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Dave Jones

AMA President's Perspective

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Yeah, I better take the 5-th and bring my site down ...

Who's the third guy, anybody have an idea?

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What makes trying to reach high altitudes with an R/C plane any different then the guys that send up balloons to 80,000 ft every weekend. And I know of several clubs that do this. And what about the 100's of weather balloons that go up every day.

I can understand the need to to be vigilent about where you fly when trying to reach these altitudes. But I don't see why it should be banned.

I object to the phrase "unreasonable acts of a few". What makes this any less reasonable then crossing the Atlantic with a model airplane that the AMA was SOOO proud of.

Although I am not a member of the AMA.... I just sent my comments to Mr. Brown. It really irks me that when it is he and his friends doing these kind of thing it's a great event.... but if others try similar things it is unreasonable.

My .02$

Edited by mikep

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AMA President's Perspective.

By now a lot of you have the chance to check out the latest editorial by the AMA President Dave Brown at http://www.modelaircraft.org/mag/0804/president.htm

I know that a lot of you will find this very hard to believe but I have to agree with a lot of what he had to say in his editorial.

No I am not selling out to the AMA but I do believe that if we do not regulate our selves and conduct our activities in a safe and professional manner, that the time will come that we will be prevented from doing it at all.

Back in the August 2002 issue of Model Aviation Mr. Brown made the statement The Question isn't whether we can conduct autonomous and video enhanced flight but whether we should. This article hit a nerve with a lot of us that are working on autonomous and or video enhanced flight. (including me)

At that time I spoke with Mr. Brown on the phone for over an hour I suggested that we form a SIG ( Special Interest Groups) under the AMA and Mr. Brown agree that if we had enough members that would get together to create a SIG for autonomous and video enhanced flight that we would have a better chance of continuing our hobby with the support of the AMA.

Unfortunately WE as a group failed to follow up on this so the AMA changed the rules to ban autonomous and video enhanced flight from AMA flying sites. This has forced most of us to conduct our test flights at non AMA sites where we are not restricted by the AMA safety code.

Now that the FAA is aware of some of our flights the time has come that we unite.

We need to become a united origination as a SIG under the AMA, as it is the only origination that we have.

I believe that this is the only way that we will be allowed to continue to conduct autonomous and video enhanced flight.

I believe that if we approach the AMA in a professional manner and sit down with the EC to workout set of guide lines to operate our autonomous and video enhanced flights to prove to the AMA and the FAA that we are responsible and that we will conduct our flights in a responsible and safe manner.

I feel that the first step is to draft a set of self imposed guidelines that we can all live with.

It is in my opinion that we would be far better off if those of us that are involved with autonomous and video enhanced flight were to draft the guidelines rather than to have some one that has never worked with or has never been involved with autonomous and video enhanced flight. Yes this will place some restrictions on our activities but it is far better to have a few restrictions than to be forced to stop all together.

That is just what would happen if there was ever an accident involving an autonomous or video enhanced model and a full size aircraft. The FAA would be involved in the investigation and I don't think the out come would be good for us.

I am not just talking about high altitude flights I am talking about all autonomous and video enhanced flights.

I am all for trying to break records and set new ones but it has to be done in a manner that minimizes the risk to all involved.

I would like to see everyone contribute something positive to the discussion of these guidelines.

Mike I an not singling you out but to answer your question

( What makes trying to reach high altitudes with an R/C plane any different then the guys that send up balloons to 80,000 ft every weekend. And I know of several clubs that do this. And what about the 100's of weather balloons that go up every day.

The Balloon guys notify the FAA as to when and where there balloons will be launched from these are the kind of guidelines that we need to start working on.

Dave Jones

www.auav.net

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Dave, there are a couple of people who have been making the same call-to-arms that you have. Perhaps you can consolidate your efforts with these folks to try and get some momentum? Check out the aerial photography and video forums on RCUniverse and RCGroups.

Also, if you haven't seen it yet, go check out http://www.auvsi.org , they seem to focus mainly on supporting businesses in their quest for unmanned technologies, but they also hold college UAV competitions, and it seems to me that it wouldn't be a large leap for them to somehow encompass the hobbyists also.

As a vendor of equipment that enables this facet of the hobby, I am in full support of any effort to legitimize our activities, and would be willing to add something to my FAQ section discussing this topic, and linking to a website where these activities are promoted in a responsible manner.

Regards,

Bill

Black Widow A/V, LLC

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Isn’t that article like the NRA president telling you to turn in your guns before the government asks for them?

I guess Dave needs to call his buddy Maynard Hill and tell him not to do anything unusual anymore.

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