Snow Flyer

, Marblemount

, Washington

, United States

Posted on
2020-02-22 11:33:55
“I began dabbling in RC model aircraft about 10 years ago. I had always wanted to as a kid, but it was too expensive on top of racing RC cars. My dad and I did build a balsa RC electric glider when I was a kid but we were too scared to fly it because we knew one crash would destroy it. When I started looking into it 10 years ago I realized that it was possible to enter the hobby pretty cheaply and use inexpensive brushless motors, lipo batteries, and Dollar Tree foamboard. I was hooked. My first scratch build was a complete flop, but my next one, a “Nutball” designed by “Gold Guy” helped me to learn to fly in my yard. I also bought a foam electric pusher “Skysurfer” glider which was the precursor design for the “Bixler”. I flew that line of sight at parks within 5 miles of a naval air station. No one seemed to care and I never had any close calls with manned aircraft. Although I’ve never had the money to pursue a full scale pilot’s license I’ve been a passenger on small aircraft (mostly helicopters) as part of my working career, including a “short-haul” rescuer where I dangled from a rope below a helicopter and plucked injured people from the mountains. I have a good understanding of the NAS and FULL appreciation for safety concerns of small aircraft. Those are the ones that fly near where I fly my models. I love exploring the earth ,so much so, I pursued a degree in geology. So of course my next step was to put a camera on the Skysurfer. This provided amazing opportunities for access to aerial views of the ground and provided me much enjoyment in exploring local landscapes and on a drive up the AlCan Highway to Alaska. When I lived in remote Alaska I scratch built some foamboard planes, a tricopter, and a quadcopter for FPV. I LOVE flying FPV and I had some amazing flights over some amazing landscapes. Our property and neighborhood was basically on the edge of wilderness and conducted many flights from there as well as other remote locations around Alaska. I was always keenly aware of the airspace for the presence of manned aircraft and always had an exit strategy. I would have crashed the RC aircraft in a place I may not be able to recover than cause a collision with the manned aircraft. Never had any close calls and I never had any complaints about my flights in the 5 years I lived and flew there. I never joined a club with a field to fly at because the nearest one was a minimum 2-1/2 hour drive away. However, I want to add that I have been following the FliteTest phenomona since they started and I have learned A LOT from their videos and website. I have also learned A LOT on Now I live in a rural mountainous area in Washington State. My family and I live on 6 acres in a very sparsely populated area. Life is busy and my daughter is currently a small child so I don’t get to fly nearly as often as I used to. However, when I do it is usually from my property. The nearest AMA club and field is about an hour drive away and I just don’t have the time or interest in driving that far just to fly my model aircraft. As I understand it, the proposed regulations would make the type of flying I do illegal from my property. In my strong opinion, the FAA’s FRIA proposal is an unacceptable overreach of the federal government into my life and my property rights. Just this requirement would effectively end my involvement in the hobby. This would be really sad. My daughter loves the “air shows” I put on for her in our yard. If she wants to pursue this as a hobby when she is older then I would like to be able to have the opportunity to fly things from our yard. I support the idea of implementing a LAANC-type system for designating recreational RC flight areas on both a permanent and temporary basis. I would identify all the areas that I commonly fly for permanent designation. However, there needs to be some mechanism for allowing RC pilots to indicate a new area where they would like to fly for an event such as a race or a demonstration, or simply to explore it. In some cases this may make sense to authorize an area for a limited duration of time. Another solution to reduce the workload for the FAA in managing these temporary RC flight areas would be to designated up to 400 feet AGL as available for RC flight in a certain class of airspace that covers sparsely used areas of the airspace (such as in rural and wildland areas). Using the same LAANC concept, I recommend the FAA allow recreational beyond visual line of site (BVLOS) in certain designated areas without the Remote. I can think of two areas I love to fly that are not National Park and not federally designated wilderness with little manned air traffic. These are areas I would like to see designated as a FRIA for recreational BVLOS without the RemoteID requirement. These areas would be known to pilots of full-scale aircraft so they could be avoided. Overall, I see the proposed rules as onerous for both the FAA to actually implement in an affordable way (that is responsible to the tax payer) and for the hobbyist. So much of intent of the proposed rules can be achieved through education rather than trying to implement and enforce a more complex system. If the FAA put it’s resources into educating the current and future RC aviation community through multiple channels research shows that such educational efforts and messaging to be very effective. Either way this won’t prevent bad actors from using the technology for evil purposes, but education is more likely to catch those that may use it in ignorant and negligent ways. These comments and others I’ll submit to the FAA before the March 2 deadline.”