Is the general public misinformed about electric R/C planes? - RC Groups
Thread Tools
Nov 12, 2011, 08:49 PM
hass-alfed and bass-ackwards
carlsoti's Avatar

Is the general public misinformed about electric R/C planes?

My father and I sometimes fly UMs and occasionally a Slow Stick and/or Pico Tiger Moth out in front of our house in Suburban AZ.

It was at least a year or more into us flying before I was comfortable doing that in front of the house, and a little longer before my dad was. We never fly erratic, buzz people, etc. Aside from Full throttle climb-outs from take-off with the slow stick, It's just peaceful cruising around, BS with each other as we do so. It's really great father/son time, and we both enjoy it immensely.

We have never crashed into anything, houses, cars, or trees when flying in front of the house. We've had many neighbors stop by and talk to us about R/C and where to buy, etc. The overwhelming majority of our happenings with R/C in our neighbor hood have been very positive. Of special note is all the applause and excitement heard when I fly a GWS Mr.Wiz on Halloween when the kids are trick or treating.

This evening, after landing due to waning light, we were politely approached by a local LEO who stated a neighbor thought we had crashed into a house, or "might" crash into a house, or something to that effect. The officer actually got to see me fly a bit, and was amazed at how the Slow Stick would hold up into the breeze and almost hover. FWIW, this is not a 3D style motor hover, it's a light-weight plane with an aft CG in the breeze type hover.

Before approaching us, he had checked on the municipal laws and found it was actually OK for us to fly there, being that it was a light-weight, slow-flying electric. (roughly AMA's definition of "Park-flyer") He warned us that in Chandler, we're not supposed to fly in parks (We informed him of one of them, the Chandler Bowl. Didn't go into details about it, but let him know we know what the deal is.)

We've never had anyone complain, and most people are typically neutral, at worst.

We don't know if someone was just out to ruin other people's fun, or if people just have a misconstrued view on R/C airplanes.

What experiences have you had, one way or the other?
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Nov 12, 2011, 09:23 PM
Registered User
ausf's Avatar
This is why there should be little tolerance for people doing questionable things with RC. Everyone who pushes the boundaries of safety essentially affects others.

In a different light, my sons and I fly evenings at a large school complex, including a football field, two baseball diamonds, two soccer fields and tennis courts. We can always find a empty space to safely use our UMs, but the last few times we've flown while there was soccer practice going on. It seems the coach has been bothered by the fact the kids prefer watching us fly than running drills. I would not be surprised if we were told we told to move on soon.
Nov 12, 2011, 10:48 PM
hass-alfed and bass-ackwards
carlsoti's Avatar
Are you saying I've been flying unsafely?
Nov 12, 2011, 11:04 PM
AMA 537620
ChillPhatCat's Avatar
Originally Posted by carlsoti
Are you saying I've been flying unsafely?
No, he's referring to the recent news items about people either intending to cause harm with R/C Planes or pulling publicity stunts like flying around the statue of liberty. Every time you hear of something like that on the news, the general public becomes a little more weary of model aircraft.

We're no longer geeks playing with toy airplanes to a lot of folks, we're playing with a dangerous implement for mass destruction.
Nov 12, 2011, 11:53 PM
hass-alfed and bass-ackwards
carlsoti's Avatar
Fair enough. The cop thought it was cool, though he didn't get too excited, as he was on the job.

I'd be willing to bet more people and property gets damaged by stray baseballs, footballs, etc than R/C airplanes in any given year.

I wish people weren't so afraid of things they don't understand.
Nov 13, 2011, 03:44 AM
Registered User
I live a block away from the beach never seen rc planes flown their but I do see kites alot! wonder why rc planes are not flown on the beach here? gulfport ms
Nov 13, 2011, 03:45 AM
Registered User
perhaps their are laws against it? I guess I need to find out?
Nov 13, 2011, 04:23 AM
Balsa Builder. With some foam.
ArneHu's Avatar
When i was young. A classy lady called the Police. Complaining that we make unbearable noise for her in the Sunday evening. Flying our models on a field far away from her apartment. The Police came, but they didn't stop our flying. Because we where flying small sailplanes or chuck gliders. None of us have motor on our models. Some women are......
Nov 13, 2011, 06:07 AM
**** 37130 ****
RobC(UK)'s Avatar
My local slope club regularly get noise complaints from the public as they walk past, even though any form of propulsion and even propellers are banned.
Nov 13, 2011, 07:15 AM
If in doubt, add accelerant
Lberry.88's Avatar
You just have to be sensible and understanding of folk's concerns. A lot of people don't know anything about RC flight so will assume the worst - a blade spinning quickly that they assume will easily decapitate anyone who comes within 5 yards of it. Best thing to do is try and explain and show them what its all about.
Arrogance wont help. I remember one incident where a (now ex-)flying buddy started shouting and arguing with a member of the public who had complained about us flying - he was arguing that he was legally allowed to fly and the member of the public couldn't do not really the right approach...
Nov 13, 2011, 07:54 AM
Long-Time Member
James Frolik's Avatar
I fly both parkflyer models and much larger R/C models.

How many of you like flies? Or bees ... at least the non-aggressive type?

I instinctively try to swat flies if they're bothering me. And depending on the type of bee, I do the same. I don't want them flying around my head — or gathering near my picnic table, for example. Even a swarm in the distance gets me anxious and I may try to shoo them away ... or extinguish them.

Now enlarge a fly roughly 500 to 1000 times and you have something the size of an R/C parkflyer. Nobody wants a swam of them — or even one BIG "thing" — flying near them. And near can be defined as within sighting distance. Just seeing it can create mental discomfort in sane, normal people.

This is what many people feel just walking or driving past the front yard or small lot where some R/C modeling buff is engaged in his or her [safe] parkflying hobby, whereas the public sphere doesn't look as nervously at things on the ground, like R/C cars & trucks or kids darting around on skateboards. Nor does the public associate uncomfortable feelings with tethered objects in the sky, like kites.
Nov 13, 2011, 08:11 AM
Registered User
I have never really had a problem with people calling the police or such. As the OP said, most people are really fascinated with my planes. I fly all my UMs in a parking lot about 2 blocks from my house (when it is empty), and more often than not , people look up at it and say things like 'Hey! Cool!" and such. I even remember a WWII vet walked past with his wife one day who was absolutely amazed by my UM P-51. It turns out that he flew P-51s in WWII, and he thought that it was the coolest thing. The only time I have been kicked out of the parking lot is when the janitor of the building who uses the parking lot came out and told me to go until business hours were over. The only episode of someone being 'misinformed' is when a lady came up to me and asked 'Where do you get toys like that? WalMart?"
Nov 13, 2011, 08:19 AM
Registered User
ausf's Avatar
Originally Posted by carlsoti
Are you saying I've been flying unsafely?
No, not at all.

I was referring to both what Chill had mentioned as well as some things I've read here in the past about adding armaments to RC aircraft under the idea it was okay because it was 'on their land' etc. It's never okay in my opinion.

I also meant the unfortunate uninformed or stubborn novice who'll try to launch a large, fast plane with zero experience but a fat wallet.

All of these reflect on us. People won't remember the cool plane they saw flying at the park for more than a few minutes, but they'll tell the story they heard from a friend of a friend about a plane cracking a car window in a parking lot.
Nov 13, 2011, 09:29 AM
Registered User
Toysrme's Avatar
doesn't matter what you're doing provided:
1) not breaking sound ordinance
2) not flying into / hitting another person's property (in most states that does NOT count their airspace, and public right-of-way applies also. That means in most places in the US you've got 10'-15' from the road...)
3) not causing a distraction to drivers
4) not flying in a manner over/around people as to pose a danger to crashing into them

we on and off had a TON of flak from neighbors at our R/C field/club. from the trailer trash next door. went on for years. but the club owned all of our many acres of property and pre-dated them so in all cases they were just blowing smoke.

sherrifs were so accustomed to it over the years the LEO would send one of the same 2-3 guys regardless of where they were in a huge county and they'd just hang out with us. they wouldn't even park in the parking lot, they'd pass that & roll up beside our field shed so we could play with their radar guns on planes (this was in the 90's so it was a BIG deal LoL!) they'd hang out, get some food if we had any and leave.

our field had a pave runway, we had field markers well on our property (Large metal white poles) that were referenced by white angle stripes from each pilot box. (keep to the left of the line and don't fly over the pole = impossible to be off our property!) obviously at that time all planes were fuel at such a large club, but everyone had mufflers or pipes so... they knew we weren't off our property and the noise was never going to be loud...
Last edited by Toysrme; Nov 13, 2011 at 09:37 AM.
Nov 13, 2011, 09:41 AM
The Sweet Aroma of Fuel
electricrc68's Avatar
i fly my ultra micro planes at my high/middle school field and one day while i was flying a lady passes by and says "hey cool plane! did you build it?" and then the track team was running around the track (which is a couple hundred feet away from where i fly) and they didn't seem to mind either. so i guess im good for now.

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Can I post some event about R/C on this thread? WFLYRC Non R/C Items (FS/W) 4 Oct 20, 2011 07:39 PM
Discussion Victor Valley R/C Flyers "ELECTRIC FEST" Barry Built RC Flight Events 1 Sep 10, 2011 01:09 AM
Discussion General R/C question. S.Bartfast Radios 3 Aug 18, 2011 07:01 AM