Mythbusters, please help! (Open Letter)

MythBusters_title_screen.jpg(Image: Wikipedia)

Dear Jamie, Adam, Tori, Kari, Grant and production crew,

I'm a huge fan and watch your show since the first episode!

I'm sure you have by now noticed the dire situation in which not only us "drone"-hobbyists but in fact all R/C-hobbyists are in!

Fearmongers and your US FAA are painting horrible pictures of airliners going down in flames after colliding with a 2kg foam R/C plane or a comparable multicopter almost on a daily basis.

My dad having been CFO of a major German airline and thus me having run around in maintenance halls a lot when I was little, I believe that is a myth and many of us hobbyists believe it's propaganda.

There is no doubt that we hobbyists have an obligation to be safe at all times and nobody is advising unsafe behavior! But there is a difference between advising safety in a reasonable way and fearmongering!

Therefore, I would like to ask you to do a "drone dangers" episode! You already have shot chickens, frozen and not, into aircraft windows. Please now shoot R/C airplanes and multicopters into aircraft and aircraft engines, so everybody knows once and for all, what is going to happen and what isn't.

Please bust the drone myths!


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  • PixHawk should absolutely have a max altitude setting set to 400'.. Much like how other equipment you buy come with default settings. let the user turn it off and be warned of the consequences.. Otherwise our industry is doomed if someone ever does hit a plane... We already have enough bad press.. At least we should do our best to promote safe flight.
  • So, you guys that posted your 25km flights on YouTube...what you say (post) can and will be used against you in a court of law.

    Now, where were we? Oh yes, the lame idea of proving that a flying object could not damage a manned plane...hmmm

  • Okay, I got motivated, here's the link to the AMA FPV rules.

    I would hope that none, without permission, fly closer than 5 miles to an airport. The AMA rule for 400ft is within 3 miles of an airport. I'm guessing the intent is that is to limit the height, period, permission or not.

    Now those of you who thought you may be okay using binoculars (cough, cough) to meet the LOS rule, WRONG. VLOS says you need to be able to see and control the orientation of the plane with corrective lens only!

    Soooo, I'd venture to say that there are a LOT of FPVrs out there breaking the law. Why would anyone need the stuff that 3DR sells, an OSD, UHF Tx, at least for Fixed Wing, if you fly LOS? Most of us have been doing that for 20 years, it's called RC. Oh well...

  • Thanks!

    So, in spite of your last sentence, the law would seem to encompass whatever the AMA comes up with. Is that right?  aircraft is operated in accordance with a community- based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization;

    Then there is the LOS in (c), (2) which, if I do say so myself, is quite contrary to why people fly FPV. Or does it mean if you can't see your plane, you are then okay? Just kidding. :-)

  • Not to divert this lively discussion too much...on the same general subject however.

    Is there a definitive place for laws, official bodies such as AMA rules or any other form of regulation by country?

    Where I have trouble is people citing rules, that others claim are only guidelines, etc. So, I would like to see the law vs AMA vs State vs Professional community, etc. I hear arguments that there is no 400 ft LAW, just a recommendation. I think it would help, over all, to get this cleared up. Further, I fly FPV for fun, not professionally. Any regulations should be specific and clear as to which community they apply to. For example, FPV, LOS RC, Professional or Commercial.

    If there is a site that has these nuances documented, it would sure help me out.


  • What I want to see is a show demonstrating how dangerous it is. Kind of the opposite of the original request. A bit like we see advertisements showing how stupid it is driving too fast, drunk or without seat belts. We want people away from the planes. Educate them to the dangers. We already have the right rules (away from planes, people, < 400 feet etc - similar US to Australia, and other places), what we need is people obeying them.

  • Btw, if I'm not mistaken, Steffan doesn't even live in the US. He has no dog in the fight. No skin in the game. Let him do this little experiment in his own country!
  • Never ask a question you don't want to know the answer to.
    Today's jet engine compressor blades turn excess of 10,000rpm. Tip speeds are in Mach numbers. There are many, many documented bird strikes that have disabled planes. In Nam, more than one F4U, the plane in question, was brought down by ingesting shrapnel.
    The FAA are tards. They haven't a leg to stand on until we give them one.
  • I am with Stefan on this.  Let a third party like Mythbusters do some destructive testing to find out what "really" could happen.  The more actual information that the law is based on the better.  Especially since most of us here are both UAV pilots and commercial airline passengers.

    Of course a Mythbusters test would not be official but at least they are not a government agency or corporation with a stake in the results. And I think they have proven themselves to be unbiased in their reporting of facts, no matter how perfectly or otherwise, the testing goes.

  • We lost track of what the letter was about, proving or disproving that its a threat to aircraft and of course went on to Phantom bashing.

    Anyhow my feelings are that if Mythbusters did the show it would at least be plausible so I would not ask them to do it, it would just give the FAA one more thing to side its case.  

    Just like green lasers, they would love to take them away from everyone even tho most use it for astronomy or other valid reasons.  Most phantom users (I have an APM and a NAZA so don't bash me) are people that are excited about the technology.  Yet this guy they are talking about on CNN was not a phantom flyer, he was a plane flyer

    Most likely a guy with a dragon link uhf fpv and just an RC flyer

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