This article is from the Model Rockets FAQ, by Wolfram von Kiparski with numerous contributions by others.
A. FAA Regulations:
* Rockets containing less than 113 grams of total fuel and weigh
less and one (1) pound do not require any type of FAA notification
and are not restricted by the FAA except where they pose a threat
* FAA "large model rockets" (see the definition in #1, above)
require that the nearest Air Traffic Control center (ATC) be
notified of the launch between 24 and 48 hours prior to the
launch. This is notification and not permission. In the U.S., try
calling 1-800-WX-BRIEF to get the number of the ATC center nearest
* FAA High power rockets (weighing more than 3.3 pounds, containing
HPR motors, or containing a total of more than 125 grams of
fuel) require a formal waiver be approved by the FAA and activated
prior to the launch. Refer to the full r.m.r FAQ (dated 1 Oct 94
or later) for more complete details.
* NOTE THAT THE FAA DOES NOT PLACE ANY RESTRICTIONS ON FUEL-PER-
MOTOR OTHER THAN THE TOTAL LIMIT OF FUEL. HOWEVER, MOTORS WITH
MORE THAN 62.5 GRAMS OF FUEL ARE HIGH POWER ROCKET MOTORS AND
REQUIRE HIGH POWER CERTIFI- CATION TO FLY. This does allow HPR
certified flyers to conduct low-end HPR launches (with up to about
240NS composite motors) without having to obtain a waiver.
* Remember that HPR waivers, ATC notification and high power
certification are all separate issues and must all be properly
B. CPSC Regulations/Restrictions:
* G class model rocket motors (80.01-160.00NS total impulse) have been
classified as high power by the CPSC. They are considered model
rocket motors by the NFPA. These motors are now restricted for sale
to buyers 18 years of age or older. This includes the sale of G
C. DOT Shipping Restrictions:
* Most single use rockets motors with less than 62.5 grams of
propellant are now classified as UN 1.4s and can be shipped via
UPS (with a HAZMAT fee) or regular parcel post.
* Most reloadable rocket motor fuel grains weighing less than 62.5
grams each are now classified as 'flammable solids' and may be
shipped via UPS (with HAZMAT fee) or regular parcel post.
* The UPS HAZMAT fee is now $10
* Any single use rocket motor containing more than 62.5 grams of fuel,
and any reloable motor fuel grain weighing more than 62.5 grams
are classified as UN 1.3c, or Class B, explosives. These motors and
reload grains may be shipped ONLY via Federal Express to certain
designated shipping points.
* Aerotech has announced it has received an exemption for single use
motors up to K class and reload grains for at least L, and possibly
M class motors, which allow these motors and reload grains to be
shipped UPS ground in the same manner as motors containing less
than 62.5 grams of propellant. Aerotech says these are now shippable
as class 4.1 flammable solids.
D. BATF Restrictions:
* Any rocket motor or reloadable fuel grain containing more than 62.5
grams of propellant is now classified by the ATF as a Class B Low
Explosive. This includes Aerotech reloads from J power and up.
* You must have a federal Low Explosives Uers Permit (LEUP) to
legally purchase Class B rocket motors and reloads, except under
certain restricted circumstances.
* You must have a federal LEUP to legally store rocket motors or reload
grains which contain more than 62.5 grams of propellant.
* You must comply with federal low explosives regulations when
transporting and storing Class B rocket motors.
* You must be 21 years of age to obtain an LEUP.
E. Other High Power Restrictions:
* You must be 'high power certified' to fly high power rockets.
* The NAR and Tripoli both have programs for obtaining high power
certification. You need to join one or both of these organizations if
you want to fly high power rockets.
* You must be at least 18 years of age to become high power certified.