1. General Information
1.1 The Tampa Bay Rocketry Association launch site is located on private property, within a working cattle ranch. All persons attending a TBRA launch event, whether as a participants, vendors, or spectators, are required to follow and abide by these procedures intended to protect the landowner's property, and everyone's safety.
1.2 Failure to follow these procedures will result in your being asked to leave the launch site property, or other action as deemed appropriate by the TBRA Prefect or Range Safety Officer (RSO).
2. Launch Site Availability and Access
2.1 The launch site is available only thru TBRA affiliation, on the posted launch dates and times. All permissions are negotiated by, and granted exclusively to the Tampa Bay Rocketry Association in order for maintain launch site insurance under the Tripoli Rocketry Association (TRA). For that reason, all launches require TBRA approval.
2.2 If for any reason a special launch time/date is needed for TARC, NSL, school events, scouts, etc., please contact TBRA to submit a formal request. No launches will take place without the acknowledgement and approval of the TBRA Prefect.
2.2(a) Special launch date requests must be submitted to the TBRA Prefect a minimum of two (2) weeks in advance of the desired date in order for TBRA to obtain approval from the landowner.
2.2(b) Special launch activities require the presence of at least one (1) TBRA officer.
2.2(c) Special launch date requests may or may not be approved, depending on landowner requirements, and the availability of TTRA personnel.
2.3 All adult persons attending a TBRA launch event must read and sign the TBRA Landowner Waiver of Liability and the TBRA Adult Release and Waiver of Liability.
2.4 All minors attending a TBRA launch event must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or other responsible adult. In addition, the TBRA Minor Child Release and Waiver of Liability must be completed by a parent or legal guardian.
2.5 Scheduled and/or announced launch events may be rescheduled or cancelled without notice due to weather conditions and/or landowner requirements.
3. Personal Conduct
3.1 TBRA practices minimum-impact operations. Our goal is to leave the launch site with little or no evidence that we were there. We must ensure that we do not adversely impact the land, livestock, or wildlife. We are guests on the property, and must act accordingly. We need the landowner more than the landowner needs us.
3.2 Do not attempt to approach, feed, pet, or in any other way harass or interact with any livestock or wildlife that you may encounter on the property. While driving on the launch site property, livestock will always be granted the right of way.
3.3 Leave all gates just as you find them. If you open a gate, ensure that you close it. Do not assume that someone else will close it for you.
3.4 Do not climb over or stand on fences or gates. Follow a fence until you reach a gate. If the gate is locked, do not proceed any further. Return to the launch area, and we will contact the landowner to request permission to enter the area in question.
3.5 Please observe and follow any signs and/or markers. Maximum speed on the launch site property is 10 MPH.
3.6 We have permission to drive into and park in open pastures as needed to launch and retrieve rockets, but keep to the ranch roads and trails as much as possible, at or below 10 MPH.
3.7 Motorized vehicles are not permitted in or on the sod production areas. You may walk into these areas, but only care and attention to where you are walking.
3.8 If a rocket "lawn darts" into a sod production area, use extreme care in removing. Do not take a shovel and proceed to dig it up.
3.9 The "outhouse" facility was initially provided by the landowner. TBRA has gone great expense to improve the facility. Please keep it neat and clean. Follow all directions posted inside the facility, and do not dispose of any trash in the toilet.
3.10 Cutting, uprooting, or destruction of trees or other vegetation is prohibited. Do not cut down or damage trees to recover a rocket. If needed, we may ask the landowner for assistance.
3.11 TBRA has been granted permission to operate one (1) ATV for rocket recovery operations. The operation of other ATV/RTV's is not permitted.
3.12 During two-day launch events, overnight camping may be permitted at the launch site, with advance permission from the landowner and the TBRA Prefect.
3.12(a) Persons camping overnight must remain the immediate launch site area. Do not go "exploring" the property.
3.12(b) Firewood may be gathered on the property, limited to trees/branches that have already fallen. Do not cut any standing timber, regardless if it is alive or dead.
3.12(c) All fires must be contained in a grill or other aboveground container designed for this purpose. Ground fires are not permitted.
3.12(d) Firewood must be cut into small enough pieces that will fit entirely inside the fire container, and will burn completely in one evening. All fires must be completely extinguished, and the the ashes scattered prior to leaving you site. Fires will not be left unattended, smoldering, or smoking.
3.12(e) Small generators my used during daylight hours, after launch operations are complete. Generators will not be used after dark.
3.13 Fishing is not permitted in any of the ranch ponds or streams.
4. General Safety Policies
4.1 First and foremost, Pay Attention! Rocketry is not a passive activity. If the LCO announces Heads Up, there is a reason.
4.2 If the LCO announces a flight as a Heads Up Flight, you will stop whatever you are doing, get on your feet, and pay close attention to the launch until the rocket's recovery system has fully deployed, or until the rocket is on the ground.
4.3 The Range Safety Officer (RSO) is responsible for overall launch site safety. The RSO may designate additional personnel as needed.
4.4 The decisions of the RSO are final, and may not be appealed on the field.
4.5 Dress appropriately for the event, as well as current and expected/forecast weather conditions. Sun protection is highly recommended all year. Bring a portable shade canopy if possible, as there is very limited shade available.
4.6 Bring plenty of food and water. We do not have a food or drink vendor on site, and there are no nearby stores.
4.7 Drive slowly - walking speed or less - while in the parking, prep, and launch areas. Be alert for children running out from behind parked cars, and for adults walking out while looking up to follow a rocket.
4.8 Spectators are always welcome, but must remain behind the flight line at all times, and out of all rocket prep and launch areas unless accompanied by a TBRA member.
4.9 If you bring children to a launch event, you must pay attention to both the rockets and your children. They do not have the attention span or experience that you have. It is your responsibility to keep them safe.
4.10 Do not attempt to catch any rocket as it lands. Even a small rocket can cause an injury.
4.11 Do not pick up or move any rocket that is not yours without the prior permission of the rocket owner.
4.12 Smoking is not permitted within 25 feet of any prep area, the launch pads, anywhere on the flight line, or inside the outhouse facility.
4.13 Alcoholic beverages will not be consumed anywhere on the launch site property during launch operations.
4.14 Thunderstorms may appear quickly and with little advance warning, especially during the summer months. As the launch site is within a large open field, lighting is a definite hazard, and all launch operations will cease when lighting or thunder is within 10 miles. If a storm approaches the launch area, take shelter within your vehicle, and remain there until the storm has passed.
4.15 Bring all lost and found items to the registration table. We all like to get our stuff back.
4.16 Prior to leaving the field, pick up all trash and take it with you. This includes not only your own trash, but anything that might have blown into your area.
4.17 Pick up all igniter wires, plastic caps, tape, and all other debris in the prep and launch pad areas. These items may be hazardous to grazing animals.
5. Prep and Launch Safety
5.1 All adult fliers at a TBRA launch event must be a member in good standing of either the Tripoli Rocketry Association (TRA) and/or the National Association of Rocketry (NAR).
5.2 Current TRA and/or NAR members who are not TBRA members will be permitted to launch as guests, within their current certification level.
5.3 Do not bend a launch rod to install a rocket on the pad. Either tilt the pad head over, or ask another TBRA member for assistance.
5.4 Minors under the age of eighteen (18) require a consent form signed by a parent or legal guardian. Minors are permitted to use commercial motors only.
5.4(a) Minors under the age of fourteen (14) are limited to a combined impulse of 40 N-Sec, or a single "E" motor.
5.4(b) Minors aged fourteen (14) and fifteen (15) are limited to a combined impulse of 80 N-Sec, or a single "F" motor.
5.4(c) Minors aged sixteen (16) and seventeen (17) are limited to a combined impulse of 160 N-Sec, or a single "G" motor.
5.4(d) These requirements may be waived for minors participating in the Tripoli Mentoring Program (TMP), The American Rocketry Contest (TARC), Student Launch Initiative (SLI), or other program recognized and supported by TRA and/or NAR.
5.5 Stay clear of all launch pad areas unless the LCO has announced the "PADS ARE OPEN". If you are returning to the launch area with a recovered rocket, always assume the pads are closed, and walk well away from them.
5.6 Any recovered rocket with unfired motor(s) and/or ejection charge(s) must be rendered safe prior to returning to the prep area.
5.7 TTRA has an FAA Authorization to 14,900 feet Above Ground Level (AGL), or 15,000 feet above mean Sea Level (MSL). Launch site elevation is approximately 95 feet above sea level.
5.7(a) As we are in proximity to several airports, we will not chance losing our authorization. Do not attempt to make the 14,900 ceiling. Flights above 10,000 feet AGL are not permitted without prior authorization from the TBRA Prefect.
5.7(b) The recommended ceiling is 8,000 feet AGL, due to the presence of trees and swampy areas on the property. TBRA may adjust the ceiling lower due to local weather conditions.
5.7(c) If we have overcast skies, we will refer to the cloud ceiling reported by the Plant City Airport METARS, minus 1,000 feet.
5.7(d) Any flight expected to exceed 5,000 feet AGL must use a dual-deploy recovery system to improve the chances that the rocket will recover on the launch site property.
5.8 If you insist on making a high altitude flight, you must understand that you may not get your rocket back. The upper level windspeeds are often 2 or 3 times the speed of ground level winds, and often blow in different directions.
5.8(a) If your rocket lands in a tree, you may need to hire a professional tree climber to retrieve it. This could cost several hundred dollars.
5.8(b) If the rocket ends up in a swamp, there it shall remain forever. The landowner will not permit anyone to enter a swamp to retrieve a rocket.
5.8(c) If the rocket lands of the launch site property, notify the Prefect, LCO, or RSO. We will work with the landowner and their neighbors to get access to retrieve the rocket. However, access to neighboring properties is not guaranteed.
5.8(d) Do not attempt to enter any neighboring property without approval from the landowner and TBRA.
5.9 The RSO may request to inspect and verify the flight safety of any rocket prior to launch. Any rocket deemed unstable or unsafe will not be launched.
5.10 A separate flight card is required for each flight. Flight cards will be complete and legible. Incomplete or illegible flight cards will be returned to the flyer, and the rocket will not be launched.
5.11 If a model rocket fails to launch due to igniter failure, the rocket will be removed form the launch pad and returned to the prep area for igniter replacement.
5.12 If a high power rocket fails to launch due to igniter failure, the igniter may be replaced at the pad.
5.13 Any person who disregards safety practices, uses unsafe or dangerous motors, or in any way jeopardizes or appears to jeopardize the safety of others will be asked to leave the launch site property. If an individual continues to, or routinely follows unsafe practices, the individual will be barred from all future TBRA launch events.
6. Research Flights
6.1 Research flights are permitted during all scheduled TBRA launch events, under the Tripoli Research Safety Code.
6.2 Current Tripoli members certified as Level 2 or 3 are permitted to use research motors.
6.3 Current Tripoli members certified as Level 1, or not high power certified, will be permitted to use certified commercial motors only.
6.4 Current NAR members will be permitted to use certified commercial motors only. NAR does not permit it's members to conduct research launches.
6.5 All flights must be within the member’s current certification level, except for certification flights. Research motors are not permitted for certification flights.
Launch Site Policies and Procedures
Tampa Bay Rocketry Association