, Lafayette

, Colorado

, United States

Posted on
2020-02-15 23:18:15
“I am an elderly modeler (76 yrs) whose interest in flying began in Grade School, when I built small rubber-powered free flight aircraft. How I wished to control the flight path of those models! The ability to control slightly larger models (.049 cu. in. displacement) happened a few years later, with primitive “escapement-controlled” rudders, which often crashed due to their coarse control mechanisms (full left, neutral, or full right). Nevertheless, these early experiences awakened a love of flying in me, leading to a Private Pilot license, ownership of a Piper Arrow aircraft and more than 1500 hr flying time. As an impoverished graduate student and later college professor, I found flying manned aircraft becoming increasingly financially burdensome; however, substantial advances in radio control systems, such as digital proportional control, led me to continue to experience the joy of flight, though my feet were firmly placed on the ground. I found that remote aircraft flying resembled manned aircraft flying BUT was far more difficult, owing to the difficulty of orientation. The model always turned to ITS right or left, even when it was approaching and MY left and right appeared opposite. Surprisingly, I still have that trainer, a Kraft Ugly Stick. It is over 50 years old, as are several of my model sailplanes, and all still airworthy. Over the years, I have built quite a collection of model aircraft. I rarely crash these models, and always have been able to repair them. My collection consists of single- and twin-engine models, some weighing nearly 30 pounds, and many weighing 5-10 pounds. I constructed many of these from precut kits of wooden parts, covered them with a variety of covering materials such as plastic film, silk, or polyester textile. Many are powered with liquid fuel (methanol/nitromethane or gasoline) and many are powered by electric batteries. I also have a number of rotary-wing models, including several helicopters and a few multi-rotor models that some call “drones”. These lack the stabilizing flight control systems found on commercially available multirotor systems, thus must be flown with the care and experience required of all the rest of my collection. My collection breaks down to two types of models: Those built to last (lifespans exceeding 10-20 years or more) and those built for experimental purposes, generally made from paper-sandwich foamboard, found at stores like DollarTree. The latter models often do not survive early testing, and have lifespans generally less than 1 year. The electronics (receiver, servos, motor(s), electronic speed controller(s), batteries, etc. can always be recovered and used in other projects. Larger models are flown at model club flying fields, but sailplanes and “Park Flyers” usually are not, being flown at appropriate venues (school yards, open parks, beaches, open fields, etc.) as can be done safely. These close-in sites would become unavailable, under the proposed regulations. The proposed regulations would also obsolete over 75 receivers and 10 transmitters in my collection because there would be no way to upgrade them to meet the requirements of the proposed regulations. As a retiree, on fixed income, it would be difficult to impossible to provide “type-certified” guidance systems. Let me stress that it is highly unlikely that any of my models could ever be flown in the future, especially if the 1-year limit is placed on FRIAs as the current proposal specifies. Indeed, it is doubtful that any kit or homebuilt models would be certified under the present proposal. Additionally, registration of each model in my collection at $5.00 per model would cost over $500 every 3 years, and such registration would eliminate experimentation and innovation. All of the “drone” innovation came from experimentation performed by amateur pilots such as myself, these regulations would eliminate further development, inhibiting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs, life-saving UAS development and tinkering alike. Also, the proposed regulations will choke the supply of aviation-interested youngsters, such as I was, virtually eliminating the pipeline of airline pilots, aerospace engineers, and aircraft mechanics.”