Top Letters And Comments, January 1, 2021

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FAA Announces New Drone Regs

I think the general aviation community needs to drop their paranoia of drones and push back against overarching FAA regulations such as this. This regulation as written will prove to be extremely damaging to the traditional hobbyist model aircraft industry. This will have a very real impact on full-scale aviation because the increased cost and complexity for young teenagers to get started in model-aviation will only discourage participation and interest in aviation as a whole. This, at a time when the country is supposed to be promoting STEM education initiatives.

I do not believe that the provision of allowing “non-id” aircraft to fly at “designated” fields goes far enough towards keeping radio controlled modeling viable. This new regulation will destroy “school yard” flying and slope soaring in areas where “designating” these types of flying sites will prove impractical. An in my neck of the woods, this type of RC flying is really the only thing available anywhere less than a 1.5 hour drive.

Keep in mind that the FAA’s rule-making over the last 50 years has likely been a large detriment to innovation and participation in general aviation, and this same rule making mind-set is now going to have a similar impact on radio-controlled model aviation. If anyone doubts the decline of general aviation, all you need to do is look at overhead pictures of GA airports from the 70’s to see a vast number of planes at those airports that just don’t seem to exist today[…]

Skylor P.

These rules will work for registered users like Amazon who will operate under well defined routes and central locations. Also certified operators using work related drones in mobile locations. It sounds like a good idea, but enforcing it among private amateurs who may or may not comply will be a challenge. Plus, it could be difficult, if not impossible to retrofit anything into existing drones to make them compliant. I agree that an aggressive education campaign, as opposed to another 600 pages of government gibberish would be a better approach.

John M.

My Seatbelt Phobia

Airbag firing off at the marker? Similar events have happened. When I was a controller at Los Angeles Center in the early ’70s, we got invited by the excellent VF126 squadron down at Navy Miramar to go riding and get some stick time in their fleet of Douglas A4s. I certainly took advantage of that. We rode in the 2 place TA4 which was used for instrument training. Part of my preflight orientation was the Douglas ejection seat and what to expect if we had to take a ride in it. And hanging right on the panel in front of us, lower left side, was a short piece of aluminum pipe that had been sliced downward at an angle to leave the bottom end pointed and with a sharp tip. It was hanging from the panel, attached with a very thin piece of wire, and located where we could easily reach it. Why you say!!! Well, back to the possible accidental deployment of an air bag. It turns out that the A4’s Douglas ejection seat used a quick inflatable bladder behind the pilot to push him out of the seat after ejection, not unlike an airbag in reverse. And…on rare occasion these bladders had accidently deployed while the aircraft was in flight. This event would then firmly push the pilot forward into the stick and panel, and basically incapacitated him. How to solve that issue if it happened? The hanging sharp pointed piece of aluminum pipe, which was at easy hand’s reach, could now easily be broken free from the thin wire. Then with some wrist action it could be then used to poke the bladder and pop it, thereby freeing the pilot to resume the duty of flying the airplane. I don’t know if the Miramar Navy base metal shop made them in about 10 minutes for a dollar or so, or they were contracted out for several thousand dollars each. Now I wonder.

Roger A.

Poll: Which Describes Your Impression of the 2020 Flying Year?

  • As far as flying solo in my own airplane goes, it was pretty much like any other year. But, it pretty well derailed my work on my IFR rating and has made completing my owner assisted annual very difficult. I’m glad it is almost over.
  • Missing air shows sucked, but I did more flying than I did in than in any year my whole life and I am 52.
  • I spent most of the year “self-isolating” in a location away from my plane. Thus I’ve had no opportunities to fly since mid-March. Big bummer!!
  • Few cross-country flights, but local flying was okay.
  • Okay solo – would have liked to flown with others more.
  • Could GO places, but NOT DO anything once you were there.
  • GA was okay. Commercial was terrible.
  • I actually got to do some flying (unlike last 3 years) and made major progress on my RV project.
  • Virtually no cross country, otherwise good equipping and training time.
  • Decent, a lot of helicopter training.
  • Record year for my company.
  • It was great!
  • Too much solo flying.
  • Not enough private aircraft flying, best way to social distance.
  • I haven’t flown for 12 months due to coronavirus.
  • Flying for business wasn’t bad but for pleasure is sucked! No place to go!!
  • Busy with business.
  • If I wasn’t doing upgrades, I could have flown more!
  • No problem. I maintain social distancing while flying acro in my Pitts or Laser with or without a virus.
  • What flying? My last flight was the day after New Year’s 2020.
  • It was great until one flight that crowded everyone into the back of the plane.
  • Difficult.
  • Shortest flying year ever.
  • My flight hours were on the low side.
  • With my rep business pretty much ruined, there is no need for me to own and maintain my airplane.
  • I decided flight training was foolish in 2020, so no flying at all for me.
  • Glad that I retired in 2001 from my airline job!
  • Ok if you don’t want to go anywhere.
  • COVID measures made destinations uninviting.
  • Not good as a student. Too risky in the cockpit for 2 people so close together.
  • Personal, great. Airlines, what flying?
  • Worst year ever.
  • Awful.
  • Unemployed professional pilot therefore: @#$%!%%^
  • No longer flying.
  • Good, then non-existent.
  • What flying?????
  • I can always get current and proficient again, but at my age, one encounter with Covid-19 could be my last chance!
  • Mostly normal…just not enough.
  • No restrictions, but no place to go.
  • Dismal.
  • All dressed up with nowhere to go.

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