Aviation and Exploration #4: The Continuing Model Aircraft/FAA Conundrum

Many you who are model aircraft pilots or keep up with aviation news have heard of the confusion and trouble that the Federal Aviation Administration’s new laws surrounding model aviation have caused. Part 107, or the Small UAS Rule went into effect on August 29th. of this year. Through this new law everyone that flies a model airplane or multirotor weighing over .55 pounds must now be registered. You can check out the information here on the FAA’s main page. https://www.faa.gov/uas/

This rule may seem to some that it is definitely a good law, as drones will not be such a problem. I have to tell you guys, they serve almost no threat whatsoever. As I spoke of in Aviation and Exploration #2 here https://buddyaviation.wordpress.com/2016/08/10/aviation-and-exploration-2-model-aviations-drone-problem/, drones were shown as these horrible devices that only terrorists, weirdos, and spies used, but all of these are untrue. The media found a group they could pick on, and they are still doing it. One of the most widely used defenses of this law is that it will keep people from being able to make piloted aircraft crash. How often does that happen? Does it happen? Model aviation really took off, pun intended, after World War II, and there has never been a reported case of a model aircraft, helicopter, multirotor, blimp, etc… hitting a civilian or commercial aircraft. Why then do we need a law to stop an issue that has yet to, and will likely never happen.

Another excuse used, all of these people are getting drones for Christmas, and they do not know how to fly. My response to that is always two-fold. First of all, you do not just start out being an expert in anything, you have to start somewhere. Also, trust me, for the most part flying a model comes naturally after just a few minutes of practicing. If someone is so bad at it that people might get hurt, they will not be flying for very long. An individual pretty well knows whether or not they can operate a model aircraft or not, and even if they do not, bad flying ends in crashed aircraft. If they can get the model off the ground safely there is a good chance that they are well enough not to run into someone unless they got directly in the path of the aircraft that leaves the pilot with too little time to react. Second of all, if you have no idea how to fly, how will paying the government $5.00 for a license help with that? Upon registering you must be able to present an email address, a physical address, and a credit card… Wait what??? A credit card? Is this the FAA or a company selling oceanfront property somewhere in Arizona. It is five dollars, yet no matter how you pay you must provide a credit card. In addition to the strange credit card situation, you must take a test.  Also, the registry is only good for three years, so at the end of those three years do I have to take the test again? Their entire explanation of this law is vague, confusing, and counterproductive.

Yet another issue with this law is what it actually controls. In some places it is said that you are registering as a model pilot, whereas in others, as seen here,https://registermyuas.faa.gov/  you must register the aircraft that you own. So which is it? To be honest, no one can find out. Every time they give more information on this ruling they overlook this question every time. Throughout this entire conundrum we see yet another instance of government overreach in which they add laws to the books that only affect law abiding citizens. Another argument that I am frequently given on this matter is that it will stop people from flying near airports, so an issue would never happen. These people are just giving you the facts heard on main media news outlets. For many years there have already existed laws surrounding model aviation, which included not flying over 400 feet and not flying within one mile of an active airport, to whit this “needed legislation” simply restates. Every UAS aircraft over .55 pounds must be registered, and the explanation the FAA, a government organization gave, ‘compare the aircraft in one hand to two sticks of butter in your other hand. If the drone weighs more than the butter, it needs to be registered.’ Butter? Who’s running the FAA now, Betty Crocker? Wolfgang Puck? Very technical incite there FAA; who came up with the over two sticks rule? Why not one pound? (sorry metric fans, imperial system rules)

A warning to other hobbies, and even sports, if you begin to hear about registration, pay attention. That means your rights are taken away from you and re-sold to you through official government proceedings, or otherwise risk jail time and owing up to $27,000 dollars of fines in this case! For flying a little model plane without a plastic license? Rather than fix the problem the FAA worked to monetize the problem. If they had stepped up and said alright, so that people are trained we will put on seminars around the holidays when most model aircraft are bought, but rather they looked to profit from the deal. People that want to learn to fly have no way of getting any help from the FAA, but you can pay to go take their class at places they choose in order to get a license that holds nearly no worth. Another part of the law is that your pilot id number must be put inside the aircraft for ‘safety’ purposes. What good will that do? If you did accidentally crash into someone’s car or property chances are that plane no longer exists, so what now, are we going to have full blown NTSB investigations every time a model crashes? This whole incident should be given up and forgotten, as it has caused more problems and confusion than before it was made off of a premise started by the news media corporations. Can we at least get classes for new pilots to take, or ANYTHING useful?

-Jared

 

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