Safety first with hobby group Topsail Electric Flying

By Bill Walsh

It matters not what sort of human endeavor it is, there will be someone making a concerted effort to mess it up. That is certainly the case with recreational drones, or, as the hobbyists prefer, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

In the news this month, airline pilots reported three close-call incidents with UAS at major U.S. airports, the messer-uppers being apparently out and about in full swing. Already, Al Porter said, the Federal Aviation Administration is taking a dim look at recreational flying, which, if done the way Porter and his fellow enthusiasts in the Topsail Electric Flying Association go about it, should be getting less scrutiny from the FAA, not more.

Joe Niegocki flies his quadcopter in a private field off Watts Landing Road near Surf City on Nov. 21. Photo Ken Blevins


Porter serves as safety officer of the club, and the fact that the club has such a position speaks volumes. Most clubs – whether they use electric craft or other types of controlled machines, as do two other clubs in the Wilmington area – are concerned about safety and about getting along with those who neighbor the 20-acre open field near Surf City where the 36 members of the club meet to have fun.

The club is chartered through the Academy of Model Aeronautics, which also provides liability insurance for the club and its individual members.


One comment

  1. The AMA can scream “FPV Safety” all they want but it doesn’t matter when AMA Charter club after club are starting to prohibit FPV Flight at their flight fields.

    When will the AMA start criticizing these chartered clubs? It goes completely against their “Know Before You Fly” program. HOw can you instill ANY safety protocol when your charters are not allowing FPV flight?

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