Sunday, August 20, 2017

Oklahoma drone hobbyist hopes to dispel rumors

Hovering above the park, the remotely operated drone flies around. Some parents give a nervous glance, like the government may be watching them or someone is filming their every move. Little do they know, it’s just a hobbyist enjoying a sunny day.

Blake Scott, 21, is the hobbyist, and as remote controlled aircraft have taken off, he hopes to dispel some of the rumors around the hobby and encourage more people to take up flying.

“In the hobby world we don’t call them drones,” Scott said. “We call them quadcopters, or tricopters, depending on the number of blades. It’s really something fun to get started into and it’s getting a lot more affordable.“

Scott said when the media called the devices drones, it gave the remote controlled flying hobby a bad name, and scared everyday citizens.

“It used to be easy to find places to fly, but because of the media’s hype people get scared,” he said. “Not every flying thing has a camera on it. I don’t spy on people - that’s an invasion of privacy.“

By educating people about the hobby, not only can youth find their passion in flying, he said. But, people will be less inclined to think every flying object is a government-spying machine.

Laws set forth by Congress govern all those who fly quad-copters, model helicopters and model planes, but the Academy of Model Aeronautics helps lobby on behalf of those who fly model aircraft. The AMA’s policies don’t advocate for complete freedom, they respect the rights of those that hobbyists may be flying near.

According to AMA’s policy, “The use of imaging technology for aerial surveillance with radio control model aircraft having the capability of obtaining high-resolution photographs and/or video, for the collection, retention, or dissemination of surveillance data or information on individuals where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy is strictly prohibited.“

While there are rules, flying RC can help those interested in aviation recognize their passion. Scott said it was his interest in RC that made him realize his dream of becoming a pilot.

Scott took interest in flying remote control aircraft when he was 14 years old. His first experience was with a remote controlled RC Helicopter. Scott saved up money from his first job to purchase the helicopter.

He then took up flying with a local group in Ponca City, where he grew up, called the Good Ole Okie Flying Society. During that time, they flew the helicopters using radio frequencies. If someone was on the same radio frequency as the device it could interfere with its flying pattern—something Scott said doesn’t happen with today’s technology.

Scott said when he was learning to fly in GOOFS, a more experienced pilot would hard wire controllers with a less experienced one, that way if the pilot in training messed up they wouldn’t crash the helicopter or plane.

“When I was a child I always wanted to fly,” Scott said. “There was never a doubt in my mind that I wanted to fly.

He now attends Southeastern State University in Durant and is studying to be a pilot. Scott attributes his love of RC to being interested in aviation, and said that as a kid it helped him understand the basics of flying.

Both remote controlled helicopters and planes use the same laws of physics to get off the ground.

Scott said for any kids who are interested in flying, be sure to know what you’re getting into. According to Federal Aviation Administration regulation, those who fly remote control crafts as a hobby should be mindful that the law prohibits any hobbyists from flying above 400 feet, and within five nautical miles of an airport. Also be mindful of power lines when learning to fly.

“People who just want to fly should get something with a panic mode switch on it,” he said. “That way you can flip the switch and it will just hover. “

As technology improves so will the flying capabilities of quadcopters. Scott said the next advancement could be virtual reality—making the experience more immersive and realistic for hobbyists.

“The hobby is so huge, it’s just completely blown up,” he said. “What I can recommend for people is to know what you’re getting into beforehand. It can be hard to re-sell, so just do your research. Also, be courteous because you’re representing all drone hobbyists.”

Original article can be found here ➤

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