Ive been reading several web sites on this subject including
the one off of aero news. They often talk about the “billion” dollar business
that it will effect but the more important thing to mention is Model aviation
especially radio control is one of the most common entrees in to the world of
aviation for the youth of today.
Anyone who has watched history shows, read vintage thru
current magazines or talked to the WW2 thru Vietnam generation knows there is
an overwhelming trend of the gradual decay & rot of aviation since the mid
70’s. Keep in mind I’m a product of the 70’s but I sure know a bad trend when I
see one. All aspects are affected: an airline transportation system that gets
worse and worse each year, the cost over runs & delays of the JSF designed
on state of the art computer systems & global collaboration compared to the
SR-71 designed with slide rules and paper that got it done. A time when the
common man or woman could get their private pilots license, to it now being a
luxury item set aside for the well to do or the well connected. Radical &
innovative Homebuilt designs from Rutan & others showing up at airventure,
to ahhhhhhh nothing new. Apollo missions going to the moon, employing 10’s of
thousands of people to the retirement of the shuttle and a “for rent” sign on
Florida’s space coast NASA facilities GA
Airports with out fences where people could watch the aircraft taking off &
landing, talk to pilots and maybe even get a ride to 6’ high barbed wire fences
with many “your not allowed here” signs.
Before the FAA tries to enacts this bill there is far
reaching reproductions that will harm many facets of this country far beyond
the local hobby shop or hobby distributor. Not only would these rules further
decay all of aviation it will pour gas on the fire!
Radio controlled aircraft are a hands on way for people to
learn aerodynamics, structures, electronics, assembly methods and so on. These
are things that game councils (X box, play station) will never replace for the
youth of today. Things long boring not to the point reading from the book
theory lectures in the class room will never replace for the college student. Aerospace
engineering is not as desirable as it once was. Killing off or limiting R/C
will cause a further brain drain in this country something we do not need!
As a contractor working for one of the countries leading
Aircraft Gas Turbine companies I sit next to the hiring manager, every new
recruit he talks to on the phone he ask do you work on cars or fly R/C planes
as a way to gauge if they have any mechanical common since. The engineers of
today need more mechanical common since, zapping R/C will not help.
The next step after R/C is often an interest in General
Aviation & a pilots license. Each year there are less and less student
pilots, and even less new licenses issued. Killing off or limiting R/C will
further compound the declining pilot population, again we don’t need that.
With less pilots there will be a lower demand for used and
new aircraft. Many General Aviation items such as Fuel, new Engines, new
airframes can see lower cost with scales of economy, reduce the need for these
items the prices on these items will go up. Yet another thing we do not need!
The EAA was founded by people who built there own aircraft
& is still its core mission. Building R/C aircraft is an excellent
prerequisite & confidence builder to step into a Homebuilt aircraft.
Although the total number of homebuilt aircraft reregistered in the US are over
30,000 its just something that fewer and fewer people take on. Zapping the R/C
seed will not help this!
The 40’s thru the 60’s generated a vast pilot population due
to many factors, many of these pilots moved into the commercial airline field. They
are now retiring, Zap R/C and it will Zap many potential commercial airline
Military Aircraft will likely still have human involvement
weather it’s a F-22 pilot or a UCAV pilot in a trailer. Many of these pilots
started there journey in Aviation thru R/C. The military could be losing a lot
of talent if these rules go thru.
Now think of the teenager of the future. There is a lot of
actual bad things they could be doing (drugs, gangs, crime etc.) but no he or
she is out there flying an R/C aircraft, an FAA “G” man with the aid of law
enforcement arrest this teenager, confiscates & breaks the R/C aircraft
they spent a lot of honest time or money on, throws the book at them and feeds
them to the jaws of the legal system so they can make a quota. I would likely
conclude this event would squash many positive potentials for this person. They
could of become and Engineer, Civil or Military pilot. Worked for an Aerospace
manufacture or even the FAA. But because of a short sided bureaucratic ruling
it all went down the drain!
It’s a long sermon, but hopefully the right person will read
it and it can help the cause.
P.S. here is a list of things I have done or who I am
because of my beginnings in R/C
Current EAA 466275
Current EAA TC 5426
Non Current AMA 511268
03’ BSAE from Embry-Riddle
Private Pilot ~250 hrs
Helped build a few homebuilt aircraft
Flown 20 different aircraft makes.
Propulsion Engineer for auto to aero engines.
Aeronautical Engineer on an aircraft that won in its class
for the 06’ Reno
Designed and am building a single seat all composite
Former Piper Aircraft Employee
Currently a Pratt & Whitney Contractor.