Top Letters And Comments, January 8, 2021


Winter Flying? Really, Must We?

Winter flying has its challenges, but so does summer flying. Given a choice between being too hot or too cold, I find it easier to build a fire than an ice cube. And I can always put on more clothing, but I can only take off so much.

One of the big advantages is the density altitude. When you get high pressure and low temps, you have to climb to cruising altitude just to get above sea level. It makes the performance figures in the POH truly attainable.

But, I must admit, my weakness is my fingers. It’s hard to find gloves that keep fingers warm without feeling like you’re wearing boxing gloves. It was worse when skydiving – hands high overhead in the toggles, blood draining out of the fingers meant they were little more than frozen clubs by the time I got to the ground. At least the tricky parts of finding handles and hacky-sacks were done by then, all that was left was flaring to land and even a frozen paw could accomplish that. Or aim for a fluffy snowbank.

Wrenching on a plane in the cold is a special form of hell – trying to fit a washer and nut on a hidden AN3 bolt requires dexterity permitted by no glove known to me. Then picking up a wrench that’s been bathing in liquid hydrogen.

So once I find a way to keep the fingertips working at below-freezing temps I’ll have removed the last obstacle to enjoying winter ops.

Kirk W.

How To Fly The Pattern Without Making An $#@ Of Yourself

Great video, Paul! A bit of humor always helps, if for no reason than they keep watching.

One tiny point you missed, however, regarding how you determine whether a particular airport uses right or (standard) left traffic: About fourteen years ago, the FAA started putting that information on sectional aeronautical charts, in the text block associated with a particular airport. If “non-standard” traffic pattern is in use for a particular runway, the text block will include that info, in the form of “RP RWY 25”

Thanks again for a good laugh and a useful tool for us CFIs.

Mike V.

Speaking of landing on the road. I recall an article I read years and years ago (can’t remember where) about a pilot who decided to relive his youth by retracing the Rt 66 adventure driving vacation his Dad took the family on. Instead of driving, however, he decided to fly the route in a cub. Somewhere along the way he got a bit disoriented trying to find his planned fuel stop, an airport with a turf runway near the highway. He was already low on fuel, so he didn’t really have much search time. As he flew a circling search pattern he overflew an auto service station sitting alongside the highway a few times, and an idea formed. His cub was okay to use mogas, he was already low on fuel, and he hadn’t seen a car on the highway for miles.

A few seconds later and he taxied up to the pump at the service station. He hopped out of the plane and asked the incredulous attendant if he can use the toilet. As he’s walked back to the plane the attendant is still standing there scratching his head. Amused, and feeling a bit cocky at having avoided a disaster, the pilot says, “I guess you don’t get many aircraft landing here for fuel do you?”

The attendant points directly across the highway and says, “Nope. Most planes land at that airport right there.”

Mark S.

Poll: Will the FAA’s New Drone Regulations Kill RC Flying?

  • For decades, responsible R/C pilots have flown safely including many with ‘drones’, under the guidelines of the AMA. A few ‘bad apples’, mixed with more capable technology has caused the sensationalism we now face, and will at best result in unnecessary burdens, if not too much regulation to bear for many. What a shame.
  • In my opinion, FAA has buckled to the power and monetary influence of Amazon and others who want to dominate the sky in the future. The rules and restrictions are too over reaching. The penalties are beyond unreasonable. One size fits all is the wrong approach. Why do I have to go through all this bologna just to enjoy flying a drone over my property in a very, very rural area? Yes, it will kill the RC (drone). Ridiculous.
  • The FAA will have their hands full trying to not only implement these policies followed by enforcement issues. It’s like the gun debate. While gun owners are worried their guns might be taken away, in practicality, how can the government actually remove firearms from someone’s home? There are not enough people, military, police, local constables, etc. to physically confiscate citizen’s weaponry. Likewise, with the proliferation of drones, while the rules imply issues, the actual practicality of FAA oversight is virtually impossible. It this point, the proposal is not finalized, definitions are vague. By the time these regs can become law, there will be almost 4 times the number of drones to manage. These are rules that cannot be realistically enforced. Too early to tell if there will be any adverse effects on traditional line-of-sight RC aircraft.
  • It definitely will kill RC flying. Who wants a once upon a time fun hobby flying machine to potentially cause them to end up in prison? The government is overwhelmingly to entrenched in controlling this segment. I believe Amazon has influenced FAA in their supposed concern over this issue. I believe there are problems with some RC hobbyists, but why is our government allowed to overreact to the situation? There has to be a better way to approach this.
  • As an RC hobbyist myself, I feel that the new rules pose a great risk to the community, especially considering that there have been 0 drone fatalities, and about 1 fatality per decade for traditional Aeromodelling, it is safe to say that there is almost no risk involved. Where I fly RC, is a site next to an untowered airport, and having asked some pilots that fly there, they say that we are alright flying there. In other words, I cannot help but ask why the new rules: the old ones were quite major, but now these new ones seem quite Draconian. I am sorry to say, but the FAA is wrong with this, having RC model aircraft (and drones) being considered like manned aircraft (according to the FAA), but you can see people shooting down drones on-line, yet it is not considered an offense, like shooting down a manned aircraft. You see, there seems to be a double standard, for manned and recreational (Part 107) unmanned aircraft, different rules apply to commercial drones, and pose a greater risk, since they will be larger and heavier than their recreational counterparts, but the rules are not as restrictive on them in some aspect, again, another double standard. So you can see not only my frustration, but that of many others (just check fora, like RCGroups, RCUniverse, et al.), and as a result the community has had enough, and the result may mean a collapse of the hobby as it stands.
  • Yes, it will. I’ve flown models since 1955. My YOUNGEST plane is 25 years old, youngest radio is 20 years old. I’m 72 and not about to get all new equipment to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.
  • I think the FAA has created a group of regulations that call for a solution to a problem we are not even sure exists. The new regs are a shortcut to innovation required to make package delivery by drone a reality. Truth is, it should be up to the companies proposing to fill the skies with their aircraft to develop a technology that will allow their proposal to safely become a reality.
  • The FAA is overreaching.
  • It already has.
  • Yes, and the regulations are poorly thought out and completely unnecessary. To date, no one has been injured by a drone. Birds are a much bigger threat, or collision with terrain. Perhaps they can have them regulated.
  • RC aircraft should not need it. Just the stupid drones that people seem to fly anywhere they want to. We never had this problem flying RC planes until these drones showed up!!!
  • GA wants to destroy my RC hobby? Then it is time for me to start complaining about the noise from the local airstrip.
  • Yes, protect areas in vicinity of airports but all other airspace below 400 ft AGL should be open to drones.
  • Probably. Grotesque overreach.
  • Seems it will depend on the final set of rules.
  • Won’t matter at all!
  • Money generator for FAA. We have laws that will hold people accountable. Big government wants to perpetuate big gov. Show me a person not held responsible for their actions.
  • Regulations issued just before Christmas Holidays ain’t ever going to get read.
  • Yes, except for die-hard AMA members. I won’t be flying my drone again anytime soon, if ever again…
  • Boneheads making bonehead rules other boneheads will ignore.
  • RC airplanes pose no threat.
  • I won’t comply. My old RC planes will keep flying. They aren’t drones.
  • Probably- the risk of fines is too great and no parent will allow their child to take that risk.
  • Yes, it will kill RC flying.
  • Needless regulations for a very different hobby.
  • A big step toward getting the intention of the rules met would be to differentiate between fixed-wing and powered-lift.
  • Model flying is a dead duck 🙁
  • Yes. These files are heavy handed and unfairly disadvantage pilots who simply want to enjoy the hobby.
  • Not sure I want to fly a plane that can’t take a 4 ounce drone strike!
  • Won’t kill, but they ARE having a negative effect.
  • Yes, it will kill legal RC flying and stagnate innovation.
  • Breed massive noncompliance.
  • Yes, and they’re not the problem this solution was required to fix.
  • Will ruin opportunity for youngsters.
  • Yes, to a large extent.
  • They will create a new class of lawbreakers out of recreational flyers who will ignore the regulations and take to the skies.
  • It’s an overreach and will wound the hobby badly.
  • Yes it absolutely will kill everything except micro and small park sized RC.
  • We need to stop being a bunch of weak-kneed children and simply use the boundaries we have been operating on. I don’t believe I’ve read about too many midairs lately.
  • Drones or SUAS do not need draconian regulation.
  • We need protection from badged bureaucrats.
  • It won’t affect clubs as much assuming they can get the FRIAS. It will kill the backyard flying. How is an electric RC aircraft that weighs 1 lb, flies at 3 mph, and can’t fly higher than 50 ft a risk?
  • Yes. Unnecessarily so.
  • Will change this great hobby for sure.
  • It will make a lot of illegal RC flying.
  • Yes, it might well kill it. Just like the FAA has very nearly killed GA. But, who cares as long as rich folks are happy, right? We have to have more regulations to ensure the little people remember place, regardless of the secondary consequences.
  • It may, which is too bad because the RC flying provides so much for aviation!
  • Who cares? Drones don’t belong in the airspace anyway.

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