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12-22-2008 09:28 PM  8 years agoPost 1
iflybyu77

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Fort Wayne, IN

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Let me preface this post by saying that this is one person’s opinion. I do not intend to be malicious or destructive to any one or any organization. This is simply a reflection of opinion and conversation with fellow AP operators. I also respectfully request that this conversation be kept about United States AP operators primarily until we can find a common resolution.

As the previous thread has highlighted, we are steeped in discontent and mistrust with one another, individuals, and an organization. It’s disappointing this conversation has come up time and time again, here and elsewhere, and yet with no concrete resolution. My personal opinion is that this cycle needs to end with some very deliberate and thoughtful resolution. This is my reason for posting.

If it were not blatantly obvious, there IS a discontinuity amongst AP operators in general. One organization, RCAPA, currently stands as the closest thing we have to organizing for a common good. While there are varying opinions still as to whether RCAPA, or any other organization for that matter, can properly represent the AP operator community, I believe that the need for organization is a option that must be considered still. Who and what form that organization takes is subject to personal opinion it seems, but hear me out and consider what I’m saying.

Any organization that is made up of diverse or common members needs a voice that is unified. That voice must take the form of logical, well-thought and executed dialogue that even in the face of disagreement maintains its authority. That voice cannot stray into insinuation, satire or outright ignoring. I think everyone can agree to that.

Where things break down amongst those who I’ve spoken/written is that the voice of RCAPA currently isn’t managing that public persona in a manner befitting of an organization that is clawing for legitimacy. Whether or not you believe or I believe that RCAPA is viable still or not is, again, subject to constructive discussion. That subject matter should be discussed herein as well. The current organization structure of RCAPA seems to be that Patrick Egan is the public voice. He also is the man who has done valuable foot work, research and dissemination of both in the public forums. Where I see the problem arise within RCAPA is that Patrick has come across to some as not being the voice that RCAPA needed. The problem with public internet forums is sometimes what we meant isn’t always what is inferred, and sometimes we may write things that we really meant only to wish we’d never said it. In Patrick’s case, many things have been said and done across the public forums that have been taken negatively. That negativity is subject to personal opinion of course, but suffice to say that according to the basic guidelines I enumerated above, his public perception has been damaged.

So what do we do with the current circumstances of this disagreement in the previous thread? Again, this is subject to opinion. Some believe that if you just leave things alone, it will be fine. No need for representation. Some believe we need unification. Some believe we need strict rules. Some believe we don’t. Some are just so worn out from the discussion that they have “thrown in the towel.” Let me assume a few premises for the sake of discussion here:

1. The FAA is watching us. They are most likely in the process of crafting legislation/rules to enforce on AP operators. This is not an assumption as the letter from the FAA (2/2007) clearly demonstrates.

2.RCAPA is currently the prominent if not sole organization for AP operators.

3.Without some general direction, organization or common voice, AP operators may have legislation/rules thrust upon them without their say-so. If those premises are true, there are a few things that then need to be considered. This is where I would hope that we can have discussion as to what to do for the good of us all.

1. Is RCAPA still viable as a representative body?

2. Is Patrick Egan the appropriate voice to be representing RCAPA in public forums? If not, who?

3. Is Patrick Egan the appropriate liaison to head up discussion with government entities? If not, who?

4. Is organization necessary for r/c AP operators?

a. Should an organizing body represent “professional” operators only or cover all facets of AP operations including semi-hobbyists?

b. Should an organizing body represent r/c helicopter operators solely as a unique subset within the AP operator class?

c. What organization structure is required?

d. What limitations should a representative body have for it’s members?

e. How will it’s members be represented

i. A personal representative present at meetings held by government
entities seeking to craft rules?

ii. Email/letter campaigns from individuals seeking relief from government representatives?

f. Should a board and president be part of the organizational structure, along with public relations people who convey policy?

g. How will the organization be inclusive and open to discussion of issues at hand?

h. How will the organization stimulate conversation and cooperation within it’s body of members in a public forum or will it even seek to do so?

i. Does the organization have a vote as to who represents them?

5. Does an organization such as RCAPA represent USA or worldwide operators?

6. What is the consensus amongst operators as to what training, qualifications, restrictions we adhere to?

a. Do we support stronger rules implemented by the government or not? If not what are they?

b. If we do not support government imposing rules, what (if any) rules should we place upon ourselves as a group of “professionals”

c. How do we implement, enforce or self-police ourselves in a professional way if we do have self-imposed rules?

7. Do we acknowledge as a majority that the FAA intends to begin regulation on the AP industry?

I’m sure there are additional points that need to be added. This is a basic guideline for discussion as I see it. One of the other nagging points that I think comes up in discussions I’ve had is that of those who think they can “go it alone” without the interference of any organization. While I too feel that sticking my neck out here could inevitably cause me and my operation harm, it is my personal opinion that ignoring the possibility is foolish and unwise. I could partner up with some government entity providing myself a “get out of jail free” card, but not everyone can do that or sees that as the correct approach. Or I could pay someone o ff to look the other way. Is that really the way to go though? The other nagging issue is over money. If you as an operator have an annual budget of over $x amount of money and therefore can “pay to play” or are just a huge and prolific producer, does that mean the other true professionals that can’t quite eek out that profit potential are any less valuable or important?

The last key element in this I believe is inclusion of the true “major” operators. We all know who they are, and their participation is needed. No, I’m not saying we should try to drag them down to our level, or to level the playing. We need their participation because they too will be encumbered by anything that comes down the pipe.

May this be a start. From those who I’ve spoken with, you aren’t alone in your desire to see the infighting stop. We either organize under the structure we have now, reformulate, build a new structure, or just resign ourselves to let what come come. I’m hoping that the latter doesn’t occur personally.

Lastly, don’t let this turn into a bash on any one person. There are a LOT of guys out there that have been the forbearers of what we have now, and they’ve done a lot of work to help get things in order. I think we have a tough road ahead, but open discussion is the best option at this point, and inaction is, again, in my opinion not an option.

David

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12-23-2008 02:14 AM  8 years agoPost 2
macsgrafs

rrApprentice

Barnstaple, Devon,​UK

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David, whilst I'm not US A/P, I do think what I have to say applies to ALL A/P operations in ALL cointries. We NEED a A/P operator as our voice, at least that way he's also interested in his/her own business as well & KNOWS what we really need. On that note I will sit back & hopefully watch this thread get some where useful, come on guys its ALL our futures on the line now.

Regards
Ross McKinnon

Seems to me that ALL heli's beat the air into submission

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12-23-2008 06:35 AM  8 years agoPost 3
xfc3dcd

rrApprentice

West Carrollton,​Ohio usa

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David,

Thank you for taking the time and effort to be constructive.

The internet is often called the "information highway". I think this is appropriate for both good and bad reasons. Much like on a real highway, nice polite people suddenly become rude and offensive when physically out of reach behind a computer monitor. It requires little or no intelligence, effort or self sacrifice to trade barbs. It does however require character to truly mold progress and make a difference. I am confident the previous thread would have had a different outcome had it been held face to face.

I don't begin to assume I have all the answers but here are some of my thoughts:

1. Is RCAPA still viable as a representative body?

W - Not in its current form.

2. Is Patrick Egan the appropriate voice to be representing RCAPA in public forums? If not, who?

W - I suggest asking for nominations.

3. Is Patrick Egan the appropriate liaison to head up discussion with government entities? If not, who?

W - See #2 above.

4. Is organization necessary for r/c AP operators?

W - Only if we want to be taken seriously as professionals.

a. Should an organizing body represent “professional” operators only or cover all facets of AP operations including semi-hobbyists?

W - An unfortunate accident is what many of us would view as most detrimental to our futures. With that in mind I think the opportunity to participate should be open to all, whether in it for pay or play.

b. Should an organizing body represent r/c helicopter operators solely as a unique subset within the AP operator class?

W - I would leave that choice to the individual special interests. There are numerous commonalities however.

c. What organization structure is required?

I have grown quite fond of the Tri-Partite management structure in recent years. (Only 3 officers) It is how we operate the Extreme Flight Championships. Decisions above a certain dollar value or defined level of importance require voting by the 3 officers. Two of three yes or no votes and the matter is dis-positioned. It naturally lends itself to fast and efficient decision making.

d. What limitations should a representative body have for it’s members?

W - Not sure what the specific question here is.

e. How will it’s members be represented?

W - In general terms, the time tested standard is representation by districts. District reps seated by nomination and election.

i. A personal representative present at meetings held by government
entities seeking to craft rules?

W - Certainly.

ii. Email/letter campaigns from individuals seeking relief from government representatives?

W - Why not?

f. Should a board and president be part of the organizational structure, along with public relations people who convey policy?

W - See "4 C" above.

g. How will the organization be inclusive and open to discussion of issues at hand?

W - Items of general nature could be discussed in forums such as this. Specific items requiring direct membership input would be better handled via electronic mailing list, email, Web Conferencing, etc..

h. How will the organization stimulate conversation and cooperation within it’s body of members in a public forum or will it even seek to do so?

W - I would have to get serious and put several glasses of wine to work on this one

i. Does the organization have a vote as to who represents them?

W - Most certainly.

5. Does an organization such as RCAPA represent USA or worldwide operators?

W - I would start with only US representation but offer liaison opportunities to other countries, should they be interested.

6. What is the consensus amongst operators as to what training, qualifications, restrictions we adhere to?

W - I will save this to part 2.

a. Do we support stronger rules implemented by the government or not? If not what are they?

W - I think most everyone is interested in as little regulation as possible. I prefer self-regulation based on continued satisfactory performance.

b. If we do not support government imposing rules, what (if any) rules should we place upon ourselves as a group of “professionals”

W - Save for part 2.

c. How do we implement, enforce or self-police ourselves in a professional way if we do have self-imposed rules?

W - Provide organizational certification. The standard practice is to revoke certification for violation of rules and ethics.

7. Do we acknowledge as a majority that the FAA intends to begin regulation on the AP industry?

W - If not in the certain future, certainly after the first negative public accident/incident.

Wendell

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12-23-2008 05:36 PM  8 years agoPost 4
iflybyu77

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Fort Wayne, IN

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Wendell,

Thank you for your input. I am hearing the same things from pretty much everyone at this point. I think we all are a little hesitant to chime in and say anything for fear of what others think. From what I gather, the majority is like minded.

I have a couple of thoughts more I wanted to share. I think some proposals need to be written and voted upon. I also think that there may be a need for a conference/conference call (which RCAPA is willing to do) that is open for those interested to be involved in. Both propositions will require a few things:

1. RCAPAs membership needs to be notified of what is going on, along with those who are not members currently - all inclusive.

2. A list of potential changes in structure, policy proposals, perhaps even representatives organized in a fashion that can be reviewed, and then eventually voted on in a secure fashion (online probably).

These are just some basic thoughts. If we had a way to collectively have input through a dedicated individual willing to field those thoughts, compile them, and then bring them to a vote, I think we all would be much more willing to move forward. RCAPA is probably struggling to survive financially too, and I doubt anyone is going to throw money at the cause if they don't feel like they know where it's going, what it's going to, or have any general accountability. That problem would be addressed if we could see some changes occur.

I'm not sure what the consensus would be on what I've proposed, so feel free to chime in. Lastly, you guys need to know that from those who I've talked to that we all aren't that much different in our opinions. It is reassuring to hear that people desire pretty much the same things, and the common ground is what we all need to build on. Me, I think it's time to rally together.

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12-23-2008 05:51 PM  8 years agoPost 5
classic

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The problem is power. If you give people power, they will at some time inevitably abuse it, or they will be accused of abusing it. Will this group make money like the AMA?
Will it offer services for its membership like the AMA? ie: Insurance??

Their are those who think the whole idea of a group like RCAPA is to set standards just so they can profit from the individual users out there by charging large fees to "belong" to the group, and having laws and rules forcing a/p's to belong and pay for said membership.

Address those fears in a legitimate way and you will be able to unite.

And my vote is for Patrick, he isn't perfect {who is} but I think he is legitimately trying to make it work.

Which is worse, ignorance or apathy? I don't know and I don't care!

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12-23-2008 07:05 PM  8 years agoPost 6
Burnt Offering

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Winter Wonder Land,​Wasilla Alaska

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I will sit up and take notice When: A big gun in the AP industry who is currently using R/C Helicopters or fixed wing to provide a PROFFESIONAL sevice. Meaning they are getting paid for it. This person or persons would then agree to represent us. This person or persons would be currently flying and doing business in the face of this so called "Grounding of all UAV's" not as a sign of rebellion but in full knowledge of the FAA and with their cooperation. Lets all stop beating around the bush here. From what I know there are guys that go have coffee with Reps from the FAA, and then go fly all the while the FAA knows of their actions. We need someone that will stop throwing fear at us That the FAA is going to show up and haul us off in a padded wagon, as a tactic to all get on board for the "Cause". Rediculous. At this point in time I am not afraid for a second that the FAA or any other government agency is going to show up and seize my AP equipment. For all of the other contacts that I have that have their own AP business, life and business goes on, all are flying for profit and I haven't heard any horror stories from anyone. This speaks volumes to me. And I don't think for one second I am alone in this line of thinking. However, if we don't have the right people representing ALL OF US, and by that I mean the Slow Stick guys to the full on Helis, as with everything this will end up a rich mans industry and the FAA showing up during one of your shoots will be a reality. This is going to take REAL LEADERSHIP, and so far I haven't seen anything of the sort.

EDIT: I apologize. Actually this is not true. Dave (iflybyu77)you are the closest thing I have seen and I salute you for at least trying to form a consensus that will represent ALL of us.

American by Birth, Alaskan by the grace of God!!

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12-23-2008 11:16 PM  8 years agoPost 7
xfc3dcd

rrApprentice

West Carrollton,​Ohio usa

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I will sit up and take notice When: A big gun in the AP industry who is currently using R/C Helicopters or fixed wing to provide a PROFFESIONAL sevice. Meaning they are At this point in time I am not afraid for a second that the FAA or any other government agency is going to show up and seize my AP equipment.[/quote]

Looks like we have found our guy!

I think the only way this would happen is if there were a legal defense fund set up to protect this individual should some government body, at some point in time, decide to make an example out of them.

Any other thoughts?

Wendell

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12-23-2008 11:39 PM  8 years agoPost 8
Makiedog

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Minneapolis

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I think the only way this would happen is if there were a legal defense fund set up to protect this individual should some government body, at some point in time, decide to make an example out of them.
I cannot agree more on this point. Bravado and liason skills are useless without legal resources in this context. I get lost in all the acronyms being thrown about in all the related posts. I think it is essential to have access to legal council who is knowledgeable in navigating all the FAA mine fields.

What's the best way to go about that?

Pat L

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12-24-2008 12:23 AM  8 years agoPost 9
classic

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Looks like we have found our guy!
Says who??Two or three guys on RR just made that decision??

Cart before the horse aint it??

Pick your organization to represent, then allow them to pick their chair.

Which is worse, ignorance or apathy? I don't know and I don't care!

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12-24-2008 12:29 AM  8 years agoPost 10
iflybyu77

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Fort Wayne, IN

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CJames, Wendell was joking.

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12-24-2008 12:29 AM  8 years agoPost 11
classic

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My bad

I do want to support an organization, just one that I am convinced that will have a/p interests at heart.

Which is worse, ignorance or apathy? I don't know and I don't care!

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12-24-2008 12:33 AM  8 years agoPost 12
iflybyu77

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Fort Wayne, IN

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At this point in time I am not afraid for a second that the FAA or any other government agency is going to show up and seize my AP equipment. For all of the other contacts that I have that have their own AP business, life and business goes on, all are flying for profit and I haven't heard any horror stories from anyone.
I hate to say it, but don't be so sure. If someone gets a burr in their saddle because you are cutting into their business (read full scale) or a fellow APer who wants to make your life hell, you ARE going to have to stop. Those who have had this happen haven't spoken up because they are at risk already and are protecting themselves. The FAA has stopped people, and they will again.

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12-24-2008 12:38 AM  8 years agoPost 13
46Taylorcraft

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AZ

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Overall I concur with what is being said in this thread. Proper representation is extremely critical at this stage of where we are with this hobby/industry.

I respect Mr. Egan. I feel in his heart he has good intentions, but one thing that we've all noticed is how his threads turn into some serious flamefests full of negativity. I'm not entirely sure why this happens but it doesn't look good for the group at large.

Believe it or not, regulation is coming. Those that think not have their heads in the sand.

The Troika idea of leadership seems a good move.
I think the only way this would happen is if there were a legal defense fund set up to protect this individual should some government body, at some point in time, decide to make an example out of them.
Indeed. Lawyers and Frivolous Lawsuits.... I could sure do without them.

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12-24-2008 12:59 AM  8 years agoPost 14
Rappy 60

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Paris, France

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Pick your organization to represent, then allow them to pick their chair.
Well said CJ, couldn't of said it better.

My position as stated in the other thread has always been about organization. I don't even mind if I have to pay to be apart of the organization (which will probably have to happen), as long as I'm properly represented and the facts of the case, meetings, financial statements are made aware to the membership of the organization. I also alluded to district representation based on geographic location.

As far as Mr. Egan, I have no doubt that he is probably trying to get results that we want. However, he has a rather brash way of communicating that really comes off as egotistical and well rather rude sometimes, nothing against Mr. Egan, I respect him for taking on this effort. However RCAPA does need to have some sort of organization set up with Legal representation and a public relations person who can speak to their membership respectively.

I really like what I hear, the problem is going to be will RCAPA be on board with this or will this turn into another bashing thread. Or is it too late for RCAPA to step up with a plan. I feel that RCAPA has somewhat of a structure, it just needs to be improved and organized correctly. However, starting a new organization will be counter productive I think.

EDIT: Suggested Structure

5 Board of Directors

4 District Representatives
West Coast
Mid West
Central
East Coast

Each District Representative will be nominated by the membership and will reside on the Board of Directors and will have 1 vote. They will be responsible for disseminating information to their respective districts. District representatives should reside in the district they represent.

President - will be responsible for presiding, presenting items brought to him/her by the District Reps. The President will have 1 vote. This position will be nominated by the membership.

Vice President - will have 1 vote in the event of a tie. The VP will also serve as president in the event that the president is unable to serve his duties or is unavailable. The VP will also execute and oversee the Special Interest committees. For example, liaison to FAA would be handled and reported to the board by the VP. This position will be nominated by the membership.

Treasurer - Will be responsible for providing the quarterly/annually report to the board and its membership. This position will have no vote and can be a district rep but not a VP or president. This position will be nominated by the board

Public Relations - Responsible for communication with the Media and the organization membership through newsletters with the help of the district reps. This position will have no vote but can be a member of the board. This position will be nominated by the board

Where do we go from here?

Dale

Load "*",8,1

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12-24-2008 04:18 PM  8 years agoPost 15
HawkEyeMedia

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Fort Worth, Texas

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I’ll chime in and make some of my thoughts on the subject public. I don’t think there are enough operators on this forum to make creating a new organization a viable option. I think RCAPA can work, but not in its present form. As abrasive as Patrick can be, he is investing time and money into representing RC/AP operators when no one else is.

I would be willing to lend my support, but not until RCAPA has filed the necessary paperwork and turned itself into a real organization, with an elected board. I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be able to represent professional and hobby operators. We’re both facing new regulations in the near future and neither one of us is represented by anyone else (as far as I’ve seen, AMA doesn’t want anything to do with any form of RC/AP). The chances are no one else is going to volunteer for the positions, but it HAS to be that way.

Most of my answers to David’s post mirror most of what everyone else is saying.
  • We do need an organization to represent us.
  • I do believe RCAPA could be that organization with some changes.
  • Until someone else volunteers, Patrick Eagan already has his foot in the door.
  • I’d prefer self regulation within the community over Federal Regulation
  • If Federal Regulation can’t be avoided, we need to promote a common sense approach to what we do.
  • As a group, not all of the decisions or ideas are going to be in my best interest and I need to be able to accept that.
I'd be willing to listen in on a conference call and see where this can go.

Mark LaBoyteaux
HawkEyeMedia.com

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12-24-2008 05:00 PM  8 years agoPost 16
xfc3dcd

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West Carrollton,​Ohio usa

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Where do we go from here?
[quote]

At this point I would say the ball is in RCAPA's court. They have inferred that they are open to constructive criticism. I think some good ideas have been expressed in this tread. I would hope they would take decisive public action at this point based on what has been offered. Should RCAPA decide it doesn't want or need to align itself with the wishes of the community at large, the options are complain and do nothing or start another organization.

Wendell

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12-24-2008 06:15 PM  8 years agoPost 17
TCGliderguy

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Albuquerque, New​Mexico

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O.K.... Here's my thoughts....

1) We know that the FAA is making definitions and drawing lines in the sand. They've got a problem with 1000 pound, autonomous UAV's flying around in "their" airspace. And they've got a problem with knucklehead law enforcement agencies who are attempting to fly armed UAV's, etc.

2) We "AP'ers" are, for the most part, only interested in flying sub-30 pound aircraft, for ten or fifteen minutes at a time, in what has classically been considered "non-regulated" airspace... below 700 feet. (Except of course, when that airspace is within the traffic pattern of an airport, etc.) We need to NOT get lumped in with the 1000 pound UAV crowd.

3) So.. what are our needs? To avoid heavy handed, overreaching bureaucracies to designate our very benign activities as illegal.

4) How do we accomplish our goals with these bureaucracies? By appearing to be organized, professional, and willing to self-regulate.
We already have an organization that the FAA has acknowledged to be an organization that they recognize. That organization is RCAPA. Patrick and Gene and Ira (and probably lots of other folks that I know nothing about...) have put a tremendous amount of time, effort, and money into pursuing RCAPA's goals. Is the organization perfect?
Of course not. But the organization is real, has a credible website, something like 1500 "members", has managed to find an insurance broker that will at least talk to us, etc. etc.

5) Patrick... Yes, he is colorful and opinionated. He is also VERY knowledgeable about all of these bureaucracies and committees. We don't need Jason Krause or Curtis Youngblood's flying skills. We need somebody who has educated themselves on how these bureaucratic boondoggles work. Our business model can be stated in about two sentences. It doesn't require somebody who is billing $300K per year in AP work to present that model to the bureaucracies. We want to operate safely, with 35 pound or less aircraft, for a few minutes at a time, under 700 feet.

6) Patrick's "Ulterior" Motives - Let's see... He wants to work himself into a position of power so that he can have ALL of the AP work in California? All of the AP work in Sacramento? He wants to work himself into a position of power, such that the FAA appoints him the "AP Czar", and gives him a $200K per year salary? Yeah right... the FAA always hires outside civilians to fill those posts.

7) Enforcement? - No.. the FAA is not going to send out their security force to seize your helicopters, cameras, and dog.... any more than they are going to stop me from going to the local general aviation airport, climbing in an old Cessna (Most don't have ignition keys) and flying the thing around without a license. As long as I don't crash the thing, nobody is the wiser. But if it is deemed that we are operating "illegally", we will have no insurance. That is a deal breaker for many of the clients that I work with...

8) Choices - We can get this thing ironed out, working cooperatively with the FAA, Homeland Security, etc. for a favorable end result...
OR... we can skulk around like thieves the night, and hope to not get noticed, and not get caught.

My vote is to support RCAPA, to continue to stay in my Congressmen's faces, to continue to ask for help and support from the Small Business Administration, and to wage a public relations war to get public support for our little industry...

-Taylor

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12-24-2008 06:15 PM  8 years agoPost 18
classic

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How many in membership do they actively have now?

Which is worse, ignorance or apathy? I don't know and I don't care!

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12-24-2008 06:22 PM  8 years agoPost 19
TCGliderguy

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I guess the question is...How do you define "active" members?

How many dues paying members do they have? .... Zero. They don't have dues.

How many people read their website? ... Not very many, because the activity there is very low.

How many took enough of an interest to at least sign up... apparently about 1500. You can go through the roster, state by state, and count up the names.

How many would sign up if they instituted actual dues? Beats me, but I'm sure the number is much greater than the total of us who have had these discussions here on RunRyder.....

If you are asking..."Is RCAPA viable?", I would have to answer that it is 1000% more viable than any other R/C AP organization, because as far as I know there aren't any others.... Certainly none that the FAA mentions in their reply letters to concerned guy like me.

-Taylor

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12-26-2008 03:19 AM  8 years agoPost 20
RenegadeAP

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New York

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They enticed people to sign up by using prizes and contests..... so the supposed membership is not really what it seems to be ....are they viable? NO .... not if they don't have a legit membership backing their views. Make the membership legit.... let them decide by vote the direction to take ..... then they are viable.

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