Having to attend a short online training course about what the rules are and to stay away from people and out of the airspace of manned aircraft seems pretty reasonable, and perhaps necessary given the growing number of drone accidents in the recent past https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_UAV-related_incidents
* edit: the HN title has been changed for the better. To clarify for anyone reading this now, my comment was referring to the previous HN title: “Effective Immediately: You need a drone license before you fly in the US”
As I understood it, small unmanned aircraft flown for hobby or recreational use had long been excluded from the full authority of the FAA (except for some basic rules for respecting the airspace of manned aircraft), or the need for a pilot's license. They were essentially treated like RC airplanes, which of course have not required a pilot's license to operate, albeit with some of those basic rules (I believe the AMA was involved in establishing some of those guidelines).
Of course, when drones became more popular, there was a lot of misunderstanding when it came to the interpretation of current regulations (e.g., line-of-sight operation vs FPV), and it was debatable whether or not the FAA even had the authority to regulate the operation of small hobby aircraft, including drones. Commercial operation was and still is clearly regulated by the FAA and requires a license.
Basically, what I'm saying is that in this category of aircraft (for recreational use), the FAA has become more involved and restrictive over the past few years, not less so. In my opinion, that's generally been a good thing (some people do foolish things with drones), but the regulation should also be balanced in maintaining some of those reasonable freedoms of operation.
That must have been a rather large drone (or maybe what you mean is "fly a drone near an airport or city") since you don't even need a pilot's license to fly small planes in the US.
Ultralights are governed by Part 103 and limited to: single-seat, day-only, VFR-only, weighing less than 254 pounds, carrying 5 US gallons or less, and having a top speed of not more than 55 knots [calibrated].
* - Technically "certificate", but practically the same.
The bigger issue is that drone pilots have no skin in the game. If they cause an mid air collision resulting in fatalities: opsie daisy!
for everyone else the result is usually a lot of sobbing.
that doesn't mean they're not blase about taking risks ahead of time. but that's more because they misevaluate the risk, and can't clearly imagine the negative outcomes.
"Is used or intended to be used for manned operation in the air by a single occupant;"
Since it sounds like you're doing so with the specific intention to use it as an unmanned craft, the Part 103 rules would not apply (and would not permit it). (The law is “is” rather than “was originally built to be”.)
Gun safety is the point, not marksmanship.
In this case the point is safe drone use. There have been incidents of people flying drones in controlled airspace around airports, which is dangerous. The FAA doesn't give a shit about some dude and his drone, they care about the safety of the general public. A simple course like this will cut down on the number of people doing things that endanger others.
“Unable to hit the broad side of a barn” (American aphorism) isn’t a miss, it’s functional/cognitive inability to abide by safety rules.
Hoping that the class included that nugget of wisdom. That being said, being wildly inaccurate with a hunting rifle isn't usually a problem, especially if the sights are calibrated correctly. A handgun however, is pretty dangerous when you don't know how to aim it.
Isn't "be aware of what's behind your target" one of the rules of gun safety?
There are places on my property I could use for inexperienced shooters, and those would be different from places I could use.
My friend brings people to his family’s gravel pit for that reason - huge “walls” when you’re in the pit.
The point of laws are to give guidance to know what is/isn't allowed, and to allow for punishiment when broken.
As for the actual shooting education... I mean, I think I care more about someone being safe with a gun than I care about them being a good shot. Missing the side of the barn matters less than making sure someone's not standing next to the barn when you are shooting.
That said, I stand by my suggestion that an inability to hit a standard sheet of paper at 5 yards with a training rifle is bad enough to qualify as a safety issue. Doing the math here, these people would be unable to hit a 60' target at typical deer ranges in my state. You can't be sure of your target and what's behind it at that point, and that's one of the 4 fundamental rules of gun safety. You should be measuring your ability to hit the vital organs of an animal in a low number of minutes of angle - so we're talking INCHES at the same ranges. If you can't do that you have no business hunting. If you're off by 60' you're just plain being reckless.
That said, methinks this FAA training is abusing rent-seeking to harass & discourage small drone use (just as most legally obligated “gun safety” courses are designed to hinder ownership via imposing undue cost & time burdens).
Firing a weapon inaccurately in the correct general direction isn't high risk, this isn't how people get hurt in hunting accidents. You shouldn't even have your rifle up (let alone firing) at all unless you have a clear idea of what will happen when you miss, and a good view of the field.
I doubt the licensing body gives any thought to your probability of a successful hunt.
>I'm not sure how you can say that you can fire a gun safely when you're that inaccurate, but that's my point
The NYPD probably has a well practiced answer to this question.
If it happens a few people cannot operate domestic lawnmowers correctly and chase crowds down with them out of acts of terrorism because they slip a gasket, should we have licenses, certifications, and tracking of all lawnmowers? Is that a "no-brainer" too? Maybe we should think first before trying to regulate or educate ourselves out of every edge-case risk.
And the reality is that drone testing and licensing isn't based on hypothetical risks, but real world incidents which have disrupted public safety and caused injuries. So if you have sources for lawnmowers threatening the public safety and injuring anyone outside the owners' household, let me know.
You haven't seen "The Lawnmower Man?" Carry or swing a running lawnmower upside down through a dense crowd, and it will injure many people.
There's also awareness of where you can and cannot operate drones and people should know this. You are after all occupying air space. If drones could only fly up 30 feet it would be a different story but they can go quite far. People fly them over protected airspace, crash them in random places... Last thing you want is people flying them over airports, over busy streets or highways where they can crash into planes, get sucked in to engines, crash into cars and cause accidents, etc etc...
They're not asking people to take hundreds of hours of flight to get certified, just a short awareness course for those who have no common sense... You don't need to blow a gasket to have a drone accident. It's not like drones are crash proof and all aware of airspace restrictions. Just don't want to have accidents in places that can affect others or have people fly them into places that will automatically trigger an emergency responses and disrupt operations and waste time and money... Like a drone over an airport where they'll dispatch security to take down the drone and interrupt all flights taking off or landing. Thats a LOT of money for one person's ignorance or stupidity.
I'm all for freedom as long as your 10 minutes of good times don't cost others a ton of money and the reality is there's a ton that can go wrong even with no intent on doing anything wrong.
My coworkers were recently pontificating about how "not for sale in California" is practically a marketable feature on anything with a blade or engine after one of them suffered the misfortune of buying one.
Most everything safety can be disabled if you really want, but anyone pontificating about CA compliant emissions on small power equipment can go sit with the coal-rollers as far as im concerned.
Edit: to stay on topic, if people start getting frequently maimed by drones then I'd expect to see some crazy CPSC action like an altitude safety switch or something...
From what I understand these FAA rules apply even if i am operating a drone in my back yard.
Further navigable airspace under current regulations starts at 500feet above ground or structures
Edit: I am rate limited but a comment below claims KY does not allow hunting with out a license, yet Offical KY government web sites says you can
"if you are a Kentucky resident hunting on your own property, then neither you, your spouse nor your dependent children need a license or statewide deer permit to harvest a deer. "
This is the regulations I am aware for most states, if you are on your own private land you do not need a license to hunt and fish
A land owner is free to hunt, fish, etc on their own land with no license in my state
IMO it is clear unconstitutional taking for the FAA to seize ownership of all the air above my property, with out limit
Say people just start launching rockets and drones literally anywhere, at any time... How are flight paths supposed to be know ahead of time to avoid collisions? With 45,000ish DAILY commercial flights handled by the FAA, almost 20,000 airports in the US, how exactly do you think you can safely co-exist without catastrophes if people can just start putting stuff up there?
My reaction to this whole "unconstitutional" rebuttal to everything in the US is literally jaw dropping, confused, and wtf... If you're smart enough to not do something stupid, or not put yourself in a position to make mistakes that affect others, thats great. Good for you. There's 350 million other peeps just in your neck of the woods and I can guarantee you that same innate sense of logic and common sense doesn't apply to everyone else. When a stupid move can put the lives of 100s of others at risk, or cost a ton of money every time they need to intervene, I'm not sure you get to just throw around "me myself and I and my constitution" and actually come out not sounding like a 1 year old throwing a tantrum because he's told to not wipe poop on everything and everyone.
How many hundreds of millions or billions would have to be wasted in downtime, planes crashes, car crashes, lives lost, random injuries, before we ask people to do the equivalent of reading the dumb ass common sense instructions that came with the toy that is way more than a toy?
Well the constitution is where the Government derives is power from, I know it is a concept most people (even US Citizens to not ) understand. The Constitution is a document that explicitly outlines what the government can do, if the constitution does not grant the authority than the government has no power over that thing.
This is far different than most government organization where constitutions apply more to the people not the government, meaning the constitutions in many nations assume the government is all powerful and simply grants some rights to the people for which the government is barred from infringing.
This is not true for the US, as the founder of the US recognize that our Rights are natural rights bestowed upon us by our creator, we are self governing for which we organized a government and granted that government a very LIMITED amount of power.
>>Say people just start launching rockets and drones literally anywhere, at any time... How are flight paths supposed to be know ahead of time to avoid collisions? With 45,000ish DAILY commercial flights handled by the FAA, almost 20,000 airports in the US, how exactly do you think you can safely co-exist without catastrophes if people can just start putting stuff up there?
That is easy, as my other comments have laid out I am talking about low altitude situation, not many planes under 100ft or even 500 feet, there should be no issue with the FAA only regulating things above say 500ft
>>the one in a million chance that you're flying your drone high enough to impact a plane or helicopter exists.
So 1:1,000,000 is the statistical floor for you? You might want to rethink that because if that is your risk tolerance that more or less makes everything illegal. Hopefully you have at least some respect for freedom, and are not a complete totalitarian, pretty sure you said in another comment "you are all for freedom" but if you want to outlaw everything that has a 1:1,000,000 chance of unsafe event well I dont think you have any respect for freedom at all
Maybe it shouldn't. Ground vehicles need to purchase land to operate, maybe planes needn't have right of way over private property.
> I'm not sure you get to just throw around "me myself and I and my constitution"
You absolutely get to. Planes are operated at profit - "me, myself an I" for a private corporation.
In any case, it's an area that certainly needs much greater clarity than there is today.
The Supreme Court in UNITED STATES v. CAUSBY says "The landowner owns at least as much of the space above the ground as the can occupy or use in connection with the land" They say nothing about structures being the only use, in fact they implicitly say in the ruling "The fact that he does not occupy it in a physical sense—by the erection of buildings and the like—is not material."
In that case the Supreme Court held that a plane flying at an altitude of 83ft violated the property rights of the land owner. It should not be much of a stretch to then claim the FAA regulating my use of airspace 0-83ft is an unconstitutional taking.
Even today I believe the FAA Navigable Airspace starts at 500ft above ground elevation.
It would be an interesting case if ever made it to the supreme court, I dont think the FAA's position is as strong as you believe it to be
Your post seems to have the connotation of a "guilty until proven innocent" type of world view, where I must prove that I would not be a danger to others or would not fly a drone outside of my own back yard
That is not what I would consider a free society, I do not need to prove I will refrain from harming others in order to engage in a transaction to buy something, there are all kinds of every day products that could be (and have been) used in very violent ways, we do not have regulations on their sale.
In a free society a government needs a clear, articulable reasonable suspicion that an individual is going to cause harm to others. Not just a general suspicion that someone somewhere may cause harm. An application of general suspicion would not be a free society but rather an extremely Authoritarian society
Am I literally walking through federal airspace right now?
The U.S. Constitution is pretty explicit about physical space that is allocated to the federal government and the reasons (post offices and post roads, military installations, and that's about it), so laying claim to every square inch of "air" above that land seems to be quite a stretch.
This issue has been settled for quite some time in US law. The main grey areas that exist are debates over what sorts of exceptions should be made for reasonable use of UAV/drones at low altitudes.
Would flying a drone indoors require permission from FAA? What about a daredevil jump on a motorcycle?
As for airborne ground vehicles - it's difficult to imagine a situation where it would legitimately be a concern, which is why it's a grey area :)
That does mean technically that if you're flying a drone indoors, the legality depends on how wide you open the windows.
In some states the Captain’s fishing license will cover everyone on board for most types of fishing (including sharks) in state waters, except certain Tuna IIRC based on federal laws/permits.
There'd be virtually no checks/enforcement though. I have flown thousands of times and never been chased up over anything. I know 10+ commercial drone operators and only one of them has ever been queried about his flying, and that was by marine parks authorities because they thought he'd flown in a conservation area (he knew the area very well and was a couple of metres outside it...).
I don't know the requirements for operating a nuclear reactor, but here's the requirements to operate a water treatment plant:
* A degree in engineering, environmental engineering, chemistry, physics from an accredited school.
* Pass a licensing exam
* For operating larger plants, a minimum of X years experience working at smaller plants first.
* After getting your license, you're required to have N hours of continuing education requirements before you can renew your license. Something like 10 hours / year.
It was genuinely helpful to understand the regulations and the multiple choice test was easy. It did not however create a certificate so I did a pdf screenshot to save on gdrive in case I need it sometime later.
1. I recently moved and now have a sizable chunk of land attached to a much larger sized chunk of city-owned land which includes a huge open field. Seems like the perfect place to fly a drone. Will it be fun doing this or is this a thing that I would get bored from shortly after dropping serious money on it?
2. Are drones that follow you any good? Would love to do a video of myself riding a motorcycle while a drone follows me.
3. Any recommendations for a good beginner drone that isn’t $1000?
They don't have all the fancy stabilization and idiot proofing that you might get with a dji style drone, these drone types came more from the RC/Racing community.
More training and harsher penalties need to be proportional to the amount of damage recreational flyers can do.
For obvious reasons, we can't hang warning signs in the air.
I have my doubts that a license will prevent people from doing stupid things, but that is (at least part of) the reasoning for having a license - so the government can say "told you so".
It's on par with immigration forms asking you if you're planning to be a terrorist. It's a useless question, but it establishes a paper trail that somebody has told you not to do that.
It's like rooted in Lambert v. California, which stated that you can't convict a person of violating a law if there was no probability they could've know the law existed. A question, or a sign, or a license establishes that there is a probability.
"No drones, no dogs, and no bikes. Those are the posted rules in the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach." https://laist.com/news/climate-environment/after-thousands-o...
Indeed, licences won't stop stupidity but they do help establish penalties.
How will requiring people to take a 30 minute class "destroy the sport"?
The course is very simple but basically a reminder of the rules. Now potential violaters are more aware of it. Combine that with real consequences - and the number of idiots flying close to airports or peoples bedrooms will get lower.
Twice now I've had drones flying over my house with the operators nowhere to be found. I wouldn't mind so much if I could find the operator and ask them not to fly over my house but I can't. That's the fundamental problem with drone: the asymmetry.
I'd stop flying over your place, but I have friends who would laugh and tell you to pound sand - then they'd fly over your place a few more times for fun.
Remote ID won't solve this either, it doesn't apply to drones <250g. You're going to have to just deal with it.
A landowner in the United States owns the air space above their land up to the height that the FAA has classified as Navigable Airspace in that area, generally either 500ft or 1000ft. Flying over someone’s property below that height is trespassing, and after a good faith effort to identify the trespasser and inform them to stop trespassing, the landowner is entitled to destroy the drone (for example with buckshot) or report the trespassing to the police for investigation.
> the landowner is entitled to destroy the drone (for example with buckshot) or report the trespassing to the police for investigation.
> But today the FAA in response to my questioning confirmed that shooting down a drone is a federal crime and cited 18 USC 32. That statute makes it a felony to damage or destroy an aircraft.
> the statute also prohibits interfering with anyone "engaged in the authorized operation of such aircraft" and carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. Since drones are considered aircraft, threatening a drone or a drone operator, according to Ms. Alkalay, would also be a federal crime subject to five years in prison under this same statute.
> Amendments to 18 U.S.C. § 32 enacted in 1984 expand United States jurisdiction over aircraft sabotage to include destruction of any aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States or any civil aircraft used, operated or employed in interstate, overseas, or foreign air commerce.
The special aircraft jurisdiction in question requires the aircraft to be “in flight”, where the definition of “in flight” oddly enough depends on the aircraft having “doors”.
A plain reading of the statute indicates that it does not apply to unmanned aircraft unless they are engaged in interstate commerce. But I am not a lawyer.
> engaged in the authorized operation of such aircraft
Perpetrating a crime like criminal trespass or harassment is by definition not an authorized operation of any aircraft.
An FAA advisory on the topic  claims broad authority to supersede local regulation, but is careful to refer only to “navigable airspace”, and notes that
> Laws traditionally related to state and local police power – including land use, zoning, privacy, trespass, and law enforcement operations – generally are not subject to federal regulation.
I should have been more careful in my wording in the above comment. What you can and cannot do to a trespassing unmanned drone operating below the navigable airspace ceiling on your property is going to depend on the applicable state and local laws. For example, most municipalities have laws against use of firearms within city limits.
> Keep your drone within sight. If you use First Person View or similar technology, you must have a visual observer always keep your drone within unaided sight (for example, no binoculars).
> The drone operator is operating within the law
No. I checked and the law is that they must be within line-of-sight. These two drone were both flying all over a residential neighborhood and the operators aren't in line-of-sight.
> you do not have a right to talk to them.
That makes no sense. Of course I have a right to talk to anyone.
> I have friends who would laugh and tell you to pound sand - then they'd fly over your place a few more times for fun.
Then we would have a serious problem.
> You're going to have to just deal with it.
No one wants that.
But I don't see how this would work for me in the situation I described. Would I call the police or the FAA or what?
> Remote ID helps the FAA, law enforcement, and other federal agencies find the control station when a drone appears to be flying in an unsafe manner or where it is not allowed to fly.
> Authorized individuals from public safety organizations may request identity of the drone's owner from the FAA.
Just like if there is other suspected illegal activity, you contact the branch of gov't that handles it and not involve yourself. If you see someone speeding, it's not legal to speed to catch them. You call the cops and let them deal with it.
Personally I don't see this working at all, or at least won't have much of an effect. Most drone pilots aren't sitting there for hours in the same place waiting to get caught, especially if they are knowingly doing something bad. They usually fly for 15-30 minutes and go somewhere else. By the time the cops/faa get to you, the drone, pilot and all their "remote id" data are long gone. In a lot of major US cities, cops aren't even responding to anything but the most serious of crimes due to budget cuts and personnel shortages. I don't see how they will even have the time to follow up given the list of priorities they have, maybe unless the report included a weapon mounted on the drone (which has happened). And people intent on breaking the law just won't register or get a drone with Remote ID anyway. They'd build their own (it's a fun hobby and how all this drone stuff got started to begin with - the first ones just used arduinos with appropriate sensors [see ardupilot project]) or use some of the millions already in existence built in the last 15 years that don't have the capability.
Both of these drones were flown multiple times (five or six times per month) over dense residential areas. I doubt these folks were serious scoff-laws, just inconsiderate. Like I said, I wouldn't mind so much if I could see and talk to the operators. I like drones and I have seven or eight myself.
The regulations were super confusing. I even had cop sending me an email in case I ever needed anything, but I'm pretty sure at the time I wasn't really supposed to be flying because I didn't have a license. Regardless, regulations were ridiculously confusing so it's nice to see some clarity after all these years.
Prior to TRUST, you did NOT need a license to fly any drones for recreational purposes.
The FAA has had Part 107 in place for a while, which is a drone license, but only needed if you fly drones for commercial purposes.
Now we have both. Part 107 for commercial drone flying. TRUST for recreational drone flying. I'm not opposed to either, and given that the TRUST test is very easy, I don't see any downside.
How many legal AR-15 owners are shooting at airplanes? How many drone “pilots” have interfered with air traffic? Drone incursions are a very big deal. Not a single case I have ever heard of in the US where an AR-15 has brought down an airplane.
How many decades were R/C planes and helicopters operating without a problem? Instead of police work, it's collective punishment with privacy invasion and barriers as the answer to salve MIC-generated paranoia. Firearms aren't even tracked this absurdly.
They are simply not comparable to the drones that are being sold nowadays. 30, 40 years ago, RC aircraft were a seriously difficult and expensive hobby to get into. You generally had to build the plane yourself, including fitting the electronics and servicing the gasoline engine. They were huge and difficult to fly, too, so, after putting in all that investment, you generally wouldn't even consider flying it yourself without finding a mentor in the hobby to show you how it's done. And you'd generally have to do it out of an RC airstrip that was operated by an RC aviation club that was very interested in self-policing. Hijinks would get you kicked out.
So, yeah, 30, 40 years ago you didn't need something like this, because it was not a, "Some grandparent trying to Win Christmas can just blow $200 at Wal-Mart and give one of these to a 4-year-old," kind of thing. There were some much-needed barriers to entry back then. Nowadays apparently any idiot can have one, and yes, it is creating a legitimate problem. A couple years back I almost took a drone to the face when someone was whizzing it around at night, with the light off, trying to startle passersby for laughs. Thankfully I took it to the shoulder instead.
I've built several FPV quadcopter, from ~1" all the way up to 11" (based on the size of the props). I've invested thousands of dollars in the hobby, countless hours, and have even fulfilled the HAM radio requirements.
The existing VLOS rules make it effectively illegal to fly them outdoors, period. Now, with this? No thanks. I'm done trying to fulfill arbitrary and ineffective requirements. I'll just fly my quads on my own property and if someone in a helicopter or a hang glider decides to dip below the treeline to fly under the power lines in my field, that's on them I guess.
>In Brazil, all firearms must be registered with the state. Minimum age for owning a gun is 25 and restrictions make it virtually impossible to have a carry permit. Owners must pay a $40 tax every three years. As a result of these and other restrictions, it is very difficult to own a gun in Brazil much less carry one.
You've got to look at large scale trends if you want to see a large scale pattern, and, if you want to dig into the particulars, you need to look at all the particulars. For example, that article you cite fails to consider the different levels of organized crime between the two countries. Perhaps because including that detail might necessitate acknowledging that Brazil and the USA have different gun crime problems with different causes that might therefore require different responses.
Brazil is around the 80th in terms of per capita GDP which is a much saner metric for the wealth of a country in terms of social issues.
How would nanny state regulations work or be comparable when Americans already possess many guns? Cow / barn door.
You now argue that it doesn't work because the item being regulated is in wide spread possession. Drones are not. Thus by your own chain of reasoning it is perfectly reasonable to enforce very strong regulations NOW if we wish to have any chance of managing drones.
I guess, thank you for making such a great argument for strong regulation from the onset.
I don't think that the gun lobby having been so successful at achieving a sort of crony capitalist vendor lock-in with the American public implies in any way that this is a good thing, which is what you'd have to demonstrate for this analogy to really help the case you're trying to present.
I mean, if you're trying to say that regulation doesn't work, then pointing out that the the gun lobby has secured laws that severely limit firearm regulation in the USA, so now Americans already own a lot of guns and shoot each other a lot and there's nothing that can be done about it anymore, is perhaps doing more to illustrate the case that you're trying to argue against.
Your analysis of the data may vary, but:
Between 1998 and 2019, there have been more than 391,897,875 background checks for gun purchases in the U.S..
It is unknown which of those were for rifles; it is also unknown what percentage of those background checks were for multiple firearm purchases in a single transactions.
The AR-15 is the most popular rifle by far, so it seems entirely plausible that there are perhaps vastly more than 100 million AR-15's in private ownership in the U.S. (An interesting point is that it is rather unlikely that most people would be so unwise as to advertise ownership.) (Of note, there is no legal definition of assault rifle, and the "AR" in AR-15 stands for Armalite, one of the first manufacturers of the AR-15.)
In total, less than 400 killings (including murders, self-defense, suicide etc) per year committed with all types of rifles. (In fact, more people are killed each year with blunt objects like clubs, hammers, etc.)
Those who wish to increase ownership of handguns would do well to note that many, many people in the U.S. own handguns for personal defense, and a very tiny fraction are used for killing in any given year. By far the largest handgun numbers are from people taking their own lives, and most of the others are from criminal activities, typically in large cities. Those criminal activities are committed by people who, by definition, do not obey the law.
This is obviously a politically fraught topic; just wanted to provide some actual, if somewhat surprising, data. Again, your analysis and politics may vary, but that's the data.
1. social response / cancel culture
3. legal liability
The gun lobbies didn't secure laws that severely limit firearm regulation. They didn't have to. It was enumerated as the 2nd amendment in our constitution - and for damn good reasons.
The difference between the American and French Revolutions - the American Revolution started from the place that the people have all rights and our constitution restricts governments ability to infringe upon those inalienable rights. The French Revolution came from the perspective of the states rights and in turn grants rights to the people. I think I prefer the former over the latter.
I lived a long time before quadcopters became A Thing. I drive by a place (empty, rural field) where sometimes people fly R/C 'copters and airplanes. Lived lots of places. Nonetheless I bet I've seen at least 3x as many quadcopters in my life as other R/C aircraft, almost all in the last 6 or 7 years. I'm not sure I've ever seen those traditional R/C aircraft flying in a neighborhood, or out in a public area, or a small public park (not one with acres of empty space). Maybe a helicopter once? While that's the only place I see quadcopters. Indoors, at parks, at outdoor gatherings of all kinds, weddings, trails, everywhere.
Whether this difference warrants the regulation, I dunno, but there clearly is a difference.
Not to mention while I paid the smart sum of $600 for my kit (a high bar for many to spend on getting started in a hobby), DJI now has an even more approachable model at $299. Making the ability to get into the hobby more accessible is great, but it does come with a greater risk of even well-intentioned but under-educated people (or just knuckleheads) sending a drone up for a quick flight and smashing into someone/something without even reading the manual.
I'm a pretty cautious guy. I took a MSF course before buying a motorcycle, wear a helmet and gear, etc. I was very careful on my first few flights with my drone, but even then managed to crash into a stationary bird house. All this to say I am happy to take a simple test to prove to myself, much less those around me, that I know what the heck I'm doing and to keep myself and others safe because these things are very different from model aircraft and most consumer electronics that include a camera and gyroscopes. :)
As far as the decades where R/C planes operated without a problem, you didn’t have millions of people flying those things. You also didn’t have the readily-available ability to fly them outside of line of sight.
Guns are special in America.
is still an absolutely absurd imposition.
At some point, a line does need to be drawn. Drones can be dangerous in unpredictable ways, outside of the control of the operator.
I have been building & flying for about 6 years now, personally I don't bother with any of this stuff. Instead I just follow what should be common sense rules and have yet to have any issues.
Furthermore, your claims about the FAA being created to restrict airspace is revisonist at best.
It is against the law for people to play on the Interstate highway and I am sure you would have a problem with it if it wasn't and some kids decided to go build a fort in the middle of one.