Drones threaten RC model flying

Bruce from RC Model Reviews has some very interesting points on this topic and he mentions something about him developing something for FPV models to detect full scale aircraft.

If you fly any type of RC model airplane then you ought to be concerned that various politicians around the world are seeking to have "drones" banned. These people aren't talking about the Predator or Reaper drones we see unleashing hellfire missiles at "insurgents", they want to remove your right to fly any RC model with a camera -- or even any model capable of carrying a camera.

We (the RC and especially the FPV community) need to stand up and be heard now, before it's too late.

I'd love to hear from viewers as to how they think the RC community should respond to this threat to the hobby. Is it time to form a global FPV body which can bring the strength of numbers to weigh when challenging this threat?

And please... don't call any FPV model a "drone" -- it's an RC model (whether it has a camera or not).

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    IMHO the difference between RC model, UAV and drone is and always will be a very blurred line and in this I speak as a veteran of 30yrs RC in 3 countries and 2 yrs interest in UAV/ FPV

    fundimentally an RC model is anything that flies under remote control, it does not matter if it has an additional control board to make that process easier or safer. (self leveling devices) FPV return to home devices. etc. The overiding concept is remote control, it does not matter if its a 1/2 scale C130 or a indoor foam toy, its still an RC MODEL. in the USA its also required to be used for recreation only (no profit).

    If its an RC model and used for profit then its a UAV, if its out of Line of sight it's a UAV with all the rules of your country to worry about, (I'm in Canada)

    lets say I build my 1/4 scale Spitfire and add a still camera and its flown from my field its an RC model. If I add an APM2.5 its still an RC model, If I fly it within LOS AND use RC and the APM to fly a pre-programmed path its still an RC model. I have control.

    If I add a video camera and fly the same plane as an FPV plane its still a RC plane until its is out of LOS. then is a UAV. forget the 400 foot guideline its meaningless. I can fly a large glider over 3000 feet and still see it.

    Its not the physical object that determines the name of the flying beast it is the use it is put to.

  • +1

    Though I know people who lovingly refer to their big old SUV as a "tank".  They still cling to that age-old idea that weight=safety.  Even a woman who, a few days before, slid off the road in her tank and rolled over, told me she was going to go out and get another "tank" because she thinks it's safer.  I could make no progress with the idea that maybe if she wasn't in an SUV in the first place she might not have slid off the road...

    I still think "Aerial Robots" is the best term.  It's not a meaningless acronym that people don't understand or care about.  It's simple and descriptive.  

  • Guys -- there is no chance the word 'drone' will morph. No chance. 100,000 hobbyists screaming in perfect unison doesn't even make up 1/100th of an evening news story on a shady 'drone' strike in Yemen. "Owning" the word 'drone' is just ridiculous and belies this reality. I don't even understand the point... you want to 'own' the word "drone", an unflattering word in every sense? Are YOU a drone at work? Would you like to call your hobby "droning"?

    That said--it's 2013. These things are going to be with us in 2300AD. Instead of fighting for a nuanced understanding of one particular awful word on the part of the public, we should be fighting for a differentiation in words. You can point all you want to "military jet" and "jet", but a billion people FLY on commercial jets -- they have personal interaction and investment with such technology. That's not going to happen with these devices. Here's another analogous nomenclature divergence: "tank" and "car".

    Oh, and we have until September 2015 to pull it off. Tick-tock.

  • Admin


    Where I live in Florida the R/C hobby is heavily regulated as to where we can fly in relation to the general population. We also have to be AMA members and our flying club has to post a $4million liability bond beside that which is provided by the AMA. So the Government already is limiting the R/C hobby let alone hobby drones

    Just a thougth.



  • Good point. In the long term the word drone might morph. In the short term, being associated with drone porn & surveillance is not a wise strategy for those not exploiting the GI Joe market. These things have, & will continue to scar for years to come. Lawmakers don't read dictionaries, they watch CNN & Fox news.

  • I agree Matthew, rather than try to change public opinion by tossing around technical terms, it would be simpler to explain the difference between civilian and military equipment.  Think back to "Jets".  The first Jet aircraft were fighter planes for the military.  Does this mean all "Jet aircraft" have missiles? no.  Same with Humvee's, created exclusively for military applications, later made their way into consumer space.  You never heard anyone try to argue for Hummers by saying "well the military version is technically an all terrain tactical vehicle blah blah blah", nah they just pained them fancy non-military colors and dont have weapons in them (unless you're in the south....)

  • Bruce, who I have a lot of respect for and who has helped me get on target with building drones thanks to his videos, makes a lot of great points here. But I have to disagree with his use on the word "drone."

    Everyone here should look up the word "drone" in a dictionary, online or otherwise. What does it say about drones?

    You won't find anything about military operations in Marriam-Webster, or any kind of mission statement. It's simply an unmanned airplane or ship guided by remote control. That is to say, a remotely-piloted aircraft.

    Nikola Tesla made the first drone, a radio-controlled boat. He became outraged when a New York Times reporter asked about the military applications of the thing.

    Of course, it wasn't called a drone at the time. The name came about thanks to the RAF's efforts to make unmanned aerial targets for their pilots in the interwar period. They took an airplane called the "Queen Bee," made it fly on remote control, and somebody came up with the idea of calling it a "drone," as in a bee whose only role is to mate with the queen. The "drone" was not armed, and it was not capable of fighting.

    Instead of the small UAS community running away from the name "drone," we need to own it.

    Prove that it can be fun and useful, because nothing about this technology makes it inherently a weapon. Trying to separate the two will just create confusion. And trust me, the public does not care to know the difference between a UAS and a drone. You cannot just foist a technical term onto the public and expect them to take it. Anyone who tries to wage that PR battle will loose.

  • This is a good point. I learned more from tuning & racing RC cars than I ever did repairing the real thing. I'd like to see autonomous racing come of age. Parents should take note at how much learning is packed into these "toys". This is likely one of the primary benefits of efforts like 3drobotics--lowering the price point of the hobby to replace the toys with the real things.

  • Well the RC (non-FPV community) would prefer you not refer to them as RC Models, as they arent models they are fully functional scale aircraft ;)

  • "And please... don't call any FPV model a "drone" -- it's an RC model (whether it has a camera or not)."

    Deftly stated on the "DIYdrones" website.

    I recall the first time I came across this site, not knowing what it was about--it came across as somewhat provocative & illegal, perhaps a jab at the government. Knowing now what this site is about, it was a marketing ploy. If it weren't for this site, & the turning of RC hobby into "drone making", these legal public perception problems likely would have been delayed for years.

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