Published in Midwest Flyer – April/May 2020 issue
OSHKOSH, WIS. – The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is very concerned that the FAA’s proposed rule on Remote Identification (RID) of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) could have a severe detrimental impact on traditional model aviation, and is preparing a full package of comments on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).
The rule would require most UAS, no matter whether they are “drones” or traditional model aircraft, to carry equipment that identifies the device and broadcasts its location. Additionally, many would be required to be equipped with “geofencing” systems that autonomously contain the craft within a defined altitude and lateral boundary.
While EAA is primarily an organization that fosters and supports passion for manned flight, it recognizes the modeling community as an important pathway into aviation. In fact, last year EAA launched the Young Eagles Build and Fly Program, a chapter activity to guide youth in building their own electric radio controlled model, which they can then fly with a local Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) club.
There are many legitimate safety concerns surrounding drones, primarily those that are airborne camera platforms capable of flying beyond visual line-of-sight with little or no training by the operator, but traditional modeling has been operating trouble-free for nearly the entire history of manned flight. Despite this NPRM not directly impacting the manned flying community, we are concerned that regulatory overreach in the modeling world could easily set a precedent for future action against general aviation, such as an equipment mandate for the benefit of commercial UAS integration into the airspace.