Michael

Price

, Newberg

, Oregon

, United States

Posted on
2020-02-14 0:31:15
“I am a senior and I love to build and fly DIY model aircraft recreationally. I build scratch built planes out of foamboard, hot glue, and electronics bought online and normally fly them at the Chehalem Valley middle school field across the street from my house when no one is around. I find it an incredibly rewarding and freeing experience to watch my aircraft fly, knowing that I constructed it by hand. I have been building model aircraft for more than three years now and have learned a great deal about electronics, flight characteristics, and aircraft design in general. I’ve been fascinated with flight my whole life and have always loved model aircraft. I remember back in middle school cutting up foamboard into airplane-like shapes and installing motors and props I got from various devices in them to see if it would fly. Although most of these “experiments” ended in failure, I loved the process of building an airplane from scratch and testing whether or not it would fly. There was just something so magical and beautiful about watching my homemade aircraft take to the open sky! I got my first actual rc plane back in christmas 2016. It was a RTF Volantex trainer – the only prefabricated aircraft I’ve ever owned. I remember the first flight. The plane took off before I knew it and I was stalling all over the place trying to keep it in the air and eventually crashed into a fence bending the motor shaft! It’s quite funny to think about actually. I flew that plane throughout the winter and spring until it was all beat up. That summer I decided I wanted to scratch build an aircraft like I used to so I repurposed all the electronics and built a versa wing. I kept flying and building throughout the Fall making the Spear, then sparrow, then Spitfire, then the guinea pig the next christmas. Funny story about the Spear – around halloween I tried to drop a mini pumpkin from it via a sketchy release mechanism. Upon release, the pumpkin shot back into the prop which knocked the right control rod loose and ultimately resulted in its demise. The guinea pig was the first plane I built using individually selected components. I also got a new radio that christmas (Dx6e) to fly it with. Throughout that winter and spring, that’s the plane I flew. I even installed an audio system in it so I could play music while flying and got a runcam to record the flights (which I eventually lost). That spring and summer I attempted to make a plane with a bird-like tail several times, with no success. In July 2018 my friend and I built the kraken. We used one large e-flite motor and added some landing gear. Later that summer I built a scout and also my first quadcopter. For whatever reason I didn’t really stick with FPV, preferring fixed wing flight. That November I designed my first aircraft. It was a pusher style aircraft with dual tail booms and steerable landing gear. It kinda looked like a flying car in the air. At the same time my friend made a fighter jet style aircraft from FT, I’m not sure which one exactly, but it was his first independent build and he was just learning how to fly. That winter (2019) I worked on designing a balsa ornithopter, which I never completed, and a small maneuverable aircraft which I continued to fly almost every day throughout the spring. I was intending to make a model of the Aeris 3A from Kerbal Space program but I got distracted after seeing how well the prototype flew. Just last Fall I constructed a fixed wing autonomous “delivery drone” using ardupilot on a modified FT explorer for my senior project. This taught me a lot of new information about autonomous systems and it turned out to be a very enjoyable project. The goal was to construct an aircraft that could fly to a destination around my flying field and drop a tennis ball at a given location. Now I’m working on building a long range autonomous flying wing using the wing wing z84 kit. I do more than build and fly model aircraft (eg. my electric scooter project, working on computers, rc cars, etc) but I’ve got to say, model aviation has really been at the forefront of my passion to create. It has taught me so much about batteries, motors, aircraft design, mechanical design, wireless transmission, autonomous systems, and so much more. I’ve used the knowledge I’ve gained from building model aircraft in other projects such as my ongoing electric scooter project and the sub I built and installed in my car. I believe the experience I’ve gained from model aviation will be a great benefit to me as I go off to college to major in mechanical engineering and in my career as well. I’ve been following the development of the FAA in regards to recreational flying for a couple of years. I even did my junior thesis on the reasons why UAS do not need added regulations. As for the recent NPRM, I think stricter regulation of the airspace is inevitable as technology progresses and commercial drone deliveries start to come into effect, however the method that the FAA is proposing is way over the top. I think recreational flight and commercial operations are compatible with each other using more simpler means of tracking. One method is to make an app that a recreational flyer can use to define the area in which he is flying and for how long (within reasonable limits of course – you don’t want someone claiming the entire United States as their flying site for a century). This data would require an internet connection but it would allow hobbyists to continue to fly safely in neighborhood parks for example, assuming commercial UAS traffic would avoid such defined areas. The second method involves using a transponder that would just broadcast its position to other nearby manned and unmanned vehicles. This negates the need for an internet connection. The transponders should also be available from retailers and not an expensive product that the government sells, kind of like how Spektrum allows other companies to make receivers with their protocol (orange/lemon rx using DSMX). After all the experience I’ve gained, I would absolutely hate to see this hobby crumble. There is so much to learn and so much to enjoy that hardly puts anyone at risk. Hopefully we can all voice our concerns to protect the future of recreational hobbyist flying.”
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