Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Fear of flying: Federal Aviation Administration rule-making scares modelers

FORT WORTH — Darrell Abby carefully wipes down the fuselage of his Curtiss P-40 Warhawk for its first flight of the day.

He checks the flaps, wiggles the rudder, pumps in gas and monitors the air pressure for the landing gear. Then he pulls on a grey heavy work glove before spinning the propeller to start the engine.

While Abby’s warbird has a wingspan of 86 inches — the real deal is 37 feet — the pre-flight checks he performs mimic those taken by a pilot before crawling into a cockpit.

“We’re very big on safety,” said Abby, a 66-year-old retired Delta Air Lines pilot at a “fly-in” of model aircraft buffs in Fort Worth on Saturday. “In my opinion, these things are like a real airplane.”

So it should come as no surprise that Abby and other hobbyists are in a four-foot hover over the FAA’s recent efforts to clarify its rules for flying model aircraft in the wake of some recent incidents involving small remote-controlled aircraft, commonly referred to as drones.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com


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