the current practice of completing one annual certificate of waiver or authorization for all their planned amateur rocket events for a calendar year. That certificate describes the types of amateur rockets typically launched at these events. The certificate of waiver or authorization requires notification to the local ATC facility 48 hours prior to each flight activity. The NAR and ROC recommend adoption of requirements that reflect current practice. The FAA agrees. We intended to retain the current practice and have modified the language in the final rule to do so. When requesting a certificate of waiver or authorization, the FAA will require each person or organization to provide the requested information at least 45 days before the proposed operation. An organization can still submit an application for an annual certificate of waiver or authorization, detailing the events for the coming year. E:\FR\FM\04DER1.SGM 04DER1 73772 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 234 / Thursday, December 4, 2008 / Rules and Regulations erowe on PROD1PC64 with RULES As proposed in § 101.29(a)(1), a person operating a High-Power Rocket that requires a certificate of waiver or authorization must provide the information requested on each rocket to be flown. The NAR, TRA, ROC, and 12 individual commenters objected strenuously to this provision. The ROC noted that rocketry clubs typically file a single certificate of waiver or authorization application for the year. They detail the dates for the event and the types of amateur rockets they expect to be flown. What they actually fly will depend on how many people show up, what rockets they bring with them, what the weather conditions are, and other factors. They state that adopting the NPRM as written would require them to complete Form 7711–2 for each rocket they expect to fly. In the case of the ROC, this could mean deluging the FAA with ‘‘multiple thousands of notices.’’ One commenter calculated that for a typical weekend launch, he ‘‘might bring 10 rockets, each of which can be flown with one of 10 different motors, and perhaps a similar number of pad and recovery choices, making 1,000 possible combinations. If there are 100 fliers at the event, the waiver documentation could be 100,000 pages.’’ He then notes that Form 7711– 2 requires the information to be in triplicate. All the commenters on this issue urge that the FAA require the current practice for these launch events—that is, an approximate number of rockets to be flown and an aggregate of information on those rockets. That would mean the maximum size, weight, and power to be flown, and the maximum altitude and radius expected for these rockets. The FAA agrees and fully intended that current practice be reflected in the final rule. We now state that each person or organization must provide the information requested at least 45 days before the proposed operation and clarify that the 45-day requirement applies only when a certificate of waiver or authorization is necessary. Organizations may continue to aggregate the information and detail the maximum parameters they expect for a given event. Information Requirement for Type of Propulsion, Fuel(s), Oxidizer(s), Manufacturer, and Certification As proposed in the NPRM under § 101.29(a)(2), a person operating a Class 3—High-Power Rocket that requires a certificate of waiver or authorization must provide the FAA information on the type of propulsion, fuel(s), oxidizer(s), manufacturer, and certification, if any, for the rockets. VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:50 Dec 03, 2008 Jkt 217001 The NAR, TRA, ROC, and 11 individual commenters noted that requiring information on propulsion systems, fuels, oxidizers, manufacturers, and certifications does not contribute to preserving safety. The commenters recommended that this requirement be stricken entirely from the final rule. In lieu of striking the requirement, the NAR would note that the NFPA has established standards for the certification and production of amateur rocket motors in NFPA Code 1125, ‘‘Code for the Manufacture of Model Rocket and High Power Rocket Motors, 2007 Edition.’’ The NAR’s Standards and Testing Committee tests motors to this standard, and NAR members can only use engines on its ranges that have been tested and passed these standards. The FAA conducted more research into whether having knowledge of these elements has an impact on safety. We found that having information about the manufacturer and any certification of a rocket does not increase the FAA’s ability to determine the safe operation of amateur rocket activities. However, we do need to know the type of propulsion, fuels, and oxidizers involved because some of them are highly explosive or toxic. Therefore, the FAA removes the manufacturer and certification information requirement from the final rule. We retain the propulsion, fuels, and oxidizers information requirement, as proposed. Description of the Launcher(s) As proposed in the NPRM under § 101.29(a)(3), operators must provide a description of the launcher(s) planned for their amateur rocket activities, including any airborne platform(s). The NAR, TRA, ROC, and 11 individual commenters noted that requiring a description of the launcher does not contribute to preserving safety. They state there is no record of launcher-related failures resulting in an unsafe flight condition, life threatening injury, or property damage. The FAA disagrees because there are documented incidents where a balloon launcher failure occurred and started a fire on the ground. In addition, we find that having a description of the launcher adds a safety benefit to amateur rocket activities. A launcher failure could cause the rocket to veer in a different direction than intended. The FAA adopts § 101.29(a)(3), as proposed. Description of the Recovery System As proposed in the NPRM under § 101.29(a)(4), operators must provide a description of their recovery system. The NAR, TRA, ROC, and 12 individual commenters propose this requirement PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 be removed from the final rule. They maintain the FAA did not explain why such information is necessary for flight safety. The FAA disagrees with these comments. This information allows the FAA to calculate the hazard area for an amateur rocket launch event. The FAA adopts § 101.29(a)(4), as proposed. Additional Safety Procedures As proposed in the NPRM under § 101.29(a)(8), operators must provide any additional safety procedures that will be followed. The NAR, TRA, ROC, and 11 individual commenters found this section to be vague and unnecessary. Several commenters proposed this section should be modified to make clear that flying on NAR safety codes is an acceptable method to report this information. While the FAA believes the NAR and TRA safety codes contribute to the safety of amateur rocket activities, we cannot make a blanket requirement accepting these safety codes. The codes may change in the future. The FAA would then be bound to whatever those changes might be. We must have the ability to require additional information as circumstances or technology changes might demand. The FAA adopts § 101.29(a)(8), as proposed. Miscellaneous Comments One commenter suggested that § 101.29 be changed to require the information listed only for those flights that exceed 25,000 feet. TRA noted they have a precise procedure for reviewing and approving all flights held at TRAsanctioned events that will exceed 24,000 feet in apogee. Since their criteria are similar to the information requirements detailed in the NPRM, they see no need to change the rule. The FAA disagrees because these requirements also apply to operations not sanctioned by TRA. The FAA adopts § 101.29, as proposed. One commenter suggested that the rule exempt Class 1 Model Rockets from U.S. Postal Service (USPS) restrictions to allow mailing these ‘‘common goods’’ without special labeling and papers. The commenter suggested a number of other changes to the rule to facilitate shipping model rockets. These suggestions are outside the scope of this rulemaking. The FAA has no authority to release amateur rocket enthusiasts from USPS regulations, nor can we impose regulations not associated with aviation on the USPS. Paperwork Reduction Act Information collection requirements associated with this final rule have been E:\FR\FM\04DER1.SGM 04DER1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 234 / Thursday, December 4, 2008 / Rules and Regulations approved previously by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)), and have been assigned OMB Control Number 2120–0027. There is no increase in paperwork required as a result of this rulemaking. erowe on PROD1PC64 with RULES International Compatibility In keeping with U.S. obligations under the Convention on International Civil Aviation, it is FAA policy to comply with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices to the maximum extent practicable. The FAA has determined that there are no ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices that correspond to these regulations. Regulatory Evaluation, Regulatory Flexibility Determination, International Trade Impact Assessment, and Unfunded Mandates Assessment Changes to Federal regulations must undergo several economic analyses. First, Executive Order 12866 directs that each Federal agency shall propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation justify its costs. Second, the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96–354) requires agencies to analyze the economic impact of regulatory changes on small entities. Third, the Trade Agreements Act (Pub. L. 96–39) prohibits agencies from setting standards that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. In developing U.S. standards, this Trade Act requires agencies to consider international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis of U.S. standards. Fourth, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–4) requires agencies to prepare a written assessment of the costs, benefits, and other effects of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more annually (adjusted for inflation with base year of 1995). This portion of the preamble summarizes the FAA’s analysis of the economic impacts of this final rule. Department of Transportation Order DOT 2100.5 prescribes policies and procedures for simplification, analysis, and review of regulations. If the expected cost impact is so minimal that a proposed or final rule does not VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:50 Dec 03, 2008 Jkt 217001 73773 warrant a full evaluation, this order permits that a statement to that effect and the basis for it be included in the preamble if a full regulatory evaluation of the cost and benefits is not prepared. Such a determination has been made for this final rule. The reasoning for this determination follows. We will first discuss the nonquantified benefits and then discuss the quantified cost-savings benefits of this final rule. international treaty exists that permits such activity. We do not know of an amateur rocket sent from the United States that crossed an international boundary. Although, the rule will make this specific to the amateur rockets, it is generally necessary to have some kind of international agreement in order to cross international borders. The benefit provided by this provision of this final rule is that it helps prevent international incidents. Benefits Elimination of Burn Time and Ballistic Coefficient Requirements General This final rule provides several benefits. General benefits provided include the updating, streamlining, and modernizing of the existing regulations for amateur rocket activities. More specific benefits are discussed below. Maximum Altitude Definition This final rule defines a maximum altitude of 150 kilometers or 492,120 feet for amateur rockets. This allows a prospective amateur rocket operator to determine if the proposed rocket can be classified as an amateur rocket and thus avoid the necessity and expense of obtaining a license. This altitude limit also provides a reasonable margin of safety for objects that are already in orbit. Although this final rule defines a maximum altitude for amateur rockets, for practical purposes, it is not imposing a new altitude limit on amateur rocket activities because the requirements of the existing rule for burn time and ballistic coefficient, which will be eliminated under this final rule, make it virtually impossible for an amateur rocket launched under the existing regulations to reach the altitude defined in this final rule. Suborbital Requirement This final rule requires that amateur rockets be launched in such a manner that they will not become orbital. The current rule has no such specific restriction. By specifically prohibiting orbital launches of amateur rockets, this provision of this final rule provides the benefit of protecting existing orbital objects, such as the International Space Station (ISS) and orbiting civil and military satellites, from a possible collision with an amateur rocket. Not Cross International Boundary Requirement The final rule requires that an amateur rocket not cross an international boundary unless an PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 This final rule eliminates the existing requirements for a burn time of less than 15 seconds and a ballistic coefficient requirement of less than 12 pounds per square inch. The elimination of these requirements allows amateur rocket activities to operate in accordance with current industry practice and recognizes technological changes since the establishment of the existing regulations. In particular, the elimination of the burn time requirement allows for the optimum operation of liquid rockets. Revision of Amateur Rocket Classes Table B–1 shows a comparison of the existing amateur rocket classes and this final rule’s rocket classes. The existing amateur rocket rule has three classes of rockets: Model rockets, large model rockets, and others. These classes were categorized by weight of propellant, type of propellant, property of rocket, and operation as detailed in Table B–1. The term ‘‘other’’, as discussed in the NPRM, captures unmanned launches other than amateur launches. These would include FAAlicensed or permitted launches, as well as U.S. government launches. This final rule provides for four classes of rockets: Class 1—Model Rockets; Class 2—High-Power Rockets; Class 3—Advanced High-Power Rockets; and a fourth non-numbered Class—Other. The detailed definition of these classes is shown in Table B–1. The benefit of this final rule’s classifications is that the new definitions are more closely aligned with current practices than are the existing classifications. In addition, for this final rule’s Class 1 rockets, the FAA is removing the notification requirement thereby reducing the burden on those seeking to launch model rockets. (Benefit Tables B–1 through B–3) E:\FR\FM\04DER1.SGM 04DER1 73774 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 234 / Thursday, December 4, 2008 / Rules and Regulations TABLE B–1—COMPARISON OF EXISTING AND FINAL RULE AMATEUR ROCKET CLASSES Existing rule categories: Final rule categories: Model Rockets: • Uses no more than 4 ounces (113.5 grams) of propellant ........... • Uses a slow-burning propellant ..................................................... • Is made of paper, wood, or breakable plastic ............................... • Contains no substantial metal parts .............................................. • Weighs no more than 454 grams (16 ounces), including the propellant. Large Model Rockets: • Uses no more than 125 grams (4.4 ounces) of propellant. • Uses a slow-burning propellant. • Is made of paper, wood, or breakable plastic. • Contains no substantial metal parts. • Weighs no more than 1,500 grams (53 ounces) including propellant. Other: • Undefined—every unmanned rocket other than a model or large model rocket. Revision of Data Collection Process Amateur rocket launches may require that data be provided to the nearest air Class • • • • • 1—Model Rockets: Uses no more than 125 grams (4.4 ounces) of propellant. Uses a slow-burning propellant. Is made of paper, wood, or breakable plastic. Contains no substantial metal parts. Weighs no more than 1,500 grams (53 ounces) including propellant. Class 2—High-Power Rockets: • A rocket other than a Class 1, propelled by a rocket motor or motors having a combined total impulse of 40,960 N-sec (9,208 lb-sec) or less. Class 3—Advanced High-Power Rockets: • Any amateur rocket other than a Class 1 or 2. Other: • Any unmanned rocket that is not an amateur rocket. traffic facility. In addition, for the larger amateur rockets, it may be necessary to apply for a waiver and provide the required data. Table B–2 shows the data requirements that must be reported to the nearest FAA air traffic control (ATC) facility. TABLE B–2—AMATEUR ROCKET NOTICE REQUIREMENTS TO THE NEAREST AIR TRAFFIC FACILITY Existing rule Final rule Model rockets erowe on PROD1PC64 with RULES Notice requirements to nearest ATC facility. Operator: Name(s) and Address(es). Date/time the activity will begin. Estimated number of rockets to be operated. Estimated size and weight of each rocket. Location of the center of the affected area. Highest affected altitude ........ Duration of the activity ........... Date/time/duration .................. Other pertinent information requested by the FAA. Large model rockets Other Class 1— model rocket Class 2— high-power rockets Class 3— advanced highpower rockets None ............ 24 hrs .......... 24 hrs .......... None ............ 24 hrs .......... 24 hrs ............. ...................... √ √ ...................... √ √ √ ...................... √ √ ...................... √ √ √ ...................... √ √ ...................... √ √ ...................... √ √ ...................... √ √ √ ...................... ...................... ...................... ...................... √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ ...................... ...................... ...................... ...................... √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ No person may operate an unmanned rocket, other than a Class 1—Model Rocket, unless that person gives the information shown in Table B–2 to the ATC facility nearest the intended operation no less than 24 hours before and no more than three days before beginning the operation. This final rule will expand the model rocket category to include what had been large model rockets. Previously, a person operating a large model rocket needed to provide the information shown on Table B–2 to VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:50 Dec 03, 2008 Jkt 217001 the ATC facility. Notification is not required for the expanded Class 1— Model Rocket category under this final rule. Table B–3 shows the information requirements for a certificate of waiver or authorization. As is shown on the table, no certificate of waiver or authorization is required to operate a Class 1–Model Rocket. With the expansion of this category to include what had been large model rockets, this final rule will reduce waiver requests. PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Other 24 hrs. This final rule will eliminate the requirement to obtain a license or permit for launches where the burn-time exceeds 15 seconds. Hence, the proposed launches that previously required a license or permit, now would only require a waiver or authorization from the FAA, and only if operating beyond the limitations listed in §§ 101.25 or 101.26. These limitations include operating in controlled airspace and within 8 kilometers (5 miles) of any E:\FR\FM\04DER1.SGM 04DER1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 234 / Thursday, December 4, 2008 / Rules and Regulations airport boundary without prior authorization by the FAA. The primary difference between the information requirements in the existing rule and the new rule is that the information previously required as part of the request for a waiver or authorization was identified generally as ‘‘a detailed description of the proposed operation.’’ In practice, the type of information shown in Table B– 3 was provided with the request for a waiver. However, the FAA often needed to request more detailed information. The asterisk indicates that the information typically is required only for more powerful or advanced amateur rockets. Some of the informational elements are typically not applicable for smaller rockets. The FAA believes a rule 73775 specifying the required information will actually reduce the burden on applicants. The Table B–3 entries labeled current practice are not existing FAA regulations. By current practice we mean the FAA would typically ask for and amateur rocket operators would submit this information before a launch. TABLE B–3—INFORMATIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR A CERTIFICATE OF WAIVER OR AUTHORIZATION Existing rule This final rule Class 3—advanced high power rockets erowe on PROD1PC64 with RULES Model rockets When a certificate of waiver or an authorization is required. Submission of Form 7711–2 (time before event). Name of organization ................... Name of responsible person ........ Permanent mailing address .......... FAR section and number to be waived. Detailed description of proposed operation, such as: Estimated number of rockets to be operated. Type of propulsion (liquid or solid), fuel(s), and oxidizer(s). Description of launcher(s) planned to be used, including any airborne platform(s). Description of recovery system .... Highest altitude, above ground level, expected to be reached. Launch site latitude, longitude, and elevation. Any additional safety procedures that will be followed. Maximum possible range ............. Dynamic stability characteristics for the entire flight profile. Description of all major rocket systems. Description of other support equipment necessary for safe operation. Planned flight profile and sequence of events. All nominal impact areas within three standard deviations. Launch commit criteria ................. Countdown procedures ................ Mishap procedures ....................... Area of operation (Location, altitude, etc.). Beginning (Date and hour) ........... Ending (Date and hour) ................ Area of operation (Location, altitudes, etc.). Aircraft make and model .............. Sponsor of event .......................... Sponsor’s permanent mailing address. Policing (Description of provisions for policing event). Emergency facilities ...................... Air Traffic control (Description of method of controlling air traffic). Schedule of Events ...................... VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:50 Dec 03, 2008 Large model rockets Other Class 1— model rocket Class 2—high power rockets No ................... 45 days ........... 45 days ............... No ................... 45 days ........... √ ......................... ......................... ......................... √ √ √ √ ............................ √ √ √ √ ......................... ......................... ......................... √ √ √ √ √ √ √ ......................... √ √ ......................... √ √ ......................... ......................... Current practice .. ......................... √ √ ......................... ......................... Current practice .. ......................... √ √ ......................... ......................... Current practice* ......................... √ √ ......................... ......................... ......................... ......................... Current practice * Current practice .. ......................... ......................... √ √ √ √ ......................... ......................... Current practice .. ......................... √ √ ......................... ......................... Current practice .. ......................... √ √ ......................... ......................... ......................... ......................... Current practice .. Current practice * ......................... ......................... ......................... ......................... √ √ ......................... ......................... Current practice * ......................... ......................... √ ......................... ......................... Current practice * ......................... ......................... √ ......................... ......................... Current practice * ......................... ......................... √ ......................... ......................... Current practice * ......................... ......................... √ ......................... ......................... ......................... ......................... ......................... ......................... ......................... √ Current practice * Current practice * Current practice * √ ......................... ......................... ......................... ......................... ......................... ......................... ......................... √ √ √ √ √ ......................... ......................... ......................... √ √ √ √ √ √ ......................... ......................... ......................... √ √ √ √ √ √ ......................... ......................... ......................... √ √ √ √ √ √ ......................... ......................... ......................... √ √ √ √ √ √ ......................... √ √ ......................... √ √ ......................... ......................... √ √ √ √ ......................... ......................... √ √ √ √ ......................... √ √ ......................... √ √ Jkt 217001 PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\04DER1.SGM 04DER1 45 days 73776 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 234 / Thursday, December 4, 2008 / Rules and Regulations TABLE B–3—INFORMATIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR A CERTIFICATE OF WAIVER OR AUTHORIZATION—Continued Existing rule This final rule Model rockets Certification ................................... Large model rockets Other Class 1— model rocket Class 2—high power rockets Class 3—advanced high power rockets ......................... √ √ ......................... √ √ A positive effect of the new classifications and definitions is that they allow for the unlicensed launching of liquid rockets at their optimum burn rates. Today, someone who wanted to launch a liquid rocket at its optimum burn rate would have to obtain a license that requires complicated analyses that can cost up to $100,000. An alternative would be to adjust the burn rate of the liquid rocket to meet the current requirements. This alternative would result in either a reduced rocket performance or reduced rocket safety. Therefore, this final rule provides some potential cost savings and performance and safety improvements. Benefits Summary erowe on PROD1PC64 with RULES As discussed above, this final rule provides benefits. The major benefits of this final rule are summarized below: • Eliminate inconsistencies in the existing rules; • Provide new definitions of amateur rocket categories that would allow amateur rocket operators to more easily determine what, if any, regulations they would have to comply with; • Allow unlicensed launches of liquid rockets at optimum performance levels; • Streamline and clarify the data collection process in cases where a proposed launch would require that the amateur rocket operator provide data to the FAA; VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:50 Dec 03, 2008 Jkt 217001 • Insure amateur rocket activities would be conducted in accordance with all international treaties; • Insure that amateur rocket activities would not interfere with objects in orbit. • Provide cost savings to both amateur rocket operators and the FAA. Costs Introduction This section shows the costs of the existing rule, the estimated costs of this final rule, and the incremental costs of this final rule. The incremental costs are the costs of this final rule subtracted from the costs of the existing rule. The costs of both the existing and this final rule are determined by multiplying the number of hours to perform a required task by the hourly cost of the person performing the task. The number of hours is estimated by the Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) of the FAA. The cost of an aerospace engineer is estimated by the Office of Policy and Plans (APO) of the FAA. The fully allocated hourly costs of an aerospace engineer are estimated to be $81. Existing Rule Costs Table C–1 shows that the total annual cost of the existing rule is estimated to be approximately $8,886,000. This includes the costs of Large Model Rockets and Other Rockets. No costs are estimated for Model Rockets. The costs are based on a total of 100 notifications PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 to the FAA for Large Model Rockets and 200 annual waivers for Other Rockets. Final Rule Costs Table C–2 lists approximately $8,378,000 as the total annual cost of this final rule. This includes the costs of Class 2 and 3 amateur rockets. No costs are estimated for Class 1 amateur rockets. The costs are based on a total of 200 annual waivers, 198 for Class 2 rockets and 2 for Class 3 rockets. The reason for the decrease in costs for Class 1 rockets from the existing rule to this final rule is that Large Model Rockets included in Class 1 rockets in this final rule generally no longer will require a notification to FAA and rarely require a waiver. Incremental Final Rule Costs Our incremental cost estimate equals the total cost of this final rule minus the total cost of the existing requirements. Table C–3 lists the annual incremental cost of this final rule as about a negative $507,870. This represents a cost-saving benefit for the final rule. The study period for the costs of this final rule is estimated to be 10 years. The total 10-year cost savings of this final rule is estimated to be approximately $5,080,000 in current dollars with a present value of $3,567,000 with a discount rate of 7%. Thus, as the incremental cost estimate results in cost savings, the benefits of this rule exceed the costs. BILLING CODE 4910–13–P E:\FR\FM\04DER1.SGM 04DER1 VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:50 Dec 03, 2008 Jkt 217001 PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\04DER1.SGM 04DER1 73777 ER04DE08.045</GPH> erowe on PROD1PC64 with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 234 / Thursday, December 4, 2008 / Rules and Regulations VerDate Aug<31>2005 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 234 / Thursday, December 4, 2008 / Rules and Regulations 15:50 Dec 03, 2008 Jkt 217001 PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\04DER1.SGM 04DER1 ER04DE08.046</GPH> erowe on PROD1PC64 with RULES 73778 73779 BILLING CODE 4910–13–C VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:50 Dec 03, 2008 Jkt 217001 PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\04DER1.SGM 04DER1 ER04DE08.047</GPH> erowe on PROD1PC64 with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 234 / Thursday, December 4, 2008 / Rules and Regulations 73780 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 234 / Thursday, December 4, 2008 / Rules and Regulations Regulatory Flexibility Determination The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96–354) (RFA) establishes ‘‘as a principle of regulatory issuance that agencies shall endeavor, consistent with the objectives of the rule and of applicable statutes, to fit regulatory and informational requirements to the scale of the businesses, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions subject to regulation. To achieve this principle, agencies are required to solicit and consider flexible regulatory proposals and to explain the rationale for their actions to assure that such proposals are given serious consideration.’’ The RFA covers a wide-range of small entities, including small businesses, not-forprofit organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions. Agencies must perform a review to determine whether a rule will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. If the agency determines that it will, the agency must prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis as described in the RFA. However, if an agency determines that a rule is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, section 605(b) of the RFA provides that the head of the agency may so certify and a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required. The certification must include a statement providing the factual basis for this determination, and the reasoning should be clear. The FAA believes that this final rule will not have a significant negative economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This final rule will affect a large number of small entities. These small entities would include the individuals, organizations, and firms involved in launching amateur rockets. However, although this final rule will affect a large number of small entities, it will not have a negative economic impact because this final rule results in substantial cost savings compared to the existing rule. Therefore, as the Acting FAA Administrator, I certify that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. erowe on PROD1PC64 with RULES International Trade Impact Assessment The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96–39) prohibits Federal agencies from establishing any standards or engaging in related activities that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. Legitimate domestic objectives, such as safety, are not VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:50 Dec 03, 2008 Jkt 217001 considered unnecessary obstacles. The statute also requires consideration of international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis for U.S. standards. This final rule will not have an impact on international trade because it applies only to launches conducted in the United States. This final rule will help insure that all international treaties with respect to space and amateur rocket launches will be complied with. The FAA has assessed the potential effect of this final rule and has determined that it will have only a domestic impact and therefore no affect on international trade. Unfunded Mandates Assessment Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–4) requires each Federal agency to prepare a written statement assessing the effects of any Federal mandate in a proposed or final agency rule that may result in an expenditure of $100 million or more (adjusted annually for inflation with the base year 1995) in any one year by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector; such a mandate is deemed to be a ‘‘significant regulatory action.’’ The FAA currently uses an inflation-adjusted value of $136.1 million in lieu of $100 million. This final rule does not contain such a mandate; therefore, the requirements of Title II of the Act do not apply. Executive Order 13132, Federalism The FAA has analyzed this final rule under the principles and criteria of Executive Order 13132, Federalism. We determined that this action will not have a substantial direct effect on the States, or the relationship between the national Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, and, therefore, does not have federalism implications. Environmental Analysis FAA Order 1050.1E identifies FAA actions that are categorically excluded from preparation of an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act in the absence of extraordinary circumstances. The FAA has determined this rulemaking action qualifies for the categorical exclusion identified in paragraph 312d and involves no extraordinary circumstances. Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use The FAA has analyzed this final rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Concerning Regulations that Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (May 18, 2001). We have determined that it is not a ‘‘significant energy action’’ under the executive order because it is not a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ under Executive Order 12866, and it is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. Availability of Rulemaking Documents You can get an electronic copy of rulemaking documents using the Internet by— 1. Searching the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov); 2. Visiting the FAA’s Regulations and Policies Web page at http:// www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/; or 3. Accessing the Government Printing Office’s Web page at http:// www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html. You can also get a copy by sending a request to the Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Rulemaking, ARM–1, 800 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20591, or by calling (202) 267–9680. Make sure to identify the amendment number or docket number of this rulemaking. Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT’s complete Privacy Act statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477–78) or you may visit http://DocketsInfo.dot.gov. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) of 1996 requires FAA to comply with small entity requests for information or advice about compliance with statutes and regulations within its jurisdiction. If you are a small entity and you have a question regarding this document, you may contact your local FAA official, or the person listed under the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT heading at the beginning of the preamble. You can find out more about SBREFA on the Internet at http://www.faa.gov/ regulations_policies/rulemaking/ sbre_act/. List of Subjects in 14 CFR Parts 1, 101, 400, 401, and 420 Aircraft, Aviation safety, Life-limited parts, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. E:\FR\FM\04DER1.SGM 04DER1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 234 / Thursday, December 4, 2008 / Rules and Regulations The Amendment In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration amends parts 1, 101, 400, 401, and 420 of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows: ■ PART 1—DEFINITIONS AND ABBREVIATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 1 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701. 2. Add the following definition of Amateur rocket in alphabetical order to § 1.1 to read as follows: ■ § 1.1 General definitions. * * * * * Amateur rocket means an unmanned rocket that: (1) Is propelled by a motor or motors having a combined total impulse of 889,600 Newton-seconds (200,000 pound-seconds) or less; and (2) Cannot reach an altitude greater than 150 kilometers (93.2 statue miles) above the earth’s surface. * * * * * PART 101—MOORED BALLOONS, KITES, UNMANNED ROCKETS AND UNMANNED FREE BALLOONS 3. The authority citation for part 101 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40103, 40113– 40114, 45302, 44502, 44514, 44701–44702, 44721, 46308. 4. Amend § 101.1 by revising paragraph (a)(3) to read as follows: ■ § 101.1 Applicability. erowe on PROD1PC64 with RULES (a) This subpart applies to operating unmanned rockets. However, a person operating an unmanned rocket within a restricted area must comply with § 101.25(b)(7)(ii) and with any additional limitations imposed by the using or controlling agency. (b) A person operating an unmanned rocket other than an amateur rocket as defined in § 1.1 of this chapter must comply with 14 CFR Chapter III. ■ 6. Revise § 101.22 to read as follows: § 101.22 Definitions. The following definitions apply to this subpart: (a) Class 1—Model Rocket means an amateur rocket that: VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:50 Dec 03, 2008 Jkt 217001 § 101.23 General operating limitations. (a) You must operate an amateur rocket in such a manner that it: (1) Is launched on a suborbital trajectory; (2) When launched, must not cross into the territory of a foreign country unless an agreement is in place between the United States and the country of concern; (3) Is unmanned; and (4) Does not create a hazard to persons, property, or other aircraft. (b) The FAA may specify additional operating limitations necessary to ensure that air traffic is not adversely affected, and public safety is not jeopardized. ■ 8. Redesignate § 101.25 as § 101.27 and revise it to read as follows: § 101.27 Applicability. (a) * * * (3) Any unmanned rocket except aerial firework displays. * * * * * ■ 5. Revise § 101.21 to read as follows: § 101.21 (1) Uses no more than 125 grams (4.4 ounces) of propellant; (2) Uses a slow-burning propellant; (3) Is made of paper, wood, or breakable plastic; (4) Contains no substantial metal parts; and (5) Weighs no more than 1,500 grams (53 ounces), including the propellant. (b) Class 2—High-Power Rocket means an amateur rocket other than a model rocket that is propelled by a motor or motors having a combined total impulse of 40,960 Newton-seconds (9,208 pound-seconds) or less. (c) Class 3—Advanced High-Power Rocket means an amateur rocket other than a model rocket or high-power rocket. ■ 7. Revise § 101.23 to read as follows: ATC notification for all launches. No person may operate an unmanned rocket other than a Class 1—Model Rocket unless that person gives the following information to the FAA ATC facility nearest to the place of intended operation no less than 24 hours before and no more than three days before beginning the operation: (a) The name and address of the operator; except when there are multiple participants at a single event, the name and address of the person so designated as the event launch coordinator, whose duties include coordination of the required launch data estimates and coordinating the launch event; (b) Date and time the activity will begin; (c) Radius of the affected area on the ground in statute miles; (d) Location of the center of the affected area in latitude and longitude coordinates; (e) Highest affected altitude; (f) Duration of the activity; PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 73781 (g) Any other pertinent information requested by the ATC facility. ■ 9. Add new § 101.25 to Subpart C to read as follows: § 101.25 Operating limitations for Class 2—High-Power Rockets. (a) You must comply with the General Operating Limitations of § 101.23. (b) In addition, you must not operate a Class 2—High-Power Rocket— (1) At any altitude where clouds or obscuring phenomena of more than fivetenths coverage prevails; (2) At any altitude where the horizontal visibility is less than five miles; (3) Into any cloud; (4) Between sunset and sunrise without prior authorization from the FAA; (5) Within 8 kilometers (5 statute miles) of any airport boundary without prior authorization from the FAA; (6) In controlled airspace without prior authorization from the FAA; (7) Unless you observe the greater of the following separation distances from any person or property that is not associated with the operations applies: (i) Not less than one-quarter the maximum expected altitude; (ii) 457 meters (1,500 ft.); (8) Unless a person at least eighteen years old is present, is charged with ensuring the safety of the operation, and has final approval authority for initiating high-power rocket flight; and (9) Unless reasonable precautions are provided to report and control a fire caused by rocket activities. ■ 10. Add new § 101.26 to Subpart C to read as follows: § 101.26 Operating limitations for Class 3—Advanced High-Power Rockets. You must comply with: (a) The General Operating Limitations of § 101.23; (b) The operating limitations contained in § 101.25; (c) Any other operating limitations for Class 3—Advanced High-Power Rockets prescribed by the FAA that are necessary to ensure that air traffic is not adversely affected, and public safety is not jeopardized. ■ 11. Add § 101.29 to Subpart D to read as follows: § 101.29 Information requirements. (a) Class 2—High-Power Rockets. When a Class 2—High-Power Rocket requires a certificate of waiver or authorization, the person planning the operation must provide the information below on each type of rocket to the FAA at least 45 days before the proposed operation. The FAA may request E:\FR\FM\04DER1.SGM 04DER1 73782 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 234 / Thursday, December 4, 2008 / Rules and Regulations additional information if necessary to ensure the proposed operations can be safely conducted. The information shall include for each type of Class 2 rocket expected to be flown: (1) Estimated number of rockets, (2) Type of propulsion (liquid or solid), fuel(s) and oxidizer(s), (3) Description of the launcher(s) planned to be used, including any airborne platform(s), (4) Description of recovery system, (5) Highest altitude, above ground level, expected to be reached, (6) Launch site latitude, longitude, and elevation, and (7) Any additional safety procedures that will be followed. (b) Class 3—Advanced High-Power Rockets. When a Class 3—Advanced High-Power Rocket requires a certificate of waiver or authorization the person planning the operation must provide the information below for each type of rocket to the FAA at least 45 days before the proposed operation. The FAA may request additional information if necessary to ensure the proposed operations can be safely conducted. The information shall include for each type of Class 3 rocket expected to be flown: (1) The information requirements of paragraph (a) of this section, (2) Maximum possible range, (3) The dynamic stability characteristics for the entire flight profile, (4) A description of all major rocket systems, including structural, pneumatic, propellant, propulsion, ignition, electrical, avionics, recovery, wind-weighting, flight control, and tracking, (5) A description of other support equipment necessary for a safe operation, (6) The planned flight profile and sequence of events, (7) All nominal impact areas, including those for any spent motors and other discarded hardware, within three standard deviations of the mean impact point, (8) Launch commit criteria, (9) Countdown procedures, and (10) Mishap procedures. PART 400—BASIS AND SCOPE 12. The authority citation for part 400 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 49 U.S.C. 70101–70121. erowe on PROD1PC64 with RULES ■ 13. Revise § 400.2 to read as follows: § 400.2 Scope. These regulations set forth the procedures and requirements applicable to the authorization and supervision VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:50 Dec 03, 2008 Jkt 217001 under 49 U.S.C. Subtitle IX, chapter 701, of commercial space transportation activities conducted in the United States or by a U.S. citizen. The regulations in this chapter do not apply to amateur rockets activities, as defined in 14 CFR 1.1, or to space activities carried out by the United States Government on behalf of the United States Government. PART 401—ORGANIZATION AND DEFINITIONS 14. The authority citation for part 401 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 49 U.S.C. 70101–70121. § 401.5 [Amended] 15. Amend § 401.5 by removing the definition of Amateur rocket activities. ■ PART 420—LICENSE TO OPERATE A LAUNCH SITE 16. The authority citation for part 420 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 49 U.S.C. 70101–70121. ■ 17. Revise § 420.3 to read as follows: § 420.3 Applicability. This part applies to any person seeking a license to operate a launch site or to a person licensed under this part. A person operating a site that only supports amateur rocket activities as defined in 14 CFR 1.1, does not need a license under this part to operate the site. Issued in Washington, DC, on November 24, 2008. Robert A. Sturgell, Acting Administrator. [FR Doc. E8–28703 Filed 12–3–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA–2008–0589; Directorate Identifier 2008–NE–17–AD; Amendment 39– 15757; AD 2008–24–13] RIN 2120–AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Pratt & Whitney PW4000 Series 94-Inch Fan Turbofan Engines Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Pratt & Whitney (P&W) PW4052, PW4056, PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 PW4060, PW4062, PW4152, PW4156A, PW4158, PW4460, and PW4462 turbofan engines. This AD requires a onetime visual inspection of all EEC– 131 model electronic engine controls (EECs). This AD also requires the EECs to be identified, categorized by group number, marked, and replaced using a fleet management plan. This AD results from a report of an uncommanded engine in-flight shutdown due to defective EEC pulse width modulator (PWM) microcircuits. We are issuing this AD to prevent uncommanded inflight engine shutdowns which could result in loss of thrust and prevent continued safe flight or landing. DATES: This AD becomes effective January 8, 2009. The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the regulations as of January 8, 2009. ADDRESSES: You can get the service information identified in this AD from Pratt & Whitney, 400 Main St., East Hartford, CT 06108; telephone (860) 565–8770; fax (860) 565–4503. The Docket Operations office is located at Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590–0001. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin Dickert, Aerospace Engineer, Engine Certification Office, FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 12 New England Executive Park, Burlington, MA 01803; e-mail: kevin.dickert@faa.gov; telephone (781) 238–7117; fax (781) 238–7199. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The FAA proposed to amend 14 CFR part 39 with a proposed AD. The proposed AD applies to P&W PW4052, PW4056, PW4060, PW4062, PW4152, PW4156A, PW4158, PW4460, and PW4462 turbofan engines. We published the proposed AD in the Federal Register on August 14, 2008 (73 FR 47561). That action proposed to require a onetime visual inspection of all EEC–131 model EECs. That action also proposed to require the EECs to be identified, categorized by group number, marked, and replaced using a fleet management plan. Examining the AD Docket You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http:// www.regulations.gov; or in person at the Docket Operations office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for E:\FR\FM\04DER1.SGM 04DER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 234 (Thursday, December 4, 2008)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 73768-73782]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-28703]


=======================================================================
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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Parts 1, 101, 400, 401, and 420

[Docket No. FAA-2007-27390; Amendment Nos. 1-62, 101-8, 400-2, 401-6, 
and 420-4]
RIN 2120-2120-AI88


Requirements for Amateur Rocket Activities

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Final rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This final rule amends amateur rocket regulations to preserve 
the level of safety associated with amateur rocketry and to reflect 
current industry practice. The new regulations update and align FAA 
regulations with widely used advances in the amateur rocket industry, 
specify the required information collected from operators of advanced 
amateur rocket launches, and define amateur rocket classifications. 
This action also corrects minor inconsistencies in the current rule.

DATES: These amendments become effective February 2, 2009.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical questions concerning 
this final rule contact Charles P. Brinkman, Licensing and Safety 
Division (AST-200), Commercial Space Transportation, Federal Aviation 
Administration, 800 Independence Avenue, Washington, DC 20591, 
telephone (202) 267-7715, e-mail Phil.Brinkman@faa.gov. For legal 
questions concerning this final rule contact Gary Michel, Office of the 
Chief Counsel, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence 
Avenue, Washington, DC 20591, telephone (202) 267-3148.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Authority for This Rulemaking

    The FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety is found in 
Title 49 of the United States Code. Subtitle I, Section 106 describes 
the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, Aviation Programs 
describes in more detail the scope of the agency's authority.
    This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in 
Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Sections 40102, 40103, 40113-40114, 
and 44701-44702. Under those sections, the FAA is charged with 
prescribing regulations that govern air traffic rules on the flight of 
aircraft (which include unmanned rockets). This regulation is within 
the scope of that authority because it defines classes of unmanned 
rockets and details the information the FAA would require to issue a 
certificate of waiver or authorization to allow launching of an amateur 
rocket.

Background

    Historically, the FAA relied on State and local regulation, 
voluntary self-regulation, and its own analysis to fulfill its 
oversight responsibility for unmanned rocket operations under part 101. 
Until now, the voluntary self-regulation and State and local 
regulations adequately protected the public and ensured safe operation 
of amateur rockets. Amateur rocket performance continued to improve and 
participation in amateur rocket launches increased significantly.
    The FAA believes these activities need appropriate regulation for 
continued safe operation. This rulemaking is intended to preserve the 
safety record of amateur rocket activities, address inconsistencies, 
and clarify existing amateur rocket regulations.

Summary of the NPRM

    The Requirements for Amateur Rocket Activities notice of proposed 
rulemaking (NPRM) published in the Federal Register on June 14, 2007 
(72 FR 32816).
    The proposal added two new categories of amateur rocket operations 
and amended the definitions of the existing two categories. The new 
category structure would be numbered from Class 1 to Class 4. The two 
new categories would be Class 3--High-Powered Rocket and Class 4--
Advanced High-Power Rockets. These two new categories would capture 
amateur rockets that require significant FAA analyses to determine 
whether they can be safely operated within the National Air Space 
(NAS). The Class 1 and Class 2 rocket categories, meanwhile, would be 
slightly modified to incorporate current definitions of model rocket 
and large model rocket, respectively.
    We proposed to re-classify the existing information requirements 
and operating limitations currently required before a proposed launch 
for the more advanced amateur rocket activities. Low risk Class 1--
Model Rocket operators would continue to be exempt from information 
requirements. Operators of Class 2--Large Model Rockets would continue 
to provide their names, addresses, highest anticipated altitude, 
location of the launch, date, time, and duration of the launch event. 
This information enables us to take appropriate action to ensure safe 
operation in the NAS.
    The notice also proposed to specify reporting practices for the new 
category Class 3 and Class 4 rockets. Operators of rockets with these 
characteristics generally file for a certificate of waiver or 
authorization to conduct their operations. They are exempt from launch 
license regulations in part 400. Operators are often contacted for 
additional information when the FAA receives their waiver application. 
As proposed, most, if not all, information would be submitted on the 
initial waiver application, which would save the FAA and the operator's 
time and expense.
    Amateur rocket regulations were written when the amateur rocket 
community used mainly solid rocket motors. Now the amateur rocket

[[Page 73769]]

community also uses liquid propellants. We proposed to redefine amateur 
rocket activity to reflect this advanced rocket environment and codify 
safe practices being used by the amateur rocket community.

Summary of Comments

    The FAA received comments from 33 entities including rocketry 
associations, a pilot association, and individuals. Associations 
commenting on behalf of their memberships include the National 
Association of Rocketry (NAR), Tripoli Rocketry Association (TRA), 
Rocketry Association of California (ROC), Rocketry of Central Carolina, 
and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). Many individual 
commenters also identified themselves as members of these 
organizations.
    In general, commenters supported the proposed requirements and 
suggested several changes. The comments fall into the following 
categories:
     Definition of classes for amateur rockets;
     Prohibition of amateur rocket activities within 5 miles of 
an airport;
     Separation distances from amateur rocket activities and 
participants, and persons or property not associated with the 
activities;
     Need for the presence of someone at least 18 years old;
     Need to take measures to control any fire caused by 
amateur rocket activities; and
     Specific information and notice requirements.

Discussion of the Final Rule

    Below is a more detailed discussion of the rule as it relates to 
the comments we received.

Amateur Rocket Definitions

    The FAA proposes to define amateur rocket as an unmanned rocket 
propelled by a motor or motors having a combined total impulse of 
889,600 Newton-seconds (200,000 pound-seconds) or less, and cannot 
reach an altitude greater than 150 km (93.2 statute miles) above the 
earth's surface.
    The ROC commented that the value of 889,600 Newton-seconds falls in 
the middle of the ``T'' impulse range, using the values in common usage 
by amateur rocket hobbyists. As a result, the value in the NPRM 
definition does not correspond with any natural dividing line between 
impulse levels.
    The ROC recommended the FAA increase the total impulse limit for 
amateur rockets from 889,600 Newton-seconds to 1,310,720 Newton-
seconds. The FAA believes the current total impulse limit represents a 
reasonable boundary based on the potential performance of a rocket with 
that total impulse.
    The FAA adopts the definition language in Sec.  1.1, as proposed.
    Proposed Sec.  101.22 would require an amateur rocket be launched 
on a suborbital trajectory. Two individual commenters suggested the FAA 
begin to consider rulemaking for amateur rockets that may go into Earth 
orbit. One addressed the limit of 150 km specified in Sec.  1.1. The 
second suggested the FAA re-examine the requirement that amateur 
rockets be suborbital, as proposed in Sec.  101.22. The FAA believes 
that 150 km is the best limit for amateur rocket launch operations. Any 
rocket that goes above the 150 km altitude limit will involve licensing 
issues, i.e., foreign policy, national security, and safety concerns.

Location of Amateur Rocket Regulations

    The FAA proposed to move the rules governing operation of model 
rockets from Subpart A--General (Sec.  101.1) to Subpart C--Unmanned 
Rockets (Sec.  101.21). This proposal would align all definitions and 
operating requirements for unmanned rockets in a single subpart. We 
would continue to allow model rockets to operate without FAA oversight. 
We received no comments on this action. The FAA adopts this proposal 
without change.

Amateur Rocket Definitions

    We proposed two new classes of amateur rockets. We defined Class 1 
as an amateur rocket using less than 125 grams (4.4 ounces) of slow-
burning propellant and weighing no more than 454 grams (16 ounces) 
including the propellant. We defined Class 2 as an amateur rocket using 
less than 125 grams (4.4 ounces) of slow-burning propellant and 
weighing no more than 1,500 grams (53 ounces) including propellant.
    The NAR, ROC, and 13 individual commenters noted that the only 
difference between Class 1 and Class 2 is weight. The NAR conducted 
computer flight simulations of these two classes of amateur rockets to 
demonstrate the ``heavier models have far less velocity and altitude 
potential.'' The NAR's flight experience with rockets meeting the 
specifications of both classes indicates that both types can be flown 
using the operating limitations proposed for Class 1. The NAR, as well 
as the other commenters on this section, recommended combining Class 1 
and Class 2 into a single classification--Class 1. The other classes 
would be renumbered. Therefore, requirements specified in the NPRM for 
Class 3 and Class 4 now apply to Class 2.
    The FAA created the two classes, model rocket and large model 
rocket, in 1994. Since that time amateur rocket hobbyists have 
established a history of safe operation for large model rockets. We 
have analyzed the performance of proposed large model rockets, in light 
of NAR's suggestion, and found they can cause more significant damage 
to persons or property than model rockets. However, neither model 
rockets nor large model rockets can affect air traffic if operated in 
accordance with this regulation. Since local ordinances cover hazards 
due to the reckless use of model and large model rockets on ground-
based property and persons, the FAA agrees that combining these two 
classes is appropriate. Therefore, the FAA combines the proposed Class 
1--Model Rocket and Class 2--Large Model Rocket into a single Class 1--
Model Rocket. We have decided the operating limitations contained in 
Sec.  101.24 of the NPRM are not necessary for the combined Class 1 
Model Rockets, and, therefore, proposed Sec.  101.24 is removed.
    We proposed a new Class 3--High-Power Rocket as an amateur rocket 
other than a model rocket or large model rocket propelled by a motor or 
motors having a combined total impulse of 163,840 Newton-seconds 
(36,818 pound-seconds) or less.
    Several commenters recommended the upper limit for Class 3 be 
reduced from 163,840 Newton-seconds to 40,960 Newton-seconds. They 
stated this reduction would place the upper limit at the ``O'' class, 
as documented in the TRA safety code. Some commenters noted that a 
rocket carrying a motor above the ``O'' class, or 40,960 Newton-
seconds, could reach altitudes greater than 7,620 meters (25,000 feet). 
These commenters suggest any rocket with the ability to reach greater 
altitudes belongs in Class 4--Advanced High-Power Rockets.
    The FAA agrees. In addition to creating a class of rocketry that is 
inconsistent with the TRA safety code, the proposal, if adopted, would 
be inconsistent with the 2008 National Fire Protection Association 
(NFPA) 1127 Code for High-Power Rockets. This code also addresses 
rockets having total impulse up to 40,960 Newton-seconds (9,208 pound-
seconds) or ``O'' motor class. Further, most amateur rocket activities 
involve rockets with a total impulse of 40,960 Newton-seconds or less. 
The FAA has reconsidered this proposal and revises the criteria and 
class for high-power rockets. The Class 2--High Power Rocket is defined 
as having a combined total impulse of

[[Page 73770]]

40,960 Newton-seconds (9,208 pound-seconds).

Operating Limitations

    We proposed the following general operating limitations for amateur 
rocket activities:
    An amateur rocket must be:
     Launched on a suborbital trajectory,
     Unmanned, and
     Not cross into the territory of a foreign country unless 
there is an agreement between the United States and the country of 
concern.
    We further included a condition that we may specify additional 
operating restrictions necessary to ensure that air traffic is not 
adversely affected, and public safety is not jeopardized.
    We received no comments on this section. These requirements are 
adopted, as proposed, although the section is renumbered as Sec.  
101.23.
    We proposed an additional operating limitation for Class 1 model 
rockets in proposed Sec.  101.23. Specifically, persons operating this 
class of rocket must do so in a manner that does not create a hazard to 
persons, property, or other aircraft.
    No comments were received on this proposal. However, after further 
review, we realize our intent was to apply this requirement to all 
classes of amateur rockets. We have removed any specific reference to 
Class 1 model rockets. These requirements now apply to amateur rockets 
in general.

Amateur Rocket Activities Within 5 Miles of an Airport

    Proposed Sec.  101.25(b) would prohibit operating High-Power 
Rockets within 8 kilometers (5 miles) of any airport boundary. We 
received comments from the NAR, ROC, Rocketry of Central Carolina, and 
13 individual commenters stating the proposed rule does not provide 
flexibility for waiving this requirement. They commented further that 
the proposal does not consider airport size, frequency of flight 
operations, facilities, location, or history of safe operations, and 
maintained that it is unclear whether this requirement can be waived.
    The FAA understands High-Power Rockets have a long history of safe 
operation within 5 statute miles of airport boundaries and agrees such 
operations should be allowed to continue, when appropriate, under a 
certificate of waiver or authorization.

Separation Distances From Amateur Rocket Activities

    Proposed Sec. Sec.  101.25 and 101.26 would stipulate that, no 
person may operate a high-power rocket or advanced high-power rocket 
within 457 meters (1,500 ft.) of any person or property not associated 
with the operation. The same separation distance exists in the current 
regulation. This distance from any person or property not associated 
with the operation also applies to Class 4--Advanced High-Power Rocket 
(Sec.  101.26).
    Several commenters questioned the requirement regarding proposed 
separation distances. One commenter requested clarification regarding 
whether uninvolved public includes spectators. The commenters note the 
2008 Edition of NFPA 1127, Code for High Power Rocketry, specifies 
differing minimum separation distances for spectators and participants 
that relate to the classifications of rocket motors. Commenters 
recommended the FAA adopt the NFPA standards that establish minimum 
separation distances between the launch point, spectators, and other 
exposed elements of the public. Commenters also noted that both NAR and 
TRA follow the safety requirements of the rocketry-related codes 
published by NFPA.
    In developing this proposal, the FAA considered amateur rocketry 
events and participants involved, their families and friends, and a few 
casual spectators. Various rocketry groups do not include spectators in 
the 1,500 feet separation distance for persons or property not 
associated with the operations. In fact, the 2008 Edition of NFPA 1127 
recognizes this disparity by providing separation distances for 
spectators and participants that are less stringent than the existing 
FAA requirement. However, we do not intend to encourage the presence of 
large crowds of spectators close to the launch because their presence 
would pose a significant threat to those spectators.
    Most commonly launched amateur rockets are small and their hazards 
typically are also small. No serious accidents or incidents have been 
reported by NAR and TRA. While there have been no reported accidents 
associated with launches of larger amateur rockets, the risk associated 
with a large amateur rocket launch could be considerably greater. 
Participants and spectators, clearly associated with the activity, are 
not required to comply with the specified separation. We retain the 
provision in Sec.  101.23(b) to specify additional operating 
limitations, as necessary, to ensure air traffic operations are not 
adversely affected, and public safety is not jeopardized. The FAA 
routinely attaches conditions to certificates of waiver or 
authorization for larger amateur rocket launches specifying separation 
distances greater than 1,500 feet applicable to spectators and persons 
not associated with the operation.
    The FAA agrees, in principal, with the commenters' suggestion to 
adopt the NFPA standard. Generally, those engaged in amateur rocket 
activities have applied the 457 meters (1,500 ft.) distance requirement 
to the uninvolved public. As stated in the NPRM, the FAA seeks 
primarily to codify existing practice. Current amateur rocket 
activities, especially those under the auspices of various rocketry 
associations, have not resulted in harm to persons not associated with 
the operations. The FAA believes the 1,500 feet separation distance has 
served a useful purpose, and we retain this separation minimum in the 
final rule for High-Power Rockets and Advanced High-Power Rockets.
    In consideration of the comments recommending the FAA adopt the 
NFPA 1127 separation distance requirements, we will require an 
additional separation distance from any person or property not 
associated with the operation. This decision is based on the minimum 
site dimensions provided in NFPA 1127. In the regulation, we instead 
specify this as an equivalent separation distance assuming the launch 
location is in the center of the site. This minimum separation distance 
is equal to one quarter of the expected maximum altitude or 457 meters 
(1,500 ft.), whichever is greater. Under normal conditions, this 
requirement will be adequate to protect public safety. When greater 
separation distances are required to protect spectators, the FAA will 
specify additional operating limitations in any certificate of waiver 
or authorization it may grant.
    The FAA believes its principal responsibility is to protect those 
individuals and property not associated with the launch. This approach 
differs somewhat from that taken under 14 CFR Chapter III where the FAA 
counts spectators as part of the public in its risk analysis. The 
rationale for this different approach reflects the good job rocketry 
associations do in protecting spectators. Usually, spectators viewing 
amateur rocket launches are more closely associated with the operations 
than those viewing FAA-licensed launches and do not have as great a 
potential for a catastrophic accident, such as loss of life or serious 
injury.

Need for Presence of Someone at Least 18 Years Old

    Proposed Sec.  101.25(f) stipulates that no person may operate a 
High-Power Rocket unless a person at least 18 years old is present; 
that person is charged

[[Page 73771]]

with ensuring the safety of the operation and has final approval 
authority for initiating high-power rocket flight. The NAR supported 
this requirement. We received no other comments on this proposal. The 
FAA adopts Sec.  101.25(f) as proposed.

Measures To Control Fire Caused by Amateur Rocket Activity

    The FAA proposed that no person may operate a High-Power Rocket 
unless reasonable precautions are provided to report and control a fire 
caused by rocket activity. The NAR supported the proposal and went on 
to reference the NFPA 1127 Code for High Power Rocketry. Conversely, 
the ROC does not believe this provision is necessary or appropriate for 
codification.
    We disagree. This requirement is consistent with our mission to 
ensure the safety of any person or property not associated with the 
operations. In developing the proposed rule, our goal was to eliminate 
duplicate requirements imposed by other Federal agencies or state or 
local governments. For example, this proposal contains no explicit 
requirements concerning hazardous materials because other Federal and 
local laws are applicable. The proposal is intended to protect the 
``uninvolved'' public, on the ground and in the air. It would not 
supersede any other laws or ordinances. Operators of high-power and 
advanced high-power rockets would be required to take reasonable 
precautions to control and report a fire. Additionally, operators would 
comply with local ordinances as applicable, because a fire in some of 
the remote areas where amateur rocket launches occur could have serious 
consequences. The FAA adopts Sec.  101.25(g) as proposed.

Operating Limitations for Advanced High-Power Rockets

    The FAA proposed additional operating limitations for Advanced 
High-Power Rockets to ensure air traffic is not adversely affected and 
public safety is not jeopardized. We received no comments on this 
section. Therefore, the FAA adopts Sec.  101.26 as proposed.

Notice Requirements

    We proposed that FAA Air Traffic Control (ATC) must receive notice 
requirement information no less than 24 hours before and no more than 3 
days before the amateur rocket activities take place.
    Three commenters expressed concern that this proposed rule means a 
temporary flight restriction (TFR) must be in place before an amateur 
rocket launch can occur. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association 
(AOPA) recommended adding clear guidance to prohibit the use of TFRs 
for amateur rocket activities. Two individual commenters urged that 
there be no change in the current NOTAM procedures. Another commenter 
questioned the necessity of collecting personal information about 
amateur rocket operators and requiring operators to apply for a 
certificate of waiver or authorization before conducting amateur rocket 
activities.
    The FAA stresses that the only change proposed was to the timeline 
for giving information to ATC. Operators must still notify ATC no less 
than 24 hours before amateur rocket activities begin. We proposed to 
change the second half of the timeline from `no more than 48 hours' to 
`no more than 3 days' before amateur rocket activities begin. This 
change would synchronize FAA regulations with FAA Order 7930.2, Para. 
4-1-1, Notice to Airmen. We did not propose changes to requirements for 
NOTAMs or TFR procedures. Because we did not propose any changes, any 
ban on the use of TFRs for amateur rocket activities is outside the 
scope of this rulemaking.
    The information requested in the notice requirement is needed to 
ensure the safety and integrity of the NAS, to issue a NOTAM, or take 
other action. The FAA adopts the timeline requirements in Sec.  101.27, 
as proposed. However, the title was changed to include ATC notification 
for all launches.

Latitude and Longitude, Information Required 45 Days Before Rocket 
Activities, and Estimated Number of Rockets

    As proposed in the NPRM under Sec.  101.27(d), no person may 
operate an unmanned rocket, other than a Class 1--Model Rocket, unless 
that person provides the FAA with the location of the center of the 
affected area in latitude and longitude coordinates. Proposed Sec.  
101.29(a)(7) lists the launch site latitude and longitude among the 
detailed information requirements a person operating a High-Power 
Rocket must submit to the FAA when requesting a certificate of waiver 
or authorization. The information must be provided at least 45 days 
before the proposed operation.
    The NAR, ROC, and eight individual commenters proposed a 
modification to this notice requirement. Previous sponsors of launch 
activities have submitted distances along a VOR radial to describe 
their location. An individual commenter noted that his organization has 
provided latitude and longitude coordinates in its certificate of 
waiver or authorization applications. According to this commenter, its 
organization has been asked to give the location as a VOR radial and 
distance. These commenters suggest there are other acceptable methods 
to locate a launch pad, such as checking distance along a VOR radial.
    We find that latitude and longitude coordinates provide the most 
accurate method of fixing an exact location. Further, a latitude and 
longitude location is consistent with FAA charting practices. The FAA 
adopts the requirements of Sec.  101.27(d) and Sec.  101.29(a)(7), as 
proposed, except these requirements are located in Sec.  101.29(a)(6).
    The NAR, TRA, ROC, and 16 individual commenters questioned the need 
for the 45 days in advance of the rocket activity. An individual 
commenter noted that due to uncertainties in schedules and weather, 
among other things, participants in rocket launch events involving 
High-Power Rockets may not know if the event is really going to occur, 
if they are going to attend, and what rockets they are going to fly 
until shortly before the event, the day of the event, or even during 
the event. The commenter contends these last-minute changes occur for 
bona-fide reasons involving matters such as wind direction and speed 
and cloud cover that cannot be predicted with any assurance. The 
commenter further contends rocket launch events involve multiple 
participants who need to be able to have flexibility to lower their 
flight plans if weather deteriorates at the last minute or raise them 
if weather improves.
    The NAR and ROC cite the current practice of completing one annual 
certificate of waiver or authorization for all their planned amateur 
rocket events for a calendar year. That certificate describes the types 
of amateur rockets typically launched at these events. The certificate 
of waiver or authorization requires notification to the local ATC 
facility 48 hours prior to each flight activity. The NAR and ROC 
recommend adoption of requirements that reflect current practice.
    The FAA agrees. We intended to retain the current practice and have 
modified the language in the final rule to do so. When requesting a 
certificate of waiver or authorization, the FAA will require each 
person or organization to provide the requested information at least 45 
days before the proposed operation. An organization can still submit an 
application for an annual certificate of waiver or authorization, 
detailing the events for the coming year.

[[Page 73772]]

    As proposed in Sec.  101.29(a)(1), a person operating a High-Power 
Rocket that requires a certificate of waiver or authorization must 
provide the information requested on each rocket to be flown. The NAR, 
TRA, ROC, and 12 individual commenters objected strenuously to this 
provision. The ROC noted that rocketry clubs typically file a single 
certificate of waiver or authorization application for the year. They 
detail the dates for the event and the types of amateur rockets they 
expect to be flown. What they actually fly will depend on how many 
people show up, what rockets they bring with them, what the weather 
conditions are, and other factors. They state that adopting the NPRM as 
written would require them to complete Form 7711-2 for each rocket they 
expect to fly. In the case of the ROC, this could mean deluging the FAA 
with ``multiple thousands of notices.'' One commenter calculated that 
for a typical weekend launch, he ``might bring 10 rockets, each of 
which can be flown with one of 10 different motors, and perhaps a 
similar number of pad and recovery choices, making 1,000 possible 
combinations. If there are 100 fliers at the event, the waiver 
documentation could be 100,000 pages.'' He then notes that Form 7711-2 
requires the information to be in triplicate. All the commenters on 
this issue urge that the FAA require the current practice for these 
launch events--that is, an approximate number of rockets to be flown 
and an aggregate of information on those rockets. That would mean the 
maximum size, weight, and power to be flown, and the maximum altitude 
and radius expected for these rockets.
    The FAA agrees and fully intended that current practice be 
reflected in the final rule. We now state that each person or 
organization must provide the information requested at least 45 days 
before the proposed operation and clarify that the 45-day requirement 
applies only when a certificate of waiver or authorization is 
necessary. Organizations may continue to aggregate the information and 
detail the maximum parameters they expect for a given event.

Information Requirement for Type of Propulsion, Fuel(s), Oxidizer(s), 
Manufacturer, and Certification

    As proposed in the NPRM under Sec.  101.29(a)(2), a person 
operating a Class 3--High-Power Rocket that requires a certificate of 
waiver or authorization must provide the FAA information on the type of 
propulsion, fuel(s), oxidizer(s), manufacturer, and certification, if 
any, for the rockets.
    The NAR, TRA, ROC, and 11 individual commenters noted that 
requiring information on propulsion systems, fuels, oxidizers, 
manufacturers, and certifications does not contribute to preserving 
safety. The commenters recommended that this requirement be stricken 
entirely from the final rule. In lieu of striking the requirement, the 
NAR would note that the NFPA has established standards for the 
certification and production of amateur rocket motors in NFPA Code 
1125, ``Code for the Manufacture of Model Rocket and High Power Rocket 
Motors, 2007 Edition.'' The NAR's Standards and Testing Committee tests 
motors to this standard, and NAR members can only use engines on its 
ranges that have been tested and passed these standards.
    The FAA conducted more research into whether having knowledge of 
these elements has an impact on safety. We found that having 
information about the manufacturer and any certification of a rocket 
does not increase the FAA's ability to determine the safe operation of 
amateur rocket activities. However, we do need to know the type of 
propulsion, fuels, and oxidizers involved because some of them are 
highly explosive or toxic. Therefore, the FAA removes the manufacturer 
and certification information requirement from the final rule. We 
retain the propulsion, fuels, and oxidizers information requirement, as 
proposed.

Description of the Launcher(s)

    As proposed in the NPRM under Sec.  101.29(a)(3), operators must 
provide a description of the launcher(s) planned for their amateur 
rocket activities, including any airborne platform(s).
    The NAR, TRA, ROC, and 11 individual commenters noted that 
requiring a description of the launcher does not contribute to 
preserving safety. They state there is no record of launcher-related 
failures resulting in an unsafe flight condition, life threatening 
injury, or property damage.
    The FAA disagrees because there are documented incidents where a 
balloon launcher failure occurred and started a fire on the ground. In 
addition, we find that having a description of the launcher adds a 
safety benefit to amateur rocket activities. A launcher failure could 
cause the rocket to veer in a different direction than intended. The 
FAA adopts Sec.  101.29(a)(3), as proposed.

Description of the Recovery System

    As proposed in the NPRM under Sec.  101.29(a)(4), operators must 
provide a description of their recovery system. The NAR, TRA, ROC, and 
12 individual commenters propose this requirement be removed from the 
final rule. They maintain the FAA did not explain why such information 
is necessary for flight safety.
    The FAA disagrees with these comments. This information allows the 
FAA to calculate the hazard area for an amateur rocket launch event. 
The FAA adopts Sec.  101.29(a)(4), as proposed.

Additional Safety Procedures

    As proposed in the NPRM under Sec.  101.29(a)(8), operators must 
provide any additional safety procedures that will be followed. The 
NAR, TRA, ROC, and 11 individual commenters found this section to be 
vague and unnecessary. Several commenters proposed this section should 
be modified to make clear that flying on NAR safety codes is an 
acceptable method to report this information.
    While the FAA believes the NAR and TRA safety codes contribute to 
the safety of amateur rocket activities, we cannot make a blanket 
requirement accepting these safety codes. The codes may change in the 
future. The FAA would then be bound to whatever those changes might be. 
We must have the ability to require additional information as 
circumstances or technology changes might demand. The FAA adopts Sec.  
101.29(a)(8), as proposed.

Miscellaneous Comments

    One commenter suggested that Sec.  101.29 be changed to require the 
information listed only for those flights that exceed 25,000 feet. TRA 
noted they have a precise procedure for reviewing and approving all 
flights held at TRA-sanctioned events that will exceed 24,000 feet in 
apogee. Since their criteria are similar to the information 
requirements detailed in the NPRM, they see no need to change the rule. 
The FAA disagrees because these requirements also apply to operations 
not sanctioned by TRA. The FAA adopts Sec.  101.29, as proposed.
    One commenter suggested that the rule exempt Class 1 Model Rockets 
from U.S. Postal Service (USPS) restrictions to allow mailing these 
``common goods'' without special labeling and papers. The commenter 
suggested a number of other changes to the rule to facilitate shipping 
model rockets. These suggestions are outside the scope of this 
rulemaking. The FAA has no authority to release amateur rocket 
enthusiasts from USPS regulations, nor can we impose regulations not 
associated with aviation on the USPS.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    Information collection requirements associated with this final rule 
have been

[[Page 73773]]

approved previously by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under 
the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
3507(d)), and have been assigned OMB Control Number 2120-0027. There is 
no increase in paperwork required as a result of this rulemaking.

International Compatibility

    In keeping with U.S. obligations under the Convention on 
International Civil Aviation, it is FAA policy to comply with 
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and 
Recommended Practices to the maximum extent practicable. The FAA has 
determined that there are no ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices 
that correspond to these regulations.

Regulatory Evaluation, Regulatory Flexibility Determination, 
International Trade Impact Assessment, and Unfunded Mandates Assessment

    Changes to Federal regulations must undergo several economic 
analyses. First, Executive Order 12866 directs that each Federal agency 
shall propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination 
that the benefits of the intended regulation justify its costs. Second, 
the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-354) requires 
agencies to analyze the economic impact of regulatory changes on small 
entities. Third, the Trade Agreements Act (Pub. L. 96-39) prohibits 
agencies from setting standards that create unnecessary obstacles to 
the foreign commerce of the United States. In developing U.S. 
standards, this Trade Act requires agencies to consider international 
standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis of U.S. 
standards. Fourth, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 
104-4) requires agencies to prepare a written assessment of the costs, 
benefits, and other effects of proposed or final rules that include a 
Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, local, or 
tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 
million or more annually (adjusted for inflation with base year of 
1995). This portion of the preamble summarizes the FAA's analysis of 
the economic impacts of this final rule.
    Department of Transportation Order DOT 2100.5 prescribes policies 
and procedures for simplification, analysis, and review of regulations. 
If the expected cost impact is so minimal that a proposed or final rule 
does not warrant a full evaluation, this order permits that a statement 
to that effect and the basis for it be included in the preamble if a 
full regulatory evaluation of the cost and benefits is not prepared. 
Such a determination has been made for this final rule. The reasoning 
for this determination follows.
    We will first discuss the non-quantified benefits and then discuss 
the quantified cost-savings benefits of this final rule.

Benefits

General
    This final rule provides several benefits. General benefits 
provided include the updating, streamlining, and modernizing of the 
existing regulations for amateur rocket activities. More specific 
benefits are discussed below.
Maximum Altitude Definition
    This final rule defines a maximum altitude of 150 kilometers or 
492,120 feet for amateur rockets. This allows a prospective amateur 
rocket operator to determine if the proposed rocket can be classified 
as an amateur rocket and thus avoid the necessity and expense of 
obtaining a license. This altitude limit also provides a reasonable 
margin of safety for objects that are already in orbit. Although this 
final rule defines a maximum altitude for amateur rockets, for 
practical purposes, it is not imposing a new altitude limit on amateur 
rocket activities because the requirements of the existing rule for 
burn time and ballistic coefficient, which will be eliminated under 
this final rule, make it virtually impossible for an amateur rocket 
launched under the existing regulations to reach the altitude defined 
in this final rule.
Suborbital Requirement
    This final rule requires that amateur rockets be launched in such a 
manner that they will not become orbital. The current rule has no such 
specific restriction. By specifically prohibiting orbital launches of 
amateur rockets, this provision of this final rule provides the benefit 
of protecting existing orbital objects, such as the International Space 
Station (ISS) and orbiting civil and military satellites, from a 
possible collision with an amateur rocket.
Not Cross International Boundary Requirement
    The final rule requires that an amateur rocket not cross an 
international boundary unless an international treaty exists that 
permits such activity. We do not know of an amateur rocket sent from 
the United States that crossed an international boundary. Although, the 
rule will make this specific to the amateur rockets, it is generally 
necessary to have some kind of international agreement in order to 
cross international borders. The benefit provided by this provision of 
this final rule is that it helps prevent international incidents.
Elimination of Burn Time and Ballistic Coefficient Requirements
    This final rule eliminates the existing requirements for a burn 
time of less than 15 seconds and a ballistic coefficient requirement of 
less than 12 pounds per square inch. The elimination of these 
requirements allows amateur rocket activities to operate in accordance 
with current industry practice and recognizes technological changes 
since the establishment of the existing regulations. In particular, the 
elimination of the burn time requirement allows for the optimum 
operation of liquid rockets.
Revision of Amateur Rocket Classes
    Table B-1 shows a comparison of the existing amateur rocket classes 
and this final rule's rocket classes.
    The existing amateur rocket rule has three classes of rockets: 
Model rockets, large model rockets, and others. These classes were 
categorized by weight of propellant, type of propellant, property of 
rocket, and operation as detailed in Table B-1. The term ``other'', as 
discussed in the NPRM, captures unmanned launches other than amateur 
launches. These would include FAA-licensed or permitted launches, as 
well as U.S. government launches.
    This final rule provides for four classes of rockets: Class 1--
Model Rockets; Class 2--High-Power Rockets; Class 3--Advanced High-
Power Rockets; and a fourth non-numbered Class--Other. The detailed 
definition of these classes is shown in Table B-1.
    The benefit of this final rule's classifications is that the new 
definitions are more closely aligned with current practices than are 
the existing classifications. In addition, for this final rule's Class 
1 rockets, the FAA is removing the notification requirement thereby 
reducing the burden on those seeking to launch model rockets.
(Benefit Tables B-1 through B-3)

[[Page 73774]]



 Table B-1--Comparison of Existing and Final Rule Amateur Rocket Classes
------------------------------------------------------------------------
       Existing rule categories:              Final rule categories:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Model Rockets:                           Class 1--Model Rockets:
     Uses no more than 4 ounces      Uses no more than
     (113.5 grams) of propellant.            125 grams (4.4 ounces) of
                                             propellant.
     Uses a slow-burning             Uses a slow-burning
     propellant.                             propellant.
     Is made of paper, wood, or      Is made of paper,
     breakable plastic.                      wood, or breakable plastic.
     Contains no substantial         Contains no
     metal parts.                            substantial metal parts.
     Weighs no more than 454         Weighs no more than
     grams (16 ounces), including the        1,500 grams (53 ounces)
     propellant.                             including propellant.
Large Model Rockets:
     Uses no more than 125
     grams (4.4 ounces) of propellant.
     Uses a slow-burning
     propellant.
     Is made of paper, wood, or
     breakable plastic.
     Contains no substantial
     metal parts.
     Weighs no more than 1,500
     grams (53 ounces) including
     propellant.
Other:                                   Class 2--High-Power Rockets:
     Undefined--every unmanned       A rocket other than
     rocket other than a model or large      a Class 1, propelled by a
     model rocket.                           rocket motor or motors
                                             having a combined total
                                             impulse of 40,960 N-sec
                                             (9,208 lb-sec) or less.
                                         Class 3--Advanced High-Power
                                          Rockets:
                                          Any amateur rocket
                                          other than a Class 1 or 2.
                                         Other:
                                          Any unmanned rocket
                                          that is not an amateur rocket.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Revision of Data Collection Process
    Amateur rocket launches may require that data be provided to the 
nearest air traffic facility. In addition, for the larger amateur 
rockets, it may be necessary to apply for a waiver and provide the 
required data. Table B-2 shows the data requirements that must be 
reported to the nearest FAA air traffic control (ATC) facility.

                                    Table B-2--Amateur Rocket Notice Requirements to the Nearest Air Traffic Facility
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   Existing rule                                                  Final rule
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                           Class 3--
                                Model  rockets      Large model          Other        Class 1-- model  Class 2-- high-   advanced high-       Other
                                                      rockets                             rocket        power rockets    power rockets
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notice requirements to         None............  24 hrs..........  24 hrs..........  None............  24 hrs.........  24 hrs.........  24 hrs.
 nearest ATC facility.
Operator: Name(s) and          ................       [radic]           [radic]      ................      [radic]          [radic]          [radic]
 Address(es).
Date/time the activity will    ................       [radic]           [radic]      ................      [radic]          [radic]          [radic]
 begin.
Estimated number of rockets    ................       [radic]           [radic]
 to be operated.
Estimated size and weight of   ................       [radic]           [radic]
 each rocket.
Location of the center of the  ................       [radic]           [radic]      ................      [radic]          [radic]          [radic]
 affected area.
Highest affected altitude....  ................       [radic]           [radic]      ................      [radic]          [radic]          [radic]
Duration of the activity.....  ................       [radic]           [radic]      ................      [radic]          [radic]          [radic]
Date/time/duration...........  ................       [radic]           [radic]      ................      [radic]          [radic]          [radic]
Other pertinent information    ................       [radic]           [radic]      ................      [radic]          [radic]          [radic]
 requested by the FAA.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    No person may operate an unmanned rocket, other than a Class 1--
Model Rocket, unless that person gives the information shown in Table 
B-2 to the ATC facility nearest the intended operation no less than 24 
hours before and no more than three days before beginning the 
operation. This final rule will expand the model rocket category to 
include what had been large model rockets. Previously, a person 
operating a large model rocket needed to provide the information shown 
on Table B-2 to the ATC facility. Notification is not required for the 
expanded Class 1--Model Rocket category under this final rule.
    Table B-3 shows the information requirements for a certificate of 
waiver or authorization. As is shown on the table, no certificate of 
waiver or authorization is required to operate a Class 1-Model Rocket. 
With the expansion of this category to include what had been large 
model rockets, this final rule will reduce waiver requests.
    This final rule will eliminate the requirement to obtain a license 
or permit for launches where the burn-time exceeds 15 seconds. Hence, 
the proposed launches that previously required a license or permit, now 
would only require a waiver or authorization from the FAA, and only if 
operating beyond the limitations listed in Sec. Sec.  101.25 or 101.26. 
These limitations include operating in controlled airspace and within 8 
kilometers (5 miles) of any

[[Page 73775]]

airport boundary without prior authorization by the FAA.
    The primary difference between the information requirements in the 
existing rule and the new rule is that the information previously 
required as part of the request for a waiver or authorization was 
identified generally as ``a detailed description of the proposed 
operation.'' In practice, the type of information shown in Table B-3 
was provided with the request for a waiver. However, the FAA often 
needed to request more detailed information. The asterisk indicates 
that the information typically is required only for more powerful or 
advanced amateur rockets. Some of the informational elements are 
typically not applicable for smaller rockets. The FAA believes a rule 
specifying the required information will actually reduce the burden on 
applicants.
    The Table B-3 entries labeled current practice are not existing FAA 
regulations. By current practice we mean the FAA would typically ask 
for and amateur rocket operators would submit this information before a 
launch.

                                   Table B-3--Informational Requirements for a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                         Existing rule                                              This final rule
                                 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                          Large model                           Class 1--model       Class 2--high     Class 3--advanced
                                     Model rockets          rockets              Other              rocket           power rockets    high power rockets
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
When a certificate of waiver or
 an authorization is required.
Submission of Form 7711-2 (time   No................  45 days...........  45 days...........  No................  45 days...........  45 days
 before event).
Name of organization............        [radic]             [radic]       ..................        [radic]             [radic]
Name of responsible person......  ..................        [radic]             [radic]       ..................        [radic]             [radic]
Permanent mailing address.......  ..................        [radic]             [radic]       ..................        [radic]             [radic]
FAR section and number to be      ..................        [radic]             [radic]       ..................        [radic]             [radic]
 waived.
Detailed description of proposed  ..................        [radic]             [radic]       ..................        [radic]             [radic]
 operation, such as:
Estimated number of rockets to    ..................  ..................  Current practice..  ..................        [radic]             [radic]
 be operated.
Type of propulsion (liquid or     ..................  ..................  Current practice..  ..................        [radic]             [radic]
 solid), fuel(s), and
 oxidizer(s).
Description of launcher(s)        ..................  ..................  Current practice*.  ..................        [radic]             [radic]
 planned to be used, including
 any airborne platform(s).
Description of recovery system..  ..................  ..................  Current practice *  ..................        [radic]             [radic]
Highest altitude, above ground    ..................  ..................  Current practice..  ..................        [radic]             [radic]
 level, expected to be reached.
Launch site latitude, longitude,  ..................  ..................  Current practice..  ..................        [radic]             [radic]
 and elevation.
Any additional safety procedures  ..................  ..................  Current practice..  ..................        [radic]             [radic]
 that will be followed.
Maximum possible range..........  ..................  ..................  Current practice..  ..................  ..................        [radic]
Dynamic stability                 ..................  ..................  Current practice *  ..................  ..................        [radic]
 characteristics for the entire
 flight profile.
Description of all major rocket   ..................  ..................  Current practice *  ..................  ..................        [radic]
 systems.
Description of other support      ..................  ..................  Current practice *  ..................  ..................        [radic]
 equipment necessary for safe
 operation.
Planned flight profile and        ..................  ..................  Current practice *  ..................  ..................        [radic]
 sequence of events.
All nominal impact areas within   ..................  ..................  Current practice *  ..................  ..................        [radic]
 three standard deviations.
Launch commit criteria..........  ..................  ..................  Current practice *  ..................  ..................        [radic]
Countdown procedures............  ..................  ..................  Current practice *  ..................  ..................        [radic]
Mishap procedures...............  ..................  ..................  Current practice *  ..................  ..................        [radic]
Area of operation (Location,      ..................        [radic]             [radic]       ..................        [radic]             [radic]
 altitude, etc.).
Beginning (Date and hour).......  ..................        [radic]             [radic]       ..................        [radic]             [radic]
Ending (Date and hour)..........  ..................        [radic]             [radic]       ..................        [radic]             [radic]
Area of operation (Location,      ..................        [radic]             [radic]       ..................        [radic]             [radic]
 altitudes, etc.).
Aircraft make and model.........  ..................        [radic]             [radic]       ..................        [radic]             [radic]
Sponsor of event................  ..................        [radic]             [radic]       ..................        [radic]             [radic]
Sponsor's permanent mailing       ..................        [radic]             [radic]       ..................        [radic]             [radic]
 address.
Policing (Description of          ..................        [radic]             [radic]       ..................        [radic]             [radic]
 provisions for policing event).
Emergency facilities............  ..................        [radic]             [radic]       ..................        [radic]             [radic]
Air Traffic control (Description  ..................        [radic]             [radic]       ..................        [radic]             [radic]
 of method of controlling air
 traffic).
Schedule of Events..............  ..................        [radic]             [radic]       ..................        [radic]             [radic]

[[Page 73776]]

 
Certification...................  ..................        [radic]             [radic]       ..................        [radic]             [radic]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A positive effect of the new classifications and definitions is 
that they allow for the unlicensed launching of liquid rockets at their 
optimum burn rates. Today, someone who wanted to launch a liquid rocket 
at its optimum burn rate would have to obtain a license that requires 
complicated analyses that can cost up to $100,000. An alternative would 
be to adjust the burn rate of the liquid rocket to meet the current 
requirements. This alternative would result in either a reduced rocket 
performance or reduced rocket safety. Therefore, this final rule 
provides some potential cost savings and performance and safety 
improvements.

Benefits Summary

    As discussed above, this final rule provides benefits. The major 
benefits of this final rule are summarized below:
     Eliminate inconsistencies in the existing rules;
     Provide new definitions of amateur rocket categories that 
would allow amateur rocket operators to more easily determine what, if 
any, regulations they would have to comply with;
     Allow unlicensed launches of liquid rockets at optimum 
performance levels;
     Streamline and clarify the data collection process in 
cases where a proposed launch would require that the amateur rocket 
operator provide data to the FAA;
     Insure amateur rocket activities would be conducted in 
accordance with all international treaties;
     Insure that amateur rocket activities would not interfere 
with objects in orbit.
     Provide cost savings to both amateur rocket operators and 
the FAA.

Costs

Introduction
    This section shows the costs of the existing rule, the estimated 
costs of this final rule, and the incremental costs of this final rule. 
The incremental costs are the costs of this final rule subtracted from 
the costs of the existing rule.
    The costs of both the existing and this final rule are determined 
by multiplying the number of hours to perform a required task by the 
hourly cost of the person performing the task. The number of hours is 
estimated by the Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) of the 
FAA. The cost of an aerospace engineer is estimated by the Office of 
Policy and Plans (APO) of the FAA. The fully allocated hourly costs of 
an aerospace engineer are estimated to be $81.
Existing Rule Costs
    Table C-1 shows that the total annual cost of the existing rule is 
estimated to be approximately $8,886,000. This includes the costs of 
Large Model Rockets and Other Rockets. No costs are estimated for Model 
Rockets. The costs are based on a total of 100 notifications to the FAA 
for Large Model Rockets and 200 annual waivers for Other Rockets.
Final Rule Costs
    Table C-2 lists approximately $8,378,000 as the total annual cost 
of this final rule. This includes the costs of Class 2 and 3 amateur 
rockets. No costs are estimated for Class 1 amateur rockets. The costs 
are based on a total of 200 annual waivers, 198 for Class 2 rockets and 
2 for Class 3 rockets.
    The reason for the decrease in costs for Class 1 rockets from the 
existing rule to this final rule is that Large Model Rockets included 
in Class 1 rockets in this final rule generally no longer will require 
a notification to FAA and rarely require a waiver.
Incremental Final Rule Costs
    Our incremental cost estimate equals the total cost of this final 
rule minus the total cost of the existing requirements.
    Table C-3 lists the annual incremental cost of this final rule as 
about a negative $507,870. This represents a cost-saving benefit for 
the final rule. The study period for the costs of this final rule is 
estimated to be 10 years. The total 10-year cost savings of this final 
rule is estimated to be approximately $5,080,000 in current dollars 
with a present value of $3,567,000 with a discount rate of 7%. Thus, as 
the incremental cost estimate results in cost savings, the benefits of 
this rule exceed the costs.
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P

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BILLING CODE 4910-13-C

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Regulatory Flexibility Determination

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-354) (RFA) 
establishes ``as a principle of regulatory issuance that agencies shall 
endeavor, consistent with the objectives of the rule and of applicable 
statutes, to fit regulatory and informational requirements to the scale 
of the businesses, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions 
subject to regulation. To achieve this principle, agencies are required 
to solicit and consider flexible regulatory proposals and to explain 
the rationale for their actions to assure that such proposals are given 
serious consideration.'' The RFA covers a wide-range of small entities, 
including small businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and small 
governmental jurisdictions.
    Agencies must perform a review to determine whether a rule will 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. If the agency determines that it will, the agency must 
prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis as described in the RFA.
    However, if an agency determines that a rule is not expected to 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities, section 605(b) of the RFA provides that the head of the 
agency may so certify and a regulatory flexibility analysis is not 
required. The certification must include a statement providing the 
factual basis for this determination, and the reasoning should be 
clear.
    The FAA believes that this final rule will not have a significant 
negative economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
This final rule will affect a large number of small entities. These 
small entities would include the individuals, organizations, and firms 
involved in launching amateur rockets. However, although this final 
rule will affect a large number of small entities, it will not have a 
negative economic impact because this final rule results in substantial 
cost savings compared to the existing rule. Therefore, as the Acting 
FAA Administrator, I certify that this final rule will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

International Trade Impact Assessment

    The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96-39) prohibits Federal 
agencies from establishing any standards or engaging in related 
activities that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of 
the United States. Legitimate domestic objectives, such as safety, are 
not considered unnecessary obstacles. The statute also requires 
consideration of international standards and, where appropriate, that 
they be the basis for U.S. standards.
    This final rule will not have an impact on international trade 
because it applies only to launches conducted in the United States. 
This final rule will help insure that all international treaties with 
respect to space and amateur rocket launches will be complied with. The 
FAA has assessed the potential effect of this final rule and has 
determined that it will have only a domestic impact and therefore no 
affect on international trade.

Unfunded Mandates Assessment

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-
4) requires each Federal agency to prepare a written statement 
assessing the effects of any Federal mandate in a proposed or final 
agency rule that may result in an expenditure of $100 million or more 
(adjusted annually for inflation with the base year 1995) in any one 
year by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by 
the private sector; such a mandate is deemed to be a ``significant 
regulatory action.'' The FAA currently uses an inflation-adjusted value 
of $136.1 million in lieu of $100 million.
    This final rule does not contain such a mandate; therefore, the 
requirements of Title II of the Act do not apply.

Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    The FAA has analyzed this final rule under the principles and 
criteria of Executive Order 13132, Federalism. We determined that this 
action will not have a substantial direct effect on the States, or the 
relationship between the national Government and the States, or on the 
distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of 
government, and, there