Jim

Austin

, United Kingdom

Posted on
2020-02-13 19:32:38
“I am a 52 year old newcomer to the hobby. My Dad worked for Rolls Royce, some of my earliest memories of flight were the test flights of BAE Concorde, Westland Lynx and Gazelle helicopters. My Grandfather, a joiner, repaired de Havilland Mosquito, my Father in law was RAF and built parts for de Havilland vampire. So I have been spoilt. I have very eclectic interests in electronics, history, aerodynamics, space flight, electrical and mechanical engineering, computing, science fiction, 3D printing and many others. I work as a programmer and spend a lot of time waiting for code to compile or updates to run. During those times my mind wanders over many interests. In September last year, I started talking with a colleague at work about Radio Controlled modelling. Suddenly all the various parts of my interests began to interlock. I joined the BMFA and started learning to fly at my local club. I am a rubbish pilot but crashing is always a great opportunity to learn! What I have discovered though is I enjoy the design, build and testing challenges of this wonderful hobby as much or maybe more than the flying. I fly (crash) ARTF trainers but have built traditional balsa and tissue models, foam board models and have done a lot of repairs! I am building cradles, tool holders and various ‘helper’ items to support my hobby. I have to carry a notebook as inspiration just won’t stop. There is one major benefit I’ve omitted – being outdoors in the fresh air. Learning, flying, feeling the wind and spending time with experts – I feel so much more relaxed after an hour at the field! There are downsides to the hobby: The expense, The entry paths in the UK need to be more obvious through STEM Abuse of privacy by images captured Incorrect perceptions through lack of education about what the hobby actually involves. After doing a lot of reading, thinking and researching about the issues the hobby faces I am not sure the proposed changes make sense for what I enjoy. > Anything I build over 250g would need to be registered. So I can’t test any design without registering it. There may be 5 or more prototypes with different configurations before I find the sweet spot., > Spontaneous opportunities for flight would not be possible. If I were up very early, (I am an insomniac), and wanted to fly in a public area with nobody around I could not do this. > If I can only fly kits with pre-configured electronics, there are 90 years of plans that I could not build. > A whole industry will effectively have to either increase costs or more likely the choice of kits parts to the hobbyist will reduce. > Someone using a model for criminal activity will obviously not register either the model or themselves. So I think this laudable intention will not be addressed. > The proposal that allows no new flying sites to be created is a de-facto execution for the hobby. >If a site is closed this would lead, I believe to trespass issues and more ‘risky’ behaviour as pilots will find a way to fly their models. > Please can this proviso be removed Like other urban sports, drone racing / FPV flights in urban areas attract interest and provide safe entertainment. Whilst I don’t currently do FPV I think an urban flight experience would be an amazing experience! I do support some aspects of the proposals however. > As a pilot, the model is my responsibility so if I am OK registering ownership and marking my model accordingly. > I also have no issue with declaring I am flying a model in a location. > All commercial use should be registered. >They should be controlled by local laws and file flight plans, prove insurance etc. My suggestions for regulation would be this: > Registration should be encouraged as a free service for all ages to encourage children to enter the hobby. > Each individual model should carry a registration code. > If a model is found / trapped / captured the owner could be identified. > This way the owner knows a lost model will comeback to him so he will be happier to register. > The user is responsible for registering their own ‘fleet’ – again free of charge. > Children under 13 should be flying with adult permission / supervision. > Once the owner reaches 13 they should complete an online awareness course. > Passing would issue them a license. > A free service is created that allows pilots to check the area they are flying in is OK to use. > This service would then capture user X is flying at site A at this time. > Law enforcement could then confirm someone competent is flying at that location, at that time. > One the user leaves the area the record is deleted from the database. > When out flying this document should be carried so law enforcement can do their jobs in the easiest way. In closing, I hope that education will continue on all sides. My hope is that a hobby that has never caused a problem, has a very low personal injury record and has, as far as I know, never caused serious damage to commercial aircraft, will be protected and remain a vital part of training, education for future generations. The world relies on aviation. The expansion of spaceflight operations needs talent from our children. That talent will be stimulated by the marvel of flight, curiosity and by being exposed to design it, build it, crash it, repair it, improve it. Regards, Jim Austin.”
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