August 2014 news

2014 Fun Fly Event

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This year’s fun fly event was well attended by over thirty five people.  We were very lucky to get Brian and Patrick of Roswell Flight Test Crew to participate at this years event. They are busy with events all around the country this time of year and somehow we caught them with the single date that they had open on their calendar. If you look on page 97 of the most recent (Sept.) issue of AMA’s magazine, Model Aviation, you will see an article about the Roswell Flight Test Crew.  They gave us demonstrations of the capabilities of their drone equipment, answered lots of questions and gave assistance and advice about drone setup to the event’s drone enthusiast attendees.  We really appreciate their help making this an enjoyable event.

Civil Air Patrol Cadets from all over Western Oregon were in Tillamook on that weekend and they also came to the event.  They got a special presentation from Brian and Patrick.  We wanted to give the Cadets hands-on trainer flights with their own RC model that they brought to the event.  Unfortunately, a radio transmitter problem could not be ironed out in time to make that happen.

The weather was sunny and warm with calm wind and a perfect day for flying. Matt and Gary cooked up a bunch of bratwursts, hot dogs and hamburgers.  Everyone got an excellent lunch without it costing much thanks to people bringing potluck dishes, donating food items, and donating money.  Also, thanks to those who donated canopies, grills, and helped set things up.

We enjoyed lots of flights of a variety of aircraft, with no crashes this year, just a couple of “awkward” landings.

More event photos are in the photo gallery (here)

NCRCM Meeting Minutes August 4, 2014

The meeting was held at the airfield at 6:00 pm.   Pete, Stuart, Gary, Rob, Matt  and Bill were there.  We spent a couple hours repairing things and sprucing things up.  Gary replaced the door on our portable toilet.  The old chip-board door was barely hanging by a thread. The new door is very nice. It’s like a Cadillac of toilet doors.  We set up the shade canopy next to the storage shed with a couple tables under it.  A setup table was painted. We divvied up remaining tasks for the fun fly.  A couple people got in an evening flight after the meeting was adjourned.

Speculation on the FAA’s progress towards becoming RC overlord

The FAA has just granted the AMA a 60 day extension of time so we can do more writhing, gnashing of teeth, and waving of pitchforks.  We now have until Sept 23, 2014 before the comment period will close and the final rule is published. Don’t just wait to welcome them to the throne. Send them a thoughtful comment now while there is still time.

Most Federal rules are published with just minor changes resulting from the public comments. Hopefully that is not the case here. Federal rules generally won’t go into effect for at least 30 days following the closure of the comment period and the publishing. Most often the agency gives everyone plenty of additional time to come into compliance, however the FAA has already been accused of foot dragging on the integration of commercial UAV’s into the national airspace, so they may be under pressure to take the RC reigns fairly soon.  It is most likely too late for the AMA to ask Congress to rewrite the underlying law that this agency is clearly misinterpreting.  Congress could threaten the FAA’s budget to get it to stop over-reaching, provided lawmakers are sympathetic to the RC hobby. A more likely option is for the courts to over-rule the FAA’s erroneous interpretation of the law, and indeed the AMA filed for courts intervention at the end of August.  Hopefully judges will side with the AMA.

It’s hard to say if the FAA’s new RC rules would be strictly enforced. It seems to me that the FAA wants all RC activity to be potentially illegal by subjecting it to a catch-22 of general aviation rules, but then would only occasionally prosecute on a case-by-case basis after someone becomes alarmed or annoyed and complains or brings it to the attention of the FAA.  It’s an uncomfortable position for us to be in, but it is not an unusual way to regulate.  Almost everyone goes around inadvertently violating plenty of poorly-defined, vague, obscure, obsolete, or ignored rules that are still on the books, all the time, even though they may have never-ever dared to intentionally remove the warning tag off of a pillow or mattress.

Google’s Secret Drone-Delivery Program

Flight related videos

Google’s Secret Drone-Delivery Program (text and video)

Commercial manned hover bike –  Similar to a giant RC quad-copter that you will be able to ride like a motorcycle.

250 mph RC pulse jets – Fast

440 mph RC turbine jet  – Faster

468 mph RC slope soaring  –  Fastest