Andrew

Rice

, Milton

, Wisconsin

, United States

Posted on
2020-02-13 20:33:51
“I started flying remote control airplanes when I was 9 or 10 years old. I am now 28 and still enjoy the hobby a lot. I had gotten out of it for a while after college for various reasons, but this past summer while recovering from a couple of surgeries I got back into the hobby full force and I’m glad I did. I currently work as an ATP rated pilot with over 2500 hours of flight time flying private charter jets out of southern Wisconsin. Aviation is a major part of my life and I can honestly say that if it weren’t for hobby aviation I probably wouldn’t be a pilot today. It got me really interested in aviation to the point where I decided to become a pilot at 11 years old and I never looked back. I am the only pilot in my family and the only one who flies remote control airplanes. When I go to the local park and fly my EPP foam combat wings, people, especially kids usually watch and sometimes come and ask me questions about the plane or how I fly it etc. Model aviation starts the conversation and I have gotten at least a couple of kids interested in aviation, all because they saw me flying an RC airplane. I love talking to kids about aviation and telling them what being a pilot is like and how they too can become pilots. My wife, who is also a professional pilot, and I have run some educational programs at our local library for kids who are interested in aviation and we’ve used RC airplanes as teaching tools for the kids. It’s more than just a hobby, it connects people and connects young people to their possible future careers. I am worried about the proposed regulations as I really do think it would kill our hobby for the most part if the regulations are too strict or overreaching. I don’t want to lose the freedom I have to go fly an airplane that I’ve built. On top of that I am worried more regulations will hurt the aviation industry as a whole as it will make it harder for people to get into aviation in general. General aviation already has a high barrier to entry and if you make that barrier high for hobby aviation then the whole industry will be hurt. Many pilots started with model airplanes or helicopters. It was their first chance to really fly something until they could get their hands on the bigger “real” machines. That’s how it was for me. We already have a pilot shortage and I believe this will only make that problem worse. I hope that the FAA comes up with a solution that is fair and balanced and that works for everyone, as I would absolutely hate to lose this hobby. It means too much to me and to millions of others as well.”
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