Flight For Your Right (And Do It By Friday)

Model aircraft

About a month ago, the FAA – the governing body for nearly everything that flies in US airspace – proposed an interpretation of their rules governing model aircraft. The world hasn’t ended quite yet, but if the proposed rules go into effect, an entire hobby will be destroyed in the United States. While congress has given the FAA authority over nearly everything that flies, there are specific laws saying what the FAA has no jurisdiction over – model aircraft being one of the major exceptions.

Congress, however, is working on a definition of model aircraft that is at least 10 years out of date and doesn’t have any leeway for the huge advances in technology that have happened since then. Specifically, all FPV flight with video goggles would be banned under the proposed FAA rules. Also, because model aircraft are defined as being for, ‘hobby or recreational purposes,’ anyone who flies a model aircraft for money – a manufacturer conducting flight tests on a new piece of equipment, or even anyone who records a video of their flight, uploads it to YouTube, and hits the ‘monetize’ button – would be breaking the law.

The proposed FAA rules for model aircraft are not in effect yet, and you can still make a public comment on the proposal until 11:59 PM EDT Friday. If you leave a comment, please make a well-reasoned statement on why the FAA’s interpretation of the rules governing model aircraft are overly broad, do not take into account technological advances made since the drafting of Congress’ working definition of ‘model aircraft,’ and the effects of a complete ban flying model aircraft for any type of compensation.

This is not a good comment.

Of course, if the proposed rules for model aircraft go through, the only option will be to turn to the courts. Historically, the FAA simply does not lose court cases. Recently, cases involving drones have come up with successful defenses and judges deciding in favor of drone operators. The legal services for the eventual court case challenging the proposed FAA rules will most likely be funded by the Academy of Model Aeronautics, who just so happen to be offering membership at 50% off.

Below is a video of some RC people we really respect – [Josh] from Flite Test and [Trappy] of Team BlackSheep – talking about what the proposed rule change would do to the hobby. There’s also a great podcast featuring the first lawyer to successfully defend drone use in federal court that’s worth a listen.

65 thoughts on “Flight For Your Right (And Do It By Friday)

      1. and there likely will be just like there is for large homemade rockets but that will come with regulations for what you are allowed to fly and training and licenses you will have to get before you fly.

        1. The comparison to large rockets is a bit unfair. Yes, if you’re launching stuff with L and M motors, you’ll want to do that in the middle of the desert with NOTAMs everywhere.

          Quads and FPV planes, though, really aren’t comparable. You’re not going to be flying them higher than 2-300 feet, so really you’re looking at something like the smaller A-D motor-sized model rockets. It’s possible to break a mile in altitude with some of these (I’ve done it), and at that altitude you could potentially be in the flight path of some GA aircraft.

          To get to these altitudes with model rockets, all you really need to do is go down to Walmart and pick up a few engines. No training, no ID required.

          Really, the FAA is proposing harsher rules for model aircraft (which are safer) than for model rockets.

          1. except for the fact that it is common to hear of stories of someone flying drones at those heights 2k-3k near airports currently causing havoc. but hey who cares if a drone takes down a commuter flight because some idiot doesn’t think he needs any regulations right…….

          2. have you been on youtube lately?

            I can show you a video of a FPV plane cloud surfing at 3000 plus feet and unlike those rocket that stays at that altitude for a few second the video lasted over 5 minuets or more and that’s why FPV aircraft are far more dangerous then model rockets.

          3. Not really. Model rockets that use a-e engines are made of paper, balsa, and some light plastic. They have next to no mass. I have seen very large and very fast RC aircraft.

          4. A small model rocket weighs a lot less than a drone, and generally has less lateral motion, both things that make property or personal damage by a model rocket less likely, and less severe than that caused by a drone.

            Proper training and licensing would not be a bad thing, either would some kind of flight worthy certification for flying above a certain height or in a populated area.

          5. I think it makes sense to create exclusion zones around airports and flying lanes, and write in some low to allow for investigation and prosecution of those that violate this.
            Equally, It totally makes sense to have a general flight ceiling for unlicensed hobby flying, and again, some avenue for prosecution.
            An extended ceiling with certification and or by filing a flight plan and getting authorization from the FAA before flight totally makes sense. This is identical to high altitude ballooning and rocket modeling.

            So.. the rules already exist, or are easily placed. But why should it matter that the vehicle is on auto pilot, or flown by FPV, or that it is doing ‘commercial’ filming?! So long as it stays within the defined flying box of hobby flight that has always existed? The question is: What is so drastically different than it was 5 years ago, that we now have to figure out ways to put people in prison for enjoying, researching, and sometimes profiting from a hobby?

    1. Risky under what conditions? Brushing your teeth is risky if you’re using nitroglycerin toothpaste. I’m a member of a club, the club is insured, I’m insured via home owners and AMA as secondary, I fly FPV within the leased club property and below 400 feet. I fly FPV on my own property, who or what aside from my own property is at risk?

    2. well if that is the case, then perhaps the military should stop flying FPV drones. Because.. you know.. risky.

      Ok but seriously, I get you. But we now have rich telemetry available within those FPV goggles. More importantly, most people know to fly with a buddy. And just HOW risky is it anyway? Worst cases:
      * You crash your vehicle. Ok your money.
      * You crash your vehicle into yourself.. again.. your problem.
      * You crash it into public property. Not flying in a large enough free air/ground space. This would be a problem without goggles. Basically, you suck at choosing flying sites and should not be in the hobby anyway.
      * you crash into a PERSON. Ok. Big problem here. I grant you this one. But, see above.

      Yes there are risks, but many can be mitigated, some are the nature of flying ANYTHING (goggles or not) and mostly it all comes down to being properly prepared.

        1. >I fail to understand how any of those is less likely
          >when you’re watching from the ground.

          Your field of vision is very limited when doing FPV. Once your model is far away it’s hard to guess what exactly it is above flying LOS but at least you can vaguely see what is around it.

          1. And with one hand, I can lift the FPV goggles off of my face in about 1/2 a second and guess what I have? LOS…. And if the model is too far away, good luck telling what attitude the craft is in, at least with FPV, you have a better picture of the horizon. It’s the best of both worlds really and people take off, put the goggles down, and take them back off to land, all the time. And there is such a thing as head tracking too…

    3. There are laws already in place to that set up areas near airports as “no fly zones” to model aircraft. We need to maybe consider enforcing rules and laws that are already in place rather than outright ban things as a knee jerk to incidents that have never happened. The news media makes a big fuss over “drones” and now everyone is terrified and it’s freaking stupid hysteria over stuff thats been around for years and never hurt anyone. Model aricraft have been flying for YEARS, cameras have been on model airplanes FOR YEARS, people have been doing FPV FOR YEARS…. how many planes have been brought down by model airplanes??????? A quad rotor is no different than a heli or other model aircraft really, the only thing thats new about them is the hype and the price of entry is now lower, thats it!!! So why are we going to start going on witch hunts all of a sudden? Because the general population are stupid enough to buy into the hype that the media sells and the politicians are more than willing to “get tough” on whatever the general populace decides is a threat on any given day. I say if we want to get tough on threats to aircraft, we should eradicate all birds. period. Makes sense right?

  1. Yes, leave comments, and be specific about why these interpretations may not be good.

    The FAA surely needs to make rules, and those rules need to be right. The FAA needs to protect other aircraft as well as the people on the ground. I don’t want to see 80lb octo-copters flying near the approach end of an airport, or over a festival with thousands of people.

    The people flying for pay should have specific training, and their aircraft should meet certain qualifications (including proper maintenance and such) similar to commercial manned aircraft operations. I think these rule interpretations are for now, until the rules for commercial operators can be established properly. I think there are plenty of gray areas even in these rule interpretations, such as someone working for a hobby store, and while being paid for normal sales, they happen to fly a quad copter demonstrating the capabilities to a potential customer while on the clock, they will not be penalized.

    Give the FAA time to work through the process, it needs to be done right.

    1. I question that the FAA really needs more “rules” which translates into more federal crimes.

      There’s already rules on harming people and/or property. That’s a common law issue. There’s also already laws on craft that operate in the “commons” of the sky. And that lead that under 400ish feet was a state issue, and most had common sense laws that go back to common law.

      Do we really need yet another law to ban experimentation/stupidity? Better framed, why would you want to pile more laws on to enterprising hackers doing interesting stuff?

      1. why would you want to pile more laws on to enterprising hackers doing interesting stuff?
        Because there are those out there that think people should not be doing interesting stuff. I explain some of my projects to people (like my co2 laser for instance), they say Why would you build that? I say, if you have to ask, you will never understand. They think geeks and hackers are always up to no good, because they just don’t get it.

      2. Now you are mashing two things together, experimentation and commercial operations.

        Yes, there needs to be rules on commercial operations when conducted in certain airspace. Flying over crowded events or near other aircraft will need to be controlled, otherwise there may be situations where aircraft are filling the sky and bumping into each other (IE dozens of drones covering a specific event, fighting to get the best image). Raining drones on the event below will surely injure innocent folks. Some editor of a news source will pressure drone pilots into dangerous situations.

        For the rest of us, we can do our experimentation in the back yard away from people once in a while. Hopefully we have taken precautions to keep the flying vehicle away from innocent folks, but if the worst happens, we may have some insurance to cover us, or not.

        Common sense works for some people. Ask most airlines about how many days pilots are missing with eye injuries because folks without common sense are aiming lasers at aircraft.

        The difference between commercial and amateur use will need to be codified, and the requirements will also need to be written down. Without rules, there will be a mess, and people will get hurt.

        I know a lot of people are thinking 4lb quad copters are all this will effect, but the FAA is thinking every UAS system from 1 lb quad copters to 100ton unmanned aircraft.

  2. If you leave comments, post your tracking number/ comment text. Who knows when they will get around to “approving’ your comments..

    It is now more important than ever that the FAA work closely with model aircraft hobbyists to nurture the industry rather than hinder it. With the recent revolution of the hobby due to multi-copters and much more advanced avionics, telemetry and flight visual information systems becoming available, there is a huge interest in not only commercializing but in deep, high tech research in the area.

    Yes, there will be troubles in the future. New technologies and tools not yet dreamed of will most certainly be invented. The question is, will these innovations come from the USA, or remain firmly abroad?

    By expressly limiting the hobby with needless government regulation, you will most assuredly eliminate the U.S. as a contributor to that research and development. They hobby has experienced a series of innovations, many of which carried up to or are carried down from civilian service and military applications. These regulations will dissuade such innovation and prevent hobbyists from exploring constructive and worthwhile applications, leaving other countries to charge ahead and leave the US based firms behind, hamstrung by regulations.

    Controlling airspace around airports and low flying aircraft lanes to protect human life? Yes.
    Drawing distinctions between commercial and non-commercial uses? No. It would be impractical to enforce anyway except in post litigation, which is needlessly wasteful and brands people “criminal” for no legitimate reason. Want to tax commercial applications? Ok. But tax them the same as you tax ANY commercial enterprise.

    Finally, attempting to place artificial stopgaps to hinder technology, especially that which through some abstract and nefarious logic might be re-purposed for terrorism is simple fear mongering and nothing more. Enough with that already. If the goal is to stop manufacturers or tinkerers from making things that might one day be turned against us, there are plenty of other industries far more guilty than model airplane pilots. Don’t regulate a threat which does not yet even exist.

    1. “Drawing distinctions between commercial and non-commercial uses? No. It would be impractical to enforce anyway except in post litigation, which is needlessly wasteful and brands people “criminal” for no legitimate reason. Want to tax commercial applications? Ok. But tax them the same as you tax ANY commercial enterprise.”

      sorry your wrong, this is how it works for most hobbies turned commercial. like you can bake all you want as a hobby but the minuet you make it into a business you have a lot of rules and regulations you have to follow. you always have to regulate business more then hobbies because they are more likely to hurt people.

      1. only if they dont follow safe practices. If your cake makes people sick, it is either because it turns out you have no idea how to bake, you are just filthy, or you intentionally poisoned people.
        But you missed the point about having designated fly zones as being totally acceptable. I agree that they should have rules against flying to close to airports. I agree that on commercial low flying lanes they should have exclusion areas. I even agree that they should be able to limit drone usage over highly populated areas or events. AND I agree that a reasonable flight ceiling for unlicensed flying may be necessary, with extended ceilings by written flight path permission (just like ballooning and rocketry).

        What I fail to understand is why, even though flying in accordance to safety requirements, in designated zones, under the ceiling, and in unpopulated areas, does it somehow make sense to say that
        1: this guy, who does it for fun, is a hobbyist, who records video for himself.
        2: That guy, who made the exact same flight, with the same vehicle, but sold the video, could potentially go to jail because he did not have a license.

        Or the fact that now every hobby kit manufacturer now falls under the FAA and potentially needs to get permission/licensing to remain in business.

        Your analogy of the baker is, on the surface meaningful, but really is not the same thing:
        Yes I can see that it often seems to make sense to regulate commercial enterprise. But what is being proposed is more like this:

        The federal baking commission, after hundreds of years of letting baking run rampant, with oven manufacturers going unregulated, decided to enact new laws in attempt to control the industry. The rise of a new form of bread, which resembles military bread, and could potentially be used to harm people if baked improperly or used to attack others has sparked the change in direction for the FBC.
        under the new laws, all existing and new oven manufacturers are required to file for permission to continue making ovens. Even if those ovens have nothing really to do with the bread in question. Anyone baking bread, too is required to file for certification. Finally, some forms and uses of this NEW type of bread will be heavily restricted or banned.

      2. There are already regulations for starting a business, that apply to all businesses. Like having a business license, paying taxes, and getting insurance.

        but selling that one great video you recorded, that one time.. or charging someone to assemble their machine for them without a license shouldn’t qualify you for court and jail time.

  3. The FCC has done similar with amateur radio and the enforcement of “no monetary gain”. They also maintain stuff like ‘no encryption’, no talking to multiple people, no automated stations (other than repeaters), and other rules that impede the furtherance of amateur radio.

    It also goes to say that the FCC doesnt like us hams. We are knowledgable regarding our local wireless spectrum, yet they fail to listen time and again regarding good and bad wireless decisions. I have a gut feeling is that the FAA doesnt like those dilettantes playing around in the sky, and will do whatever to stop them from playing with untested tech.

    1. “no talking to multiple people” There fore the weekly 2 meter net meetings where all of us are talking to multiple people are illegal? When the hell did that happen and why do all ham radio operators break that rule constantly? I constantly talk to 2 or more people at a time on the air.

    2. What is the FCC regulation about “no talking to multiple people?”

      Also, the encryption thing doesn’t apply according to the control of remote aircraft, so you could use a drone to transmit encrypted information…

  4. I guess it’s a case of ‘a few spoil it for the rest’. I’m not surprised by the knee-jerk reaction they’re having when people are posting videos of their quad-copters shooting fireworks or flying far away above a crowded city center and other craziness.

    Hopefully they won’t crack down so harshly though.

  5. Holding Trappy up as a poster child is about as misguided as using Dick Cheney as a poster child for gun safety. I don’t know why you guys would idolize the guy, he’s not helping the situation, he’s making it worse. He won his case against the FAA due to a loophole, the FAA is going to close that loophole now that they realize it’s there. He didn’t win anything for you, he won the right not to pay a $10k fine, but helped drive the FAA a pretty immediate counter-assault on all hobbyists. Your right to enjoy your hobby ends when you put other people’s lives and property at risk without their knowledge and permission. I’m a huge R/C and FPV proponent, I enjoy all parts of the hobby and I think anyone else should be able to if they want to, but within the limits of common sense and respect for others and their property.

    1. Dont know much about the Trappy case but agree with your last statement.
      Or to take a page from the gun nuts:
      “Prosecute the man, not the drone.”
      “Drones to stalk/creep on/attack/maim people. People do.”
      Stupidity, lack of common sense, and disregard for others is prosecutable, regardless of the tool used to demonstrate that lack of regard. We have generalized legal terms like ‘wreck-less manslaughter’ for a reason.

  6. I’m kind of glad that they are rolling this change out. All of the people that I personally know who have been involved with drone/RC flights have been quite irresponsible. Flying largish quads over crowds for video shots over and over etc. Fire risks from small hot air balloon flights etc etc. You can always say that there isn’t a problem for people with clubs and insurance because if someone gets hurt, or if a fire is started, that the insurance can just pay out, but that still seems like a We Don’t Give a Fuck about our neighbors kind of argument.

    Anyways, I know nobody here wants to hear it, but I will be glad if there are less morons flying cameras around regardless.

    And like with everything else with the government in the US….. It doesn’t “destroy” a hobby, it just makes you get a permit. Like you need to fly a real plane anyway.

    1. and another +1, a local idiot who has never flown a quad in his life just setup a company for filming large events. went out bought a quad that can hold his new slr for video and is gonna make a bundle in his words.

      these are the idiots they need to go after and protect us from and just yelling at the FAA for doing something as there are far to many idiots who can spend cash.

    2. There isn’t a problem for people with clubs and insurance. A group of people put in the time and effort to find a piece of land out and away from other people. They lease the land from the land owner or purchase it and they fly on the property according to the safety rules and regulations of the AMA). People who violate those rules and fly dangerously are grounded or kicked out of the club. Everyone at the field is required to have AMA which also provides insurance for them, their fellow pilots, spectators, the club, the club officers, property owners and anything else associated with the club, in addition to their home owner’s policy if they have it. I don’t see how going through all of this to provide a safe place to fly as well as protection (physical and financial) to the operation of the club is a ‘f*ck you’ to the neighbors. People who fly at clubs don’t want to risk losing the club or their membership at the club. People who fly at clubs have always been under the microscope by other club members and safety in clubs is generally very highly rated, with club safety officers, rules for pre-flight checks and other things. For you to trash them shows an obvious lack of understanding and certainly no real world experience with what they are, who they are run by and for or why they exist.

  7. team blacksheep are a bunch of argent jerks that are everything that embody everything that’s wrong with the FPV hobby. the rules just don’t apply to them so they can fly were ever they like how ever high they like when ever they like.

    as for the “death of a hobby” even if that was true, which it isn’t, who care its not the first nor will it be the last hobby to “die”. the greatest thing about hobbies is there are always new ones being made that you’ll like just ass much if not more.

    but honestly the worst that will happen is the hobby get highly regulated just like large scale hobby rockets do.

    1. High power rocketry is very lightly regulated on the personal hobbyist level. The motor manufacturers are regulated by the BATF and the launches usually require an FAA waiver because they are designed to fly at high altitude and it’s expected. The club, generally an NAR or TRA based club, will contact local airports and also file for the FAA waiver before a planned launch date and they will get approval with a launch window (time period to fly in) and maximum altitude. (because they go many thousands of feet up, you see)

      To fly a high power rocket at a launch you generally need to be a NAR or TRA member and belong to the club. The clubs work with the NAR and TRA to get people certified for various classes of rockets. You take written tests on-site to prove knowledge and skill, you build a rocket of the class you’re applying for. Other club members examine your rocket for build quality and safety, and you launch it. If it lands in one piece, you’ve just moved up a level. Once you’re certified, then motor vendors will sell you motors in your class range. This is all internally policed and there is no government involvement with this part of things. The motor vendor won’t sell you a motor if the club hasn’t tested your skills and knowledge and approved you for it, because they know it will harm the hobby if just any idiot could buy a high power rocket motor.

      I think this is the kind of self-policing the AMA really should have been involved with, unfortunately the commercial community around R/C products is not tightly knit with the one and only non-government membership based association around, it’s all about profit at any cost even if it means selling to unqualified idiots. I also feel that it’s wrong that only the AMA exists to fill this purposes, there should be multiple groups like there used to be before the AMA sued them out of existence.

  8. I already sent in my comments when that silly stuff was first brought to the attention of this grouping. Its even more irresponsible then how badly the Congress is making up laws on things that are even more out of date then what we are complaining about here. And that leaves out the Internet……

  9. Of course they don’t give a floating turd about people safety. What they are doing is keeping common people from accessing a technology that could be used as a potential weapon or in general give more power to common people (against those who lobbied them). Losing control of a model is dangerous whether you have first person sight or not, but with FPV is very easy to fly a model somewhere and take photos of police abuse or maybe kill a politician during his speech using a single hand grenade threw from a quadcopter.
    BTW, this restriction is going to happen in other countries too.

    1. and here is the obligatory conspiracy theory.

      so the FAA doesn’t care about people safely they just , by your own words, don’t want people building the equivalent of a guided missiles… that would put peoples life in danger but wait no that can’t be right.

      don’t get me wrong they don’t do everything right and all lobbiest should be thrown in jail but there are real safely threat here.

      1. Of course there are! My point is that a FPV guided model isn’t more dangerous than one flown in the traditional way. What FPV gives to the user is *more accuracy when you are in control* which defeats the declared purpose of the law. This is why motivating the restriction of FPV guided models and not traditional guided ones with safety is a plain lie.
        Let’s put it straight: if police or the military fly FPV quadcopters and Joe User can fly a FPV quadcopter, then Joe User in some contexts has a comparable power to the police or military. Don’t think power only as fire power: being able to sneak a camera somewhere can be a huge deal of power, and to someone this simply is unacceptable.

        Remember that goverments, any government, mantain their status quo by keeping control over their citizens. This doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with fascism or conspiracy theories or whatever, it’s just the way it is: when a new technology gives more power to people, governments either regulate it or outlaw it. A government that fails to keep this distance from its citizens will fail to mantain power advantage and possibly cease to be a government. It’s just how power works.

    2. yep. And everything you just described is possible with ANY flying model, even without FPV (remember there are military modelers who drop sim bombs, fuel tanks, etc, all without FPV).
      It is fear mongering to try to regulate it now, “potential acts of terrorism”
      I have no doubt that SOME of it is about protecting innocent bystanders at events or around flying areas (please people stop flying over crowds without permissions!) But yes, some of it is also about ‘protecting police’ from litigation.

      The whole thing is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

  10. I’m a licensed pilot and a property rights advocate. As far as I’m concerned if you aren’t endangering air traffic (say below 500 feet and 3 miles from an airport) and it’s your property or property where you have permission of the land owner, then have fun. When airplanes have to start dodging these things or they start endangering others or infringing on others rights (privacy for example) then that’s another story.

    If I see one flying around outside my house taking pictures, the pilot will learn of another property right that we have in Texas. I wonder what a shotgun blast looks like from the FPV camera?

  11. Trappy and his gang are the reason I have given up on this hobby. I really did not want to be mistaken for some of those guys any longer: Flying over people, within city limits etc – absolute NO GOs for a hobby. I don’t do my archery in a public mall – and I don’t want to be trappy-related.
    Respect whom you want. But sometimes the wrong buddies can harm your case.

  12. Nobody drives their RC cars through a crowd or in traffic, the same sort of common sense rules should be feasible for flying. I don’t get how a FPV flyer is inherently more dangerous than an FPV ground vehicle.

    Common sense rules like maximum weights and propeller cages for drones over people should exist, but why ban an industry with so much potential for film makers, farmers, researchers and many others?

  13. As others have alluded to.. If you want to argue with that these changes are unfair you need to distance yourself from people like Trappy and dumb ass Phantom owners as far as possible. The people you want to be using to prove your points are people that have their laminated pieces of paper, are insured and don’t go around uploading videos of themselves doing stuff that *looks* dangerous. If you want to get pot legalised you won’t use a stoner that has videos of themselves almost killing themselves while high on their Youtube channel as your spokesperson.

    It’s impossible to argue that flying lash ups of (relatively) cheap motors etc are going to be 100% but if people are flying somewhere with the space that is specifically for RC flying or they are doing it in an open area in the early morning when there is no one around it shouldn’t be a big issue if the person flying isn’t a dumb ass (has a piece of laminated paper to show they have passed some sort of basic test) and is insured should something go very wrong.

    People that are flying their models for money should be licensed to do so, have extensive insurance, have their equipment independently verified, have to keep log books etc. Should people that upload their weekend videos to youtube and monetize them have to follow those rules.. not sure. I’m sure there should be some test to decide whether it’s commercial operation or not. Should people that are doing test flights of their products have to follow those rules. I think yes for most of them.

  14. Honestly the whole prop cage thing should stop.. You don’t see any other flying rc vehicle that has one.. If you knew what went into building them, you would know weight comes at a premium when designing a multi-rotor rig.. Adding unnecessary weight will sometimes make it fly erratic and unsafe.. I have been flying them for the past 2 years and have no had an incident.. I check and recheck before each flight, I also look at the amount of air traffic(other rc flyers) and also make sure I am in an area that its safe to fly.. Granted as someone with 20 years experience in photography, you bet I want to capture some unique shots and give my customers a special experience.. But I will nix the shot or experience if it puts people at risk, its just not worth it in the end..

    I believe the FAA has shot a killing blow to the hobby as a lot of people know it.. Hobby stores are dying in droves, with huge Hobby Manufactures have been hurting for the last 5 years.. If the rules go into effect as they are written, it will effectively kill an industry that is allowing people to support themselves while bringing jobs back to America..

    1. Surely all of the cheap but usable quality motors, frames etc coming from China is what is killing local hobby shops. I can buy a RTF quad made of Chinese parts for $500 here or buy the same thing from hobbyking for $250 with DHL shipping..

      1. Sure you can buy from hobbyking or any online retailer thats your right as a consumer.. But with them generally you have no support.. I would rather pay more and be able to walk into a shop and have my questions answered than not being able to get any type of support what so ever.. Have you personally tried to return any defective product to HK?? They are a nightmare to deal with..

        1. >But with them generally you have no support..

          I don’t think a local retailer is going to be much help on parts they buy in from China either really. All they can do is charge more for stuff to cover loses incurred replacing duff parts.
          Is there anyone in the US that makes anything other than slightly better frames and camera gimbles? All of the brand name transmitters over there are Japanese brands like Futaba etc aren’t they?

          That said I put down $300 in one go at my local shop for a decent Futaba transmitter and I have since bought a bunch of Futaba receivers at $80 a pop. I’m not too cheap not to buy decent locally made stuff but as far as I’m aware there are basically no companies outside of China making motors for multirotors.

          A bit more on topic; I wonder if the FAA making it hard to develop products in the US will actually make things more dangerous. The last thing we need is more people using crap props that shatter at random, transmitters and receivers that barely work..

          >Have you personally tried to return any defective product to HK??
          >They are a nightmare to deal with..

          Yes. I had an ESC that shorted the battery input to the BEC output and toasted my flight controller. They wanted photos and then videos of everything but they were willing to replace both the ESC and the flight controller. I fixed the flight controller myself ($50 hot air rework station FTW) so I didn’t take them up on the offer.

  15. All these comments are pertinent at one level or another, but all miss the real point. The FAA is a bureaucracy and bureaucrats need to justify their existence. This is just more death by a thousand seemingly good intentions.

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