, Wooster

, Ohio

, United States

Posted on
2020-02-22 12:38:18
“I started flying RC planes back in the 80s. Costs restricted the hobby to people with a great deal of ‘surplus’ cash which made it very hard for young people to participate – which to me is VERY important for development of STEM interests in our kids. Why did it cost so much? Back then we had to have a separate radio and transmitter for EACH plane we flew. It became more difficult to fly because of urban expansion and the resulting noise complaints. The nitro fuel for glow-powered aircraft never got any cheaper, in fact its cost constantly went up in price significantly from month to month. Many tried to mitigate fuel costs by flying Gasoline powered aircraft and using weed eater motors or chainsaw motors – to me these aircraft were so large and heavy that they posed a significant threat to anyone on the ground (or the air for that matter.). I once figured it out that to START out in the hobby then with basic ground equipment and a basic trainer, would cost at least $350 – a significant amount back then and definitely out of reach of the average youth. Life and marriage caught up with me and I put my planes away to raise my kids and progress in my career (USAF Navigator on B-52s). A couple of years ago, I discovered ‘Flite Test’ and re-entered the RC world. I was delighted to find that the electric side of the hobby had come so far and that due to several factors, the cost to participate in it has dropped significantly!! These airplanes are lightweight and can be made with some foam board, knives, tape and hot glue! The motors are virtually silent – eliminating the ‘noise factor’. Also, because of the technology of the radios, one only need ONE transmitter for many planes equipped with receivers for that single transmitter to ‘bind’ to. I have wanted to become more involved in Flite Test because of the STEM programs they have to stimulate young people. Due to the low costs involved kids can get into the hobby for a relatively inexpensive investment. The learning involved will NEVER be equaled in a school. My experience has been that the folks involved in RC flying are like family. Everyone encourages each other and helps everyone else out. Knowledge is there in the group for the asking and kids are looked upon with great favor by the adults. I’ve seen father-son relationships blossom with a common interest in RC flying. So, now comes the government to place onerous and unnecessary rules and regulations on this hobby which by nature will put the hobby back into the ‘unreachable’ category for the majority of the population due to cost and ‘licensing’. I would argue that PERHAPS commercial RC flying (much like commercial aviation) should be regulated due to the airspace used, weights of the aircraft (fixed wing, helicopters and drones). E-flite hobbists fly aircraft that are very light weight and the damage they can incur is very unlikely (Flite Test recently built a B-52 from foam board and if it hit your house, it probably would not damage it). Clubs with fields are getting harder and harder to find and ofttimes involve significant travel to get to them. This incurs more costs and puts an additional hardship on those not yet old enough to drive. Many RC drones, fixed wing and helicopters can be flown in a very small space. Restricting RC hobbyists to ‘club field’ further restricts participation in the sport. The RC hobby has evolved to a point that many people can participate in the hobby/sport. Additional regulations and required equipment would only serve to increase costs to the people, again relegating the hobby to those who can afford it. If the nation truly wants more kids to pursue STEM careers, then implementing onerous regulations is not the way to do it.”