Just fun or a high-tech hazard? R/C aircraft morph into ‘drones

Aaron Shell

We don’t think Aaron Shell thought he would get quite so many negative comments in the insert about FPV by Kerry Tomlinson and Bill Roberson KATU News.

A little naughty of the news station to cut in footage of a non FPV airframe (747) having an off. We don’t see Aarons spotter in that video, we also note he is operating in a built up area.

Expect more stories like this as the NRPM approaches.

Heres some comment from the story.

YouTube hosts thousands of videos shot from drone aircraft. While most of the videos are innocuous, some hint at darker possibilities as drones buzz tall buildings, bridges, trucks on highways and even national landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty.

Properly piloted, a modern R/C helicopter, powered by batteries, can hover nearly motionless hundreds of feet from its pilot, beaming back DVD-quality video. What it might be shooting video of is only limited to the imagination of the pilot.

Other aircraft, called quadricopters, offer even more stability while hovering. Some aircraft can even be controlled by smartphones.

The explosion of abilities built into current R/C aircraft and the sudden drop in cost can be attributed to the march of technology – mainly from China – but the proliferation of inexpensive, camera-equipped drones, and the surge in hobbyists flying them, is beginning to get the attention of law enforcement officials and the FAA.

The FAA says unmanned planes – or drones – of all sizes, even tiny ones, can fly into the flight path of planes with people on board, risking a collision.

They say pilots on the ground don’t have the same ability to see those other planes and move out of the way.

The FAA also says the limited data they have shows unmanned planes have more accidents.

Now, the FAA is working on new rules for unmanned planes of any size, looking at possible regulations on where they can fly, how far they can fly as well as how high and how fast.

Aaron Shell says he flies his aircraft below 500 feet and his video shows that’s plenty high enough to get views of downtown Portland and the area surrounding the park where he hand-launches his plane.

He says the risk from the plane is small – he once accidentally flew it into his forehead and was not hurt – and that new regulation could ground or greatly restrict his hobby, a hobby he hopes to turn into a business.

Shell wants to make a business out of taking aerial imagery, something that usually requires a full-size aircraft, complete with a pilot and photographer and costs a lot of money. With a small drone, the cost is obviously much lower.

Full story here