Author Topic: FAA-AST launch licensing question  (Read 1386 times)

Offline QuantumG

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FAA-AST launch licensing question
« on: 08/28/2012 05:15 AM »
I can't really read legalese.. I try, but it makes my brain hurt.

Is any plane powered by a rocket a "suborbital rocket" and therefore require a launch license?

Relevant legislation: http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/legislation_policies/

Quote
(19) unless and until regulations take effect under section
      50922(c)(2), "suborbital rocket" means a vehicle, rocket-
      propelled in whole or in part, intended for flight on a
      suborbital trajectory, and the thrust of which is greater than
      its lift for the majority of the rocket-powered portion of its
      ascent.
        (20) "suborbital trajectory" means the intentional flight path
      of a launch vehicle, reentry vehicle, or any portion thereof,
      whose vacuum instantaneous impact point does not leave the
      surface of the Earth.

And the named section:

Quote
      (2)(A) Starting 3 years after the date of enactment of the
    Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004, the Secretary may
    issue final regulations changing the definition of suborbital
    rocket under this chapter. No such regulation may take effect until
    180 days after the Secretary has submitted the regulation to the
    Congress.
      (B) The Secretary may issue regulations under this paragraph only
    if the Secretary has determined that the definition in section
    50902 does not describe, or will not continue to describe, all
    appropriate vehicles and only those vehicles. In making that
    determination, the Secretary shall take into account the evolving
    nature of the commercial space launch industry.

So, call me crazy, it means whatever they want it to mean and they reserve the right to change their mind later?

My interest was originally piqued after watching this awesome video:



Which got me wondering, if that was a rocket instead of a jet engine, would it require a launch license to fly?

The "thrust of which is greater than its lift" language suggests it might not, but who knows?

The uncertainty would probably be enough to prevent anyone from flying.
« Last Edit: 08/28/2012 05:40 AM by QuantumG »
I hear those things are awfully loud. It glides as softly as a cloud. What's it called? Monowhale!

Offline Jim

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Re: FAA-AST launch licensing question
« Reply #1 on: 08/28/2012 11:36 AM »
It doesn't really matter.  Either way, the FAA is involved

Offline QuantumG

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Re: FAA-AST launch licensing question
« Reply #2 on: 08/28/2012 12:02 PM »
It doesn't really matter.  Either way, the FAA is involved

Fair enough.. I'm totally ignorant on this airplane stuff.. what kind of license would someone have to get to fly that BD-5J? Other than a pilot's license, of course. Some sort of experimental aircraft permit?

« Last Edit: 08/28/2012 12:03 PM by QuantumG »
I hear those things are awfully loud. It glides as softly as a cloud. What's it called? Monowhale!

Offline Jim

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Re: FAA-AST launch licensing question
« Reply #3 on: 08/28/2012 12:08 PM »
I really don't know off the top of my head.  There is a whole lot of reading that can be done here.

http://www.faa.gov/aircraft/gen_av/

 

Offline RanulfC

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Re: FAA-AST launch licensing question
« Reply #4 on: 08/28/2012 12:41 PM »
In "effect" yes, if any aircraft replaces a "normal" motor with a rocket motor it now becomes a "sub-orbital" vehicle requireing a launch license. However, (as you note :) ) the FAA has stated that they would try and be "flexible" with this and would work with owners/pilots/etc on specifics.

As for flying the BD-5J a pilot needs a jet powered certification attached to his license which is (IIRC) a written test and check-out in a jet powered aircraft. No biggie that I recall...


Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline Jim

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Re: FAA-AST launch licensing question
« Reply #5 on: 08/28/2012 12:51 PM »
In "effect" yes, if any aircraft replaces a "normal" motor with a rocket motor it now becomes a "sub-orbital" vehicle

Not "any", only those with T/W>1.  Just as Jetex gliders are not model rocket boost gliders
« Last Edit: 08/28/2012 12:52 PM by Jim »

Offline RanulfC

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Re: FAA-AST launch licensing question
« Reply #6 on: 08/28/2012 01:53 PM »
Thanks for the catch!

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline Jim

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Re: FAA-AST launch licensing question
« Reply #7 on: 08/28/2012 03:45 PM »
Thanks for the catch!

Randy

Probably dated myself with the Jetex reference

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