Tripoli mentioned in Scientific American

Tripoli mentioned in Scientific American

Post by Jeff Tayl » Thu, 20 Nov 1997 04:00:00



Did anyone catch the latest "Amateur Scientist" artical in Scientific
American?  It was dedicated to the "renaissance of amateur rocketry"
and mentioned Tripoli and the Recation Research Society.  Not a whole
lot of information was given on anything, but it was nice to see us
getting some good press.

JT

 
 
 

Tripoli mentioned in Scientific American

Post by The Silent Observe » Fri, 21 Nov 1997 04:00:00


Quote:

> Did anyone catch the latest "Amateur Scientist" artical in Scientific
> American?  It was dedicated to the "renaissance of amateur rocketry"
> and mentioned Tripoli and the Recation Research Society.  Not a whole
> lot of information was given on anything, but it was nice to see us
> getting some good press.

I just read it tonight.  I have to say I don't consider it "good press"
for Tripoli -- it clearly implied that Tripoli Rocket Association, which
is dedicated to Model and High Power Rocketry, was a good source of
information about and assistance with _Amateur_ rocketry, even implying
that RRS and PRS members view Tripoli as a resource.

While that may in fact be the case (though I'm sure the last bit isn't),
TRA is violating its own by-laws (at least as far as anyone can tell,
based on the last published version), as well as the laws of at least
several of the states in which they or their prefectures sanction
launches, every time they authorize an "experimental" flight using an
amateur motor or an uncertified commercially made motor.

Now, that's something that may not be obvious to the majority of
_Scientific American_ readers, but it's one of two things: inaccurate in
the extreme, or a pretty strong indictment of the way TRA does things.

I tend on the side of the latter interpretation.

--
There are times when even the Weaver of Skeins can make an awful tangle
of a perfectly simple tapestry.  -- M. A. R. Barker, _The Man of Gold_

Donald Qualls, aka The Silent Observer           NAR # 70141-SR Insured
Rocket Pages             http://members.aol.com/silntobsvr/launches.htm

Opinions expressed are my own -- take them for what they're worth
and don't expect them to be perfect.

 
 
 

Tripoli mentioned in Scientific American

Post by Chop » Sat, 22 Nov 1997 04:00:00


    [experimental and amateur rockets at tripoli launches being illegal.]
    >Now, that's something that may not be obvious to the majority of
    >_Scientific American_ readers, but it's one of two things: inaccurate in
    >the extreme, or a pretty strong indictment of the way TRA does things.

    Donald, all you know about TRA is what you read here. Consider your
    sources.  Post from personal knowledge, not from hearsay.

Nonsense.  We can get and read HPR magazine without being tripoli members.
It's a pretty good magazine, when it comes out.  You don't have to look very
far before you find plenty of evidence of "illegal" launches of uncertified
motors.  Let's see.  My November 1993 issue (the one with the gorgeous
upscaled mars lander on the cover Has launch reports fro Summerfest 93 and
Black Rock V.  Neither is explicitly mentioned as an experimental launch,
although perhaps they both benefit from lenient Nevada "fireworks" laws.
The Black Rock V article mentions demo flight of "continental J283
Trailblazer", Kosdon's all metal N4200 rocket and a demo of Dirty Harry
propellant, and a Starlfight N attempt.  The Summerfest coverage includes
another Kosdon all-metal rocket, and some early Urinsco reloads, a "gumby"
reload, and some "screaming Banshee" motors made by a WPA pyrotechnicist.

Safe?  I dunno - from the articles it sounded like the big "amateur" motors
did as well as the big certified motors (ie Aerotech.)  I don't think they
had the bunkers appropriate to all metal rockets, but maybe everyone was far
enough away...

Legal?  Maybe.  These were in Nevada, after all.  Who knows what their land
use permit (if there is such a thing) said.

Appropriate for a TRA launch?  I don't think so.  Kosdon maybe could get
away with "manufacturer demo" for his uncertified motors by that point, but
I don't like the all metal rockets (yes, this has been argued both ways from
sunday more times than I care to remember.)  Urinsco?  It's 1997 and he
still doesn't have the DOT paperwork all ironed out, right?  In 93 he was
either an amateur, or a manufacturer who illegally transported his motors.
"Gumby", "Starflight", "continental", "screaming Banshee"?  You've got to be
kidding...

This is why the TRA defenders lack credibility.  They're busy attacking Cato
and Kaplow personally, and not saying anything at all about the root issues.
I don't care if Kaplow wants everyone trying to certify to have a "mentor"
he personally approves of, and added restrictions to the NIRA TRA launches
till they looked like the HPR version of Baynar's rule list.  Tell me I
won't have to worry about metal cased amateur motors at non-experimental
launches, show me the TMT certified motor list and test data, and make up
your mind when motors stop being certified.

Sheesh.
BillW
--
(remove spam food from return address)

 
 
 

Tripoli mentioned in Scientific American

Post by David Anderm » Sat, 22 Nov 1997 04:00:00



says...

Quote:

>Did anyone catch the latest "Amateur Scientist" artical in Scientific
>American?  It was dedicated to the "renaissance of amateur rocketry"
>and mentioned Tripoli and the Recation Research Society.  Not a whole
>lot of information was given on anything, but it was nice to see us
>getting some good press.

For those who missed the article, you can catch the digital version of
it via the Space Frontier Foundation's page at:

http://www.space-frontier.org.

Apart from whether the article provided enough information about Tripoli, the
big news is that the Foundation is offering a $250,000 prize for amateur
rocketeers.

 
 
 

Tripoli mentioned in Scientific American

Post by Jeff Tayl » Sat, 22 Nov 1997 04:00:00




Quote:
> I just read it tonight.  I have to say I don't consider it "good press"
> for Tripoli --

Wow, you really surprise me!  Is there anything that could be written that
would please you?  Sheeeesh!

Quote:
> it clearly implied that Tripoli Rocket Association, which
> is dedicated to Model and High Power Rocketry, was a good source of
> information about and assistance with _Amateur_ rocketry, even implying
> that RRS and PRS members view Tripoli as a resource.

It is a good resource.  Why shouldn't they?  If I am of a mind to
launch an amateur rocket, then I can't see how talking to some Tripoli
members about construction techniques could be a bad idea.  Besides, you
are really missing the point of the 0 article which was to bring rocketry
to the attention of people that don't follow or know anything about our
hobby.  Do you think these people know the difference (or care) between
a model rocket and an "amateur" rocket?

Quote:
> While that may in fact be the case (though I'm sure the last bit isn't),
> TRA is violating its own by-laws (at least as far as anyone can tell,
> based on the last published version), as well as the laws of at least
> several of the states in which they or their prefectures sanction
> launches, every time they authorize an "experimental" flight using an
> amateur motor or an uncertified commercially made motor.

What does or doesn't happen at a Tripoli launch has nothing to do what
so ever with the article.  The article in no way implied that an amateur
rocket could be launched at a Tripoli launch.

Quote:
> Now, that's something that may not be obvious to the majority of
> _Scientific American_ readers, but it's one of two things: inaccurate in
> the extreme, or a pretty strong indictment of the way TRA does things.

> I tend on the side of the latter interpretation.

You are entitled to your opinion of course, be really Don, take a second
look at that article as I did last night.  As an insider, you see the
potential problems and contradictions, but people have to start somewhere.
There are a lot of amateur scientists out there that might be attracted
to our hobby by this article and this is a good thing.  When they do get
into the hobby, they will learn the rules and laws as we have.  As an
opening statement, as the article was, it would be a mistake to try and
cover boring details instead of smoke and fire.

In short, remember the saying, "There's no such thing as bad publicity."

Jeff Taylor

 
 
 

Tripoli mentioned in Scientific American

Post by The Silent Observe » Sun, 23 Nov 1997 04:00:00


Quote:



> > I just read it tonight.  I have to say I don't consider it "good press"
> > for Tripoli --

> Wow, you really surprise me!  Is there anything that could be written that
> would please you?  Sheeeesh!

For a start, something that made clear the distinction between
Model/High Power Rocketry and Amateur Rocketry.  This is a distinction
that is completely lost on most people outside the hobby -- and the
author of that article (in cahoots with the editors of Scientific
American, who can't really be expected to know better, but could
reasonably have found out by way of checking the facts) did us all a
disservice by blurring that distinction.

Don't forget that model rocketry was created, some 40 years ago, to give
a safer alternative to people mixing their own propellant, stuffing it
into metal casings, and quite possibly blowing up themselves, one or two
close friends, and their parents' home.

Quote:
> > it clearly implied that Tripoli Rocket Association, which
> > is dedicated to Model and High Power Rocketry, was a good source of
> > information about and assistance with _Amateur_ rocketry, even implying
> > that RRS and PRS members view Tripoli as a resource.

> It is a good resource.  Why shouldn't they?  If I am of a mind to
> launch an amateur rocket, then I can't see how talking to some Tripoli
> members about construction techniques could be a bad idea.  Besides, you
> are really missing the point of the 0 article which was to bring rocketry
> to the attention of people that don't follow or know anything about our
> hobby.  Do you think these people know the difference (or care) between
> a model rocket and an "amateur" rocket?

That Tripoli and/or its members are a good resource for HPR construction
techniques, I won't deny.  HPR techniques, though, are no more
applicable for serious amateur efforts like the FINDS prize than modroc
techniques are applicable for a Level 2 certification bird.

Amateur rockets typically require metal or aerospace grade composite
airframes, must be built to take speeds of Mach 2 or more (one project I
read about last year was believed to have reached Mach 5!)

And I say again: obscuring the distinction between hobby rocketry and
Amateur rocketry is doing neither rocketry hobbyists (like you and me)
nor rocket amateurs any service.  If the public doesn't know the
difference between one of Dave Crisalli's kerosene-LOX rockets and a
Level 2 or Level 3 HPR bird, we aren't gaining anything by standing up
on a soapbox and saying "Oh, yes, the rockets we fly at LDRS are just
like the one flown from Wallops by Korey Kline to 36 km altitude."

Quote:
> > While that may in fact be the case (though I'm sure the last bit isn't),
> > TRA is violating its own by-laws (at least as far as anyone can tell,
> > based on the last published version), as well as the laws of at least
> > several of the states in which they or their prefectures sanction
> > launches, every time they authorize an "experimental" flight using an
> > amateur motor or an uncertified commercially made motor.

> What does or doesn't happen at a Tripoli launch has nothing to do what
> so ever with the article.  The article in no way implied that an amateur
> rocket could be launched at a Tripoli launch.

Better read it again -- calling Tripoli a valuable resource for
amateurs, without saying anything more, will imply just that to the
uninitiated.

Quote:

> > Now, that's something that may not be obvious to the majority of
> > _Scientific American_ readers, but it's one of two things: inaccurate in
> > the extreme, or a pretty strong indictment of the way TRA does things.

> > I tend on the side of the latter interpretation.

> You are entitled to your opinion of course, be really Don, take a second
> look at that article as I did last night.  As an insider, you see the
> potential problems and contradictions, but people have to start somewhere.
> There are a lot of amateur scientists out there that might be attracted
> to our hobby by this article and this is a good thing.  When they do get
> into the hobby, they will learn the rules and laws as we have.  As an
> opening statement, as the article was, it would be a mistake to try and
> cover boring details instead of smoke and fire.

> In short, remember the saying, "There's no such thing as bad publicity."

Oh really?  I guess we can't ask Richard Nixon his opinion of that
statement -- he's dead.

We could ask Timothy McVeigh, though, or Ted Kaczynski.  I think they
might disagree, and their respective lawyers surely would.

The Amateur Scientist articles are normally two to three times the
length of the one we're discussing -- there's plenty of room there to
discuss the construction of various kinds of non-professional rockets in
more detail than was given.  Alternately, there was room to go into
amateur rocketry in more detail, without once making a confusing and
(IMO) misleading mention of Tripoli in the same breath.

Any publicity that links Tripoli to amateur rocketry, regardless of the
context, fosters the continued tendency for people to join Tripoli in
order to avoid flying within the parameters of hobby rocketry -- and
"outlaw biker rocketry" of that type bears the potential to end the HPR
hobby permanently in this country, to the detriment of us all.

--
There are times when even the Weaver of Skeins can make an awful tangle
of a perfectly simple tapestry.  -- M. A. R. Barker, _The Man of Gold_

Donald Qualls, aka The Silent Observer           NAR # 70141-SR Insured
Rocket Pages             http://members.aol.com/silntobsvr/launches.htm

Opinions expressed are my own -- take them for what they're worth
and don't expect them to be perfect.

 
 
 

Tripoli mentioned in Scientific American

Post by Jackbear » Sun, 23 Nov 1997 04:00:00


All of this controversy points to the need to develop specific safety code
provisions for manufacturer demo launches of motors under development, and a
safety code for "amateur" rocketry. The high power code and NFPA 1127 is an
outgrowth of the model rocket code and NFPA 1122, developed and refined AFTER
high power motors first came into existence. A similar effort will be needed
for the development of responsible amateur rocketry, with an appropriate mix of
caution and allowance for innovation, while incorporating lessons learned as
rapidly as possible. I see no need to leave all innovation in the hands of
manufacturers. We should collectively have enough experience by now to write a
pilot code for demo launches, etc.

We are here to develop rocketry. Let's quit arguing, write a draft code for
these new activities, and try it out.
Jack W. Kale, Jr. NAR #70384, Tripoli #5798

Timmy, you can't take it with you, so if you have a sandwich and your blue
jeans, chill. Your old man, Paul. (1st century, paraphrased)

 
 
 

Tripoli mentioned in Scientific American

Post by David Anderm » Sun, 23 Nov 1997 04:00:00



Quote:
>That Tripoli and/or its members are a good resource for HPR construction
>techniques, I won't deny.  HPR techniques, though, are no more
>applicable for serious amateur efforts like the FINDS prize than modroc
>techniques are applicable for a Level 2 certification bird.
>Amateur rockets typically require metal or aerospace grade composite
>airframes, must be built to take speeds of Mach 2 or more (one project I
>read about last year was believed to have reached Mach 5!)

This, of course, would be news to several CATS prize teams, who are using HPR
class systems, albeit in unusual configurations.

David Anderman
Manager, CATS Prize
Space Frontier Foundation

 
 
 

Tripoli mentioned in Scientific American

Post by David Anderm » Sun, 23 Nov 1997 04:00:00



Quote:
>For a start, something that made clear the distinction between
>Model/High Power Rocketry and Amateur Rocketry.  This is a distinction
>that is completely lost on most people outside the hobby -- and the
>author of that article (in cahoots with the editors of Scientific
>American, who can't really be expected to know better, but could
>reasonably have found out by way of checking the facts) did us all a
>disservice by blurring that distinction.

The reality is that there is a continuum concerning the skill set of HPR and
Amateur rocket participants, with a clear distinction between the ends (Dave
Crisalli vs. the low end of the HPR scale), and a lot of blurring between the
top end of HPR and the low end of Amateur rocketry. For those deep in this, the
distinction is black and white; for the rest of the world, there's not a lot of
difference between serious HPR engineers and Amateur rocketeers.

David Anderman

 
 
 

Tripoli mentioned in Scientific American

Post by David Anderm » Sun, 23 Nov 1997 04:00:00



says...

{much deleted}

Quote:
>Any publicity that links Tripoli to amateur rocketry, regardless of the
>context, fosters the continued tendency for people to join Tripoli in
>order to avoid flying within the parameters of hobby rocketry -- and
>"outlaw biker rocketry" of that type bears the potential to end the HPR
>hobby permanently in this country, to the detriment of us all.

The presumption behind this particular vent is that Tripoli is *not*
interested in reaching out to the amateur rocket community, particularly
in the context of the Cheap Access to Space prize. Reality, however,
presents a far different picture. Tripoli, in fact, has been very
interested in serving as a resource for the prize; the author of the Sci
American article spoke at length with Tripoli personnel about this
issue.

The key here is public safety: the CATS prize will only be awarded to a
team that launches legally (there is a fairly rigorous 'due diligence'
process in place to ensure that no one skirts or otherwise evades legal
requirements in building and launching CATS prize attempts). Tripoli,
IMHO, would rather encourage amateurs to launch legally than to stand
back and let rogue rocketeers give the 'industry' a bad name.

David Anderman
Manager, CATS prize
Space Frontier Foundation

 
 
 

Tripoli mentioned in Scientific American

Post by The Silent Observe » Sun, 23 Nov 1997 04:00:00


Quote:


> says...

> {much deleted}

> >Any publicity that links Tripoli to amateur rocketry, regardless of the
> >context, fosters the continued tendency for people to join Tripoli in
> >order to avoid flying within the parameters of hobby rocketry -- and
> >"outlaw biker rocketry" of that type bears the potential to end the HPR
> >hobby permanently in this country, to the detriment of us all.

> The presumption behind this particular vent is that Tripoli is *not*
> interested in reaching out to the amateur rocket community, particularly
> in the context of the Cheap Access to Space prize. Reality, however,
> presents a far different picture. Tripoli, in fact, has been very
> interested in serving as a resource for the prize; the author of the Sci
> American article spoke at length with Tripoli personnel about this
> issue.

Not at all, David.  I'm perfectly aware that Tripoli wants to "reach
out" to amateur rocketry.  My point is, they shouldn't.  Tripoli as an
organization is built around LMR and HPR, not amateur rocketry.  They
don't have the authority to sanction even a single experimental flight
(though they regularly exceed their authority by permitting such flights
at launches such as LDRS and by, if not directly sanctioning, at least
assisting with organizing launches like Balls).  Their authority extends
to only the following: certification of commercially manufactured
consumer and HPR rocket motors; certification/licensing of HPR fliers;
sanctioning of MR/LMR/HPR launches; obtaining insurance (which, I'm
told, covers only TRA and the land owner, not the flier or the
prefecture); registering prefectures; lobbying with NFPA, BATF, and
Congress (within strict limits) on behalf of hobby rocketry.

AFAIK, Tripoli doesn't have the authority to sanction amateur flights --
which means that if Tripoli, as an organization, is linked to amateur
rocketry, it's in violation of everything on which they're (supposedly)
founded.

Quote:
> The key here is public safety: the CATS prize will only be awarded to a
> team that launches legally (there is a fairly rigorous 'due diligence'
> process in place to ensure that no one skirts or otherwise evades legal
> requirements in building and launching CATS prize attempts). Tripoli,
> IMHO, would rather encourage amateurs to launch legally than to stand
> back and let rogue rocketeers give the 'industry' a bad name.

No arguments here -- FINDS and the CATS prize are right on target.  It's
just that Tripoli can't really help with making an amateur flight legal.

--
There are times when even the Weaver of Skeins can make an awful tangle
of a perfectly simple tapestry.  -- M. A. R. Barker, _The Man of Gold_

Donald Qualls, aka The Silent Observer           NAR # 70141-SR Insured
Rocket Pages             http://members.aol.com/silntobsvr/launches.htm

Opinions expressed are my own -- take them for what they're worth
and don't expect them to be perfect.

 
 
 

Tripoli mentioned in Scientific American

Post by Ed » Sun, 23 Nov 1997 04:00:00


Quote:

> Not at all, David.  I'm perfectly aware that Tripoli wants to "reach
> out" to amateur rocketry.  My point is, they shouldn't.  Tripoli as an
> organization is built around LMR and HPR, not amateur rocketry.  They
> don't have the authority to sanction even a single experimental flight
> (though they regularly exceed their authority by permitting such flights
> at launches such as LDRS and by, if not directly sanctioning, at least
> assisting with organizing launches like Balls).  Their authority extends
> to only the following: certification of commercially manufactured
> consumer and HPR rocket motors; certification/licensing of HPR fliers;
> sanctioning of MR/LMR/HPR launches; obtaining insurance (which, I'm
> told, covers only TRA and the land owner, not the flier or the
> prefecture); registering prefectures; lobbying with NFPA, BATF, and
> Congress (within strict limits) on behalf of hobby rocketry.

> AFAIK, Tripoli doesn't have the authority to sanction amateur flights --
> which means that if Tripoli, as an organization, is linked to amateur
> rocketry, it's in violation of everything on which they're (supposedly)
> founded.

> > The key here is public safety: the CATS prize will only be awarded to a
> > team that launches legally (there is a fairly rigorous 'due diligence'
> > process in place to ensure that no one skirts or otherwise evades legal
> > requirements in building and launching CATS prize attempts). Tripoli,
> > IMHO, would rather encourage amateurs to launch legally than to stand
> > back and let rogue rocketeers give the 'industry' a bad name.

> No arguments here -- FINDS and the CATS prize are right on target.  It's
> just that Tripoli can't really help with making an amateur flight legal.

> --
> There are times when even the Weaver of Skeins can make an awful tangle
> of a perfectly simple tapestry.  -- M. A. R. Barker, _The Man of Gold_

> Donald Qualls, aka The Silent Observer           NAR # 70141-SR Insured
> Rocket Pages             http://members.aol.com/silntobsvr/launches.htm

> Opinions expressed are my own -- take them for what they're worth
> and don't expect them to be perfect.

Big O,
   It think you have gone over the edge on this one. You are not a
member of Tripoli and have no right to speak on their behalf.
....Ed
 
 
 

Tripoli mentioned in Scientific American

Post by Chop » Sun, 23 Nov 1997 04:00:00


    AFAIK, Tripoli doesn't have the authority to sanction amateur flights --
    which means that if Tripoli, as an organization, is linked to amateur
    rocketry, it's in violation of everything on which they're (supposedly)
    founded.

Um, what authority is necessary to sanction amateur flights?  Aside from
a shortage of sites, it doesn't seem any harder than an HPR launch, and
may be easier (ie RRS doesn't require LEUP because all propellants are
manufactured and used on-site.)

While it disturbs me that TRA seems to "mix" HPR and amateur rocketry, I
don't think it follows that they "lack the authority" to "sanction" amateur
flights...

BillW

--
(remove spam food from return address)

 
 
 

Tripoli mentioned in Scientific American

Post by The Silent Observe » Sun, 23 Nov 1997 04:00:00


Quote:


> >For a start, something that made clear the distinction between
> >Model/High Power Rocketry and Amateur Rocketry.  This is a distinction
> >that is completely lost on most people outside the hobby -- and the
> >author of that article (in cahoots with the editors of Scientific
> >American, who can't really be expected to know better, but could
> >reasonably have found out by way of checking the facts) did us all a
> >disservice by blurring that distinction.

> The reality is that there is a continuum concerning the skill set of HPR and
> Amateur rocket participants, with a clear distinction between the ends (Dave
> Crisalli vs. the low end of the HPR scale), and a lot of blurring between the
> top end of HPR and the low end of Amateur rocketry. For those deep in this, the
> distinction is black and white; for the rest of the world, there's not a lot of
> difference between serious HPR engineers and Amateur rocketeers.

Correct -- and we're not doing either Amateur or HPR any favors by
making that distinction less visible.

--
There are times when even the Weaver of Skeins can make an awful tangle
of a perfectly simple tapestry.  -- M. A. R. Barker, _The Man of Gold_

Donald Qualls, aka The Silent Observer           NAR # 70141-SR Insured
Rocket Pages             http://members.aol.com/silntobsvr/launches.htm

Opinions expressed are my own -- take them for what they're worth
and don't expect them to be perfect.