where can you launch a model rocket in the east bay?
June 18, 2009 12:36 PM   Subscribe

Where can you legally launch small model rockets in the Alameda Country/Oakland, CA? Is it okay to launch them at the park?
posted by zeoslap to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total)
Most small model rockets are fine to launch without trouble. Choose an open field that's free of trees and foliage, etc.

BRING A FIRE EXTINGUISHER ALONG. My dad and I made fun of Mom for wanting to, but she was adamant. Thank God she did--you just never know what's going to happen.

If it's a larger rocket, you may want to call your local FAA chapter, but this should only be necessary for the monster rockets. Also, a local rocket club, or hobby store may be able to give you more ideas.
posted by litterateur at 12:48 PM on June 18, 2009

My brother and I used to do this in the summer schoolyard as children, on the usual child's theory that if a grown-up wanted to yell at us, at least we'd have fun first. We'd sometimes made such bastardized devices that we'd cower behind a cardboard (sic) box while flipping the igniter switch, lest they blow our heads off.

One day, while we were hooking up an especially monster contraption (eight big engines and a lot of duct tape), a police car pulled up and we thought we were in deep trouble.

The cop took a long time to walk over, and then a much longer time looking The Beast up and down, then made one simple request: "Can I push the button?"

So I say go for it, until someone complains.
posted by rokusan at 12:56 PM on June 18, 2009

Just call the cops and ask...

I did here in Boulder County, CO and the answer I got was:
Are the neighbors complaining?
Are you starting fires?
Are you littering?

Me:No. to all of these

and the poilce officer said then I wouldn't charge you with anything.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 1:13 PM on June 18, 2009

Is it okay to launch them at the park?

Is the park big enough that you can be confident it won't land on anyone or damage anyone's property when it does so?

Because hitting someone, or sending people running for fear of getting hit, or hitting and damaging someone's car, would all be pretty un-cool things to do.
posted by Mike1024 at 1:36 PM on June 18, 2009

to be sure, the effect of one of these rockets landing on anyone is about as serious as being tapped with an empty toilet paper tube.
posted by rhizome at 2:54 PM on June 18, 2009

I grew up in Oakland, and I was always taught that you don't launch model rockets unless it's rained within the last couple of days. Fires can and have been started from model rockets and the Oakland hills have a tragic history of bad fires. Down by the bay would probably be better. We'd launch them at our school's playground, but we had a lot of paved open space (and again, we always abided by the two-day rain window, as laid out by our science teacher).
posted by incessant at 5:12 PM on June 18, 2009

Well it's wet fog season so it's damp every morning these days so not concerned about fire, and yes the spot is big enough that it won't hit anything.
posted by zeoslap at 5:31 PM on June 18, 2009

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