Matthew

Switzer

, Denver

, Colorado

, United States

Posted on
2020-02-14 20:00:07
“I have been in the hobby for a number of years. I built and flew control line planes (also built radios and overhauled car engines later) with my Dad when I was a kid. That led to a lifelong love affair with anything that flies. I fly at a school one block from my house. I only fly when school is not in session and when the field is not in use by other groups. Practically any time I have flown at the school, I have been approached by various individuals regarding the planes and what it takes to get in to the hobby. When available, I have buddy boxed them on the FT Storch to great success. I have built exclusively FT planes, probably close to 60 (this includes numerous rebuilds of damaged models and building planes for friends – I have made 7 or 8 FT Spitfires so far). I buy parts from local mail order suppliers and others from Florida, Ohio, California as well as overseas. I consider myself fairly well acquainted with the trials and tribulations of the airspace, having obtained a private pilots license back in the 70s. My concerns regarding the proposed regulations are as follows, in no particular order: Specifically in the Denver area, there are only 2 AMA flying fields that are a considerable distance away. One of those fields is in a state park (Cherry Creek State Park) and in order to fly there you have to have a park permit which runs $100+ a year. There are large additional fees for joining the club. The second location is along the foothills – I’m sure that this was chosen because it was away from everything, however, if you know anything about Colorado and the foothills, the area is a wind-tunnel. The days you might be able to fly something small there are few and far between. Most days, no one is there. So, why would the FAA want to limit the more than 1 million people in the area around Denver to those 2 locations? And if one closes (probably the one along the foothills, as the subdivisions are closing in) – and no possibility of having any others? Secondly, I dislike that all aircraft are lumped in to one category. Pilots who don’t fly FPV (like me), fly line of sight at locations that aren’t bothering anyone – or at least I have never been approached by anyone complaining – should not be lumped in with aircraft that can fly anywhere, out of sight and come back if they get lost. Also, if I fly even my largest aircraft (the Storch) 200 ft high, it is getting too far away. The school area where I fly is 1/2 a city block. With few exceptions, like when I first started, I fly within the perimeter. Third – I was recently given a DLG. How does one fly and catch thermals under 400 ft in Denver? I will probably never get around to that anyway, but it seems to be a different category as well. I am not saying that compromise can’t be made – such as, a beacon on an aircraft, if it didn’t cost a fortune and could be moved from one aircraft to another, that would be easy. (and the Amazon delivery drones can be equipped with a beacon locator to avoid me). As for having my phone constantly on burning up minutes under my 3 gig data plan shared with 5 other family members, that won’t work, as we don’t get on the internet much with out wi-fi. Lastly, while I too share concerns over people with drones flying in areas they shouldn’t, using cameras to sensationalize disasters (see Kobe Bryant and drones), causing potentially catastrophic events with commercial aircraft (see drones closing down London airport), I also am blatantly aware of the larger players on the field, i.e., Amazon, UPS, etc., who need to air to themselves. Do you really think, that when released in the wild, the delivery drones will not cause a public nuisance, have accidents when birds or other animals come to investigate, are accused of looking in people’s windows and recording video for the internet (see TSA use of female body scans) or occasionally crash and cause harm to people and property? These aircraft are not mistake proof. All model aircraft are not the same, or used for the same purposes. The bad actors that want to cause harm and injury are not going to follow the FAA regulations. People like myself will just quit the hobby if it is too expensive or regulated out of existence. Which, may be the actual intention, I don’t know. Lastly, who owns the sky above my property? Just a philosophical question…. What if I had a 40 acre farm in the middle of Kansas, will it be illegal for anyone to fly there as well (that is my plan B if I can no longer fly at the school – just dreaming….)? OK, I’ve ranted long enough. I’ve included a picture of my fleet (not current, it is much larger now, but this picture was on the computer and easily accessible). I just downloaded the plans for the Master build Spitfire and plan to start soon. I have a brand new box of Makers Foam I’ve been wanting to try. I figure I can use it all up before the regulations go in to effect, then when the day they go in to effect, after which it will be illegal to walk a block and burn through a couple batteries for a few minutes on a lovely afternoon, I will call it quits, put everything in the trash and walk away.”
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