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Rules & Regulations

Model rocketry is completely legal under Minnesota state law.  Model rockets are NOT fireworks!

The flying of model rockets may not be allowed in public parks in some cities.  You should check with local authorities first.  In all  cases, you should have the permission of the landowner before flying rockets on private property.

Always follow the model rocketry safety code and/or the high power rocketry safety code!

Summary of FAA launch restrictions

Model Rockets - No restrictions.  Just use common sense and follow the safety code.  Rocket must weigh less than 3.3 pounds at liftoff and contain less than the equivalent of two (2) G-class engines.

High Power Model Rockets - FAA waiver required.  Rockets that weigh more than 3.3 pounds at liftoff or use an H-class engine or larger require permission to fly from the FAA.  If you want to fly these types of rockets, you're best off going to a club launch where the club has taken care of the waiver.

Regulatory information provided by Ted Cochran:
(reprinted from Rocketry Online's INFOCentral)

The Minnesota State Fire Marshall's Office's position on the regulation of model and high power rocketry is that, in the absence of specific local codes or standards (see below), both model rocketry and high power rocketry should be carried out in conformance with NFPA 1122 and NFPA 1127, respectively, in addition to any applicable Federal regulations.

In the Fire Marshall's opinion, The Explosive Materials rules (Article 77 of the Minnesota Fire Code, which incorporates the Uniform Fire Code (UFC)) do not come into play unless activities fall outside those NFPA standards (e.g., using non certified motors). The citation for their reliance on NFPA is Minnesota Fire Code Article 1, Section 101.3, "Subjects Not Specifically Regulated by this Code," which states that compliance with any adopted NFPA code is acceptable.

Of course, when the BATF rules are more restrictive than NFPA 1127, the BATF rules need to be followed--but that's not an enforcement issue at the state level. There are no use or storage permits required at the state level: The permit clauses that exist in the UFC were deleted in the Minnesota fire code, as was the insurance requirement. The MN SFM phone is (651) 215-0500. The person to talk to is Kevin Kelly.

There are local jurisdictions that have their own requirements. The current position of the City of Minneapolis is that if a BATF permit is required for storage, then a low explosive permit ($25) and an inspection is required by the Minneapolis Fire Department. The Minneapolis Fire Department Inspector to talk to is Denise Byrn at (612) 673-3273.

The Minneapolis Park Board appears to technically prohibit launches in city parks [Ordinance PB2-30], but regularly violates this with their own summer camp activities, and I've seen (and in some cases supervised) a lot of school group launches which proceed without incident, some with Park Police officers as spectators. The UFC is available at county libraries--make sure you look at the latest (1997) version.

NFPA 1122 and 1127 are available from NARTS, at the same ungodly price as they are from the NFPA itself. They are copyrighted and not on the web, but TRA has adopted most of 1127 as its safety code.

Minneapolis ordinances are on the web; start at the help page. The Minnesota fire code is also on-line.


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Last updated: May 5, 2001

Alan Estenson, Webmaster