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The mentality of drone pilots.

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Old 05-28-2019, 06:18 AM
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60buick
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Default The mentality of drone pilots.

I would like to express my observations of what I have seen going on in our hobby from the viewpoint of an old fart raising kids in the hobby with very different attitudes.

First a little about me, I have been flying RC for roughly 30 years and full sized fixed wing and helicopters for 11 years. I started with control line and have everything from small electric planes and helicopters up to a Vario Skyfox and 118" B-25. I started with FM transmitters and Cox nitro engines and now we have brushless GPS controlled FPV. I have been through the largest technological jump this hobby has seen. I learned from an experienced rc pilot using a wooden airplane that took me a month to build and a nitro engine. I also have the experience of lots of crashes which taught me responsibility.

I have a 13 year old son who is an AMA member as am I and he loves aviation and wants to work for NASA when he grows up. I bought him a Mini Apprentice and he had a successful first flight the other day. I'm teaching him in the manner that I learned. He has common sense and his biggest fear is crashing his plane. He is now a pilot in his own eyes. He has always had a love for RC and has indoor quad copters, a boat, a rock crawler and a few cars. He is vested in the hobby. We have an FPV setup and have been using it on the rock crawler, not yet trying it on an aircraft.

I also have a step son in his early 20's.

Now I don't want to be the "get of my lawn guy" but I cant get through to that boy, he knows absolutely everything about everything. I love him but it's a completely different mindset that he has. He never had an interest in RC. He grew up on video games and 4 wheelers. He loves photography and sharing his videos. He is very proud of his videos and getting "likes" is more important than rules. He got his first good paying job and bought a Phantom drone. It's a tool, a devise if you will, that he operates. He sees it as no more than a flying GoPro. He never had to learn, just open the box and fly. This is just part of the inherent problem.

Just last night I was talking about idiot drone pilots doing stupid stuff and he defended it. There is a state park that he mentioned flying at and I told him not to. But he is an adult and will do what he wants. I mentioned fines but he is not worried because they can fly, get the shots he and his buddies want and then they tuck the drone away in a back pack before the authorities arrive. I said that I fly full sized aircraft in that area and that is a popular spot for GA aircraft to circle and look at. If I hit a drone it could kill me and the person in the seat next to me, which could be your mother. His attitude was he can get out of the way if he sees a full sized aircraft. He knows best and you cant reason with arrogance. He has no interest in joining the AMA or did he even know about them until I found out he was flying a drone. That's another problem, he bought it off the internet and has never even stepped foot in a hobby shop. But it's not like he has interest in joining, he won't fly at a designated field because, it about getting video, not flying.

That's the problem the FAA and AMA fail or refuse to see. My 13 year old and I are recreational flyers. I don't know what the 22 year old is but he is not flying to fly. He is operating a devise for pictures. The pictures that are harder to get, illegal to take or just plain reckless in nature are ironically the pictures which bring the most positive attention from his age group. That is completely different than recreational flying.

Not to preach doom and gloom but I honestly believe in my lifetime people with that mindset will ruin this hobby by rolling out the red carpet for companies who will profit by kicking us out of public airspace by using public outrage about safety. I figured out a long time ago that if you follow the path of money you can really figure out what's going on. My wife is in the technology field and says they could stop texting and driving with one update by stopping the phone from functioning while moving in a vehicle. They won't do it because companies would lose millions every year. They don't want any road blocks stopping you from buying on your Amazon, Walmart or Ebay app. I think the AMA is in that mindset. To them it wouldn't be the end of the world if the FAA required flying at approved fields because they would require AMA membership. More members is good right? I think I will see that in my lifetime especially if the big corporation's get control of the airspace we fly in for drone deliveries. I have gravitated toward park flyers because the local flying fields have drama, can be packed on a nice windless day making it harder to get in the air, there is the added driving distance and some days I just want to fly and not be around people. A required AMA field would mean I fly less if at all. That is a victory for Amazon and Google and a perceived victory for increasing AMA membership but a loss for the hobby. I would focus more on my other rc vehicles and buy less aircraft as would many others. That will contribute to a further decline in the hobby which will mean less products on the shelf and a smaller rc aircraft industry.

There is a huge disconnect between the problem drone pilots and the rc pilots from previous generations. Most of the people at the local fields are showing some grey hair as are most of the AMA members I know. They don't get it and think everyone thinks as rationally as they do. Unfortunately the mindset that the drone pilots causing problems is completely different than their own. The FAA coming down with blanket rules won't do anything but punish the people that have been following the rules and flying responsibly. The irresponsible drone pilots don't care about the rules, and think they can do as they wish and just avoid getting caught.

My wife said it best, if technology is the problem, you have 2 options. Use technology as the solution or outlaw the problem technology. What she means is they can put programming in these drones so they can't go where they shouldn't. Or they can create blanket laws that punish the ones who follow the law while rogue drone pilots still fly near airports, over crowds, block EMS helicopters, invade privacy and even strap guns to drones. Unfortunately I see which way they are going. I think blanket laws are the American way and government is the most inefficient thing created by man.

Those are my thoughts, the solution is to limit what the GPS drones can do unless they have commercial purposes. Not a single drone manufacturers is eager to make their platforms more restrictive as it could result in fewer sales. If you follow the money it makes sense. Grouping camera drone operators and recreational pilots together creates an epidemic that technology could fix easily but won't. Then by coming down heavy handed on everyone including hobby pilots (99% of which don't cause problems), could reap financial benefits for everyone else involved if they get us out of "their" airspace. The only ones who suffer are the hobby pilots.

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Old 05-28-2019, 08:13 AM
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Very good post and I think you are very accurate. Unfortunately the ball is rolling on the blanket regulations and it is not going to be stopped. You are dead on about the younger generations mind set. Having a 21 year old step son myself your comments really hit home. In spite of my best efforts, his decision making process is not based on reality but what he is able to convince himself of. I'm hoping a few situations when reality give some him a good smack in the head will solve that. Sadly I don't think that the drones software will ever be set to avoid no fly zones. That would reduce sales and guys would just find a work around anyways. We see the mentality of our law makers on multiple subjects where laws are written that will have no bearing on the offenders but handicap law abiding citizens. Nothing new there.
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Old 05-28-2019, 09:53 AM
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The only way for any FAA rule to be effective, would be to require a license and medical certificate for ALL operators of RC. This would include drones, in addition to fixed wing and helis. Otherwise, people are going to do what they want, just like the 20 year old flies his drone in state parks. Nothing can really be done about it, because he won't register or put an FAA number on the drone either.
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Old 05-28-2019, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by NorfolkSouthern View Post
The only way for any FAA rule to be effective, would be to require a license and medical certificate for ALL operators of RC. This would include drones, in addition to fixed wing and helis. Otherwise, people are going to do what they want, just like the 20 year old flies his drone in state parks. Nothing can really be done about it, because he won't register or put an FAA number on the drone either.
Just let that 20 year old get caught by a park ranger. They do have law enforcement powers and can arrest someone for breaking the law. I was run out of a county park, by a park ranger, for running an R/C boat in the lake without a permit. Had I argued about it, I might have found myself in a cell rather than in my car driving home
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Old 05-28-2019, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Hydro Junkie View Post
Just let that 20 year old get caught by a park ranger. They do have law enforcement powers and can arrest someone for breaking the law. I was run out of a county park, by a park ranger, for running an R/C boat in the lake without a permit. Had I argued about it, I might have found myself in a cell rather than in my car driving home

Same thing happened to me about 25 years ago. I was flying a .32 size helicopter in a state park. Ranger explained to me that the engine and fuel was too much of a fire hazard. However the guy running an electric powered off road car through dry leaves was OK. I thanked her and put the helicopter away. That will be another issue we will be facing, Law enforcement with bad information or taking liberties as they go.


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Old 05-28-2019, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by speedracerntrixie View Post



Same thing happened to me about 25 years ago. I was flying a .32 size helicopter in a state park. Ranger explained to me that the engine and fuel was too much of a fire hazard. However the guy running an electric powered off road car through dry leaves was OK. I thanked her and put the helicopter away. That will be another issue we will be facing, Law enforcement with bad information or taking liberties as they go.

In my case, it wasn't liberties or bad info. There was actually a sign that said no R/Cs in the park, I just hadn't seen it. The ranger showed me where it was posted, end of discussion since he was backed by documentation and I didn't have any to back me
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Old 05-28-2019, 02:22 PM
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Another reason why I decided over 10 years ago to only fly at AMA chartered club fields. No chance of law enforcement or anyone else who felt some sort of empowerment trying to chase me out.
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Old 05-28-2019, 03:12 PM
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How does a park ranger doing his job equal "empowerment"?
I was tactfully told that running my boat was against the rules and to stop. Where does that come close to the ranger having a sense of "empowerment"?
Sounds to me like you're the one that has issues with any sort of law enforcement stepping on your toes since I know I don't.
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Old 05-28-2019, 03:44 PM
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You sure do look awfully hard for anything I say that you can key on don't you? I suppose you missed the " anyone else " phrase as in general public, some guy who owns the house down the road from the park etc. or anyone else who does not have the authority to ask me to leave but feels " empowered " to do so anyways. Kinda like guys here who want to find any little thing with others posts to make them somehow feel superior.

Keep in mind that I was having a perfectly civil conversation with you right up to the point where you thought you found something to criticize.
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Old 05-28-2019, 05:16 PM
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Then consider me out of this thread too since I never brought up the subject of "enpowerment", you did, more than once
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Old 05-28-2019, 05:25 PM
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Did it ever occur to you that you simply could have asked for clarification as opposed to immediately going into accusational mode?
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Old 05-28-2019, 05:41 PM
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reading it, appeared that HJ hit the nail squarely on the head, to me, anyway.

those advising others to be a little more careful in interpreting things, might want to use a mirror sometime...
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Old 05-28-2019, 05:53 PM
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I think the two of you knew exactly what I meant but just can't help yourselves.
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Old 05-28-2019, 11:10 PM
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just learn to look in the mirror sometimes, dude
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Old 05-29-2019, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by speedracerntrixie View Post
Did it ever occur to you that you simply could have asked for clarification as opposed to immediately going into accusational mode?
I never went into "accusational mode", didn't need to. You showed your position on the subject and it was, the way both Mongo and I read it, very much anti law enforcement, hence the "step on toes" comment.
That said, yes, there are LEOs that have taken things too far or violated the law in the name of law enforcement. Those days are now pretty much over with the public calling out bad cops and the requirement in many areas for LEOs to wear cameras as well as the speed in which J.Q. Public can post their own videos on the web to high light the bad cop who abuses his/her authority. As I said, I'm now out of this thread since it's obvious you're trolling my posts. Sorry, not going to give you the satisfaction again
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Old 05-31-2019, 02:42 AM
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On the flip side I have no doubt a great many LEOs are tired of attitude being thrown in their faces all the time. Yet for the most part they smile and do their jobs. And most of them even make it home that night.

I dare anyone who complains about our Police to join the force and show us all how wrong we are!
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Old 06-01-2019, 07:32 PM
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Hey guys, I'm going to remind EVERYONE in this thread that you agreed to abide by the community standards of RCU when you registered. One of those was keeping conversations civil.

As my kindergarten teacher once said, "If you can't play with him without getting mad, maybe you shouldn't play with him at all."

Take her advice; speak with respect, or don't speak at all.
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Old 06-02-2019, 02:54 AM
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Originally Posted by jester_s1 View Post
Hey guys, I'm going to remind EVERYONE in this thread that you agreed to abide by the community standards of RCU when you registered. One of those was keeping conversations civil.

As my kindergarten teacher once said, "If you can't play with him without getting mad, maybe you shouldn't play with him at all."

Take her advice; speak with respect, or don't speak at all.
And the beatings will continue until moral improves!
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