We do indeed live in a small world and with modern communication it continues to get smaller. Just the other day one of the NRHSA Board of Directors, Ryan Raffuse, Anchorage House of Hobbies, authored a Facebook post where I felt he was presenting an agenda against his local council for wanting to impose a city-wide ordinance regulating drone use and flying over private property. In his post Ryan cited the one inch rule used by the Federal Aviation Administration, suggesting the city of Anchorage, Alaska could not regulate airspace currently under the authority of the Federal Government.
Ryan and I have always been able to carry on an adult conversation and I sent a private message to Ryan mentioning I understood his desire to promote, while at the same time wanting to protect our hobby, against more needless regulation, but the citizens of Anchorage were also protected by a reasonable expectation of privacy. Ryan’s response was he was only posting information, he didn’t realize it came out as agenda, but after reading his post again he added a sentence regarding the all important—over private property with permission.
Ryan and I shared an informative conversation for an extended period of time. We exchanged ideas, I for example stated I really don’t mind if one of the neighborhood kids flies a drone over our house. I want to see an interest in the hobby grow and nurtured, yet at the same time, suggested that with the need to educate participants, where do we start to draw the line? At what point did I walk over to the parents and say, “enough is enough.”
Ryan’s stance was he was trying to educate and sway local public opinion. He mentioned in Anchorage there was a misconception about drones, and like always it was propagated by the lack of understanding and the only exposure to the devices from generally negative television segments. As we chatted back and forth we agreed that every situation where drone use was being questioned would be on an individual basis and that many situations could even be expected to change from day to day. What one individual thought to be acceptable may boil his neighbor’s blood. We also agreed that the same problems faced in Alaska are identical to the problems we are currently facing in Florida -- even after some of our local ordinances were challenged and overturned. Once again education is the only way to begin making progress with anyone who continues to question the validity of these devices.
What is so amazing, at least to me, is Ryan’s store, Anchorage House of Hobbies, is 5000 miles from where I am located, yet we are facing the exact same challenges. And not only is it us, but every single dealer of these products is facing the same challenges. It doesn’t matter if the conversation involves Pacific Coast Hobbies in California, or RC Excitement in Massachusetts, the conversation is always the same. Uninformed community governments enacting laws fueled by a public whose only knowledge of these products is based on sensationalized reporting.
The point is that never before in the history of hobbies has the opportunity for dealers to band together in support of each other and the entire industry existed. NRHSA was founded on this principle, and this is a perfect example of why standing a common ground is necessary. Add to this the combined support of the HMA and AMA along with NRHSA and a lot of weight can be tossed into the ring when it comes to dealing with local government. Think about it.
Until next month,