FAR Part 101 is the section of FAA regulations dealing with moored balloons, kites, unmanned rockets, and unmanned free balloons. It contains the definitions that state weither a rocket is exempt, requires notification, or a waiver. The subsections dealing with rocketry are quoted below.
PART 101—MOORED BALLOONS, KITES, UNMANNED ROCKETS AND UNMANNED FREE BALLOONS
(a) This part prescribes rules governing the operation in the United States, of the following:
(1) Except as provided for in §101.7, any balloon that is moored to the surface of the earth or an object thereon and that has a diameter of more than 6 feet or a gas capacity of more than 115 cubic feet.
(2) Except as provided for in §101.7, any kite that weighs more than 5 pounds and is intended to be flown at the end of a rope or cable.
(3) Any unmanned rocket except:
(i) Aerial firework displays; and,
(ii) Model rockets:
(a) Using not more than four ounces of propellant;
(b) Using a slow-burning propellant;
(c) Made of paper, wood, or breakable plastic, containing no substantial metal parts and weighing not more than 16 ounces, including the propellant; and
(d) Operated in a manner that does not create a hazard to persons, property, or other aircraft.
(4) Except as provided for in §101.7, any unmanned free balloon that—
(i) Carries a payload package that weighs more than four pounds and has a weight/size ratio of more than three ounces per square inch on any surface of the package, determined by dividing the total weight in ounces of the payload package by the area in square inches of its smallest surface;
(ii) Carries a payload package that weighs more than six pounds;
(iii) Carries a payload, of two or more packages, that weighs more than 12 pounds; or
(iv) Uses a rope or other device for suspension of the payload that requires an impact force of more than 50 pounds to separate the suspended payload from the balloon.
(b) For the purposes of this part, a gyroglider attached to a vehicle on the surface of the earth is considered to be a kite.
No person may conduct operations that require a deviation from this part except under a certificate of waiver issued by the Administrator.
§ 101.5 Operations in prohibited or restricted areas.Edit
No person may operate a moored balloon, kite, unmanned rocket, or unmanned free balloon in a prohibited or restricted area unless he has permission from the using or controlling agency, as appropriate.
(a) No person may operate any moored balloon, kite, unmanned rocket, or unmanned free balloon in a manner that creates a hazard to other persons, or their property.
(b) No person operating any moored balloon, kite, unmanned rocket, or unmanned free balloon may allow an object to be dropped therefrom, if such action creates a hazard to other persons or their property.
(Sec. 6(c), Department of Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. 1655(c)))
This subpart applies to the operation of unmanned rockets. However, a person operating an unmanned rocket within a restricted area must comply only with §101.23(g) and with additional limitations imposed by the using or controlling agency, as appropriate.
§ 101.22 Special provisions for large model rockets.Edit
Persons operating model rockets that use not more than 125 grams of propellant; that are made of paper, wood, or breakable plastic; that contain no substantial metal parts, and that weigh not more than 1,500 grams, including the propellant, need not comply with §101.23 (b), (c), (g), and (h), provided:
(a) That person complies with all provisions of §101.25; and
(b) The operation is not conducted within 5 miles of an airport runway or other landing area unless the information required in §101.25 is also provided to the manager of that airport.
No person may operate an unmanned rocket unless that person gives the following information to the FAA ATC facility nearest to the place of intended operation no less than 24 hours prior to and no more than 48 hours prior to beginning the operation:
(a) The names and addresses of the operators; except when there are multiple participants at a single event, the name and address of the person so designated as the event launch coordinator, whose duties include coordination of the required launch data estimates and coordinating the launch event;
(b) The estimated number of rockets to be operated;
(c) The estimated size and the estimated weight of each rocket; and
(d) The estimated highest altitude or flight level to which each rocket will be operated.
(e) The location of the operation.
(f) The date, time, and duration of the operation.
(g) Any other pertinent information requested by the ATC facility.