, Davis

, California

, United States

Posted on
2020-02-22 15:38:43
“As a homeschooling father, I fly small, safe, scratch-built and kit-built RC drones and fixed wing planes with my kids. We do this on a casual basis. We don’t have a lot of equipment, and our batteries don’t last more than a few minutes, so we usually walk over to the local school grounds on the weekend to fly. Five minute walk, five minutes of flying, and then five minutes to walk home. Our flying has NEVER bothered anyone, nor presented a safety issue. Our craft are so small and light (our plane, for example, is made out of squishy foam), that even if we hit someone, we wouldn’t hurt them. But there’s usually no one around. If someone is around, they are fascinated to watch us fly. There is a flying field near our area, but it’s a 20 minute drive away. For starters, we don’t have a car, but even if we did, a 40-minute round-trip for five minutes of flying would be out of the question. Furthermore, that flying field requires a cost-prohibitive membership fee. In terms of “tracking who is flying” one of our aircraft, we are always very visible nearby. There is no mistake about who is flying, because we never fly that far away from where we’re standing. Plus, the flight time is short enough that you’d just need to wait for the plane to land to find out who owned it. We sometimes fly FPV, but even then, the transmission range is short enough that we’re never very far away, and it’s completely obvious to everyone around who is flying the craft. It sounds to me like this legislation is targeting the very real problem of semi-autonomous camera drones that are flying far away from their operators using GPS guidance. If I see one of those fly past my window, there’s very little chance of me finding out who was piloting it. The vehicle itself provides a cloak of anonymity for the operator. But I think the net has been cast too wide. Some kid flying a foam plane in the park is not a problem. Even some expert doing high-speed tricks with an FPV racing drone isn’t really a problem. There is no cloak of anonymity in those situations. You’ve got a guy standing right there in the center of the field with goggles and a huge radio. But my friends with DJI-style drones often fly miles away from their operation location. Why not have these Remote ID rules apply only to craft that are using semi- (or fully-) autonomous GPS guidance? The rules could also apply to craft that use cell phone or wifi infrastructure for control signals. Any other craft are being flown close enough to the owner that identifying the owner won’t be a problem.”