General Aviation Policy Letter (GAPL) No. 2001-07



High Power Rocket Launches at Air Shows


The recent growth of high power rocket launch activity has resulted in the introduction of such launches as part of some special aviation events.

This activity has resulted in a need to clarify the regulatory requirements for such events in terms of the issuance of a Special Flight Operations Certificate as required under CAR 603.02 and the issuance of a Launch Authorization under CAR 602.44.


A rocket by definition is an aircraft under the Aeronautics Act and a rocket launch at a special aviation event must be authorized pursuant to 603.06(b) i.e. "No person shall operate an aircraft in a special aviation event unless the person (b) is authorized to do so in a special flight operations certificate - special aviation event."

In order to comply with the CARs and ensure the safety of a high power rocket launch at all special aviation events, Transport Canada regional staff will adopt the following procedures for approving such launches;

1.  Where a rocket launch is to take place at a special aviation event the following condition shall be included in the Special Flight Operations Certificate issued for the event.

"Pursuant to CAR 603.06(b) (insert name of organization) is authorized to launch high power rockets at the (state name of event) in accordance with the terms and conditions of the attached Launch Authorization."

2.  A launch authorization is also required pursuant to section 602.44. A copy of the high power rocket authorization must be included with the issuance of a Special Flight Operations Certificate.

The following requirements shall be included as a condition of the launch authorization;

1.  "Launch participants must comply with all applicable Special Flight Operations Standards" and;

2.  "Launch activities shall be conducted in accordance with Transport Canada Requirements for Launching High Power Rockets in Canada including adherence to Tables 3 and 4 pertaining to site dimensions and safe launch distances"

Applications to launch a high power rocket at a special aviation event must be submitted to Transport Canada by the participating launch organization at least 60 days prior to the proposed event or at a time mutually agreed upon between Transport Canada and the launch participants.


This policy letter shall remain in effect until such time as it is amended or cancelled.


Manzur Huq
General Aviation