Rocket Safety

Rocket Safety is our primary concern...

We have included a few documents below that spell out the safety practices pertaining to model rocketry... 



Model rocketry is recommended for ages 8 through Adult (or school Year 5 and up), with Adult supervision for those under age 14. This code applies to rockets using motors in the power ranges Micromaxx® through to 2 G's, but not to high power and experimental rockets.

1. MATERIALS. I will use only lightweight, non-metal parts for the nose, body, and fins of my rocket..
2. MOTORS. I will use only certified,commercially-made model rocket motors and will not tamper with these motors or use them for any purposes except those recommended by the manufacturer.
3. IGNITION SYSTEM. I will launch my rockets with an electrical launch system and electrical motor igniters. My launch system will have a safety interlock in series with the launch switch, and will use a launch switch that returns to the ‘off’ position when released.
If my rocket does not launch when I press the button of my electrical launch system, I will remove the launcher’s safety interlock or disconnect it’s battery, and will wait 60 seconds after the last launch attempt before allowing anyone to approach the rocket.
5. LAUNCH SAFETY. I will use a countdown before launch, and will ensure that everyone is paying attention and is a safe distance of 5 metres away when I launch rockets with D motors or smaller, and 10 metres away when I launch larger rockets. If I am uncertain about the safety or stability of an untested rocket, I will check the stability before flight and will fly it only after warning spectators and clearing them away to a safe distance.
6. LAUNCHER. I will launch my rocket form a launch rod, tower, or rail that is pointed to within 30 degrees of the vertical to ensure that the rocket flies nearly straight up, and I will use a blast deflector to prevent the motor’s exhaust from hitting the ground. To prevent accidental eye injury, I will place launchers so that the end of the launch rod is above eye level or will cap the end of the rod when it is not in use.

7. SIZE. My model rocket will not weigh more than 1,500 grammes at liftoff and will not contain more than 125 grammes of propellant nor produce more than 320 N-secs of total impulse.
8. FLIGHT SAFETY. I will not launch my rocket at targets, into clouds, or near airplanes, and will not put any flammable or explosive payload in my rocket.
9. LAUNCH SITE.  I will launch my rocket outdoors, in an open area at least as large as shown in the table below, and in safe weather conditions with wind speeds no greater than 32 kilometres per hour. I will ensure that there is no dry grass close to the launch pad, and that the launch site does not present risk of grass fires.
10. RECOVERY SYSTEM. I will use a recovery system such as a streamer or parachute in my rocket so that it returns safely and undamaged and can be flown again, and I will use only flame-resistant or fireproof recovery wadding in my rocket.
11. RECOVERY SAFETY. I will not attempt to recover my rocket from power lines, tall trees, or other dangerous places.
I promise to read and follow the Model Rocket Safety Code.

A printable copy of the Safety Code can be obtained HERE for parents or educators who may wish to ensure the compliance of those in their care.




Anyone wishing to launch a rocket (other than an A to D powered 'model rocket' which complies with the Model Rocket Safety Code, or a 'large model rocket'), must raise a ‘NOTAM’ and, if flying into controlled airspace, obtain approval from Air Traffic Control prior to the launch. 'Controlled airspace' differs from location to location. To determine whether your launch will breach controlled airspace you need to either refer to an aeronautical map or contact the ATC supervisor in your area (see below). 

'Model rockets', that is rockets powered by A through D power motors are exempt from CAA rule Part 101. Flyers must however follow the Model rocket Safety Code when launching.
A ’large rocket' (as defined in CAA Rule Part 101) means non-metallic airframe rockets powered by E to H motors, with a lift off weight of no more than 1.5kgs, a motor containing no more than 125g of propellant, and producing no more than 320 n-secs of power. Most Aerotech and the smaller Public Missiles rockets are defined as 'large rockets'.

A ’high power or experimental' rocket refers to anything that does not meet the definition other a ‘model rocket' or ‘large model rocket'.

NOTAM Procedure (applies to ‘high power or experimental’ rockets, but not 'large' rockets)
Send a fax to the NOTAM office - (03) 358 9192, or email -, stating:

Your name, address and telephone no.
Number of (high power) rockets to be launched
Estimated size, and weight (mass) of the rockets
Estimated highest altitude rockets will operate to
Location of the launch
Date, time and duration of the operation

Air Traffic Control (ATC) Authorisation (applies to 'large' and high power/experimental rockets)

Phone the Air Traffic Control Supervisor  0800 626 756 (ask to speak to the supervisor), no later than 2 days before the launch, confirming the location of your site, how many rockets you will be launching, time of launches, the name of the range safety officer (probably you) and your contact phone number (mobile preferred). Note ATC is not unreasonably allowed to withhold permission to launch.
In some cases, normally in the event of busy traffic, ATC may request you to phone again before 9.00am on the day of the launch, and (if further requested), 15 minutes before the actual launching. (ATC may also require that you phone them to indicate that the rocket is down).
Note that any insurance cover to New Zealand Rocketry Assn (NZRA) members does not apply to any launch, which is not a notified and authorised NZRA launch. This means that your launch either has to be on the NZRA calendar or you have sent notification in writing to the Association prior to the launch.
Please note also that approval for the use of official sites used by NZRA affiliated clubs, must be obtained from those clubs prior to the launch. This is important since it ensures procedures and courtesies agreed with the landowners by clubs are observed and good relationships with the owners are maintained.
If you have any queries on the above points, phone 9-624 3091 or email: