, Canada

Posted on
2020-02-24 10:27:31
“I have been flying RC aircraft of one form or another for 16 years. It is a hobby that I find both interesting and very enjoyable. I have built most of my own aircraft from base parts, or from scratch, in that time. In the past 10 years I have seen a dramatic shift in respect to public perception, what is commercially available, and the reaction of the general aviation community. Public perception has become paranoid of privacy concerns, mainly for reasons not based in reality. My neighbors initially had serious problems with my aircraft. It took some honest conversation, and demonstration of the capabilities of the aircraft, to really let them understand what was, was not possible. Not to mention the common sense. After some education, and some open discussion, there are no problems any longer. This took some honest communication and education, which the internet and news services fail to do. A campaign to actually educate the public on remotely operated aircraft from the hobbyist side, would do wonders here. Commercially available, mostly autonomous, drones have become easily available to non hobbyists with no knowledge or education. DJI is the obvious one to point out, though Parrot is to blame here too. These are available at big box stores, where any poorly education person can buy one, pair it with their iphone, and proceed to break laws, invade privacy, and generally operate these craft with zero education, and complete lack of common sense. A written test to grant a “license” or “permit” to actually purchase a drone from a box store would make a lot of sense here. Most of the issues are complete ignorance of what is acceptable, and what is not. DJI has made this way too easy to get in to, with zero education. General aviation pilots have begun using “drones” as an excuse for every single mistake, with zero proof. In Canada, a commercial pilot blamed a drone for his mistake on approach to an airport. This mistake injured two people on the aircraft. The contention was that, at 10km from shore, over lake Ontario, a drone entered his flight path at over 20,000ft altitude. This forced him to evade, rapidly descending, and injuring both flight attendants in the process. The reality is that no commercially available, or home built, drone could have possibly been in the area of this commercial aircraft at the time of the incident. However, the blame was placed squarely there. The transport minister went on a witch hunt, and laws put in place that made it extremely hard for any RC aircraft enthusiast to continue to operate. I fly fixed wing foam aircraft, and 250 class multirotors. I actually participate in a local racing league purely for recreation and fun. As it stands, we are no longer able to operate, and as a result did not fly at all in 2019. The Canadian body for RC pilots, MAAC, completely failed to protect pilots and the hobby, outside of their own clubs. They completely failed to represent the hobby, while claiming to, and instead only represented their own financial interests, i.e., their clubs. At this point, without some major changes, Canada is next to impossible to fly legally as we were for many years. The hobby is ruined. Bringing in more changes as outlined by the FAA is simply going to ruin the hobby. Canada will almost certainly follow suit, and that will be the end of a really great hobby.”