, Tampa

, Florida

, United States

Posted on
2020-02-23 3:20:44
“RC flying with limited government oversight is very important to myself and many families/organizations/businesses around the US for the sake of personal enjoyment, educational development/inspiration, and economic growth. It has provided a fun, safe hobby for my father and I to learn about, talk about, and spend time doing together. We have enjoyed countless hours at our local neighborhood sports fields flying our scratch-built foam airplanes and many more hours planning, designing, and building them together. This hobby is akin to a father and son playing catch with a baseball and glove. To require tagging, tracking, or confinement to a specific area would greatly limit our enjoyment of this treasured past time and possible ground us permanently. No doubt many other families have enjoyed similar bonding experiences over this wonderful hobby. I have every intention of enjoying this hobby with my future sons/daughters, but these requirements may change that. The educational benefits of this hobby are too many to count as well. Getting involved in RC drones or airplanes requires an enormous amount of personal research and learning in many areas of STEM and thus the freedom for teachers/educators to use this hobby in the classroom is crucial for inspiring the next generation of engineers and scientists. Students that might normally be intimidated by math and science will often learn a surprising amount about aerodynamics, composites, 3D-printing, electric power, motors, radios, cameras, and more without realizing it due to the thrill of flight and the supportive community surrounding it. I can see many benefits in my own educational journey from being involved in this hobby. Despite not having the most impressive grades or qualifications, having RC aircraft projects listed on my resume has helped me gain several engineering internships during my college education (including at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center). I think this is because recruiters understand the value of actually applying in the real world whatever lofty concepts a student hears in class. The FAA apparently doesn’t see this as worth protecting. If I had been required to tag, track, or otherwise confine my RC aircraft, I likely would have lost interest (due to the time/money/effort required) and thus never would have been sent down the engineering path I’m on today. Speaking of internships, I’ve had several supervisors/mentors in various engineering work environments, but none stand out in my memory like one in particular who took time to take me and other interns out to fly RC drones/airplanes. This simply would not have happened if these proposed rules were in place at that time. Lastly, regarding education, I have friends who are pursuing advanced degrees related specifically to drones, UAVs, and aviation primarily because they had the freedom to explore and learn the hobby as young people (while they still had little money to spend). If this freedom was instead a spider’s web of red tape, monitoring, or regulation, they would never have attempted it and thus would never have pursued the higher education they are today. There are young people today who are just beginning to break into the hobby and perhaps consider similar futures in aviation/engineering. Please don’t place unnecessary roadblocks in their way. There is great economic benefit to this industry as well. When this hobby began, it was a crude mashup of hacked together electronics and hardware. As it progressed however, small businesses, online communities, and new technologies emerged to keep apace with the growing demand. Today, thousands of US businesses have been started and grown through the community’s support. I have personally favored many mom-and-pop hobby shops over large online retailers when it comes to buying parts and new aircraft because of the convenience and expertise provided. Most online purchases I’ve made have also been to US based RC companies. Most of the biggest names in the industry are US based and provide many jobs to American workers now and in the future. Many advances in battery, electronic speed controller, radio, and camera technologies have been made due to the desire for better hobby equipment. Much scientific research eventually leading to commercial investments were only possible due to the simplicity and ease of access to this hobby equipment. Although these new proposed regulations might benefit large online retailers such as Amazon by keeping hobbyists out of “their” airspace, they will ultimately hurt smaller US companies and reduce the demand for and development of new hardware. To summarize, I believe that if these regulations are placed on hobby-grade RC aircraft, while benefiting large online retailers, it will ultimately hurt families, educators, and small businesses in no small way. Please reconsider these proposals!”