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RPM314

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I build all of my airplanes from parts ordered from China. Could the FAA's reach ever extend to hobby related imports?

The FAA has never shown themselves to be at all knowledgeable about how RC works. This is one of the few cases where someone should actually cram it and submit to the *shudder* wisdom of Congress.
 

Topaz

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I build all of my airplanes from parts ordered from China. Could the FAA's reach ever extend to hobby related imports?

The FAA has never shown themselves to be at all knowledgeable about how RC works. This is one of the few cases where someone should actually cram it and submit to the *shudder* wisdom of Congress.
Congress is what forced this entire fiasco on the FAA in the first place. The FAA had crafted a rule-base decades ago that let them ignore modelers, just like Part 103 let them ignore the hairy hang-glider/early-UL crowd back at the beginning of the 1980's. The FAA doesn't want to deal with stuff like this, and they've been dragging their feet on "drone regulation" even after Congress shoved it down their throats. I may be mistaken, but I believe the committee that crafted this recommendation was put together by Congress to get the FAA moving and a rule crafted before this holiday shopping season, which is expected to result in an explosion of new quads.

My big question is this, and perhaps someone more knowledgeable will chime in: Let's say the FAA drafts the new rule by December 20, as they're saying. I have my doubts that the FAA could ever do that in what, six days?, but Congress seems to be leaning on them hard. So we have a new draft rule. What about the NPRM/public comment period process? They can't bypass that - it's a federal regulation - unless Congress drafts a special bill allowing them to put the rule into place without a public comment period. Which would essentially kill this rule when it comes to the inevitable court challenge (and you can bet the AMA will be doing just that, considering how they were treated in this process).

Anyone know anything about this aspect?
 

RPM314

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I know that the comment period came and went, I know because I submitted mine a few weeks ago. Fastest comment period I've ever seen.

The way I've always heard it from the AMA is that Congress exempted models from FAA regulation a while back as long as the management of the hobby was done by a 'community-based organization' (the AMA), and the FAA has been trying to do a lot in spite of that. Notably their release of an interpretation of congress' rulemaking that applies full-scale type regulations to anything not LoS or connected to money in any way, things like the Pirker case, etc. Is this not correct?
 

Himat

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Well, the almighty FAA has come out with a decision: Press Release – FAA Announces Small UAS Registration Rule
Basically, if it's more than 250 grams, you need to register it with them. 30 day period of free registration, followed by it being a $5 fee.

Honestly, I think that the incident with the Robinson R22 getting into a midair with a drone in SoCal was the final push.
Following the FAA link I found this document: http://www.faa.gov/uas/media/model_aircraft_spec_rule.pdf
After reading this I'm glad I do not have to comply with anything like the US requirement for registration of "drones". The "clarification" her on what a model airplane is leave me wondering what the FAA object is. Regulate "drones" or prepare to clear their back when it become obvious that they do not manage to do so.
 

RPM314

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Following the FAA link I found this document: http://www.faa.gov/uas/media/model_aircraft_spec_rule.pdf
After reading this I'm glad I do not have to comply with anything like the US requirement for registration of "drones". The "clarification" her on what a model airplane is leave me wondering what the FAA object is. Regulate "drones" or prepare to clear their back when it become obvious that they do not manage to do so.
Yeah, it's not very good. What ticks me off the most is when they claim jurisdiction over “any contrivance invented, used, or designed to navigate, or fly in, the air.” The judge in the first trial of the Rafael Pirker case even agreed that this is ridiculous, as it would extend to even little Guillow's balsa planes. Or frisbees. Or a frakkin' soccer ball that is given spin to steer it through the air. Of course this particular power is completely un-usable.
Ya know the way they use the "for hobby or recreational use" clause means that you're subject to all the usual airworthiness requirements and medical examinations if you do something absolutely ridiculous like fly your model in a tournament or to survey your own land? Ticked a good many pilots off when it was released.

I'm debating whether I can get away with not registering or if flying at an official RC field presents a more visible target for law enforcement.
 

Topaz

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... What ticks me off the most is when they claim jurisdiction over “any contrivance invented, used, or designed to navigate, or fly in, the air.”...
No, you want the FAA to be the one to have sole jurisdiction. Because if they didn't, you'd get a patch-work of conflicting state, county, and local ordinances making it virtually impossible to know if you're breaking the law or not. Giving the FAA sole jurisdiction over the air is actually one of the more practical regulatory things our government has ever done.

The problem is that everyone's screaming, "DRONES!!!" and Congress, ever ready to take advantage of a "crisis", pushed this whole nonsense forward so that individual representatives can say, "See? I'm doing something! Vote for me!"

... I'm debating whether I can get away with not registering or if flying at an official RC field presents a more visible target for law enforcement.
You can get away with it. Until you don't. "Getting caught", as always, will probably depend on something going wrong, or someone getting annoyed enough at you to make a fuss. Although, I'm willing to bet a fair wad of cash that the insurance underwriters for R/C clubs running those "official" fields are going to start requiring registration of all member's aircraft as a condition of coverage. You can see where it goes from there.

Way to destroy a hobby, Mr. G-man.
 

Inverted Vantage

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What's funny is that there are now more regulations on unmanned aircraft weighing ten pounds than there are on manned aircraft weighing 254 (Part 103)...

Still, it's really not that bad. Register your name, and put a sticker on all your aircraft. It costs $5. It's stupid but it's not crippling.

What bugs me most are the proposals by Amazon, Google, etc, to section off the 200-400 ft space for their delivery systems etc. It's stupid because they are pre-supposing that those systems will work and be profitable. If they're wrong they've just cut out a huge chunk of airspace that becomes useless to them and everyone else.
 

Topaz

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What's funny is that there are now more regulations on unmanned aircraft weighing ten pounds than there are on manned aircraft weighing 254 (Part 103)...
No, it's not funny. And the modeling crowd is pointing this out so hard at the moment, it may draw unwanted Congressional attention to Part 103. I've already seen three different "meme's" online pointing this out.

Does anyone really think that pointing this out is going to result in the politicians backing off of regulating R/C aircraft? Or is it far more likely that they'll say, "Why, you're right! We need to register ultralights, too!" Please ask your R/C friends to back off on this. Fight their fight. Don't take Part 103 down with them.
 

nerobro

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Way to destroy a hobby, Mr. G-man.
It's not just "A" hobby. It's a dozen of them.

What's funny is that there are now more regulations on unmanned aircraft weighing ten pounds than there are on manned aircraft weighing 254 (Part 103)...

Still, it's really not that bad. Register your name, and put a sticker on all your aircraft. It costs $5. It's stupid but it's not crippling.
Part103 has the advantage of "self preservation" being a "rule". Unwritten as it may be, pilots don't want to die. That's a huge factor in keeping Part103 people out of dangerous airspace.

The new rules are potentially crippling. Here how I see it.

The problems with this are deep and wide. I'll provide my problems as scenarios.

The rules, as written, mean ridiculous numbers of toys need to be registered. Anything that "can be controlled remotely, and more than half a pound" need to be registered. This means, kites, control line planes, most R/C airplanes, most RC Helicopters, and if you're being a real jerk, rc cars and trucks that are designed to jump also qualify.

By putting your name on your craft, you've greatly increased your liability exposure. Where losing a RC something sucked before, as long as it didn't start a fire, or cause enough damage to get the police to put any effort in, you just had to suck up the monetary loss and move on. By putting your name into a national database, and giving people an easy way of tracking you down through the FAA, you're going to see a lot more lawsuits, littering tickets, and potentially "dumping" tickets.

This also provides a method by which you can produce quick legal trouble for someone. Lets say I say something nasty about your quadcopter build. We're at the same flying field, and you take a quick picture of the inside of my AXN while I'm changing batteries. You go out and buy a $5 big foam glider, strap a few broken quadcopter parts to it, and toss it over the fence at the local airport.

The next day a FAA rep shows up at my house. I lose work time. I potentially lose a lot of work time defending myself. And I'll likely end up on the no-fly list too.

The only way to address that sort of liability hole, is to carry insurance. That's another cost...

The problem they're trying to address, are people who don't know about airspace, flying their $1000-4000 aerial video platforms in dangerous places. These are people who DO NOT CARE in the first place. They won't register their gear. They won't label their gear. They still will fly dangerous places.

So, for making the hobby more risky to do, we don't even get the protection that the FAA is trying to get.
 

gtae07

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What bugs me most are the proposals by Amazon, Google, etc, to section off the 200-400 ft space for their delivery systems etc. It's stupid because they are pre-supposing that those systems will work and be profitable. If they're wrong they've just cut out a huge chunk of airspace that becomes useless to them and everyone else.
That depends how they declare that airspace. If there's a "zone" of sorts for UAVs (of all kinds, not just delivery vehicles) there could be some legitimate uses. And eventually, one way or another, UAVs will get integrated into the airspace. It's just a matter of time. I'd withhold judgment until I see the final proposal (on the Google/Amazon plan) but I won't automatically write it off either.
 

gtae07

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The problem they're trying to address, are people who don't know about airspace, flying their $1000-4000 aerial video platforms in dangerous places. These are people who DO NOT CARE in the first place. They won't register their gear. They won't label their gear. They still will fly dangerous places.
Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by ignorance, stupidity, or incompetence. Most of those people aren't saying to themselves "I know this is a bad idea but I'm going to do it anyway" because it doesn't occur to them that it's dangerous. They don't know the risks, they don't know that they place they want to fly poses a risk. They don't know, and they don't know what they don't know. The general public has absolutely no clue about anything aviation-related beyond what they see in movies and while riding on the airlines. They know nothing of airspace, nothing of real aircraft operations, nothing of the locations of airports.
 

nerobro

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Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by ignorance, stupidity, or incompetence.
I've attributed zero malice to their actions. Just "wouldn't it be awesome if..." I'm sure they're having fun. I'm sure they don't want to lose their $1000 Phantom. Insisting that the people who DO know something about airspace, register, won't make the people who don't know, register.

They're out having fun...

This problem would have been better addressed by an ad campaign. Getting DJI to put new hooks in their software, and informational videos. It would have been cheaper and faster to implement too.
 

gtae07

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I've attributed zero malice to their actions. Just "wouldn't it be awesome if..." I'm sure they're having fun. I'm sure they don't want to lose their $1000 Phantom.
I was specifically referring to "THEY DO NOT CARE", implying malice.

Insisting that the people who DO know something about airspace, register, won't make the people who don't know, register.

They're out having fun...

This problem would have been better addressed by an ad campaign. Getting DJI to put new hooks in their software, and informational videos. It would have been cheaper and faster to implement too.
Agree 99%. But registration won't solve anything anyway. Compliance rate will be terrible.
 

bmcj

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But registration won't solve anything anyway. Compliance rate will be terrible.
I suspect they will push the registration compliance to the retail level, mandating that any retail source that sells a quad get the requisite info and fees at the time of sale (much like the sale of guns is done in some states).


That depends how they declare that airspace. If there's a "zone" of sorts for UAVs (of all kinds, not just delivery vehicles) there could be some legitimate uses.
Perhaps RC model fields can be designated as a zone in which unregistered craft can fly freely (still following the typical AMA restrictions), or perhaps the FAA will simply chose to ignore (turn a blind eye) RC models that fly under the traditional AMA limitations.


This also provides a method by which you can produce quick legal trouble for someone. Lets say I say something nasty about your quadcopter build. We're at the same flying field, and you take a quick picture of the inside of my AXN while I'm changing batteries. You go out and buy a $5 big foam glider, strap a few broken quadcopter parts to it, and toss it over the fence at the local airport.

The next day a FAA rep shows up at my house. I lose work time. I potentially lose a lot of work time defending myself. And I'll likely end up on the no-fly list too.
REALLY? Let's focus on more likely, realistic issues in this movement, not the fringe possibilities that could spin us off into oblivion. I'm not saying it isn't possible, but it is not really a weighty point in the bigger scheme of things.
 

nerobro

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REALLY? Let's focus on more likely, realistic issues in this movement, not the fringe possibilities that could spin us off into oblivion. I'm not saying it isn't possible, but it is not really a weighty point in the bigger scheme of things.
From a group that still is in the dark ages over medication and treatment? The real point is that the only people who this will affect, are the people who are responsible to start with. And don't underestimate the amount of crap people will do to others based on sport, or forum posts.

It's all about the money nothing more. $5 a hit
I'd be shocked if $5 covered even the adminstration costs. Much less broke into "profit".
 
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