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Drones and model aircraft in Bedwell Park

From: domainremoved <Bob>
Date: Sat, 10 Oct 2015 13:13:23 -0700

To the Mayor and City Council of Menlo Park,


I am writing to express my interest in your consideration of regulations for
drones and other unmanned aircraft at Bedwell Park. I began building flying
radio-controlled aircraft in 1973 when I was 13. This early experience led
to my degrees in aerospace engineering and a lifelong enjoyment of a hobby
that gave me technical training and contact with other community members
that share my interests. Over the years I have seen most of the hobbyist
flying sites in the Bay Area close for the same reasons that the advocates
of aircraft prohibition at Bedwell have cited, primarily annoyance with
noise and fear of injury.


I have flown at Bedwell a few times a year recently, and sites such as this
are not easy to come by. I would like to encourage the Council to allow
fliers to continue to use Bedwell responsibly. Recreational building and
flying is enjoyed by many of the citizens of Menlo Park and equal access to
a variety of activities is an important function of local parks. The hobby
is a valuable educational and social opportunity for young people, and it
encourages interest in engineering and technical careers.


There is no evidence of greater risks to park users from hobbyist flights
than from other park activities such as bicycling on walking paths and dog
walking. We should not ban dogs in local parks because of news stories of
occasional dog attacks, or because a few owners neglect to scoop their poop.
In the same way, the remote hazard of injury due to an improperly piloted
vehicle should not be cause for banning them in the few public parks such as
Bedwell where there is enough room for them to be flown safely. Across the
US, injury to bystanders by hobbyist aircraft is extremely rare, and
membership in the Academy of Model Aeronautics includes insurance coverage
for it.


Annoyance is a state of mind that can never be completely assuaged, but we
need to accommodate one another's pastimes to provide the best quality of
life for all of us. If necessary I would support regulations such as
altitude, noise, and weight limits, an AMA membership requirement, and
off-limits areas over the more heavily walked trails, though I believe these
are already observed by almost all fliers. In addition, I'm certain the
recent publicity will increase self-policing.


I cannot predict what the FAA will decide is appropriate from an air safety
standpoint. However, I strongly encourage you to eschew prohibition in
response to the preferences or unsubstantiated fears of a few park users or
in response to isolated events that make the news precisely because of their


Thank you,

Robert Clark






Received on Sat Oct 10 2015 - 13:15:13 PDT

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