, Wellesley

, Massachusetts

, United States

Posted on
2020-02-20 7:29:20
“I dream of flying. Every night, it’s a recurring dream, a wonderful dream. For the last 18 years I’ve been lucky, I’ve been able to live this dream. Flying saved my marriage when it was most stressed. I found a passion and flying was it. I planned a future with my wife with my kids and flying. The most absurd thing happened, the FAA decided that I needed a permit number to fly. I don’t fly full-size planes, they are what you now call drones. We used to call them model airplanes, model helicopters, model gliders, model float planes and control line planes. They now all have my FAA number on them. I have 25 model aircraft and they all can fly. Some are 50 years old others brand new, most I built myself. None of them have computers, none GPS nor any way to be autonomously controlled. I fly line of sight, and so do over 100 of my friends. Most of my hundred friends have more than one aircraft and many as many as I do. We fly our planes in the safest manner. We are members of an AMA club called Charles River Radio Controllers. A club that has existed since the 1960s. We rent fields in Massachusetts and there isn’t one year that we’ve been a club without the threat of losing our fields to urban expansion. Soccer, baseball, lacrosse and new home building threatens to overrun our fields, but we persist. We are good citizens, we clean up the field, we entertain residents of our towns with model aircraft, sharing our passion. We educate the public at STEM events. My friends and many more like us have a dream to continue flying our model aircraft and to pass on this passion to our children and grandchildren, our legacy. This dream is threatened by new rules the FAA is proposing. If these rules go through I won’t be able to fly any of my planes, I won’t be able to build new planes that I can fly. All that will be left is to fly commercially built, stamped out FFA approved drones that are simply cameras that fly. The change won’t happen fast, we will have our FAA approved fields, for a while. Local playing fields and parks and ponds will be illegal to fly my aircraft on. The towns will catch on to be afraid that the only types of planes that are safe to fly are the FAA type, stamped out flying cameras. We will loose our FAA approved fields. The tracking devices won’t fit in my aircraft. Even the latest technology is too large, and too heavy, ruining flight characteristics. A 9 ounce glider won’t fly well with even a half ounce of added weight, a foam board electric plane won’t fit a tracker. Individual trackers for my 25 planes is out of my budget a budget that is at its limit. Did you know that these cookie-cutter flying cameras that the FAA is proposing have caused most of the recent panic about drones. None of my 25 model airplanes have caused a problem for the FAA, for full-scale planes, for the public, for the neighbors around the flying fields. Yet planes like my 25 planes are the target that the FAA is forcing out. First I can’t fly my planes at the local field, I can’t fly my floatplane off of the local pond, I can’t even fly my little 10 ounce plane in my backyard. Technically the FAA proposed rulings are flawed. They assume that most flying models are Multi-rotor Camera drones. Much of the proposed ruling is based on what appears to be DJI’s manual. That does not work for an airplane nor does it work when you have more than a few pilots on the same field. The FAA flight envelope narrows as it goes Higher that is wrong. Planes in the same airspace need to be further apart as they go up or they crash against each other, not a good thing. Height restrictions at 400 feet appears to be an arbitrary number in class G airspace unless the FAA is selling that airspace above 400 feet to commercial drones. Many of the gliders I fly have a launch altitude higher than the 400 foot. Thermals aren’t active until well above that and that and that’s what gliders need to fly on. It appears that the FAA hasn’t done their research to see what model airplane pilots have been flying for the last 80 years. We need more than a tiny bit of air space 400 feet high by 400 feet wide. We test flyer model airplanes and glide them hundreds of feet just to see whether they’re stable enough to launch and safe enough to fly. I’m disappointed, the FAA has let me down, they’ve ignored me and taking away my dream, they’re taking away my retirement, because I dreamed of being able to build and fly model aircraft for the next 40 years. The FAA needs to listen to the AMA, and companies like Flight Test. Don’t make my dream illegal. It seems like a backwards reality for marijuana to be legal and flying model and toy aircraft on the local field to be illegal. It’s taking away freedom, and unAmerican. We invented flight and now we have to buy our aircraft from China.”