Seth

Eakin

, Indiana

, United States

Posted on
2020-02-22 9:18:53
“I discovered “FPV Drones/Multirotors” while clicking through Youtube videos one day, seeing this intense looking flying/racing through and around trees… And was instantly intrigued, intimidated, and motivated all at the same time. I started watching more videos to try to learn more about this new “thing” and trying to read forum posts about things on fpvlab. My girlfriend at the time noticed my interest, and ended up buying me a Blade Nano QX FPV BNF for my birthday that year, so I then had a reason to buy a set of goggles to try to learn how to fly these things. After I crashed that thing and rebuilt it many times (of course) I was hooked and was already ordering parts to build my first “real fpv drone” and learning how to do all of that stuff from people like Bruce Simpson (RCModelReviews) and ProjectBlueFalcon. Along the way of learning, I learned that there was some fairly local guys who were pretty seriously into this which was exciting! I ended up joining a Slack chat group that one of them had started (FPVChat) and finding an incredible new community of people who all shared this common interest with me. and ended up reaching out to Paul Nurkkala (Nurk is his “pilot name” now and was previously known as “BulbufetFPV” and has a Youtube channel and was the 2018 DRL Champion) who lived about 45 minutes away from me, and started practicing and learning exponentially fast alongside them. I grew up racing quarter midgets from 6-15 years old, and have missed it ever since, the only reason I was forced out of racing when I was a kid was because of costs and this new hobby of drone racing has such a low cost of entry and gives you the same rush and satisfaction that I was immediately hooked on drone racing and have been ever since then back in 2016. I’ve traveled all over the country since then going to races and competing, and meeting tons of incredible people over the last 4 years. Since getting into this hobby I have learned how to do many new things that have helped me out in so many other ways that I can’t imagine being the person I am today without having this hobby be accessible to me to discover and dive headfirst into. I have learned how to solder, how to troubleshoot electronics, how to do some light programming, have started doing 3D modeling, have gotten into 3D printing, and have done tons of research and development (on my own) along my path in this hobby, which has given me an immense amount of new skills to transfer over into other parts of my life. I have also met so many AMAZING people since I have gotten into this that I once again can’t imagine who I would be without all of those people in my life now, through this shared common interest/hobby of FPV/Drones/Model aviation. With the regulations that are being proposed by the FAA RemoteID NPRM, there is no way that ANY of these things would have been able to happen to me to allow me to have the life experiences that I have had to grow and learn as a person. Within any group there are “bad apples/bad actors” and I don’t think that you should ever treat any “tool” with prejudice, a tool is simply a tool, any “ill intent/malicious actions” are the sole responsibility of the person using the tool. I’m not sure what the statistics are on how many murders are committed by “weapons” acquired from hardware stores, but I’m sure it’s more than enough to justify having even more strict “regulations” to make things safer compared to model aircraft… But we aren’t having that conversation are we? No, we’re talking about making sure that people who are using “tools” to discover the joy of flight, and to learn how to fly and build and socialize, and some of them using those “tools” to make content and share their passion with others, should be tracked and treated like criminals on house arrest for using “tools” that have been a part of the airspace for the past 80+ years under the guidance of the FAA appointed CBO (Acedemy of Model Aeronautics) that has promoted safe practices and accountability for it’s members (who are then advocates for safety as well to “non members”) and this has allowed this hobby/industry to exist with minimal/no impact to personal safety or commercial airspace in the grand scheme of things. So as someone who has been a very active and involved part of the growing “FPV/Drone” segment of the hobby, and gotten more familiar with the wider model aviation hobby as a whole, and understands how seriously that almost every person I’ve known takes safety… I’m left wondering why we are trying to treat something that has caused hardly any issues, like a more serious issue that requires all of these regulatory efforts and financial burdens both on citizens and companies trying to grow small businesses. If the answer to that question, is to try to restrict “Easy access/operations” of “camera drones”, it would be my suggestion that you force that burden onto the people who are providing those “Easy access/operations” directly to uninformed end users, instead of trying to force a set of rules onto an entire hobby/industry that will quite honestly destroy the growth and innovation and outreach through STEM programs that the model aviation hobby has provided for decades. How many licensed FAA commercial pilots got into aviation through model aviation? How many aircraft engineers? If there needs to be regulations imposed on the hobby/industry beyond what we have followed up to this point to provide the safe operations that we have had, then it seems that the need comes from people having the ability to purchase a “ready to fly” product that they can then go out and use without any research or talking to informed people, and learning how to operate them safely. We have many ways to restrict/provide accountability for those types of things already. You can either require retailers to require legal identification at time of sale to be filed into a “Database” that can be monitored or cross referenced if there is ever any need because of wrongdoing, as well as forcing manufacturers who are providing these “ready to fly” solutions to people to build their own tracking systems into their products that they/their users are ultimately held accountable by. We have 80+ years of history showing that model aviation enthusiasts who are building aircraft from scratch, with all the knowledge required to do so, are not the people are a risk to the airspace and public safety, and we should continue to promote those safe practices, while discouraging the unsafe ones and allowing this amazing hobby/industry to continue to grow, inspire, and innovate for the benefit of society as a whole.”
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