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The Perceived Threat of R/C and UAVs


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If you think that it is easy to put a GPS in a model airplane and get it to fly to a way point, then give it a try you will find out quickly how difficult it is.

Hi Dave,

As a point of fact, it is actually amazingly easy to do with over-the-counter, hobbyist grade components... nothing as sophisticated as what you've been working on, but simple and effective none the less.

cyberflyer has done it, and I suppose you could argue he is brilliant, but I've done it too and I'm definitely not brilliant :)

Here's mine (don't laugh):

http://yb2normal.com/UAV_SlowStick.html

Regards,

Bill

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Hey Bill, you give me too much credit, all I did is copied hobbyboy's setup.

I went to the begining of the thread and read the first post again. There is nothing that indicates that government is overeacting. All is said that UAV can pose a threat. And it was said by Eric Feron, person who is an advocate for UAVs, he is leading MIT heli UAV program. Just because he said that UAV can pose a threat doesn't mean that he or FAA recommends immediate action against this hobby, he is just implying people need to be carefull about them (but isn't it always the case?). And I bet he meant nothing against 'regular' RC folks who half of the time come to the field just to chat to each other, start the engine and may be fly their precious model. I've read many posts in RC forums how UAV will cause shutdown or severe restriction of RC hobby because of ... (put any of your favorite reasons). It makes me believe it is the RC people who being unreasonable and overreacting.

Edited by cyber-flyer
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Hi Val,

I didn't mean to imply that the government was out to get us, I was just clarifying Dave's point (or I guess, refuting it :) )

I agree that the hobbyist community is probably overreacting. In a day and age where our personal freedoms are being limited and our privacy invaded, I suppose we cling to the one thing that is supposed to be our escape.

Perhaps today we can reverse the course our country has been on. Get out and vote!

Bill

Nov 2, 2004

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Cheap, simplistic answer:

Sure, we (That's the 45th person "we" - not like any sane R/C'er would actually do it!) could build a flying bomb. Good Lord; on another page many of us frequent, there's a discussion going on about modding an SS to fly at 40 oz AUW. Hmmm, that weight could be a modded plane and 1-1.5 lbs C4 or Semtex. A PIC-switch off Ch 6 ("Gear") to fire the fuse.

On the other hand, anybody rented a U-Haul or more specifically a Ryder truck recently? Did you have to submit to a full background investigation? Ditto when buying "nitro" lawn fertilizer at Home Depot; or fuel for your Ford Powerstroke, Cummins-powered Dodge, or even a VW Rabbit diesel? No? Wow, you too could replicate the first attempt (199-??) to bring down the World Trade Center!

These days, we as a people have become ever-more vigilant in watching over each others' shoulders; looking for the next terrorist act. AS well we should - I don't want some zealous nutcase killing off a big chunk of MY town. However, when then vigilance crosses the line into paranoia (a common condition in bureaucracies); the first positive step is to restore some sanity by explaining the insane.

Without sounding like a bandwagon jumper; this is one of the reasons why I'm looking forward to a finished product from the "Shaker AP" guys..... show "The Guv'mint" what "those loony model airplane geeks" can do for it; before the bureaucrats start acting on their paranoid fantasies about what said group can do against them!

Of course, I've been too often on the geek side of the population - Ham Radio, computers; then there's that whole "redneck on a horse with a six-shooter" thing (yeah, I've done that). But, the Ham Radio groups I belong to work with FEMA; we've also tied PIC circuits between a GPS and a 2M radio to show the location of a bike-race leader on a Delorme map on a 19" computer monitor! And, I've climbed (clumb?) off ol'-Chance-the-Wonder-Pony and unholstered my S&W to dispatch a rattler that had a 12-yr-old hiker cornered on some rock on a desert trail. (PETA members understand, there wasn't anyplace for the snake or the kid to go - it was the stereotypical "Mexican standoff"; and I used a .44 shotshell to dispatch the snake quickly, cleanly and as safely as possible) What sometimes sounds like an outrage has to be delivered in full context in order to tell, to quote Paul Harvey, "the rest of the story".

Simple solution: Rather than worry about "What bad things might happen"; you might want to expend some effort in showing "What good things can happen".

PR is a very sharp double-edged sword... it can bite you on the (tail) or it can make your activity look soooooo beneficial. I often find it's a royal pain-in-the-(tail) to utilize; but it's worth every bit of the pain.

Dawg

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  • 1 month later...

DD has it right!

Perception is reality and the full reality needs to be portrayed here. We at www.rcapa.net are trying to form a coalition of pilots that fly commercially and can demonstrate to the government that we are indeed capable of self regulation. If yoiu have not checked out the site, do so. If you believe in what we are trying to do, then JOIN! It costs you nothing, but it pays off in NUMBERS.

CenTexFlyer

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I don't get asked that question much. When I do, it's a modeler and AMA member. Funny thing is, they are the only ones who advocate these private UAV's and Models as being dangerous. I've never met a bigger group of folks where so many think we're a huge terror potential to the world. Sheesh, talk about trying to make sure you get regulated. The FAA is worried about flying in airspace with other aircraft. The reason regulation is happening is because recent PIC and GPS technologies in the last 10 years make it very easy to fly your own UAV. It has nothing to do with 911 unless you want it to. Then, it's just in your own head. Don't buy into the hype these are terrorist weapons. That’s just plain stupid. Or Plane stupid. :lol:

Regulation is happening. It is happening because of the potential of being in Airspace of private and commercial aircraft. Lets not muck up reality.

Dan

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Dan.

You're correct that the FAA wants to regulate UAVs because we fly in "their" airspace and technically amongst the manned aircraft. It's coming whether we like it or not. We just have to see what extremes they go to when the do it.

There are those in DC that see the UAVs as a potential threat, which has nothing to do with the regulation. There is active testing going on to determine how to counter a UAV that uses off-the-shelf, inexpensive avionics. The are using some very ingenious methods other than just flat shooting at them.

AMA is concerned that using an autopilot to fly an airplane spawns terrorism (they said that to us when we questioned the ban on using them at an AMA sanctioned field.) I guess the think that the bad guy would go to the local AMA field to practice for the big event rather than some back road in Kansas where nobody will see what's going on anyway.

Sure, they could be used to do damage. So could an SUV, Cessna 152, sailboats, weather balloons.................................

Jim

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've offered to lend my services to the local authorties for AV or AP but they don't take "toy planes" very seriously here. There doesn't seem to be much interest or fear of them in these parts. A few of the guys have said, though, that my plane will make a good locator in case one goes into the big cornfield next door....haha

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  • 2 months later...
There are those in DC that see the UAVs as a potential threat, which has nothing to do with the regulation.  There is active testing going on to determine how to counter a UAV that uses off-the-shelf, inexpensive avionics.  The are using some very ingenious methods other than just flat shooting at them.

Jim's exactly right. Even if we accept the assumption that UAVs are dangerous tools of the terrorists, there is still no reason to expect that government regulation would in any way diminish that threat. Terrorists, by definition, aren't really going to give a hoot about the regs.

I certainly understand people's mistrust of the government. I myself am extremely mistrustful of our present government in particular. However, what I don't understand is this stream of logic which seems to get played out a lot in these types of threads:

- UAVs are potentially evil

- The government won't like them

- The government will attempt to regulate them

- In doing so, the government will (inadvertantly or otherwise) end up regulating the average r/c flyer as well

- Therefore, I better speak out against other modelers who are into hobby UAVs

But the government isn't likely to regulate the rc or UAV industry from the motivation of preventing terrorist attacks, simply because such a thing is impossible! It's the same reason why the government didn't bother writing a law to regulate who can fly a jetliner into the Twin Towers or not: there's no need to, we all know it's illegal, and the only people who would do such a thing are those who wouldn't care about the law anyway.

So I'm not saying that increased government regulation might not be our lot at some point in the future, but I think it will be as a result of concerns about airspace, as others have already said.

What is actually most alarming to me is the self-regulation and disapproval of those from within the hobby. There are plenty of those who would like to keep us from flying UAVs either as a result of the twisted logic mentioned above or maybe out of misguided patriotism. They're the people I actually feel the most heat from, not the government.

As an example, you can take a look at the proposal for a new UAV forum over on RCGroups: it's not likely to pass, and as I see it, not because anyone is opposed to the forum, but because they're opposed to us even having UAVs.

Edited by LukeZ
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What is actually most alarming to me is the self-regulation and disapproval of those from within the hobby. There are plenty of those who would like to keep us from flying UAVs either as a result of the twisted logic mentioned above or maybe out of misguided patriotism. They're the people I actually feel the most heat from, not the government.

LukeZ

I could not agree with you more, I just cast my vote for the new UAV forum on RCGroups.

Dave Jones

AUAV.net

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  • 2 weeks later...

I should amend my previous post... the UAV Forum on RCGroups did finally pass, though not because it got the required percentage of votes, but because of the magnanimity of the admins. :D The forum is still in a trial phase, which lasts for 30 days.

I certainly don't want to draw anything away from this forum, and in fact I've mentioned this forum over on RCGroups. But just in case anyone wants another place to post UAV stuff, go check it out. Never hurts to have more than one place to go...

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