, Somers

, Connecticut

, United States

Posted on
2020-02-17 11:52:59
“Although not as well-known as Neil Armstrong or Burt Rutan, I am one of those who have had much greater career success as a result of designing, building, and flying model aircraft. The skills and hands-on experience I developed in my modeling activities have been most beneficial. I was fascinated with flight from a very early age. My father – also an active modeler when he was young – guided and helped me in my early model building endeavors. I continued my modeling throughout grade, middle, and high school. I was fortunate enough to attend engineering school, but struggled quite a bit in my Freshman and Sophomore years as my mathematical abilities were somewhat lacking. I also struggled because I wasn’t very interested in many of the early classes and enjoyed party life a little too much – but that’s another story. In my Junior and Senior years, the more practical, design-related courses were much more interesting, and I found skills I developed in modeling activities invaluable. In my Senior year, I did a project to evaluate powered and un-powered hang-gliders using model aircraft. This project was quite successful, and after winning local and regional competitions, I was a national finalist in the annual American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) student paper competition. Not quite ten years after graduation, I had the opportunity to work for the US government, and later, private industry, in the development of sophisticated parachute systems for the US military and NASA. I contributed towards the Space Shuttle Crew Escape Parachute, X-38 Crew Return Vehicle, various troop parachutes, humanitarian aid parachutes, Mars lander parachute systems, and more recently, a large cargo parachute for the US Army. In my work on troop parachutes, I felt it was important to “walk the walk”, and I was one of the very few to attend US Army Airborne School in a civilian status. My modeling activities have directly benefited my professional work. I have used RC models to test out several parachute concepts, and most notably, I have adapted model aircraft instrumentation for use in low-cost, rugged parachute test instrumentation. Outside my professional career, my modeling activities evolved into full-scale aviation. I earned my glider and powered Private pilots license, and built and test flew a full-scale experimental homebuilt powered glider that I have flown for hundreds of hours. I continue to be an active modeler, flying electric-powered aircraft, many of my own design. Aside from my concern that the RID NPRM will eliminate an activity I have enjoyed most of my life, I am very concerned that the RID NPRM will prevent young people from having the opportunities I have had, and the loss of exciting model aircraft related STEM activities will reduce US competitiveness on the world stage. Although impossible to quantify, the loss of competitiveness resulting from the virtual elimination of model aircraft is likely to reduce our national security far more than the RID NPRM would increase security. Notes (as there is no place to comment elsewhere in this survey): – Please contact me before publishing or using my name ### – Josh – We met a few years ago at the indoor event in a golf dome in Columbus, OH (last time the event was held there). I enjoyed our conversation, and think you guys at Flite Test are doing great things.”