the following was sent by Estes to some vendors. Re-posted with permission.
URGENT NOTICE– YOUR SUPPORT IS NEEDED
Re: DOT-SP 7887, DOT-SP 7887 Show Cause Letter and Estes’ Response
Attn: Model Rocketry Product Manufacturers:
As a participant and supplier in the world of model rocketry, we believe you have a stake in the shipping of model rocket engines and igniters. We are writing to advise you of recent developments and to ask for your action and support.
On August 15, 2011 all grantees authorized to use DOT – SP 7887 received a Show Cause letter from the US Dept of Transportation (DOT). The Special Permit, DOT – SP 7887 allows the shipment of model rocket motors (engines) and igniters in limited quantities to be shipped as Flammable Solids. The Show Cause letter advised that additional testing of model rocket motors is needed to determine if they may be excluded from the classification of Explosives. After an evaluation of the testing to which the letter referred, it was determined that model rocket motors would not meet the criteria for exclusion.
The letter further advises that whether or not model rocket motors meet the criteria, DOT is proposing to terminate the Special Permit. The Special Permit has been in place since 1978. In 33 years there have been no incidents involved in the shipping and transporting of model rocket motors and igniters.
Model rockets, engines/motors and their igniters are shipped to educators, youth group leaders, children and their families for educational and recreational purposes. Model rocket motors and igniters have an excellent record with regard to shipping and transportation. We are very concerned that having to use an Explosives label on packages of engines and igniters projects a frightening message and an exaggerated risk to those receiving the packages. Model rocket engines and igniters do not ignite spontaneously and they don’t EXPLODE. They are propellant devices.
Shipping engines and igniters as 1.4S explosives is not a great deal more difficult from a technical standpoint nor is it a lot more expensive. However, the word “explosives” on a bright orange hazardous materials label creates more concern than does a flammable solid label! Boxes of model rocket engines and igniters sitting in the back rooms of hobby shops, large distribution centers, wholesalers’ warehouses and school supply closets will likely garner far more attention from fire prevention personnel, insurance investigators, school administrators, OSHA inspectors and most importantly from the parents of young rocket enthusiasts!
Therefore, Estes as well as Quest Aerospace and RCS/Aerotech have sent responses to the US DOT requesting that the Special Permit, DOT – SP 7887 not be terminated. And we are asking re-shippers of our products to send responses to DOT as well as this will impact their shipments.
As a supplier of model rocket products, you too have an interest in the future of DOT-SP 7887. Termination of the Special Permit may have a very negative and long-term impact on our hobby.
If you believe as we do, that termination of the Special Permit is not warranted, we ask you to send an email or letter via email supporting our requests to keep the Special Permit in place and to protest its termination. The email or letter or both should be sent to DOT as soon as possible and preferably prior to October 2, 2011. To assist you, a sample letter is enclosed that you may customize.
The email address to which emails and letters should be sent is: email@example.com
Please use “DOT-SP 7887 Show Cause Response” as the email subject. To assist us, please bcc firstname.lastname@example.org
or one of the other engine manufacturers.
As you will note in Estes’ response to the Show Cause letter, we intend to petition for permanent relief. If we are to succeed we will need the support of the industry and consumers alike.
Therefore we again ask for your support and action on this important issue. Thank you. We will keep you up-dated!
Copies of the Special Permit, Show Cause Letter, Estes’ Response and Sample Letter are attached.
(Only the show response letter has been attached as a pdf. Originally sent as a .docx file)