Saturday, July 12, 2014

Model plane pilots eye drone regulations closely: RC enthusiasts concerned federal rules could limit a favorite hobby

OMAHA, Neb. —Model airplane enthusiasts took to the sky from Standing Bear Lake Saturday, and for some it's a decades-old hobby.

Bud Mitchell has flown model airplanes for more than 40 years. His fascination with flight dates back even farther. "When I was young the second World War was on and the airplanes, I was real interested in them," Mitchell explained.

Mitchell's plane flew along with several others at a gathering of the Omahawks, a radio controlled aircraft club. Some members are concerned about the future of their favorite pastime, as the federal government looks to regulate other small aircraft: drones.

"They fly the drones around and peek in people's windows. We don't do that kind of stuff. We're protective of this hobby. In fact, the drones and everything came from this," Mitchell said.

Understanding that drone regulations could impact model aircraft, Omahawks member Tom Virgillito said," The AMA, which is the Academy of Model Aeronautics is all working that out, so we can all coincide together on this."

Until official decisions come from the Federal Aviation Administration, the Omahawks continue to fly proudly, saying they hope government regulations don't ground their hobby for good.

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