, Canada

Posted on
2020-02-19 10:26:32
“Dear Sir or Madam, I am Anthony Watton aged 51 years and owner of TBRC WINGS a small manufacturing company devoted to the design of radio controlled models. I have been heavily involved in all aspects of radio controlled flight since early 2009. Some activities I have done in this industry/hobby include organizing and hosting one of the oldest and largest FPV (First Person View) events the NAFPV Meet (North American FPV Meet) I have been involved since the inception of navigating model aircraft via a video feed so I am very familiar with the technology. We have successfully and safely hosted this event for over 12 years without a single accident or incident causing property damage, personal injury or endangerment of manned aircraft. As a mater of fact on several occasions we have hosted our event from operational airfields working directly with the airfield to ensure effective communications and maintain a safe shared air space. Like most sports and hobbies competition is common including racing these remotely piloted aircraft and the NAFPV Meet was one of the first events to host such an air race among model aviation enthusiasts. To echo my earlier statement again at no time have we had an accident, injury or incident. With the success of these fun and family friendly events, which included competitions, we saw a massive increase in interest in the model aviation hobby and a new generation of young enthusiasts began to embrace a new sport and “drone racing” was born. Be it multi rotor or fixed wing aircraft to date at these often large competitions there has never been an incident. Within a few years several race specific organizations began to host competitions and the sport gained tremendous popularity globally. In 2016 the DSA (Drone Sports Association) held and hosted international competitions. Competitors from all over North America were battling head to head at organized races for a chance to compete in the US Drone Nationals held on Governors Island in New York City. I was a large part of the organizing body for DSA Drone Nationals in 2016 overseeing the race event, judging and working with the AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) to ensure a safe environment for the spectators, the competing pilots and manned aviation operating in and around NYC. The event held over a course of three days was a massive success and again without issue, accident or injury. Following the success of the US Drone Nationals, Drone Worlds competition was held in Hawaii. The numbers of pilots from 17 countries competing was staggering. I had the pleasure to work with both the DSA and the AMA as race director for “wing racing” portion of the world competition. Again I cannot stress this enough, no accidents, incidents or injury occurred at these massive events. With all this said I cannot comprehend for the life of me any legitimate justification for implementing such restrictions and laws as to which you are proposing. Clearly the hobbyists and model aviation enthusiasts have not been instrumental or responsible for anything significant enough to shut down such a safe and harmless hobby. If the FAA has done a proper and legal risk assessment to warrant the changes and impose laws which you are recommending then I for one, as well of hundreds of thousands of others, would very much like to see the statistical data to reinforce and back up the regulations you are attempting to implement. I am hopeful you will consider my input of these facts of which I have first hand knowledge of. I urge you to reconsider your proposal, implementing such drastic regulations will stifle entrepreneurship, young enthusiasts in stem programs, technological developments in so many venues and put an end to a family friendly hobby that has never causes grievous harm to anyone to date. Regards, Anthony Watton”