The media constantly refer to the small RC quad helicopters as drones. Of course, in the mind’s eye of many a reader, listener or viewer, the drone is a large unmanned military aircraft that can drop death and destruction on the unsuspecting bad guys below at the blink of an eye.
Unfortunately, in a recent Post and Courier edition there appeared an editorial that only inflames misunderstanding.
Specifically, the editorial cited the toy helicopter that recently crashed on the White House lawn. This accident, which created an inordinate amount of attention to this level of incident, was partially due to the recent occurrences of poor performance by the Secret Service and White House security.
Existing FAA regulations adequately cover both sides of this complicated issue in coordination with the Academy of Model Aeronautics, and when adhered to, no one is at risk.
These so-called drones, for the most part, weigh less than a pound and are far too small to carry a dangerous payload, although they could put your eye out as our mothers often warned.
Rather than sweeping new legislation that is totally an overkill — no pun intended — persons who abuse the radio control sport need to be dealt with appropriately. FAA rules dictate these small “toy” aircraft be limited to a maximum altitude of 400 feet above the ground while full- size general aviation aircraft generally maintain a minimum of 500 feet. And, the RC aircraft are not allowed to fly near airports.
Where the few legitimate near misses have occurred, it is generally the result of a knucklehead who wandered too close to an airport while trying to get a movie clip to post on the Internet.
The notion that a toy would bring down a passenger airliner is ludicrous and totally misrepresents the threat.
Are we going to ban birds from flying? They are a greater threat than these small RC toys will ever be.
Dennis L. Clark
Long Meadow Drive