Stefan

Mochnacki

, Poland

Posted on
2020-02-22 18:01:13
“I have been flying models for 57 years, R/C for 43, in New Zealand, Canada, United States and Poland. When young, aeromodelling taught me an enormous amount, it has been a competitive sport and now I fly for joy and camaraderie. I was a member of the US AMA for several years, while living in the US, and flew gliders with a remarkable community of fliers… we still keep in contact via the Internet. Currently, huge technological progress, especially in software, sensors and electric power, combines both amateurs and professionals in UAV development; many professionals started out as aeromodelling amateurs. Like Linux for computers, the Ardupilot open-source flight control software system is the basis for much commercial development, with amateurs contributing a lot. I do not believe that extra regulations will improve security, since people who are going to do bad things will not be stopped by regulations, whereas the vast majority of serious fliers are very safety-conscious and have no bad intentions. UAV technology is simply too ubiquitous and easy to obtain and use for any regulations to stop bad guys. However, for safety, a test of relevant knowledge and skills, i.e. a form of licensing and rating, and mandatory membership in the AMA, would certainly be appropriate for people flying remotely controlled craft beyond 400 feet line of sight, but this must not exclude teenagers on the basis of age. (Note: 400 feet is rather short, I would suggest 800 feet as more realistic). Rules regarding written identification (i.e. name, address, phone number, AMA membership) on model aircraft should be made, so that people take responsibility and provide evidence of insurance (which AMA membership confers). That would go a long way to ensure safety. For BVLOS FPV models and large high altitude gliders, not so much ID as location and altitude should be broadcast, so that other UAVs and general aviation will be able to know their location rather like ADS-B and FLARM, thereby avoiding a 400 foot altitude limit which is quite unrealistic for such models. The cell network may be appropriate for such larger craft, but short-range ADS-B-OUT-like broadcast may be also appropriate (as proposed by the company uAvionix), while avoiding the well-known capacity limitations and importance of ADS-B. In conclusion, the present proposals are far too draconian and will effectively kill this vital hobby. A much milder set of proposals involving good basic pilot education, AMA membership and insurance, and a simple foolproof equivalent to ADS-B for BVLOS FPV craft and UAVs in general, will foster safe practices and ensure that currently uncontrolled airspace remains accessible and safe for models, commercial UAVs and light general aviation. Please note that the Ardupilot software already is incorporating collision avoidance algorithms, and what is needed is an effective standard for inexpensive ADS-B-like communications for both the model aircraft and its pilot. FLARM is used by some BVLOS fliers in Europe and Asia. Something equivalent to an LTE/GSM USB-finger attached to a flight controller may be adequate, but I do not know of any extensive trials. I fear that an Internet-based system may have too much latency to be effective for collision avoidance; the ID part less unimportant since it will not improve security.”
Share on email
Share on print
Share on facebook
Share on twitter