, Greeneville

, Tennessee

, United States

Posted on
2020-02-14 15:33:46
“I was introduced to model aircraft in the late 80’s by a neighbor. My grandfather and I took over the dining room table and built our first kit, a Sig Kadet Jr. with an OS 25 glow engine. That model really sparked the aviation bug in both of us, and I was able to spend many years building and flying model aircraft with my grandfather before he passed away. Nearly 40 years have passed since then, and I still am firmly involved in the model aircraft hobby. I’ve started passing my years of building and flying knowledge to my own grandchildren, and have been able to spend the past several summers sharing the joy of building with them as well as teaching them to fly their own airplanes and quadcopters. While the hobby has changed over the years (gas to electric, 72mhz to 2.4ghz, etc), the basics and educational opportunities they present are as relevant as ever. I have multiple concerns with the proposed legislation. The bundling together of FPV and the typical R/C line-of-sight models seems particularly misguided. Typical R/C airplane, helicopter, or even quadcopter LOS flying is already limited by simple physics – there is a limit to how far I can see an aircraft well enough to control it. It is impossible for me to get my normal LOS models very far away from my position, so requiring a transmitter on the plane to send location data through a cellular service serves no purpose. A better solution in my opinion would be a simple phone application that would allow a pilot to “check in” when starting a flight, and “check out” when done. This all could relay the position of the pilot to the FAA, and now they know where we are, and they know our aircraft must be close by due to the limitations of vision. I do get that FPV and GPS drones are a bit of a different story, and there may need to be some additional regulation around those aspects of the hobby. I agree with the AMA’s (and FAA’s) stance that a spotter should be available for any FPV flight – this makes sense to me from a safety perspective. I also feel that beyond line of sight (BLOS) flight should be very regulated, and this is the one place where I can see some merit in the onboard tracking that is being proposed. In the end, I feel that FPV flight and GPS (automated) drone type flight need to be treated differently than a normal LOS aircraft. I fear I will not get to enjoy model aviation with my grandchildren much longer if this passes, which would be a huge blow to both them and myself. My grandson has already started expressing interest in an aviation career, and I intended to use this hobby as a springboard to keep his interest up and instill as much aviation knowledge as possible to encourage him in this endeavor. If we lose model aviation, I fear the FAA is unprepared for the impact this is going to have on full-scale aviation in the future. With all of the knowledge and exposure model aviation can bring to children, it can (and does) spark a lifelong passion of flight that carries into adulthood. I’m living proof of that, and I’m certain I’m not alone.”