Anyone wishing to launch a rocket (other than an A to D powered 'model rocket' which complies with the Model rocket Safety Code, or a 'large model rocket'), must raise a NOTAM and, if flying into ‘controlled airspace’, obtain approval from Air Traffic Control prior to the launch. 'Controlled airspace' differs from location to location. To determine whether your launch will breach controlled airspace you need to either refer to an aeronautical map or contact the ATC supervisor in your area (see below).

'Model rockets', that is rockets powered by A through D power motors are exempt from CAA rule Part 101. Flyers must however follow the Model rocket Safety Code when launching.

A ‘large rocket' (as defined in CAA Rule Part 101) means non-metallic airframe rockets powered by E to H motors, with a lift off weight of no more than 1.5kgs, a motor containing no more than 125g of propellant, and producing no more than 320 n-secs of power. Most Aerotech and the smaller Public Missiles rockets are defined as 'large rockets'.

A 'high power or experimental' rocket refers to anything that does not meet the definition other a ‘model rocket' or ‘large model rocket'.

NOTAM Procedure (applies to ‘high power or experimental’ rockets, but not 'large' rockets)

Send a fax to the NOTAM office  - (03) 358 9192, stating:

Your name, address and telephone no.
Number of (high power) rockets to be launched
Estimated size, and weight (mass) of the rockets
Estimated highest altitude rockets will operate to
Location of the launch
Date, time and duration of the operation

Air Traffic Control (ATC) Authorisation (applies to 'large' and high power/experimental rockets)

Phone the Air Traffic Control Supervisor – 0800 626 756 (ask to speak to the supervisor), no later than 2 days before the launch, confirming the location of your site, how many rockets you will be launching, time of launches, the name of the range safety officer (probably you) and your contact phone number (mobile preferred). Note ATC is not unreasonably allowed to withhold permission to launch.

In some cases, normally in the event of busy traffic, ATC may request you to phone again before 9.00am on the day of the launch, and (if further requested), 15 minutes before the actual launching. (ATC may also require that you phone them to indicate that the rocket is down).

Note that any insurance cover to New Zealand Rocketry Assn (NZRA) members does not apply to any launch, which is not a notified and authorised NZRA launch. This means that your launch either has to be on the NZRA calendar (link at or you have sent notification in writing to the Assn prior to the launch.

Please note also that approval for the use of official sites used by NZRA affiliated clubs, must be obtained from those clubs prior to the launch. This is important since it ensures procedures and courtesies agreed with the landowners by clubs are observed and good relationships with the owners are maintained.

If you have any queries on the above points, phone 9-624 3091 or email: or

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