Southern Arizona Rocketry Association

Agua Blanca Event Terms and Conditions

Effective Date: 1 Feb 2024

SARA has identified the following terms and conditions for conducting safe model rocket launches at the Agua Blanca Launch site. If you do not agree to provide required event registration information, or if you are unwilling to comply with the safety provisions governing this launch, do not attend the launch. By agreeing to these terms and conditions,  you agree to abide by all its provisions at SARA events at the Agua Blanca launch site. All event registrations require attendees to acknowledge that they have read and agree to comply with these terms and conditions.

Launch Safety

SARA events at the Agua Blanca launch site are conducted under the Tripoli Rocketry Association (Tripoli) safety codes. Please read and understand the Tripoli safety codes for model rocketry and high power rocketry.

The Range Safety Officer has the absolute authority on all matters of range safety, including, but not limited to, approval of rockets for flight, access to launch range, and conduct at the launch event.  All attendees will abide by the RSO's rulings without complaint.

Participate at Your Own Risk

I agree to hold harmless from all claims Southern Arizona Rocketry Association, its board members, Tripoli Rocketry Association, the Bureau of Land Management, and the United States of America.

Public Health Precautions

Public Health precautions will change over time, depending on available information from local, state, or federal public health officials.  For any given event, SARA will indicate in the description any deviation from basic common sense rules always in effect:

  • If you or anyone in your family are sick or may have been exposed to someone who's sick, please stay home.
  • Consider staying home if you or any family member is at an increased risk of COVID-19 or other disease complications

Land Use

  • SARA is permitted to use this launch site by the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) under permit number AZA-037597.
  • SARA and its attendees do not have exclusive use of the Agua Blanca launch site and its environs. We are not permitted to interfere with other valid uses of federal land. Ranching and recreational use (including target shooting and hunting) are allowed and common in the area; proactively coordinate with other users to avoid conflict.
  • SARA is permitted to conduct model rocket launches and retrieval on BLM lands in the Ironwood Forest National Monument. Activities may also include overnight camping, set-up of equipment at event and removing items afterwards. No improvements are permitted, nor are alterations to existing improvements like fences, cattle watering holes, or roads.
  • Launch activities at the Agua Blanca launch site are permitted only during official SARA launches approved by the SARA board of directors and attended by at least one board member. The specific launch site location will be available to attendees.
  • The Agua Blanca launch site is in a remote area without services--no water, no toilet facilities, and the access road is rough and may be impassible after rains. Because the access road is the only access route for other public land users, SARA participants are expected to caravan with other launch attendees, and carpool with others if your vehicle does not have sufficient clearance to successfully traverse the road. 
  • As primitive as the access road is, motor vehicle use off official BLM roads is prohibited. So recovery at this launch site is on foot only; all vehicles, motorized or not, are to remain on the established BLM roads.  BLM roads in the vicinity of the launch site are two; Manville road running roughly east/west, and a spur road north of Manville road immediately west of the launch site. Any other set of tire tracks you see in the area are not official BLM roads, so they are off limits to any vehicular traffic. You can use the two official BLM roads to drive closer to your rocket, but you must park at the edge of the road without harming soil or vegetation. Walk to recover your rocket from the road.
  • The permitted launch site constitutes a 1.44 mile (1.25 nautical mile) radius from the range head. Your rockets are required to recover within this area. Plan accordingly by using dual deployment for high altitude flights and accounting for wind speed and direction prior to launch, for both surface winds and upper level winds. Do not recover from land owned by others without permission:
    • City of Tucson and private land exists 1.7 miles east 
    • Private land exists beyond 1.5 miles southwest
    • Pima County land exists near the hills 1.7 miles northwest
    • Private land exists 2.0 miles northeast
    • State land exists near the hills 2.1 miles north
    • State County land exists around the hills 2.2 miles west-northwest

Airspace Use

  • SARA has obtained authorization to fly Class 2 Amateur Rockets from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) under FAA waiver CSA 23-070 RKT. This waiver permits flights at official SARA launches up to 14,838 ft above ground level during the day, and up to 3,639 ft above ground level during nighttime hours.
  • Flights are required to remain within a 1.73 mile (1.5 nautical mile) radius of the range head for the entire duration of the flight.
  • Launch activities at the Agua Blanca launch site are permitted only during official SARA launches approved by the SARA board of directors and attended by at least one board member.
  • Class 2 (high power) rocket flights are allowed only once SARA has made the requisite arrangements with local aviation authorities according to the procedures identified in the waiver, and by agreement with all relevant authorities having jurisdiction.
  • This is shared airspace, so unmanned flight always yields to manned flight. Pay particular attention to potential conflicts from any aircraft at any altitude within sight or hearing distance of the launch site. Be aware of air traffic at all times, and alert launch officials if you may be aware of air traffic the launch officials may not have noticed yet. This airspace is an approach corridor for both Tucson International Airport (TIA) 26 miles southeast and the ultralight field 2.2 miles east. Tucson TRACON will reroute traffic in and out of TIA during our authorized flight times, but there are no guarantees. Ultralights fly low and slow, so they may be very close before you can see them; pay attention for aircraft noise. It is incumbent on SARA and its attendees to avoid interference with manned flight. 
  • No launch shall take place without prior authorization from the Range Safety Officer (RSO) and prior authorization and real time direction from the Launch Control Officer (LCO). If you bring  your own launch equipment, the LCO shall maintain sole and direct control over the countdown and launch.

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SARA is a volunteer-run 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation based in Tucson, Arizona

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