Would you allow people to fly your plane remotely via a web service for a fee?

On Sun, 20 May 2007 05:40:54 -0600, Jennifer Smith


Seems like this idea would be better implemented on a R/C tank battle set-up. Anyway, I'm off to the field for some real flying...
David
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wrote:

I think it's a very creative and interesting idea, despite the possibly insurmountable problems as outlined by others.
I don't think anybody mentioned that an audio feed would be necessary, especially in the case of glow or gas models. Preferably stereo, and of the highest possible quality. Dave
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| Hi, | | I've been thinking of a web 2.0 startup that would pair up people with | model airplanes with people who would like to fly them remotely via | the web from the comfort of their homes. | | A video camera would transmit live video from the plane and/or the | ground. | | The owner of the plane would be responsible for the safety of the | plane. If flight inputs coming in via the web put the plane in danger, | then the owner can override them temporarily. | | Flight inputs may come in from one person or a combination of people | via some voting mechanism. Users who would like more control over the | plane would pay more. | | Has anyone done something like this before? | | Would you allow people to fly your plane remotely via such a web | service for a fee? | | Amir
Hope you have good insurance in case some person is hurt or you cause property damage. If you are an AMA member I doubt that their insurance would cover it. You are only allowed one demo flight using a buddy box. Otherwise the person must be enrolled in a training program with ground school. Read the safety rules. If you aren't an AMA member, shame on you! ;=}
--
Jarhead



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wrote:

Why would anybody want to join an org with such dippy rules and restrictions? No wonder the membership numbers are stagnant while aeromodeling is growing at a good pace.
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| wrote: | | >Hope you have good insurance in case some person is hurt or you cause | >property damage. If you are an AMA member I doubt that their insurance | >would cover it. You are only allowed one demo flight using a buddy box. | >Otherwise the person must be enrolled in a training program with ground | >school. Read the safety rules. If you aren't an AMA member, shame on | >you! ;=} | | Why would anybody want to join an org with such dippy rules and | restrictions? No wonder the membership numbers are stagnant while | aeromodeling is growing at a good pace.
It is worth the money just for the insurance provided. Also, our field requires AMA membership for that reason alone. Over the years I have witnessed several accidents that went into the thousands of $$$$ damage. In one case a guy lost control of his plane and did close to $3,000.00 damage to a motorhome. AMA insurance picks up after your homeowners coverage (if you have it). In another case a guy put one through the roof of the house with a lot of damage.
--
Jarhead



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|
| | Why would anybody want to join an org with such dippy rules and | | restrictions?
#1 reason: because they have to, to fly at the local AMA field.
| | No wonder the membership numbers are stagnant while | | aeromodeling is growing at a good pace.
That's hardly the AMA's fault. It was stroke of genius for them to offer insurance as a part of their membership, and this made their membership grow greatly. But now that technology has advanced to allow flying at many more non-formal fields, what the AMA offers (to the individual, anyways) is needed by a smaller and smaller percentage of the hobby.
It really has little to do with `dippy rules and restrictions' -- most people don't really care. They care about that $58/year, but that's the price of flying at their field, so they pay.
| It is worth the money just for the insurance provided. Also, our field | requires AMA membership for that reason alone.
Your field and lots of others. Like I said, a stroke of genius on their part, with the goal being to increase the size (and therefore influence) of the AMA.
| Over the years I have witnessed several accidents that went into the | thousands of $$$$ damage. In one case a guy lost control of his | plane and did close to $3,000.00 damage to a motorhome. AMA | insurance picks up after your homeowners coverage (if you have | it). In another case a guy put one through the roof of the house | with a lot of damage.
And none of these accidents are likely to cause anywhere near enough damage to exhaust primary insurance policies, unless there is no primary insurance at all.
Really, unless somebody isn't covered by another form of insurance (homeowners, renters, etc.), the only way the AMA is likely to pay a claim (I'm talking about the coverage offered to AMA members here, not AMA clubs -- that's a different beast) is if somebody is hurt. Otherwise, the damage caused isn't likely to be enough. Sure, it's possible that your jet hit a house and burned it down, but that's incredibly unlikely.
But $3000 damage to a motorhome? That's cheap. It could be 100x that if it hit somebody -- that's what the AMA insurance is really for.
--
Doug McLaren, snipped-for-privacy@frenzied.us
"Madness is rare in individuals, but in groups, parties, nations and
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Doug McLaren wrote:

Which proves once again the old adage that once an organization reaches a certain size or age its sole purpose is self preservation.
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| Doug McLaren wrote: | | > Your field and lots of others. Like I said, a stroke of genius on | > their part, with the goal being to increase the size (and therefore | > influence) of the AMA. | | Which proves once again the old adage that once an organization reaches | a certain size or age its sole purpose is self preservation.
It proves no such thing. It's just my opinion.
And even assuming that the AMA started offering insurance with the express intention of setting their clubs up to require it to fly there and this was all done with the goal of increasing their membership (and I've no idea if this is true, though it would be reasonable), then that doesn't prove or even suggest that the AMA's sole purpose is it's own self preservation. (It's not even clear that simply increasing it's membership even contributes to it's self preservation.)
A large organization does need to have self preservation as a goal, yes -- otherwise it probably won't survive. So it's an important goal. Perhaps people even lose sight of other goals pursuing that one. But *sole* goal? I think that pretty much only exists in the minds of people who don't like the organization.
--
Doug McLaren, snipped-for-privacy@frenzied.us
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character,
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On 22 May 2007 18:19:16 GMT, "Doug McLaren"

Maybe 'overriding' purpose is better?
There may be some that don't like the organization. I know firsthand there are some that don't care for its leadership, or lack thereof.
Abel
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Abel Pranger wrote:

Good choice of words. "Overriding" is a much better adjective in this case. I don't particularly disagree with their leadership, or any lack of leadership. What I don't like is the immediate knee-jerk association between AMA and aeromodeling in general. It reminds me of playing the saxophone. I don't play jazz, I'm more of a blues guy. But somehow the saxophone has been associated with jazz to the extent that in most people's minds "play saxophone" means "play jazz", even though jazz players don't constitute a clear majority of working saxophone players. I know, that's a far-fetched analogy, but it makes sense to me because the same universality is attributed to the AMA for some reason. I just find it irritating that people pay such deference to a dinosaur organization that has maneuvered itself into a position to be paid $58 annually by millions of modelers, for a crappy magazine and $6 worth of insurance that we wouldn't even notice if it was gone.
I'm starting a business, and I plan to start a few more in years to come. My overriding purpose is to produce something that people want badly enough to pay me for it, not just to hook people in through clever maneuvering.
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| I know, that's a far-fetched analogy, but it makes sense to me because | the same universality is attributed to the AMA for some reason.
Only by those who don't know better.
| I just find it irritating that people pay such deference to a | dinosaur organization that has maneuvered itself into a position to | be paid $58 annually by millions of modelers
In 2003, the AMA's membership was 175,000 members. Presumably a significant portion of those 175,000 don't pay the full $58/year, either due to being minors, or senior citizens, or whatever other discounts are offered.
| for a crappy magazine and $6 worth of | insurance that we wouldn't even notice if it was gone.
Out of curiosity, where did your the $6 figure come from?
| I'm starting a business, and I plan to start a few more in years to | come. My overriding purpose is to produce something that people | want badly enough to pay me for it, not just to hook people in | through clever maneuvering.
I suspect that the AMA feels they're providing something that people want badly enough to pay for too.
--
Doug McLaren, snipped-for-privacy@frenzied.us
Underneath this flabby exterior is an enormous lack of character.
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Doug McLaren wrote:

I have a friend who enjoys researching legal cases, actuary tables, statutes, county records, etc. He's the same guy who lobbied the local park officials to grant flying permits to people with no AMA cards. I generally have a lot of respect for his information. He's one of those guys who knows how much it would cost you to get a million dollar liability rider on your homeowners insurance. I also met an insurance guy a while back at a blues club who told me it was closer to $4 worth of insurance. You may not like my sources, but it's a lot closer to "under $10" than it is to $50.

You're probably right, but I suspect that most people pay for it only because they believe that they have to.
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| Doug McLaren wrote: | | > | for a crappy magazine and $6 worth of | > | insurance that we wouldn't even notice if it was gone. | > | > Out of curiosity, where did your the $6 figure come from? | | You may not like my sources, but it's a lot closer to | "under $10" than it is to $50.
Well, nobody ever said all $58 went to insurance.
In any event, there's no need to guess. Here's the payouts for 2006 --
http://www.modelaircraft.org/PDF-files/500-C.pdf
$1.5 million, or about $8.35/member. 2005 figures were similar --
http://www.modelaircraft.org/PDF-files/500-D.pdf
And looking at their 2006 financial statement ...
They took in $7.6 M in memberships. $234K in club charter fees.
For expenses, MA was $2M, and brought in about $1M in advertising and subscriptions. So that works out to about $5/member, though not all members get the magazine.
If I'm reading this right, they paid $1.2M for membership insurance in 2006. I don't know how that relates to the $1.5M figure given above.
If you are an AMA member, you can view the whole thing at http://www.modelaircraft.org/MembersOnly/Default.aspx
(The 175,000 members in 2003 figure came from a AMA BPL FCC filing. They don't seem to advertise just how many members they have very often, but I doubt it's changed much since then. I imagine I could work it out exactly from the financial report, as they do give revenue from each membership class, but it's not worth the effort -- it's obviously still close to 175K.)
The magazine isn't crappy. It's mediocre, granted, but not really crappy.
| > I suspect that the AMA feels they're providing something that people | > want badly enough to pay for too. | | You're probably right, but I suspect that most people pay for it only | because they believe that they have to.
I doubt many people pay for it just because they feel they need an `AMA license' to fly their plane at the local park. However, if the local park or flying field *requires* AMA membership, then I'd say that they really do `have to' join (or not fly, of course.)
Perhaps the rules could be changed so that AMA membership isn't required, and insurance can be provided in other ways, but that sort of change tends to be difficult to push through. Not impossible, but difficult.
The AMA does do good things for the hobby. When dealing the FCC and FAA (or the government as a whole), they're pretty much seen as the voice of the hobby, for example, and they seem to try and take care of everybody as well as possible.
I'm not saying they're perfect, or they don't have some `pork' in their budget (really, how many millions were spent on the Muncie facility?), but they're not the enemy either.
--
Doug McLaren, snipped-for-privacy@frenzied.us
Communicating with aliens via the `fire' button
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| Communicating with aliens via the `fire' button |
One thing the AMA has done, and I failed to mention in my previous post, is to lobby and work with the FCC for our radio frequencies. Without the AMA we may not have kept those frequencies from the Crane and other services. True, Spread Spectrum is here, and if I were to fly in a non frequency controlled environment, I would be definitely using it.
--
Jarhead



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Doug McLaren wrote:

It's just a case of maintaining the status quo for no particular reason. There's almost always a better way to do things.
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"Doug McLaren" > wrote

Hard to prove that they have adeqate insurance. If the AMA is required, it is way easy to have a person show a card, and all questions are answered.

They are around, watching our back, so to speak. Sad to say that it is necessary.
--
Jim in NC



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Morgans wrote:

Fortunately, there are a lot of guys who don't always look for the "easy way" to do everything. Ambitious people acquire new flying sites, coordinate events, raise funds for improvements, etc. It wouldn't be too great of a leap to do something different and talk to a local insurance agent about coverage for a flying club and its members. Model airplanes are a named risk covered by standard insurance policies for homeowners all over the USA. Our insurance companies are already covering us for flying model planes.
I'd really like to work on this issue some time in the future. I'm going to be moving to a new area soon, and I don't know if I'll be looking for a place to fly with other people, or if I'll just be able to walk out my back door to fly. If it becomes an issue for me I'll be very interested in exploring my options for insurance. Your "easy" verification costs $58 for every member, which is a lot of money when you add it all up. How much does a club pay on top of that for the privilege of being an AMA chartered club?
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The hidden answer to this is not insurance for the individual pilot, rather insurance for the club. What is not obvious in that is the insurance FOR the club is provided TO THE LANDOWNER (as part of the club charter fee) and in effect even if an AMA member violates every single safety rule we have. In short, 'we' create environments that attract spectators and risk takers by the nature of our hobby. Some of those risk takers welcome much more risk than you or I and the landowner needs the coverage even if you don't. If the landowners were not insured, I suspect that the existence of 99% of our 2400+- clubs would be ended.
While you may not like the cost, the management, or the stipulations involved in AMA membership it should be clear that there is lasting real value. I know that I am seriously displeased with at least 2 of the aforementioned items, but I still think the AMA is the absolute best thing going and needs our support and occasional kick in the pants.
Jim Branaum AMA 1428
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Six_O'Clock_High wrote:

Yes, that's the point. All of us who own homes, which is probably most of us, are already covered by our homeowners policies. The idea is to talk to a real insurance agent about getting a liability policy for a flying site, to cover the owner of the property. Presumably the biggest risk is that a passing motorist would be hit by a plane and sue the guy who allowed the flying, rather than sue the individual pilot. Realistically, the greatest danger is assumed by those involved with RC at the flying site, but any landowner would want to be covered as well.

If it's the best thing going it's only because it's the ONLY thing going. It couldn't hurt to get something else going. Competition is a good thing. Sport Flyers Association put together an insurance package for cheap. It was just as easy as AMA, and it didn't cost as much to be a member. Their biggest mistake was to tie the whole thing together in one unit that was susceptible to lawsuits. Why don't people think outside the box and do things locally? Your club could have its own site with its own insurance policy. An AMA chartered club with 20 members pays over $1200 yearly in dues. Surely this wouldn't be hard to beat.
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SNIP
Sorry, on that one point you are wrong. It turns out that no matter how you look at it, the AMA did right. It offends me when anyone I do business with sells my information to another and the SFA not only wanted that information from the AMA, they wanted it for free and thought they had a right to it and tried to get the courts to buy into that fallacy. That turned out to have been one of the worst investments the SFA could have ever made because they lost and then they lost again by not being ready or able to pay the costs of the litigation they started. When I heard what the original action was over, I began to change my views. After that my main beef with the second action was that the AMA spent lots of my dues dollars on lawyer fees. Then I found out what it was for and I began to realize that the AMA took what any reasonable business man would call the proper fiduciary action to protect the membership from potential fraud and then to recover the costs of that action.
The biggest mistake SFA made was to sue the AMA in an attempt to get the courts to order our organization to release our names and contact information so they could market to us. They lost that suit just as they lost the suit AMA filed to recover the legal costs taken from the membership to pay for the first lawsuit. Please read that again carefully because there are several implied "gotcha's " in it that slip under the radar screen when we talk about stupid things the AMA has done and assume this was one. In this particular case I have had to eat shoe leather more than once because I had the same opinion as almost everyone else.
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