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Should RC aircraft (fixed wing) really be called "drones?"

#1
I was recently flying some planes at an elementary school near my house. I was approached by multiple people with comments like: "nice drone you got there." And "cool drone." And questions like "is that a drone?" Not once did anyone say the words "airplane," or "RC." When I would reply "no" to people asking me if it was a drone, they would seem really disappointed and walk away. There where even little kids with their moms and they would point up at the RC plane and say "Look mom! There's a drone!"

I'm not sure if drone could even remotely be used to describe a RC plane (fixed wing.) But it seems that nowadays, if it flies and isn't an airplane or a bird, it's a drone.

I am thoroughly disappointed.
But is drone an accurate word to use?
 
#4
You gotta be kidding me. Not only do I hate the term, but why the heck is it's plague spreading to other divisions of the hobby? In a few years, I bet when someone a few chromosomes short of a human will see a Frisbee and call it a "drone."
 
#7
Based off of where the FAA is trying to take things. (Registration and all that BS.) I don't know how much of a future this hobby is going to have. They aren't helping people get into it, but instead scaring them away.
 
#8
To be honest..it really isn't the FAA's fault..it was bound to happen. That does not mean I support or agree with the FAA at all, but something needed to be done.
 

Tritium

Amateur Extra Class K5TWM
#9
You gotta be kidding me. Not only do I hate the term, but why the heck is it's plague spreading to other divisions of the hobby? In a few years, I bet when someone a few chromosomes short of a human will see a Frisbee and call it a "drone."
Ahem.....A Frisbee is a flying DISK! Today's kids just do not get enough Star Trek or they would know what a drone really is! Of course they could be staked by a beehive and "feel" the "power" of "Drones" first hand.:p

Thurmond
 
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#11
If you ever want to move to Australia to fly your RC planes I would love to have people to fly with. The plague has not spread here yet and people seem to be more receptive to RC planes than multi-rotors still. I use to fly at a fairly popular park, people would ask me questions about what I was flying and I flew there for over 5 months without a problem. 3 days into flying my versa-copter which had no FPV, gps or action camera I had a problem with a dog owner and all I was doing was flying it in a small area while I learnt how to hover. The stigma around multi-rotors as being Drones is large enough to solicit negative responses from anyone in the public who does not understand what they actually are. Kids now want multi-rotors more than planes and I see the interest in both, I enjoy them both but RC planes for some reason they are seen as inferior and labelling them as Drones is not going to help the hobby at all.

After that incident I now fly at a field that as far as I know is never used.

(I've seen my fair share of Star Trek, reminds me about a plane based on the USS Enterprise I wanted to build at one stage.)
 
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#12
Honestly, I see why kids want multirotors more than planes now, because I was in the same situation. Basically, whenever I saw someone fly a plane they always said it was like a $1000+ setup or something, but when you go to toys r us or Walmart now, they have these really cheap multirotors with no planes in sight. When I bought my Latrax Alias, I thought I would never go any farther than that because of money, but then I found FliteTest and their DTFB plans, so I built one.

I don't think that kids can see the diffference between a $150 RTF toy and a $1000+ DJI and they think that they will both create these stunning viral aerial videos. I know that at first glance I thought I've seen some dirt cheap DJI Phantoms. The toy ones look so similar to fool people.
 
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makattack

Winter is coming
Moderator
Mentor
#13
It's symantics that shows language can easily change. Technically, a drone can be a fixed wing plane. When people point to my electronic tricopter and call it a drone, I say it's a multirotor. When they point to my ftversa wing, calling it a drone, I say "how'd you know it has an apm auto pilot in it?"

I've had coworkers at a previous job see me walking out at lunch to the field behind the office, with a umf p51 port spitfire and comment "going to fly your drone?"

After futilely trying to correct them by calling them rc planes, I just acknowledge and offer to let them fly with a buddy box setup I kept around. I also resisted the urge to say "no, I just like walking around with my transmitter and model planes in my hands."

Of note, I have since switched jobs to a college in the city so my flying options at lunch are zero unleased it's indoors, but there is a great artificial reflecting pool where rc boaters put in when the weather is nice. Both wind and electric powered boats. People at my new job call them remote control boats.
 
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#15
I guess all we can really do is put up with what other people call it and when you introduce someone to the hobby use your preferred names like "Hey, do you want to go and fly your multi rotor with me" or "Do you want to come flying, I've got time to fly my RC plane".

Who knows maybe because people are now calling ordinary RC planes, Drones the name might lose a bit of the negative connotation which the media associates with it.
 
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#16
Guys, The name 'Drone' has been with us since 1935 when the Royal Navy in England converted a Tiger Moth aircraft to a pilotless gunnery target. Named the 'Queen Bee', it wasn't long before the term Drone was in regular, positive use. The word appears in, amongst others, the Oxford English Dictionary and refers to a pilotless or remotely piloted vehicle (Can be land, water or air based) and does not necessitate autonomy.

The recent negativity from some areas of the media did not invent the term but correctly tagged the craft with a name they knew. There are also very positive uses of the word. For instance, try telling the Drone Racing League they should rename themselves, the film Rotor DR1, which by the way I enjoyed last night, also refers to drones without a shade of negativity. Instead of alienating a well used term, let us embrace it, take it back into the hobby / sport and make sure others start to see it as a positive thing.

Of course, you can still use Quadcopter, multirotor or other descriptors as they are all subdivisions of drone, as are fixed wing RC aircraft or Rc yachts even! The illustration below is, as I see it, a heirarchical family tree showing where multirotors and other craft come in the scheme of things. Note that this is my view, but based on historical and factual data. Sorry to ramble but I, for one, am totally fed up with good folk saying things like 'if the hobby shop uses the term Drone I will boycott it'! Hobby shops are doing a great job in competing with online vendors and need all the support they can get.

DroneTree.jpg
 
#17
The recent negativity from some areas of the media did not invent the term but correctly tagged the craft with a name they knew. There are also very positive uses of the word. For instance, try telling the Drone Racing League they should rename themselves, the film Rotor DR1, which by the way I enjoyed last night, also refers to drones without a shade of negativity. Instead of alienating a well used term, let us embrace it, take it back into the hobby / sport and make sure others start to see it as a positive thing.

View attachment 64020
AndyP57, thank you for the information, I didn't know the term went back to 1935!

I'm not against using the term Drone, I was more worried about the "shade of negativity" as you put it but I guess by rejecting the term we (me in particular) are in turn causing the term to become negative in a way. If you understand what I'm getting at.

Thank you for taking the time to give a different perspective and thank you for the chart. When I mention my stuff now I will just say Drone or Remotely piloted and then use a sub category.

("I enjoy them both but RC planes for some reason they are seen as inferior and labelling them as Drones is not going to help the hobby at all."

This statement was from my other post.

This comment was in respect to that "shade of negativity" but also to the statement that they are seen as inferior to a multi-rotor. This statement was an over exaggeration although I do hope the use of fixed wing Drones continues to grow.)
 

makattack

Winter is coming
Moderator
Mentor
#18
The shade of negativity in the term drones comes from more recent adaptations. Their use in military surveillance and ground attack roles has caused people to worry about the automation of warfare.
 

FlyingMonkey

Stuck in Sunny FL
Staff member
Admin
#20
Guys, The name 'Drone' has been with us since 1935 when the Royal Navy in England converted a Tiger Moth aircraft to a pilotless gunnery target. Named the 'Queen Bee', it wasn't long before the term Drone was in regular, positive use.
Thank you, not only did you beat me to it, but you did a much better job of it!