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Remote controlled aircraft at Bayfront Park in Menlo Park

From: domainremoved <Kevin>
Date: Fri, 9 Oct 2015 13:41:10 -0700

Dear Menlo Park City Council Members,

I am a resident of Belmont, a model aircraft enthusiast, a member of
the Academy of Model Aeronautics, and a proponent of safe flying practices.
While I am not a resident of Menlo Park, I appreciate what the Bayfront
Park offers to our communities. I also appreciate the willingness of both
the Council and the community to consider a compromise that seeks both to
preserve the park's environment and its fulfill mission to serve the
community.

As radio controlled aircraft have gained in popularity, access to nearby
safe flying fields on the Peninsula has dwindled. After the closure of
Bayside R/C Club (Fremont) in 2010[1], the number of sanctioned Peninsula
flying fields that welcome many types of aircraft fell to zero, leading to
a rise in park flying at Bayfront and other community parks. Currently
operational (private) fields exist in Morgan Hill[2] and Half Moon Bay[3],
but the residents on the Peninsula have no sanctioned public or private
safe flying fields.

Prohibiting remote control aircraft activities at Bayfront will undoubtedly
lead to a less safe community for the following reasons:
 * Rather than cause a discontinuance of their hobby activities, the lack
of a safe flying field will cause hobbyists to practice on high school
football fields, playgrounds, parking lots, and other parks available to
them. This may increase hazards to many more areas, place additional
distributed enforcement responsibilities on officers, and increase risk
exposure to children. This impact reaches beyond the city limits of Menlo
Park and should be a concern for all surrounding areas.
 * The lack of a safe flying field in the region will prevent responsible
enthusiasts from mentoring beginners through safe flight operations, as
experienced members at flying fields have facilitated for decades. Reducing
availability of educational opportunities increases the number of untrained
and undisciplined hobbyists in our communities.
 * The lack of a safe flying field will prevent enthusiasts (both beginners
and experienced) to practice and improve their flying skills. Reducing the
availability of safe practice areas will limit the skill of hobbyists in
our communities, increasing the risk of accidents.

I encourage the Council to consider all the effects of their decision. It
is clear to me that prohibition or severe limitations on hobbyist
activities at Bayfront will:
 * decrease enforceability of laws that already exist,
 * decrease hobbyist education and safety
 * increase accident rates

I would like to register my support for creating a safe flying area at
Bayfront as described by Silas Kwok in the Mercury News[4]:
"Kwok said he is part of 'an informal group' of about 20 hobbyists who are
crafting potential rules for the park that would increase that distance to
100 feet. The group also suggests crafts weigh no more than 10 pounds, no
model exceed 80 decibels, no craft be flown around trees and that each UAV
user pay $100 a year for a permit. The hobbyists are seeking a specific
area of the park to call their own and say they are open to specific times
and days of operation."

Thank you for engaging with the community and seeking a safe, inclusive
solution.

Best Regards,
Kevin Hunt

1 - http://www.baysidercclub.com/club-info/
2 - http://www.sccmas.org/
3 - http://www.flypcc.org/
4 -
http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_28939049/menlo-park:-flights-may-be-cancelled-at-bedwell-bayfront-park
Received on Wed Oct 14 2015 - 15:31:48 PDT

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