- National Space Society Visit
On Friday, May 21, George Rachor and I visited for an hour with George Whitesides, the new Executive Director of the National Space Society. He promised to give us a hand when we needed action, either around NPRM's or legislative activity.
- Capitol Hill Visit
After our NSS meeting, George Rachor, John Kyte and I spent 45 minutes with House and Senate staff discussing legislative options. John has some follow up work to do after this meeting and, as we all know, the process of education about rocketry matters on Capitol Hill is slow and requires patience and persistence.
We did identify some possible opportunities for both legislative action and Congressional interaction with ATFE directly, and John will be following up with staff and Members to further investigate and determine how real the opportunities might be. We will keep you apprised of any action, especially if we need support for Members of Congress.
- TARC Launch
Ross Arends, Executive Assistant for Congressional Liaison to the Director of BATFE, spent about 3 hours at the TARC flyoffs in the company of Senator Enzi, myself, NAR Secretary George Rachor, John Kyte, and many NAR members.
Ross came in response to Senator Enzi's invitation to the Director to attend TARC, and I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Ross for spending a part of his weekend with the NAR at TARC2004.
A group of NAR/TRA high-power fliers, led by Bill Schworer, put on a carefully-designed and extremely professional display of HPR technology and flying for Ross, and for the large crowd of TARC flyers, aerospace industry and NASA VIP's, etc. in the late afternoon between the end of the flying competition and the award ceremony.
Bill and his team also went over EVERY detail of the safety and technology of our hobby with Ross, letting him handle and see the technology in action. All in all, it was an excellent opportunity to communicate directly to the top of BATFE (outside of a courtroom) who we are and what our concerns are with BATFE. (Senator Enzi also participated directly in some of these discussions out on the HPR range.)
All those involved came away recognizing that Ross was there to listen and learn. Everyone involved, Ross, the HPR crew and NAR "management" was polite, engaged and completely professional. Ross promised to take our messages back to the Director, but obviously could not predict results.
Wall Street Journal reporter Bobby Block also attended TARC on Saturday afternoon, and maintains a strong interest in our hobby and our challenges.
We used an excellent opportunity to educate a senior ATF official about our hobby and concerns. We continue our education process in the Congress. We're continuing to make more friends in the aerospace and education communities. We're generating more and more good press about the safety, education and fun of sport rocketry. The public is "getting it," understanding that our hobby isn't a threat to their safety in any way.
All of these things are working to create an environment where we can secure that unregulated future we need and want. Your patience, persistence and continued support will be needed to help us reach that goal.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = Mark B. Bundick mbundick - at - earthlink - dot - net NAR President www - dot - nar - dot - org
"A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but high above the quiet streets on the twelfth floor of the Acme Building, one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions. Guy Noir, Private Eye."