We are writing this email in the hopes to address the concerns, questions and clear up the confusion we have been having concerning flying Multi-rotors on our field. First and foremost we would like to state and remind everyone that we are the Radio Control Society of Marine Park under the AMA Charter #466 which means: we follow the rules and guidelines provided by them. On top of that we are guests under a special permit granted by the New York City Parks department, so we must observe their rules also as it has been done since March of 1969, that’s 47 years, longer than most of us have been on this earth.
With that being said our goal is to enjoy and preserve the club for many more years and keep our privilege to fly because that is what it is, a privilege, not a right, and like all privileges they must be earned and maintained. Our hobby has been constantly under attack and on many occasions on the verge of collapse. A Lot of negative press emphasizing a few bad seeds not doing things correctly has led to the FAA and DOT to regulate our hobby. To that effect we must practice and enjoy our hobby in a safe and practical manner. RCSMP is primarily a fixed wing club, there is no denying that and no changing that. It always has been and always will be. That’s why we are one of the only clubs in the area to have 2 runways a fact many other places envy about us. However it is open to and shares the airspace with both Helicopter and Multi-rotor aircraft.
So question number one, does RCSMP welcome Multi-rotors? The answer is yes. They are a new technology that is part of our hobby and is welcomed to fly by the same AMA guidelines as all aircraft on our field. Well, what does that mean? It means that all pilots must fly from one of the 5 designated spots on the field according to wind pattern and designated by the Field controller. We cannot fly from the pitts or any other non designated area that would violate this mandate. This is not a rule RCSMP made up, this is a charter rule found in article 105- The AMA safety code and article 706- Recommended RC flying site specifications which is how our field is set up. You can look up and read these documents we will be referencing on the AMA website at http://www.modelaircraft.org/documents.aspx#SMB
Second question that has been asked is why do we have to have a spotter when flying FPV? The answer can be found in article 550- FPV operations which clearly states all FPV pilots flying any aircraft must have a spotter. This rule is logical and makes sense but again this rule was not made by RCSMP but by the AMA and it must be followed.
Third question and most difficult to interpret is what is considered to be racing? The board has ultimately decided that racing is defined by when a course is setup on the field and two or more FPV Multirotor pilots are flying against each other at the same time competing. Does the club allow this? The answer is to hold a official event like Pylon Racing or other competitions it has to be submitted at the club meetings and approved by the board and then it becomes a club sponsored event. However to just enjoy, practice and fly, the board has agreed that Monday through Saturday the gates and equipment used to fly a course pattern may be set up on the grass opposite of the flight line, BUT NOT ON SUNDAY unless approved by the board for a club sponsored event.
This agreement in good faith is dependant on all rules being observed and followed to protect our interests in continuing to function and operate as we have for the past 47 years and so that all our members can continue to enjoy this hobby we all love regardless of what we choose to fly but under the same rules and guidelines.
Last but definitely not least is that we will take turns with the Multi-rotors in the same way that we do with the Helicopters doing 3D. We cannot stress how important and critical it is that this be followed. That means that absolutely no fixed wing Aircraft may be on the flight line or flying when the Multi-rotors are having their turn and the same applies vice-versa when the fixed wing are flying no Multi-rotor are allowed. This policy will be closely monitored by the field controllers and strictly enforced. Not following these safety protocols may result in suspension of flight privileges for the day(grounded).
For some this may feel like it is asking too much or you do not agree with the AMA guidelines and if that is the case I ask you to download and submit article 333- rules change proposal form and convince the AMA to change it and we will follow, but until then we will continue to operate as they have instructed. There are other non AMA fields or clubs that might be able to accommodate what you may want but RCSMP is not going to risk losing their charter.
We as the board elected by you feel this is a fair and practical compromise which falls in line with what we have done successfully all these years. We also welcome any ideas and suggestions you may have and continue to encourage our members to please come to the meetings and make your voices heard. Expressing your discontent only with each other about the way things are will do nothing unless you come to the meetings and make your vote count and your voice be heard. Everyone has a idea or opinion about things but only a few are willing to step up to the plate and sacrifice their time, energy and efforts to see what they want happen become a reality. If you want things to be better and change, it starts with you. It begins with your willingness to work, help, and make it happen by being actively involved in the club meetings and decision making process, otherwise it’s just dust in the wind.
In closing, we hope this brings some answers and happiness to those willing to adhere to the rules and guidelines and we look forward to seeing you out flying at the field. If you have any further questions please reach out to us and we will try to get you answers as soon as possible while our new rules and manuals are being prepared to be given out to all our members. It’s a work in progress and is being prepared and updated completely voluntarily so please bare that in mind.
For those members who feel differently and don’t agree that this accord is a reasonable compromise we are sorry that our club is not the right fit for you and hope that you do find one that fits your specific needs, but we cannot put in jeopardy all that we have built, that is not fair and will not happen. Our sincere hope is that we can work together and continue to move the club forward in a positive attitude and direction for the benefit and enjoyment of all.