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Thoughts on FAA restrictions for RC aircraft

#1
Hi All,

Just thinking out loud about the upcoming demise of our hobby as a result of over-regulation due to the rise in self-flying 'drones.'

What if a distinction could be made in any of the legislation between RC aircraft and these self-flying drones that anyone can get at walmart? There is a clear distinction in the technology that sets hobbyists aside from the irresponsible who are flying and crashing their drones where they shouldn't be. Any remote controlled aircraft with outer-loop velocity/position/altitude control: push forward with required legislation. Any aircraft directly flown by the pilot with minimal outer-loop control (aside from inner-loop rate or attitude stabilization): mostly exempt from upcoming restrictions. It is not the RC airplanes with a flight controller helping to stabilize in light wind that are popping up at airports and giving close calls with manned aircraft. It is the gps-enabled drones that fly away on their own out of the control of the operator (note I say operator and not pilot. The outer loop control strategies allow ANYONE to fly) that are causing the real problems. The unfortunate bit of this is the hobbyists stuck in the middle who enjoy experimenting with autonomy on their platforms. In my opinion, a competency test should be required to fly/operate those types of aircraft to sift out the "I got a drone for christmas" crowd from the real, responsible hobbyists.

Like I mentioned, there is a clear distinction in the technology that I believe would be easy to differentiate between when it comes to rules/regulation. If I am out flying my RC plane /racing drone and hear a helicopter approaching, it is as simple as dropping the throttle stick to zero and it will effectively fall out of the sky. I I am out flying a DJI or the like, its seems its not that simple due to all of the outer-loop control they've integrated that would fight the pilot in that instance.

What are your thoughts on this in terms of logistics? Educating people to understand this fundamental difference? Possible/impossible? Let's talk
 
#2
To add: we don't regulate frisbees and kites and footballs, which take up the exact same airspace as we do. Just like someone is able to reel in their kite to bring it down, we are able to flip a switch and bring the RC aircraft down. The same is not true for GPS-enabled drones with advanced outer-loop control on top of the bare required stabilization-- the same drones that can fly away and do things on their own.

About my comment on the competency test: not a flying competency test, but a technology competency test. Anyone flying these vehicles should be competent enough to build them and know what each component does and how to override it when something goes wrong. This is especially not true for your walmart drone special--the same one that, with the push of a button, will fly off and loiter around until a manned aircraft crosses paths with it. If you "push a button" (aka increase throttle) on a racing drone or simple rc airplane, I can guarantee it won't be loitering around for long.
 

JasonK

Fred Banned Me
#4
About my comment on the competency test: not a flying competency test, but a technology competency test. Anyone flying these vehicles should be competent enough to build them and know what each component does and how to override it when something goes wrong.
'how to override it when something goes wrong' - that isn't 100% garenteed with any RC item.

if your Radio link goes down, then it depends on the loss of signal behavior in the craft... which some people have set to 'hold last' (by not knowing how to change it) which could cause a fixed wing to fly until out of power.

a quad (or other such craft) is always being flown by the flight computer, even in rate mode, if one of the sensors goes out, it could fly itself to the moon or crash hard or other.

all of our overrides depend on the control link not failing and the onboard computers doing the right thing. If everything is setup right, it should 'fail safe' - generally mean zeroing out throttle and setting control surfaces neutral/ or in a way that causes a light turn/etc.
 

Merv

Legendary member
#5
In MHO, it’s going to come down to 2 factors. How difficult will it be to get a flying site approved & how vigorous will the regulations be enforced.

We may indeed be looking at the end of the hobby as we know it. BUT, if it’s easy to get a new flying site approved and the commercial guys have to stay out of our way, it may work.

I like my FT size planes. Then again, the under 250 grams guys, like Willy Nillies, are making some very impressive planes.
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
#6
ANY regulation is over regulation in a hobby already proven safe and healthy. Splitting hairs about things is adding to regulation and the confusion it has already created.

As much as I am against all regulation to keep beating a dead horse we as already proven can have ZERO effect on any change with is a waste of time and energy. Bottom line is its all about monetizing the air space and lobbying for certain companies to hold rule over the hobby.

WARNING The following section is for entertainment purposes only so if your an overly sensitive PC type STOP READING NOW.

This makes me laugh about what is going on vs letting it get to the point of wanting to just start choking the :poop: out of the people described below.

If any regulation needs doing its for the stupid people that cause ALL the problems in EVERYTHING that gets done. Pretty much you know by age 5 that a kid is going to be "One of THOSE guys" and should be registered as limited access only to anything other may enjoy. I am a firm believer in that whole "Heres yer sign" thing Jeff Foxworthy made fun of.

IF you think hobby level drones are a threat to full size aircraft "Heres yer sign" IF you believe laws and rules will stop stupid people doing the things you are regulating "Heres yer sign". IF you are in anyway tied to UAV level regulation "Heres yer sign". IF you believe and accept the rules put out "FOR SAFETY" regulating our hobby are not strictly for financial reasons "Heres yer sign". IF you buy any DJI product "Heres your sign"

This way we know what people to group together in Covid quarantine zone to faster rid the herd of "THOSE people"
 
#7
Will GA aricraft have these same remote ID requirements? I mean a manned airplane that weights at least a 1000 lbs. That's 100 times the weight of the largest hobby plane.
 

JasonK

Fred Banned Me
#8
Will GA aricraft have these same remote ID requirements? I mean a manned airplane that weights at least a 1000 lbs. That's 100 times the weight of the largest hobby plane.
To some extent and in some areas, they already do, just on GA frequencies and methods vs the methods being proposed for remote ID (the GA frequencies and methods would be overloaded if they were used by drones per the FAA response to all the feedback).

However, ultra-lights and para-motors are both way less regulated then hobby planes at this point.
 

Monte.C

Legendary member
#9
(Sorry to mention my City again but it's relevant here.)
I don't know anything about frequencies and FAA regs and flying site approval and outer-loop controls and all that, but I have a feeling this all might wind up the same way NYC has been for years and years. Here it's been forbidden by law to fly anything RC within City limits pretty much since they invented RC flight, in all but a very short couple specific sites. In a City of 8-1/2 million people there's I think 7 legal sites, and two of those are worthless. Here's the thing: the police mostly don't know and wouldn't care anyway. It's obvious that this is just about the most wholesome pastime there is, and if you're just flying a small model plane in a little park with few people and you're not stupid about it, nobody's gonna bother you. In fact you're setting a good example for the kids. I know, this isn't a drone or some computerized thing flying on its own up over the next hill, but for what I do that's how it works. They have real work to do; They're not out chasing RC toys.

Your mileage may vary. When all this goes into effect things might actually be tougher in small towns, but again only if some Karen calls to complain, or you're being stupid around an airport or something. My thoughts.