A New Challenge Faces Model Aviation

Anyone who has been following the FAA’s effort to regulate the operation of small unmanned systems (sUAS) will know that this effort has revolved around safety in the national airspace (NAS). AMA has worked with the FAA, and played a significant role in this effort since the creation of the FAA’s sUAS Aviation Rulemaking Committee in early 2008.

AMA guidelines for recreational model aviation will do much to ensure that aeromodeling activities meet the high level of safety that the FAA is looking for.

Today new challenges now face recreational model aviation. Fueled in part by the media, Congress, state legislatures, and even the general public have turned their focus toward civil liberties and privacy issues relating to the use of domestic unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the US.

Most of the recent debate has centered on the public’s reasonable expectation of privacy and the use of UAS to infringe on that expectation. Much of this is a philosophical discussion.

I don’t think the paparazzi are going to be using UAS to snap a picture of me anytime soon, and, if some law enforcement agency is using a UAS to keep tabs on me, then I suppose I should ask myself what I’m doing that would make them want to do that. But I can also understand one’s opinion that using this type of surveillance technology may cross the line of being reasonable. And, yes, I probably would take exception to someone flying a UAS, popping into my yard, and looking in my kitchen window.

It’s important, however, that we don’t lose sight of the fact that this technology can be incredibly useful and valuable. Farmers monitoring crops, power companies inspecting power lines, and firefighters monitoring wildfires are examples of how UAS can be used as an effective means of managing tasks.

In the last few months, many states have begun to consider state-level legislation that would regulate the use of UAS. While likely well-intentioned, some of the language in these proposed bills is so poorly written that, if passed, they would have a negative impact on recreational model aviation and the other activities I’ve mentioned.

The real core of the issue, and the threat to us as recreational model aviation enthusiasts, is public perception. The public looks at an airframe and doesn’t see or understand the difference between a model airplane and a commercial, public-use UAS. And most elected representatives are simply doing their job by reacting to the concerns of their constituents.

Just a little over a month ago there was only one state considering some form of regulation pertaining to the use of UAS in its state. A few short weeks later there were 15 states considering legislation.

AMA’s job in advocating for its members is to reach out to the sponsors of these proposed bills and help them understand that there are significant differences between what we do as recreational users and the types of UAS that could potentially invade someone’s privacy. I think we have an obligation to point out all of the good that can come from advancements in this technology. During the last several years, a number of colleges and universities have developed UAS programs as part of their curriculums. Many students taking part in these programs will be part of this country’s next generation of aviation and aerospace engineers.

Our federal and state representatives need to be careful not to stifle the advancement of these programs or the use of the technology for any number of good things including recreation. Representatives need to carefully draft their proposed legislation. They need to reach out to both the recreational and commercial public-use communities—the recognized experts—and ask for our help in drafting language that only affects the concern that is their focus.

Doing otherwise only runs the risk of handicapping those who need the technology to enhance their ability to do their job, taking the enjoyment of flying a model aircraft out of the hands of recreational users and, deterring innovation and creativity in our young people.

Dave Mathewson
AMA Executive Director

To support the AMA’s government relations advocacy efforts consider making a donation to the AMA Government Relations Fund. Donations made toward this effort help AMA’s Advocacy Team with its work on Capitol Hill and go directly to supporting the costs associated with efforts made on behalf of the entire aeromodeling community. To learn more visit https://www.modelaircraft.org/supportama/supportama.aspx.


  1. Safety in numbers has been my mantra for decades. I’ve been ready, willing and able to give anyone and everyone, especially anyone that could do any good for our hobby/sport. Our club had trouble with the neighbors, so we contacted the head of the parks department and gave a demo of our hobby and even put the tx in his hands. As a result, we now have someone in our corner.
    That is exactely what I have in mind for anyone who could help us keep our hobby/sport. Thing is, I can’t do this alone and would very much like the assistance of an organization like the AMA. I am and always have been just a phone call away to put the tx in anyone’s hands, for a immediate positive RC flying experience.

  2. I think you are right that folks don’t know the difference between a 1/4 scale P47 with a 100cc engine and a commercial “spying” platform that can be used for honest and dishonest purposes. It would be difficult, nay, impossible for me to fly any of my gassers into a back yard and view through the kitchen window. It seems to me that we need to make sure that the FAA folks understand there is a major capability difference in aircraft that rely on constant speed and can’t easily spy on folks vs. those that have spinning wings and can.

  3. Dear Dave,

    The mere fact that you feel this way, “and, if some law enforcement agency is using a UAS to keep tabs on me, then I suppose I should ask myself what I’m doing that would make them want to do that,” should sound a huge alarm to our entire membership.

    You obviously don’t know history or the American Constitution. Consistent with your view, why should the government need any search warrant. You have nothing to worry about, unless you are doing something wrong.

    Please rethink your naive and foolish statement.

    Regards, John

  4. Once again, another article saying; “don’t bother us, we are not like those nasy UAS'”. “We (AMA) are different, we are the good guys, they are going to spy on you.” It is long past time the AMA worked on acceptable principles to guide the future of this hobby instead of being stuck in the mud. Embrace the future technology and find ways to make it acceptable instead of casting all of them (UAS pilots) to the wolves. The whole concept of UAS does not work with line of sight. There are places in this country where they can be flown safely by competent pilots with rules.

    1. I wonder if you even bothered to read the article because it, in no way, set up an “us” vs. “them” situation like you describe in your comment. It lays out, quite eloquently, the issue which is that public misconception is something of concern and both traditional aeromodeling and UAS activity are beneficial to our society.

    2. Thank you very much wjk for speaking the truth about the AMA and UAS (FPV).

    3. Is ‘spy on you’ a code phrase for terrorism? Because I do not understand why ‘spying on people’ / privacy even raises an eyebrow in comparison to the terrorism potential of FPV. There is not one place on the planet where FPV can be done safely. At any point in time, you have a remotely piloted, subject to some unintentional failure, explosive flying battery, and that is very best case. When intentionally used as a weapon, the potential is staggering. I’ve flown R/C all my life, and I now fly FPV, because I know it is just a matter of time before the incredibly risky hobby gets banned. It has nothing to do with the intent of the AMA, and SHOULD be thrown under the bus every chance the AMA gets.

  5. I am very concerned with this in my state. The proposed rules are so loose that I can probably get in trouble flying my micros in my front yard. Is there a structured email that we could send to each of the sponsors? What else can we do?

  6. As a full scale pilot with many years of professional experience, I suggest that you take a few flying lessons and learn how the concept of see and avoid works. Flying by line of sight and flying beyond line of sight are two very different territories and the technology for integrating Beyond Visual Range flying with Visual Flight Rules flying is simply not there. When you have a means of monitoring the sky around you for a three mile radius in all the area of the globe you are flying in then I would accept that it is OK. Those are the rules for VFR flying. That technology does not exist. Please work on that instead of attacking the AMA and weakening its ability to help us all, including you, please.

  7. I want to thank Dave and all the AMA FAA committee for their past work, present work and future work. They are owed a big will done and thank you from the AMA members. Thank goodness for our AMA and the foresight and forethought to be able to level the playing field for our modeling activities. Keep up the good work and don’t let the turkeys get you down.

  8. I agree with AMA helping to support UAS pilots and dropping the line of sight restrictions AMA seems to be supporting. I’m tired of people worrying about the same privacy they would lose to someone with a camera on the end of a long stick. Honestly if I were inclined to look into someone’s second story bedroom window I would use a camera on the end of a telescoping pole instead of a loudly hovering quad.

  9. All I’m saying is sanction AMA flying fields should not be included in state-level legislation that would in anyway interfere with our hobby. That’s my opinion.

  10. I certainly appreciate the efforts of the AMA advocating on behalf of it’s members.
    Too many of our “Elected Leaders” paint problems in this country with a broad and punitive brush. I don’t expect that we will get keep all the privileges that we would like, as the “Elected Class” wouldn’t get to make any political points with the uninformed public.
    I for one, would like to do more to ensure that we will be flying in the future, without the FAA Police chasing us down. So I encourage AMA leadership to call on the membership, or at least me, whenever it is appropriate.

  11. It’s people like you who will ruin the hobby for everyone else. You just have to have cameras on your machines flying in neighborhoods. 15 states and growing it is over for you why don’t you quit before you take out the entire hobby? This is where my membership money is going? I will vote against you of course you’re invading peoples privacy. No one is going to say “oh ok well as long as you are being good with it”. But you just have to have a camera pointed at my home or no hobby at all right.. Thanks pal!

  12. Ah, the introduction of the word “small” in UAS as in “sUAS”. That means the unmanned satellites (UAS) taking pictures of my property, factories, parks and publishing them on the internet for the world to see are excluded from this discussion. Also, the Google car taking pictures of my property (and myself and family if we are outside when they drive by) from the street is also excluded, as it is manned. Seems “privacy” is not the real issue or these events would be addressed in the discussion.

    I have seen the shows presented by the media. First they introduce military Drones which scare most folks. Then they introduce a flying mocking bird inside an office that hovers over the table. The camera on the bird is highlighted in the program as they raise privacy questions. I just want to see that same light RC bird hovering outside my window in 5 mph winds with gusts of 15 mph. Not going to happen.
    Then they show you a special interest group using a sUAS to film hunters. The hunters then shot it down, as well they should.

    I share my hobby with my friends. They ask me how big of a payload can the Hobbyzone Champ carry? Are you kidding me? All their questions are based on ignorance fueled by the emotions created by the media. This reminds me of when I used to sit with my Grandmother during the summer and ask her to recant the story of the race of the horse vs the car. The horse won. She always laughed when she said it – she knew technology would advance.

    Lobby groups better organize to educate the general population, the media and politicians. Would like to see a fair and balanced report on sUAS someday.

    Let’s see how long it takes the AMA to remove this comment.

  13. With the president signing the NDAA act a year ago January, and when our former president signed the “patriot act” , our rights as American Citizens have been stripped. The NDAA act allows the US to be treated as a battlefield and the detainment of citizens without due process, and a “kill list” . I am not discussing aerial survey’s of farms, people should wake up to the fact that we are being de-sensitized and brainwashed into thinking drones are needed to protect us from who? Ourselves? Who decides who gets spied on? The politicians ?

  14. How about a listing of the states and contact information for the sponsors of these bills,so we can contact them.

  15. Point well taken. Here we go again. Public and political stupidity imposing their ignorant, and misguided opinions trying to pass legislation to take something enjoyable away from someone. This seems to be the norm. Were lucky to have an organization such as AMA to work in favor for those of us who enjoy R/C models. Thank you AMA.

  16. Like it or not this drone business is going to place all of us AMA members (& the huge number non-AMA hobbiests) in the same position as the NRA & all legal gun owners. An uninformed press looking for sensational stories will paint us all like we are latent criminals for the acts of an irresponsible few. No amount of logical information to the contrary will matter, the NRA has been there, done that. We need to be aggressive in the defense of our hobby & be ever vigilant to not compromise it away piece by piece to those making so-called ‘reasonable’ demands.

  17. G-Pa, You’re right it’s not about privacy in general, it’s about what privacy is in what hands. Aerial video and various other invasive surveillance techniques have been available to governments and the wealthy for decades, and the only sudden threat to anyone’s privacy is poor people. This is a battle in the class war. People simply don’t trust UAVs now that they are cheaply available. When this technology was only in the hands of the rich and powerful, it was ok. Furthermore, the rich and powerful want to maintain their monopoly on this ability, so it’s going to be very hard to fight these new attempts at restricting freedom.

  18. As soon as I saw the news cast about the airliner and the “Drone” I knew that we were in for a fight. I have had conversations with Dave Mathewson et al about the FAA issue. We are told that is a matter of safety. It’s not. Is a matter of control over who, when and how the UAS is used. I believe that the FAA wants to eliminate the private use of FPV flight. I, for one, will agree with them, only because I can’t be assured that it will be used for “good”. It’s a small step to assume that an FPV model could be loaded with something really bad and then flown via FPV delivering the “bad” where it will do the most harm. AMA is doing all they should to make rule that protect the valid, rule abiding hobbyist. They can not and should not attempt to defend the FPV flyer who is operating out side of those rules. In these times of terrorist doing everything they can to bring horror into our lives, we need to realize that we need to make allowances for the good of all. Just like airport security and taking off my shoes and belt allow me to board a flight, we need to realize that FPV may be prohibited to continue to enjoy to rest of the hobby we all so dearly love.

    1. Frank, very shortsighted from your point of view. Do you think that having FPV or hovering device is only needed to deliver the “bad”? The hobby you dearly love, is flying a planes, which are also UAS, and some of them can carry much bigger “bad” payload than any hovering UAS out there. Also, to deliver the “bad” with it, you don’t need FPV. So, instead, banning the “witchcraft” and isolating yourself into your cocoon, you should embrace the progress and help the hobby get safe regulations about it.
      Would you sing a different tune, if the Alitalia pilot have said that the object he saw is a remote control plane, like sailplane, or similar that can get that high without FPV?

    2. “I believe that the FAA wants to eliminate the private use of FPV flight. I, for one, will agree with them, only because I can’t be assured that it will be used for “good”.”
      This is the same misguided do-gooder idea as outlawing guns. It may stop Joey from enjoying flying his UAS but it won’t stop terrorists from using them to kill people.

    3. Frank, I could load my regular plane with some kind of nerve toxin and fly it into a crowded football stadium without an FPV rig and so could you. Does that mean that you and I are terrorists? No, because we wouldnt do that, but there is no gurantee that someone wont try it. Nor would I fly my FPV plane without a spotter over 400 feet high or within 3 miles of an airport. I am a valid rule-abiding hobbyist just like you. I fly at my AMA sanctioned field and at our family farm, both of which are at least 3 miles from an airport. I will personally assure you that I have not and will not ever use FPV for terrorist activities, my friends and I do not appreciate being compared to terrorists.
      Also maybe you didnt know that the NTSB is relaxing rules for passengers?

    4. Frank what you are saying is fear filled absurdity. Totally disagree.

    5. Franz, completely ridiculous. Outlaw it all you want it won’t stop terrorists. This is like saying gun control will stop criminals from having guns. Insane. None of the parts that go into making a decent FPV system can be truly outlawed as they are commonly available technology. Hence, there is not real way for them to stop ones ability to do this, just only can they pass laws to harass the law abiding citizens. If you really believe outlawing FPV will somehow make us safer and prevent terrorism then I’ve got some property to sell you!

  19. While visiting my inlaws on Sunday in a rural setting they showed me an aerial photo of their home and farm surroundings which they bought from a company that took that picture without their permission and then showed up at their door and sold it to them. They promised to keep the pic for 18months. Our privacy is shrinking whether we like it or not.

  20. Stop just kick FPV out of the AMA what is wrong with you people defend the majorty not the FPV people

  21. The AMA will win some battles but alone cannot win the war. Dealing with ignorance and sensations is a tough gig. Better put together a consortium of interested parties like manufactures, dealers, etc. The AMA can lead the group but it would require them to gain consensus and funding from others. Are they up to the task? Can they operate outside their traditional comfort zone?

  22. I do not believe there is a place for FPV in our air space. I fly gliders and hexcopters with cameras and they stay close to me. However I could see permits for use in remote areas but not around populated areas.

  23. wjk- Let’s see your proposals for these workable, enforcable rules that can keep those who would abuse the rules or are just being stupid, under control, and what position you would have AMA take to protect the hobby flyer who only flies at the local flying site from being caught in the Fed enforcement rulings when they take action…

  24. I think the media needs a reality check, an average 40 size sport plane wetghs about 4lbs, we have to be very careful when building our models with the right kind of glue or the amount of paint we put on it just to get the thing to fly, what is the thing going to carry a bottle rocket, and what are you going to hit with it, half of the guys at the local flying field struggle with landing on the runway 20 feet away in a 10 mph cross wind.

  25. AMA members interested in FPV should buy their VTX and Rx now.

  26. You know what I find incredible… that a pilot on final at 200 knots indicated landing at JFK New York has time to look out the window and see a small quad copter. Can you imagine how fast that must have gone by him. I DON’T THINK HE SAW ANYTHING…

    1. Incredible that he could see one? You see birds all the time, why not see a quad copter. It’s actually quite easy if you’re looking, and thank goodness these guys were looking. The first time we hit or are hit by an airplane, we’re done. The public opinion is driven by mass media, and many people are afraid of flying to begin with, and a model airplane caused passenger plane damage will make for great TV. No AMA government relations arm will be able to stop the tidal wave of public opinion at that point.

  27. How do we know this Italian pilot actually saw a “drone” in the first place .He’s clipping in at 180 and descending and he spots a 3′ foot object and ID’s it for sure ,really?

  28. I echo the sentiments of most of you, and agree that we AMA members almost always operate in a responsible manner, but Mr. Mathewson states a dangerous concept:

    “… and, if some law enforcement agency is using a UAS to keep tabs on me, then I suppose I should ask myself what I’m doing that would make them want to do that.”

    That makes the assumption that all law enforcement folks are the good guys. In a perfect world, that would be true, but don’t for a minute make that assumption in the one we live in. You must have seen by now some coverage regarding the glider pilot in South Carolina that was threatened with a shoot-down for penetrating a Law-Enforcement-imagined “No Fly Zone”, right?

    Anyway, encourage the FPV-ers around you (and I’m not one, by the way) to fly responsibly, but don’t assume that you must have done something wrong whenever the government or law enforcement types start poking around.

  29. Rational minds will say, we need more rules, realistic minds will say, we need some rules. In reality, it comes down to learning and teaching. Learning responsibility, and teaching the next generation of that. Rules need not be legislated. Once responsibility is removed from personnel choice, it will not return. Case in point.
    You are now forced to remove shoes in order to get on a plane. Why??? Rules? We have been taught to do so for are own good. Responsibility has been taken from us. Because of a few bad people. In reality, if the few were forced to take off their shoes, then the rest of rational responsible people would not. Government knows who they are. Same with reckless rc flyers. But government regulation is not the answere. It only magnifies the problem. Teach those with interest, in the hobby, responsiblitlies of the hobby without fees or rules. You will attract more bees with honey than with vinegar. The entire hobby world will be better. Yes, there will be some who do stupid things. Don\\\’t focus so much attention on so few. Put the focus on the good. Most people naturally do the right thing, and seeing others do right, inforces the attitude. Done with out regulation from FAA or AMA.

  30. Pretty hard to spot a small copter flying by a 200 MPH but HOW DO WE KNOW IT WAS A HOBBIST & NOT SOME fed/state GOVT EXPERIMENT OR TEST?? They certainly have the capability. Can a small copter have power or battery life to climb to 1800′ altitude, hover to wait for plane, then come back to owner?

  31. I recently watched a old (1977) rerun of “The Dead Pool” in which Dirty Harry and partner were “attacked” by a R/C model Corvette loaded with explosive, maneuvered under a vehicle and detonated in an attempt to do away with Dirty Harry and partner. This was in 1977, yet no one has yet outlawed model cars or R/C for surface vehicles, nor drafted any laws concerning such that I am aware of. Seems to me that there is a parallel concern with both examples like this, such as gun possession, and many others.
    It’s pretty silly thinking that outlawing R/C models of any kind will eliminate the potential problems posed by their existence. Additionally, there are existing laws concerning privacy which cover some of the situations involving use of R/C vehicles to take pictures and videos.
    However, since it is impossible to enforce these laws (how many Iphones are there now?) and since “serious” terrorists usually choose full-size vehicles to create mayhem (Oklahoma City, 911, etc) it may seem that the AMA is tilting at windmills.
    Of course I realize that the AMA is out to protect modeling as they (wish) to define it, but sometimes it just seems to me that they are venturing into areas and issuing “opinions” that best be left to those with the responsibility to enforce existing laws, rather that draft any more non-enforceable ones.

  32. AMA should withdraw its “approval” of FPV flying.

    FPV will inevitably be misused and our hobby will be caught in the uproar. At that point logic and reason will be overpowered. Why let this tiny portion of model aviation endanger everything?

  33. The AMA should remove all FPV activities from it rules and eliminate it from its program. FPV should be seperated from the hobby all together. If you want to see what it looks like to fly get a private pilots license or strap a GoPro camera to your plane or copter and watch it at home. Follow the AMA rules for aircraft and be safe. Dummies like the person flying by JFK are going to ruin it for the rest of us. AMA get off your prop nuts and outlaw FPV once and for all

  34. You know what? The FAA could outlaw FPV and that would ground all the FPV hobbyists in the country. However, that would do absolutely nothing to stop a terrorist! … My 2 cents.

  35. when all the FPV, Quad-copters, 50 lb + twin turbine 10 ft winspan mega jets, Giant Scale, and 200 mph composite racers flown by “hobbyist” are grounded by the thoughtless acts of a small minority, I will be enjoying the resultant upswing in Control Line flying, and simple rubber powered free flight. Police yourselves and your flying buddies to prevent needless incidents that will feed the media, or else the “POLICE” will assist you in being safe.

  36. wjk,
    This attitude is what has both the FAA and the AMA most concerned. The potential impact of ANY FPV aircraft with a full scale aircraft is disasterous. And yes, one flying an airliner can see an object the size of a medium mylar balloon (about the size of a typical quad-copter) at even excessively high approach speeds (200kts is at least 50kts faster than even the largest airliners normally approach at).

    The issue is a:the lack of perioheral vision with the FPV, which doesn’t allow the pilot of the FPV to see the oncoming aircraft and evade it, and b:the flying pilot of the airliner seeing the FPV aircraft and evading it (something that is also very dangerous, especially at lower altitudes, like where FPV aircraft would normally fly).

    If the FPV aircraft does impact the full-scale aircraft, the damage can be catastrophic, to the point of downing that aircraft. That is the issue that the FAA, AMA, as well as AOPA, ALPA, A4A and other aviation safety groups are dealing with now.

    Just because you may have the ‘right’ to do something doesn’t mean that you should, where ever and when ever you wish.


  37. There’s a central concept in public policy, and that if the public believes it applies to you, then it does. Right now we need to face the cold hard reality that public perception of our hobby is fed by a mass media that is HIGHLY skeptical. Each and every time one these events happen, it serves only to reinforce that perception. Each time I see a 40+ pound 3D plane doing a rolling circle maneuver, where approximately 50% of that maneuver has the velocity vector directed toward the flight line / crowd, I think that it’s not a matter of “if” one ends up hitting and likely hurting people, but rather “when.” And to top it all off, it will be on YouTube and the mass media in minutes. No AMA government rep will be able to stop the tidal wave at that point. There’s a reason airshow pilots are not allowed to do aggressive maneuvers directed at the crowd. Perhaps we should adopt the same policy BEFORE something happens rather than try to play cleanup. As a retired military flier, I know what a small bird (presumably w/o any metal parts) can do to a jet engine or a windscreen. I’d hate to think of what one of our planes could do. I think we’d be wise to confine our activities to defined flying locations, with rules that make it unlikely we’d crash into crowds (including us), and vigorously defend that. My two cents.

  38. AMA needs to be sure to let the government know that AMA does not \\\’control\\\’ model aviation. It\\\’s a organization of people with similar interests and shares information and provides a level of insurance protection.
    If a kid goes out and throws a frisbee, who will control it? The same thing with models. I flew models as a kid many years before getting to the point I could be near a club, and join AMA. Kids are flying all kinds of things now, and well beyond AMA\\\’s view or \\\’control\\\’ or influence, and they sure as heck don\\\’t know who the FAA is. Maybe a more manageable direction would be to work on how AMA members are more excluded from regulations? It\\\’s a tough situation for sure, but I\\\’d also remind the gov that no law stops bad things from happening, and almost all laws are base on a reaction AFTER something happens. We have plenty of laws that govern that now.
    Any non-FAA certified airman is not controlled by FAA. When a kid takes a real plane up for a spin, and lives to tell the tale, it\\\’s the local police who apprehend the kid under local laws for endangerment, etc.
    The vast majority of modelers are innocent in their accidents, and I don\\\’t want to see some Fed law with zero tolerance that if a model goes someplace it shouldn\\\’t by accident, or stupidity; or if flying a visual ranged model, in good faith, within 30 miles from the President, that the modeler goes to prison. Prison is really for containment of bad seeds that were looking to do damage, not truly for punishment (which is a bad way to look at prison). Right now, Texas is now looking at legislation to stop local schools from sending the class clowns to court for their deeds; so I see some hope in that, and we need to take a cue from that critical legislation for modelers as well, in that it\\\’s a strain on courts to make new laws that pull a simple modeling incidents into the courtrooms to waste time and money.
    As for drones, they are already out of control. A kid can have a drone as much as the military these days. Control of the public use will be impossible, and I\\\’d suspect some kind of move to make camera drones illegal might come, but, again, very hard to control. If a drone shows up outside my window, I just want my right to bring it down by any safe means I feel necessary- they\\\’ll know the risk involved pretty quick.
    However, as an AMA member, we can have guidelines that allow for a flying drone, when used in accordance with our rules; so, if anything, we can move to be excused from regulations as a group. They haven\\\’t even mentioned ground drones or sea drones- R/C cars, tanks, ships, and robots can carry cameras now too- and they don\\\’t fly- and they certainly are not in FAA\\\’s realm; which also helps point to a larger, more uncontrollable issue that should be addressed outside of just FAA, and a point that could be used to pull it away from FAA to some extent.
    I don\\\’t know what the answer is for non-members, but I think it\\\’s always important to let Congress know that AMA is not the entire body of modelers, and most cetainly has very little connection with experimenters out there; and the making of any rules should pass this test- A child in the middle of a city flew a frisbee he made from a plate, can you control that? At what level should there be punishment? when it was seen but nothing happened? when it went through a window? when it hit a person? when it hit a car? when it caused some level of damage that goes beyond an insurance claim?
    Controlling models will be very similar to trying to control guns. There is no preventative answer, for the most part.
    If there are to be consequences, then it needs to be based on a thread of criminal intent behind it, not just the simple action of performing an act thousands of us do all the time, without criminal intent.
    Paparazzi flying a drone will probably be one of the most heated arguments of all time over this drone issue- but, they are doing it with specific intent, and that is different from a kid just flying around the neighborhood and being bad by looking in windows and such, and not publishing views for money(although maybe on the internet). I don\\\’t want to see the kid end up in court over it.
    That is just the tip of things- I don\\\’t have all the answers, but if we\\\’re going to think on it, and be involved with it, we have to first discover, then review, all the angles first, and take a long time absorbing what is truely criminal and what is not. To me, criminal intent is the prime point of focus, being as we are talkig Law, or else it really goes all over the map of legislation and regulations and anything could happen.

  39. To be pushed out of the air after we as modelers created this technology and it’s implementation methods, after we provide a vast array of experts in the field for which government and military hire and benefit, all of America benefits. To push us out now is completely unacceptable and in complete objection to Liberty. Write your representatives now. Any legislation “because you might do harm” is contrary to Liberty. It’s not legal to set fires to peoples homes, this does not mean we need to regulate matches. This type of restriction is like California where your not allowed to pick up deadwood and have a campfire because you might cut down a living tree. Smack yourself awake America! (yea, I said that)

  40. I was shocked to hear about someone interfearing with the airspace over an airport that could cause people to loos life and property , that is something I would have trouble justifying if I caused myself !

  41. We have to be a little more careful and should find solutions rather than throwing “drones” under the bus. First of all, if the concern is privacy, what about the RC airplanes with GoPro cameras installed? What’s the difference? Can’t be the hovering, because an RC helicopter with a camera can do that too.

    If it’s safety, then flying an electric plane at a local park poses the same safety risk as a “drone” flown. In fact, I would even go so far that a scale model WII bird poses more of a risk of injury/property loss than a plastic “drone”.

    Is it about flying rules? Well, then this is where AMA should come in and help establish guidelines that make sense. I have flown real airplanes, RC gas engine planes, electric plans and I am also flying what is now considered “a drone”. I listed them in the order of risk, most impact on privacy and importance.

    Furthermore, the JFK incident; if my Phantom “Drone” (about two feet wide, under 1,000 gr weight) flies 200 feet in front of me, the pilot already has a hard time seeing the orientation of the “Drone”. In other words, if you are, let’s say 600 feet away from that “Drone”, you cannot make it out. Now try 1 mile or 2 miles. There is no way you can make out what it is. So the claims of what the AA pilot saw, seems to be a little made-up. Secondly, even if this kind of object was to get into the path of an airliner, the jet would do just about the same as with a bird.

    Now what we really need is an appropriate understanding of the technology, have operating rules that make sense and let people enjoy their hobbies, while still making sure privacy and safety are being upheld.

    If we let this go down this path, then your RC plane will be next.

  42. Frank, when you fly on a plane as a passenger, are you able to see the birds flying around the plane? You are talking about watching birds while on ground not moving, when you are on a plane, plane approaching a landing site, flies with approximately 250-350 mph. Can you have a good view of a floating object when traveling with such a speed, and even make a description of the size and number of propellers. Sounds fishy to me.

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