, Arizona

, United States

Posted on
2020-02-26 14:30:36
“I used to fly model airplanes with my dad in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s off of a WWII training runway that occasionally saw full-size aircraft use for pilots in training doing touch-and-gos. I don’t recall any issues with the multiple uses at that field and sometimes the full-size pilots would land and we would all admire each others flying machines. I stepped away from the hobby when I went to college. Model airplanes and RC Cars actually had an influence on my choice to become a Mechanical Engineer. I didn’t get back into the RC hobby until well after college when I had some space of my own again. Even though I am back into it, it is not my primary hobby. Adding regulations like those proposed by the FAA would require additional steps, cost and complexity to build and fly model aircraft. I’m not aware of the type of transponder they are suggesting but I suspect it would be challenging to integrate into most of my models. For someone like me who isn’t as dedicated to the hobby, the additional burden would likely keep me from flying at all. I have even considered liquidating all of my model airplanes, drones and flying camera systems due to the threat of this regulation. I realize that the FAA is trying to address a perceived safety issue relating to the uncontrolled and widespread use of UAS, but I’m not sure the dangers they are trying to address have actually materialized. People who take the hobby seriously have an awareness of the safety issues and tend to fly at dedicated fields – and that’s where I primarily fly my fixed wing and multi-rotor models. We even have occasional full size aircraft flying directly over our field with no issue. People who don’t take the hobby seriously or who are first-time flyers with toy drones are more problematic, but they are going to be harder to regulate. They typically don’t belong to clubs, or the AMA. They may not have or seek training from someone more experienced. They may not fly regularly enough to know how to control their model well, or know of a safe method to refresh their memory, like using a simulator. As long as there are toy-grade UAS, there will be those who buy them and try to fly them with little regard for safety. It would be a good idea to include prominent safety language and suggestions about clubs and AMA membership on toy-grade UAS (and maybe that already exists, but I’m not aware of it because I don’t fly that type). Alternatively, maybe those toy-grade systems should be required to have some form of geofencing and ID system. The additional cost would likely keep a lot of people from starting the hobby with those types of models and would make people more aware of the issue. I’m not sure there is a perfect, one-size fits all solution to the problem that the FAA is trying to address, but the current proposal seems overly burdensome and nearly oppressive in its approach.”