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31.10.2011 16:27 Age: 5 yrs
Category: Legal
By: Oliver Missbach

Will EU Ban Model Rocketry?


There are rumors out that the European Union (EU) may ban model rocket activities. To clarify the situation, European Model RocketryCEN - (European Committee for Standardization) located in Brussels, Belgium. They will classify model rocket engines until 2013. In the meantime, most countries will continue to have there old national laws effective.

It has good and bad sides. The good one is that all EU member countries will have the same regulations making it easier to launch at foreign places. And in countries with no rocket regulations, there is the opportunity to fly legally.

On the other side, the new EU regulation is very similar to the German legislative since it was mostly formulated in Germany (the German BAM, the body for testing pyrotechnical devices in Germany, is very active in Brussels). But German also has the most rigorous regulations in Europe, allowing to fly only less than 20 grams of propellant (up to C) without a certification and pyrotechnical approval. For comparision, France currently allows 500 g, the UK 1000, Italy 113, Austria & Switzerland 50 and the USA 62,2.

Since we do not know what CEN will decide, in the worst case, even an A engine could be P2 and the current better limits in countries such as France or the UK may but cut off. In this scenery, the EU will not ban, but makes it almost impractical for anyone not having a pyrotechnical licence to fly model rockets (as most rocket flyers do).

For more information and to discuss this issue, we recommend to visit our EMR rocketry discussion board where this issue is already covered.


Comments

Montag, 06.02.2012 22:08 | Klaas-Jan van Til
With a collegue, I have spoken to Dutch NEN civil servants about this matter, two times in the last months. We provided Dutch information as how we look into this matter. The information was provide from Dutch DRRA point of view, taking care of all hobbyists who fly rockets, LPR/MPR. This whole matter only concerns motors wich are excluded from explosives regulations. In the Netherlands these are the 1/4A to D motors(Estes, Quest, WECO). We were also invited to attend a meeting of NEN and share our point of view. Simply because the people sitting at the table do not have the proper knowledge about modelrocketry.

As far as I know, and we checked it with BAM later on, P1 will contain all current engines used in modelrocketry. So, 1/4A to D will be P1. We checked it with a civil servant again, later on, and he acknowledged it. Upper fuel weight limit was proposed at 150grams. So clearly above German limits at this point.

European NEN(=CEN)will be finished in the Netherlands. Germany, France and the Netherlands will give most input in this matter is told to us. Some countries don\'t even bother.

Two weeks ago the final meeting(as far as I know and was told) was held in Valencia(Italy). Here the different countries NEN committees came together to finalize their input(we requested to put E-motors in P1 also). After this it will be finalized in the European committee(CEN), located/situated in the Netherlands.

P1 and P2 are not model rocket motor classes, but general Pyrotechnics classes. In these classes our motors will turn up. It are so called \'garbage can\' classes. Everything not put in other classes gets dumped in these ones. There will also be T1 and T2 classes(T=Theatrical pyrotechnics).
Flying P2(if something is in it) needs approval indeed, but it is not known what kind of. It is certainly not said that a special pyrotechnical licence is necessary. The DRRA(Dutch rocketry club) has a Certification route(launch six different modelrockets with mini-motor to D-motor, a cluster and a multiple stage rocket and make a little theoretic test). In this way we think you have proven to be an \'Advanced Modelrocketeer\'. It could be well possible that this will be seen as \'specialized knowledge\'.

The information I put here was obtained when the different committees where in one of the last finalizing rounds. So therefor I think this information is quite accurate. If the outcome is very different from stated above, I would be very surprised.

Klaas-Jan van Til
Netherlands

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