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Thread: Licensing the answer?

  1. #1
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Near the Great Hill (Massachusetts)

    Licensing the answer?

    Now before anyone freaks about that idea, think about Amateur Radio and Amateur Rocketry. Both have licensing levels. And they're really just to make sure people read the rules and understand the basic procedures so uneducated bozos don't mess it up for the rest of us.

    Now a license sounds like a stupid thing for someone who bought a micro-copter at Brookstone and it would be, just like the FCC determined that licensing CBers was stupid. So certainly for park-fliers and anthing that would be in the AMA proposed limits at this time, licensing would be overly restrictive. It'd kill entry-level hobbists.

    Maybe a way to deal with some activities that push the FAA limits is to have something like a tech class amateur license. Pay $25 and answer some common sense safety questions and you can FPV (with a spotter, VLOS restrictions are not going to go away in the current climate), fly higher than 400ft (with a safety lookout for fullscale traffic), etc. I for one, wouldn't mind too much if something like that were needed to relax a few rules. For one thing, it's really just a bozo protection factor. All this hobby needs is for some bozo to buy a few hundred turnkey flying thing, drop it on an interstate, cause a five car pile up, and kill a few people to turn the tide against the hobby.

    Model rocketry has a tiered system, I looked up model rocketry levels on wikipedia--

    You know what's somewhat encouraging is that articles tells how the government tried to make people get a low-explosive permit but a lawsuit successfully fought that restriction. That leaves hope that there's legal room to push back on the FAA. A national organization like the AMA can help. And for gosh sakes, if you can launch an uncontrolled rocket 1000'up with just a spotter to make sure there isn't air traffic, you ought to be able to fly a controlled device.

    Now I know some people don't love the AMA, mainly because of the VLOS restriction. But face it. No one is going to win a the BVLOS argument right now. The best thing to do now is back the AMA in hopes that they could put up a legal fight for the FAA proposed draconian restrictions.

    Maybe a few years from now, when the dust settles, the BVLOS could be revisited. In my opinion, that's something that could be addressed if a tiered license, just like HAM Radio. To BVLOS, you'd need something like an Advanced or Extra class Ham license.
    Ken K. (learn2turn)
    AMA 221562

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Regulations are rarely revisited to relax them, normally any re-visitation ends in more restrictions. Look at how long it has taken to raise speed limits, it's not the way lawmakers work. That said, I'd much prefer to be able to fly <400ft without a spotter along with regulations like staying 50 meters or so away from people and inhabited buildings/cars/property, to me that's perfectly reasonable and makes sense. What's amazing is I can go and hop in an ultralight with no licensing or training and fly, all restrictions are on the vehicle itself and no licensing requirements are in place. If they were to revisit ultralights I almost guarantee they would put in some kind of licensing scheme, if for no other reason than to make money off people.

    I'd be ok with VLOS regulations that only require a spotter and don't have any ignorant height/horizontal distance regulations (1000 feet up like in the UK would be fine with me), but I think if that passes we will NEVER get BLOS in hobby flying, but that's better than no FPV at all.

    We need to band together for this and stop infighting and finger pointing. We need to embrace the AMA as they are likely the only hope we have for FPV. Their statement to the FAA is a good indicator that they will fight for us, this is enough for me that I'm joining the AMA, something I'd never considered doing before this came up.

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