Curtis

Olson

, Minneapolis

, Minnesota

, United States

Posted on
2020-02-22 10:07:14
“I think it is fair to add regulation for FPV flying and for aircraft capable of fully autonomous route following. These allow us to fly our aircraft way beyond safe line of site and there are real concerns. You only have to browse a few youtube videos to find significantly irresponsible behaviors with this technology. However, aircraft that are flown purely by line of site, there is no need for any additional regulation. There is no problem even to fix. Hobbyists have been safely flying along with manned aviation for almost the entire history of manned aviation. I think whatever ultimately comes down for a final RID rule, it needs to be affordable and reasonable for everyone (including a kid’s budget.) It also needs to be logistically reasonable. I have easily two dozen aircraft, but long time modelers have spent a lifetime building their collections. It’s not practical to require each of these to be registered individually, especially if they are only ever flown line of site. My story: like many others, I’ve loved aviation ever since I can remember. When I was 3-4, my dad used to take me down to the local airport when he got home from work to watch the airplanes (and more importantly to give my mom a break.) That grew into making model airplanes at the earliest age I was able. That love grew into building rubber power guillows free flight models (some flew successfully.) Then in highschool I saved up my entire summer job earnings to buy my first RC airplane kit and motor and radio. In the next year I built it, joined the AMA, joined a local club, and learned to fly. I wanted to study to be an aerospace engineer in college but due to various circumstances ended up with a computer science degree. However over the years through various contacts I got involved with designing UAV aircraft and flight control systems. This work and personal experience eventually led to a position in the UAV lab at the University of Minnesota Aerospace Engineering department. Life came full circle and now I’m working as an aerospace engineer and couldn’t be happier. Every life experience counts for something and I am now able to bring my software development skills and perspective to our university projects. I still get to work on developing autopilots and flight control systems. I get to be involved in other software projects where I can apply those skills. And I get to actually fly RC planes, UAV’s, and student projects as part of my day job, what could be better? Currently my primary project is working with the Minnesota department of agriculture using drones to fly over hard to reach areas and conduct surveys looking for invasive plants. We are just a small group with an overwhelming task, but we are doing our best to find ways to use today’s technology to combat real world environmental issues and better manage and preserve our forests and agricultural areas. I think I am like most others who have a foot in many different aspects of model aviation and part 107 commercial drone operations. This year my daughter joined science olympiad and one of her events is “wright stuff” where the kids design and build a rubber power airplane and fly it in a timed competition. At the last competition it was so heartwarming to see brilliant kids with a passion for aviation out test gliding and competing with their creations. When you love something you will pour your heart and soul into it to design and build and fly the best airplanes possible. These are the kids that will be going to work for NASA and Boeing in 4-8 years. These are the kids that will become our future pilots. I think whatever is done with RID, the FAA needs to make sure that our next generation has more opportunities in model aviation, not fewer. When I think about my university job, I’m sure the university will find ways to pay for whatever RID systems will ultimately be required to continue our research and education endeavors. But when I think about all my personal aircraft and projects and ideas and day dreams, I’m immensely worried that the RID system as currently proposed will prevent me from being able to pursue many of them. I worry it will prevent new people from joining the hobby, will drive out many who are currently involved in the hobby, by consequence will end many businesses and livelihoods that are hobby related. As an over arching guiding principle, new regulations should add clarification and structure, and they should enable good people to continue to do the good things they are doing. If new regulations immediately transform good people into outlaws, that can’t be good policy making. I am an AMA member, and I belong to my local AMA sanctioned club. But I also love flight test and have watched pretty much every one of their videos for the last 5 years and have built and flown (and love) several of their designs. I love FT’s mission and focus on making model aviation less expensive and more accessible to kids, families, STEM programs, and even ‘regular’ hobbyists like me. Thanks for the opportunity to share!”
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