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Is Model Aviation inadvertantly fanning the anti-drone flames?

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Is Model Aviation inadvertantly fanning the anti-drone flames?

Old 08-28-2015, 07:06 AM
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H5487
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Default Is Model Aviation inadvertantly fanning the anti-drone flames?

Let me state up front that I am not anti-drone. While I'm predominately "fixed-wing oriented" myself, I acknowledge that drones are an exciting new field. However, as with any new invention, they can be misused, unintentionally or intentionally. Unfortunately, due to a rapidly growing number of negative stories in the mainstream media ranging from privacy concerns to near-misses with full scale aircraft, the general public is quickly becoming anti-drone. Despite this, it seems that almost every new issue of AMA's flagship magazine heralds the latest quadcopter on its cover and an ever-growing number of advertisements inside that parade the latest and greatest in sophisticated RTF drones that anybody can fly right out of the box.

To my way of thinking, I would imagine that Model Aviation would be serving our hobby better right now if it focused more on the positive aspects of model aviation instead of appearing to be pushing the publically-perceived "bad boys" of the hobby. I'm not saying that Model Aviation should go back to Norman Rockwell-type magazine covers of freckle-faced Cub Scouts sitting around a table filled with balsa airplanes, but I'm thinking that maybe MA should cool it on their Another-Quadcopter-In-Your-Face-Every-Month campaign for awhile.

Just my thoughts. You don't need to trash me for them!

Harvey




UPDATE: This update was prompted by porcia83's comments (immediately following). I could have simply edited out my changes but that would have been wrong; therefore, this update. When I first penned this post, I had just finished reading the August 2015 issue of MA and was struck by all of the drone ads, product reviews, and the cover picture. By the time I got to my computer, all I could think of was 'Why is the magazine so full of drones when it's rapidly becoming a sore subject in the country? That CAN'T be helping our image!' Then porcia83 pointed out that there has actually been only one quadcopter on the cover this year. Obviously then, there weren't a bunch of MA covers that got to me so I went back through the magazine and realized it was the advertisements. LOTS of advertisements! I STILL wonder if such a visible barrage of drone stuff is good for our image right now but I stand corrected on how many have actually been on the covers.

Harvey

Last edited by H5487; 08-31-2015 at 09:43 AM. Reason: Self explanatory
Old 08-28-2015, 11:41 AM
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porcia83
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If I'm not mistaken, there has been one cover this year with a quad on it. With 8 issues being published, and only one showing a quad, how does this equate to "...almost every new issue of the flagship heralding the latest quad..."

Advertising an item that may be misused by someone doesn't equate to pushing that behavior. It's simply an ad, just like those for helis, fixed wing etc.

The "Another-Quadcopter-In-Your-Face-Every-Month campaign" just doesn't exist from what I can see.
Old 08-28-2015, 12:42 PM
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porcia83, I stand corrected. See my update at the bottom of my first post.

Harvey
Old 08-28-2015, 12:59 PM
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porcia83
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The reason you are seeing so many ads is because this type of flying is incredibly popular right now, from standard building and flying, to racing, to photography. They are far more utilitarian than helis or fixed wings. You'll find the ads, and stories on quads in the AMA mag because they are part of the hobby, and they bring revenue into the magazine the same as other hot ticket items. I probably don't notice them as much because I don't own them or fly them, and they have little interest to me.

Although you didn't explicitly say this, it seems that your premise is that if there is less advertising of these items, and less discussions of them in the mag, and in general less attention paid to them, this will somehow benefit our hobby and the AMA?
Old 08-28-2015, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by porcia83 View Post
Although you didn't explicitly say this, it seems that your premise is that if there is less advertising of these items, and less discussions of them in the mag, and in general less attention paid to them, this will somehow benefit our hobby and the AMA?
Let me put it this way... I feel that the drone issue is so negative among the general public right now that I think it would be in our best interest to push it a little less aggressively for the time being.

Harvey
Old 08-28-2015, 01:30 PM
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porcia83
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Fair enough, I guess I don't see the issue as being one that has been "pushed", more like one that is here and something that has to be dealt with. The advertising will stop once they items stop selling I suppose.
Old 08-28-2015, 01:58 PM
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Every time I open a mag the dang things are everywhere, I for one am tired of them because all the negative feedback they have brought to this hobby!
Old 08-28-2015, 02:05 PM
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Model Aviation does a good job of covering a bit of everything. If you look carefully through issues of late you'll notice subtle themes, Nats, Ircha/heli coverage, glider reviews and coverage, float planes etc in each issue.


I know at Maplegate when the multirotor sensation swept the nation so to speak we spun up Multi Rotor Magazine to keep Fly RC and RC Heli Pilot dedicated mostly fixed wing and rotary wing respectively.
Old 08-28-2015, 03:47 PM
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Seems like the best place to educate people on the safe use of quad-copters.
If interesting articles about them are in the magazine, people might learn more about the AMA and safe operations at the same time. Then again they can come here and be treated like the red headed step child of the hobby, and decide that they are better off doing their own thing without any help and guidance from a bunch of crabby old haters. So yes the AMA should do everything to make them feel welcome and not alienate them so much that they don't even take the time to find out what the safety code is all about.
So yeah keep pushing quad operators away.
Old 08-28-2015, 03:49 PM
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smeckert
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https://youtu.be/KX8cuGiQb4Y

Oh and here is a video showing how privacy can be violated with a quad copter.
Old 08-28-2015, 06:30 PM
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The point being... the AMA needs to spend more time protecting "traditional RC" than trying to promote drone initiatives. There is a huge distinction between a traditional line of sight RC aircraft without auto flight capabilities and a drone. Don't see much press from AMA driving home this messaging. Won't be too much longer before "drone "becomes shorthand for every model aircraft in the sky. Oh yeah anybody see today that the FAA approved "paper airplane drones?" Total range of 180' and made of paper. Really? We need to approve paper? What's this toy going to do? Morph into a spit ball and poke an eye out? I suspect there is someone at AMA happy about this great accomplishment of government regulation.
Old 08-28-2015, 07:22 PM
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"Won't be too much longer before "drone "becomes shorthand for every model aircraft in the sky."

That is why we need to use the proper terminology when talking about rc flying models. Don't use the drone word, unless your talking about one of the military remotely piloted vehicles. Call a quad copter what it is, an airplane or helicopter what they are.
Old 08-28-2015, 07:24 PM
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I recently saw an ad on Ebay for a small electric park flyer fixed wing airplane. It was of the single wing pusher engine type configuration, nothing unusual, just another inexpensive off brand little foam plane for sale by a dealer, EXCEPT this one was titled and marketed as an "airplane drone"! Yes, at some point, at least to the general public, all of model aviation will be thought of as "drone flyers". Hardly a day goes by without another "near miss drone" story on the news, both local and national news. Regulations are going to come down on all of us because of the misuse of drones/quads by the general public. Responsible use of this new flying machine by the existing model aviation crowd is not going to be the reason for the government regulations but we will dam sure have to follow whatever rules are imposed and they will likely rule across the board on ALL "model airplane drones". We will all be affected, AMA flyer, non-AMA flyer, fixed wing flyer, heli flyer, and responsible quad flyer. The ones who won't be affected by the rules are the non-responsible quad flyer, the ones who are the problem! They will continue to be peeping Toms and a danger to full scale aviation ! While I don't fly quads myself, I am not "anti quad/drone", but I am "anti-miss use" of any model aircraft that would in danger the future of the hobby. We'll all see how this plays out in the near future.
Old 08-29-2015, 06:46 AM
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The 2015 AMA Expo in Ontario California had a visibly large number of multicopter vendors, demonstrations, and most disturbingly, high percentage of the speakers were drone oriented speakers. I overheard more than one person use the term "American Multirotor Association" as the new name of the AMA (I have co-opted this term in several posts on various forums).

There is no question that the AMA has had a major focus shift the last couple of years as they try to embrace the multirotor community in an attempt to stay relevant and viable. I think some of it is the AMA taking a "if you can't beat them" type of attitude. They understand that a huge number of these things are being sold and are trying to help to corral them in and foster safe operating habits of their owners. I believe this effort is failing miserably because just like the ill-fated Park Pilot program the new drone owner has very little reason to join the AMA. They are not dependent on clubs for a flying site, do not need the AMA competitions structure, and could not care less about the insurance benefit. Some will pay lip service to AMA's efforts to help them, but make no mistake, most new drone owners have little or no interest in model aviation and in fact look upon the traditional AMA modeler as a FOG who just does not "get" the new Kewl technology.

AMA tried with Section 336 to formulate a way to herd these new potential members their way, but that is not really working either. Several of the most prominent lawyers in the drone community have popularized that the provisions in Section 336 are not yet in effect nor do they require membership in the AMA (Community Based Organization).

The most visible manifestation of the failure of the AMA in this regard is the high number of anti-drone laws being proposed/passed around the country which make no attempt to parse out traditional model aviation from the multicopter/drone community.

To be clear, I own multicopters and enjoy using them to take photos/videos. They are an interesting new technology and can be a great hobby. But they are NOT the hobby of flying model aircraft that I have enjoyed for 49 years now. In the AMA's attempt to embrace this new hobby and to bring it under their umbrella (most of the drone people do not even recognize it is raining) I think they have lost sight of the large number of traditional modelers who have formed and sustained the AMA for over 6 decades.

Oh well, time to grab my second cup of coffee.

BTW - it has been a week now since I asked both the AMA HQ people and my District VP about the likely to pass anti drone law in California that lumps us in with drones. Not a peep out of either one so far in response.

Last edited by Silent-AV8R; 08-29-2015 at 06:50 AM.
Old 08-29-2015, 07:32 AM
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Ever met an FPV pilot who only flies in accordance with the safety code and at AMA fields / or other property where flying is expressly permitted? Ever met one who only flew with a spotter to maintain LOS at all times? If so, I'd say their hobby has the potential to fit rather nicely with the already very diverse disciplines covered by and advocated for by the AMA.
Old 08-29-2015, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Andy_S View Post
Ever met an FPV pilot who only flies in accordance with the safety code and at AMA fields / or other property where flying is expressly permitted? Ever met one who only flew with a spotter to maintain LOS at all times? If so, I'd say their hobby has the potential to fit rather nicely with the already very diverse disciplines covered by and advocated for by the AMA.
Yep, I've met such people, but I have also met and seen posts from far more FPV types who do NOT fly at AMA fields, who do NOT care about the AMA Safety Code, who do NOT fly VLOS only with a spotter. In fact, most in the FPV hobby will tell you that the whole point is to fly BLOS. Go to some other forums, look at the FPV forums, the multicopter forums. Get a better sense of what is going on in that community. Some are AMA type folks, but most are not.
Old 08-29-2015, 08:50 AM
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And who says a model airplane can't be equipped with a camera, and go the same distance, and do the same thing as a drone? If it's R/C, it's a drone. A harsh reality.
Old 08-29-2015, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by NorfolkSouthern View Post
And who says a model airplane can't be equipped with a camera, and go the same distance, and do the same thing as a drone? If it's R/C, it's a drone. A harsh reality.
So do you propose that FPV be subject to the same rules as Line of Sight Aircraft? I do. What most of us are concerned about is when it goes the opposite direction and FPV has a negative impact on ALL model aircraft and* even the AMA and RC community fails to make the distinction between the two.

Last edited by Andy_S; 08-29-2015 at 09:30 AM. Reason: and
Old 08-29-2015, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by NorfolkSouthern View Post
And who says a model airplane can't be equipped with a camera, and go the same distance, and do the same thing as a drone? If it's R/C, it's a drone. A harsh reality.
Sorry, NS, but I can't agree on several accounts...

1. Up until a couple of years ago, the term "drone" was practically never applied to traditional (fixed-wing) model aircraft. The term was coined shortly before WWII to describe the use of military pilotless aircraft that were used for artillery practice. While those targets were definitely fixed-wing airplanes, they were not MODEL aircraft.

2. Except for military applications and a limited few outside of the military, the term "drone" is now almost wholly applied to small multi-rotored camera platforms. Even the general public knows the difference between a model airplane and a "drone". Unfortunately, the news media has discovered that "drone" is more nefarious-sounding than "model airplane" and now uses it to describe Aircraft Number 2 in almost all small-vs-full scale news stories.

3. Model airplanes HAVE been equipped with cameras for many years now but since model airplanes require more skill to fly, those who go on to excel at it are more likely to be "R/Cers" instead of someone who is more of a picture-taker than an aviator or modeler.

And before anyone shoots back a nasty reply about the enormous amount of skill it takes to fly a mulit-rotored drone, let me point out that they didn't (and couldn't) exist until on-board electronic stabilization systems were developed. Because of the meteoric advance in multi-rotor technology, even the klutziest kid (or adult) can now successfully fly his newly-purchased camera-equipped "drone" over to look in his neighbor's windows shortly after getting it home. No need to join a club to learn how to fly, no need to join AMA for representation or insurance, and no desire to follow ANYBODY'S stinkin' rules!

Harvey

Last edited by H5487; 08-29-2015 at 09:59 AM.
Old 08-29-2015, 10:28 AM
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What is the purpose and use of a drone? Is it not all about aerial surveillance and nothing more. It has both a positive and negative side to its' use and presently we are experiencing the negative side. The sad part is they are being promoted as a toy and we in the modeling community are suffering the consequences. It will take only one terrorist event linked to a drone to end this this plague upon our hobby.
Old 08-29-2015, 10:34 AM
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porcia83
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Originally Posted by flycatch View Post
What is the purpose and use of a drone? Is it not all about aerial surveillance and nothing more. It has both a positive and negative side to its' use and presently we are experiencing the negative side. The sad part is they are being promoted as a toy and we in the modeling community are suffering the consequences. It will take only one terrorist event linked to a drone to end this this plague upon our hobby.
Moor doom...more gloom...."all it will take is one terrorist event" "all it will take is one airplane crash"....etc etc etc. Now they are a plague upon our society....LOL. Should I take a guess as to how you reacted with heli's were embraced by the hobby?

The reason "they" are being promoted as a toy....wait for it...is because they ARE a toy. Of the millions sold over the past few years, exactly how many have been involved in a disaster as prognosticated above?
Old 08-29-2015, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Andy_S View Post
Ever met an FPV pilot who only flies in accordance with the safety code and at AMA fields / or other property where flying is expressly permitted? Ever met one who only flew with a spotter to maintain LOS at all times? If so, I'd say their hobby has the potential to fit rather nicely with the already very diverse disciplines covered by and advocated for by the AMA.
Yup...sure have.
Old 08-29-2015, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by flycatch View Post
What is the purpose and use of a drone? Is it not all about aerial surveillance and nothing more.
I have to admit that probably more quadcopters are used as camera platforms than anything else but there IS a “toy” side to them also.


Originally Posted by porcia83 View Post
The reason "they" are being promoted as a toy....wait for it...is because they ARE a toy.
You can draw your own lines of distinction if you want but I’d venture that a $39.95 quadcopter from Wal-Mart is a toy whereas the $1k+ quads that are rapidly gaining in popularity are not. And then there are those where $1k+ will barely get you just the camera. I’m pretty sure that those quads are….wait for it….NOT toys!

Harvey

Last edited by H5487; 08-29-2015 at 10:59 AM.
Old 08-29-2015, 11:01 AM
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porcia83
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They are all "toys" lol....albeit some are big boy toys.
Old 08-30-2015, 04:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Andy_S View Post
Ever met an FPV pilot who only flies in accordance with the safety code and at AMA fields / or other property where flying is expressly permitted? Ever met one who only flew with a spotter to maintain LOS at all times? If so, I'd say their hobby has the potential to fit rather nicely with the already very diverse disciplines covered by and advocated for by the AMA.
Nope, never have. Never met one that didn't have an attitude either.

Bill

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