Want to fly drones? Learn the ropes before you take to the skies

Washington Examiner OPINIONTECHNOLOGY

ANDY KANE

Drones are a growing part of our lives — they’re on television and everywhere in the news. And on Sunday June 14, model aircraft enthusiasts from across the Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. metro area will gather at UAS Academy in Fairfax, Va., for RoboFest 2015.

The development of new technology — and its popularity — has significantly outpaced the amount of education people receive about how to fly. To keep our communities and airspace safe, everyone who is flying should take the time to learn how to do so responsibly.

I started flying radio controlled model airplanes when I was 12 years old. When my dad and I built our first plane, we went to the local Academy of Model Aeronautics Club and District of Columbia Radio Control Club to get help and instruction with this new and exciting hobby. My dad had built and flown free flight planes in the 1940s. Now my interest in aviation had rekindled his, and away we went.

Back then, model aircraft were not as common as they are today. The best way to learn the ropes was through local flying clubs. That’s why I joined the AMA and the DCRC in 1969. I’ve been flying ever since.

Since its founding in 1936, AMA has become the largest organization of recreational unmanned aircraft (model aircraft) enthusiasts in the world. It has been working to educate its members about how to use this technology safely, and in the right places, through a community-based set of safety guidelines and education programs like the AMA Flight School. AMA has given me and hundreds of thousands of others the tools and training we need to fly model aircraft safely and responsibly. I have always been involved in training and teaching, and I personally have helped thousands of RC enthusiasts to fly safely and have fun with our hobby through the DCRC Club.

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