Justin

Honaker

, Grand Rapids

, Minnesota

, United States

Posted on
2020-02-14 16:18:56
“I’ve loved airplanes since I could see the sky. I’m now 42 years young, married to an exceptional lady, and father to 2 beautiful children. I am a professional aviator, working as a fixed-wing air ambulance pilot, and hold a commercial pilot certificate as well as Airframe and Power Plant mechanic certificates. I enjoy several areas of the hobby, from thermal soaring, slope soaring, traditional glow, FPV, to most recently foam board electrics. If it flies, I’m interested. I’m blessed to live about 15 minutes from an AMA flying field. I’m also blessed to live in northern Minnesota where there is no shortage of lakes to fly off of water (or ice for 4+ months in the winter!). I’m deeply concerned that the new rules do not adequately consider the model aviator. I can concede that Remote ID is necessary in some cases, but model aviation is not one of them. I am a responsible, competent, law-abiding citizen that likes to have fun with flying toys. I will comply with what comes down the pipe, mostly because my professional livelihood depends on it, but I fear if passed as published, it will all but ban model aviation. When I was in middle school, my dad got into a motor cycle accident that left him in a coma. We had gotten a Sig Kadet Senior Kit that I was building at the time of his accident. It helped me get my mind off of the thought of loosing my dad. I never finished the kit and eventually I had to throw it away when our family had to move. My dad passed away several years later and we never got to fly that airplane together. In my first year of marriage, my wife said to me, “You need to finish that airplane.” And she backed up her words by purchasing me a new kit along with a Saito .45 4-Stroke engine. It was her way of encouraging me to come to a place of peace with my dad and his passing. We didn’t have kids at the time, but it still took me several months to cut all those pieces of balsa and sand them perfectly to fit all together. I cut no corners and I spared no expense. It is in fact built my a professional aviation maintenance technician. The day finally came when I could make no more excuses…it was time to “transfer the shakes from the hands to the feet” and fly that baby! And it flew perfectly! But now I’ve got kids of my own. And that Sig Kadet Senior, built in southern Africa (where we were living at the time) made the move back with us to the States. Now I’ve got a little model aviator of my own on my hands. He can go through a case (yes, 25 sheets…) of Dollar Tree Foam board in no time flat, constructing all kinds of his own aircraft designs. He’s only 7-years-old, he’s remarkably close to gaining “solo privileges” on his make believe model aviation student pilot certificate. And though he is still a little afraid to take the controls of “the loud airplane” (a.k.a. the Kadet), I’m confident that he’ll be flying it soon (perhaps sooner than I’m ready for!) My son took a liking to the FT Sea Duck. We took the opportunity to teach him about money and delayed gratification. He saved his allowance for several months in order to have the $46 for the speed build kit, but he finally saved all he needed and we made the order. I agreed to purchasing the electronics if he purchased the bird. All in all, we have about $125 in the deal. Him and I spend a good deal of time together building the Sea Duck and his other creations. As I said earlier, the proposed rule simply doesn’t consider model aviators like our family. What if we lose our AMA flying field? There isn’t another AMA field for an hour and a half drive from here. What if we wanna fly the Sea Duck off a remote frozen lake (in class G airspace)? ##### My suggestions are simple. First, an overhauled, simple, renewable path to both permanent and temporary FRIAs (temporary for group flying events such as our club likes to do float fly events). Second, utilize the LAANC system to allow amateur-built UAS (in my case, I’d prefer the term “model aircraft”) to fly in a more reasonable sphere of airspace to accommodate the type of proposed flying. The LAANC request would establish a Notice to Airman that full-scale aviators and the proposed commercial drone operators could utilize in traffic avoidance. Finally, the ability to equip amateur-built UAS with a removable/swapable Remote ID solution. Voluntary compliance would grant operator of model aircraft flights into class G airspace up to the base of the overlying controlled airspace, without a 400 foot altitude restriction (under normal circumstances).”
Share on email
Share on print
Share on facebook
Share on twitter