, San Diego

, California

, United States

Posted on
2020-02-25 16:27:07
“I scratch build almost all my planes and enjoy the process of crashing, redesigning, and rebuilding. Designing and building RC airplanes as a kid played a substantial role in my career trajectory towards engineering, and I recently picked the hobby back up to share it with my very young son. As a one-year-old, he’s absolutely obsessed with airplanes, and I can’t wait until he’s old enough to begin building and flying model airplanes on his own. I definitely understand the safety concerns associated with the recent flood of remote control aircraft (particularly quadcopters) hitting the market, and I do think there should be some minimum barriers to entry so that someone who knows nothing about airspace regulations can’t endanger human life by recklessly flying over crowded areas or near conventional aircraft. I have several family members who are private pilots, and I certainly don’t want anyone to fly RC aircraft near their airplanes while in flight! I personally think that some commonsense rules and perhaps a free, web-based knowledge test would be a practical solution for folks like me who are only flying line-of-sight, light, electric, scratch-built airplanes with no sophisticated electronics. I think my main issue with the proposed regulations is that they don’t really apply well to me and the aircraft I fly. Aside from potential hazards associated with flying over people (which I don’t do), it’s hard to see why one of my planes is more dangerous to property or people than, say, a baseball or a Frisbee, both of which I can play with anywhere, without regulation. I usually stay within 50 feet of the ground because there’s no way I’d be able to see most of my planes if they were anywhere near the altitudes of aircraft flying overhead. I don’t think the idea of registering individual aircraft is practical for hobbyists like me, because when an airframe is nothing but a few sheets of foam that can quickly be modified or scrapped and rebuilt, with the electronics switched to a different model, the burden of registration and the cost of the additional equipment would be excessive and I’d probably stop building. I can’t currently fly at any of the parks in my neighborhood because all of them are off-limits to remote control aircraft, so I mostly fly at an empty college parking lot on the weekend or on a 100-acre property owned by a family member about an hour from my house. I already have to go far out of my way to ensure I’m flying safely and am not bothering anyone, and I can’t afford to join a club or pay AMA dues, so if I’m forced to do so to fly my planes, then I’ll likely stop flying altogether. This would be a real loss for me, my son, and for all the friends and family members with whom I fly.”