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I need responsible input ASAP

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by DiverDan, Nov 25, 2015.

  1. DiverDan

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    I'm a noob to flying, but I proofread the weekly newsletter for an aviation-related consumer advocacy group. A reporter for a newspaper with over 1/2 million circulation has asked that group for input for an upcoming article on drones, and I've contacted the writer and asked for a few days to respond.

    The reporter contacted our group's President, whose reply is below. I know 500 is 400, so skip that minor detail and other trivial corrections. I need the major arguments.

    Our group is largely run by volunteers, of which I am one. As a member who currently works non-paid, who has contributed over $10,000 in cash and other support, I feel free to express my own opinions.

    I'm asking for short, clear responses in the next two days, while I prepare my response.

    Please don't clutter the thread with garbage. If you have something reasonable to say, it will be considered. If you troll, you will be ignored. In any event, don't expect a reply from me, altho if I find your response reasonable, I may ask for clarifications.

    I'm doing this as a service to both the drone community and the flying public. And I'm almost 75, so if you're a clown, get off my lawn; I don't have time for you.

    I'll spend turkey day working on this, so thanks for all the responsible flyers out there.

    HERE'S the group President's first response:

    ____________
    In the meantime my informal comments are :

    Drones are now being sold by the hundreds of thousands, even as Christmas and birthday presents, that can easily fly over 500 feet which is the FAA limit.

    Drones are not allowed to fly within five miles of an airport or in controlled air space like over Washington DC but many do and many operators do not even know of this regulation.

    Drones unlike model radio controlled airplanes can fly outside line of sight of the operator.

    Drones cannot presently be tracked by air traffic control or military radar to any significant degree.

    The FAA has been required to treat drones as aircraft but has so far issued no enforceable safety or security regulations.

    Commercial drones are easily equipped with and often come with cameras. They may also soon be modified to carry explosives or other weapons by anyone with modest skill and internet access.

    It is only a matter of time before they are used by terrorists and criminals in the USA. It is also only a matter of time before they collide with airliners and general aviation aircraft.

    The FAA should require that manufacturers have unique numbers on every drone, and that sellers have registration numbers that are affixed to each drone sold that identifies the drone owner's name, address, phone number and perhaps finger prints.

    There should also be mandatory information on the FAA regulations on operating drones with a signed acknowledgement of receipt by the purchaser and statement of delivery verbally and in writing by the seller.
    Anyone who receives a drone as a gift should also have to register.

    Larger drones or drones that can fly over 500 feet need to have tamper proof radio beacons that would allow them to be identified by air traffic control.

    Otherwise there will be accidents and intentional mischief with drones with no effected enforcement or deterrence.

    BOTTOM LINE:

    The FAA task force recommendations would absolve drone makers and sellers of all responsibility, place all registration responsibility on the purchaser or owner or operator of a drone and would be completely unenforceable, just as are the existing regulations.

    They are a terrorist, spy or criminal's dream regulation. FAA needs to stop its CYA approach and propose practical and enforceable registration rules that will address the safety, privacy and national security risks that millions of drones soon to be operating in US air space pose.
    ____________________
     
  2. Reed L

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    Unfortunately I have dealt with the media enough to know that no matter how much good I can say, everything will be twisted into the story that they want the people to hear. So first things first, what company and what paper is wanting input? Is this article going to be for or against uav's? Who is the sponsor?
     
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  3. Reed L

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    After reading your presidents letter again, I see very little positive in it, so my questions are warranted.
     
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  4. Meta4

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    It looks like your president isn't speaking from an informed viewpoint. He's got quite an anti-drone bias and some misunderstandings about what they are and what users do with them.
    His thoughts are overwhelmingly negative and there's no indication that he has any idea of the positive uses for this technology.
    Here are a couple of thoughts ...
    Drones unlike model radio controlled airplanes can fly outside line of sight of the operator.
    Drones just like model radio controlled airplanes can fly outside line of sight of the operator.

    It is only a matter of time before they are used by terrorists and criminals in the USA.
    First the whole terrorist thing is pretty well a myth.
    If drones were useful to terrorists, they would have used them already.
    Consumer drones are extremely weight limited and not very good for delivering explosives.
    There are a hundred ways of causing much more destruction that are simpler.

    It is also only a matter of time before they collide with airliners and general aviation aircraft
    Consumer drones can fly higher than 400 feet - our P3s can get to 500metres above launch point.
    BUT that doesn't mean that a large number of users do fly high.
    Most consumer drone flights are much lower than 400 feet.
    The FAA has been active promoting the idea that there is a plague of drone incidents around airports and up high.
    A look at the FAA database shows very quickly that many of their "incidents" are simply sighting records and not cases of drone-aircraft interaction.
    Many of the incidents they report are quite unbelievable and it appears that drones have become the new UFOs thanks to the hysteria and paranoia that the FAA have generated.
    See this for details:Untitled PageCloser-Look-at-FAA-Drone-Data_091415.pdf
     
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  5. RoyVa

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    Let him know they will do a good job controlling drones just as they have with guns and drugs and our US borders. Again they are trying to punish all for less than 10% that are in non compliance with the guidelines.
    The real problem is the media that try to make headlines and stories out of a couple of rogues that don't follow the rules. Educate the public. A kid with a new toy has no idea of the limits or guidelines. Put on the packages the FAA guidelines, they do warnings on cigarette packages. They need to put out the guidelines and educate the public. What good is registration if you still do know how high or how far you are dispose to fly. They have to let newbies know. They jumping to the wrong end as usual.
     
  6. Scott H

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    You can't put the toothpaste back into the tube.
    Instead of wasting time wrestling small groups of old grumps and our toys, how about we take a responsible look at the manufacturers? How many "drink responsibly" commercials (sponsored by beer makers) have you seen in the past? Does that stop M.A.D.D? No, but it keeps them at bay - at least to the level that society allows. We're now in the process of determining that "level" society is comfortable with regarding the drone industry. The drone industry might be a little different though. Stop and think for a moment at how many people were/are affected by U.S. drone strikes in the past few years. I believe we were/are effective for the most part; however, I can tell you there are thousands of innocents who really despise drones because it killed their innocent family members or friends. Ya think they don't wanna fight back because of that? Recall how long it took you to get online and have your P3 delivered. The Pro-Drone vs. Anti-drone advocates are gathering in their respective corners. There's enough technology out there and available for anyone to do anything, including going online and placing an order for a drone and then making modifications for evil purposes. Drones introduce another concept for evil-doers. Instead of blocking the door and grabbing our little useless baseball bats and whining about our "rights" and our "privacy", we should work together to channel the (anti-droners) energies so that we get this the big picture right. Personally, I have a stronger propensity to take what ever menial action I can offer to help our country; to do the right thing. I believe its a waste of time, effort and energy to quibble over inconsequential, meaningless and selfish matters that stand in the way of what really matters. Rising up against what is inevitable is wasted energy, in my humble opinion. What is so wrong about passing the baton to the next level so as to concentrate resources on getting the big picture right? So, why don't we skip the small stuff? Why don't we utilize our voice in a positive manner? Why don't we recruit from our group a software geek to assemble an app (or whatever tool that's easiest) to "pre-register" our little group and muster up one of our group's attorney's led by our appointed representative who can speak our collective voice to help deflect - or better yet - redirect energy otherwise pointed directly against us good-natured, well-intended hobbyist towards what's gonna happen anyway in the fight that really matters: tracking down the person(s) responsible for whatever negative action(s) that may occur? What if our combined efforts somehow foil one schmuck's ill-intended attempt at some sort of catastrophe? Personally, I love the hobby and have taken a strong interest in photography and videography again. I don't give a rip if I have to fill out a form and contribute $50 to the cause...and tell the world that I fly responsibly. I totally respect any citizen's right to voice their opinion. I know there will be several members that will fall off their chair and protest any governmental intervention into this hobby. So speak up. What I hope for is that we learn from past missteps in managing what needs to be done and get this right. This issue is not going away anytime soon. We can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. Should we be a part of the problem or part of the solution?
     
  7. tcope

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    They can be flown within 5 miles of an airport. Depends on the type of airport and even then, the "lock out" area is actually less. I few within 3 miles of an airport last weekend. I only needed to call the tower and inform them when I was flying and when I was done.

    There are _many_ recommendations that they have put out and also there _are_ some regulation on drone use.

    So can a football, briefcase, RC plane, car, etc. So? What is the point of this statement other then to attempt to scare people for no good reason?

    They have already been used by criminals. But so have a ton of other things. Very few things are invented to help criminals but millions of them are used by criminals. Telephones are used to steal millions every year.

    Already being done. Won't change anything. the .0000000001% will still do bad things.

    Signed document? Why? Laws are laws, they have to be followed. No signature is required. Why spend tax dollars to do something this pointless? What about doing the same for baseballs which injure far more people?

    Nothing like trying to regulate the .0000000001%. Let's just wrap everyone up in bubble wrap and go from there. This way we can start to prevent _any_ bad thing from happening.

    I am not clear as to who is making the statements above but 1) they clearly don't know much about drone operation and the FAA and 2) they don't have a good understanding of how regulations and laws work.
     
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  8. Jeff48920

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    Well, responsible input is requested but I hesitate to provide it to any organization whose representative fails to provide information identifying specifics about the organization and its current policies and or prejudices about UAVs. What I see is a bunch of scare rhetoric being offered by a person who, because of his or her position, is misconstrued as being an expert.

    Reading the draft response to the reporter I have the following comments and my basic suggestion is that the president refrain from speaking as any kind of authority whatsoever until he or she is better educated on the specifics of the question.


    Drones are now being sold by the hundreds of thousands, even as Christmas and birthday presents, that can easily fly over 500 feet which is the FAA limit.

    You have identified the 400-500 issue however, there is no current limit. 400 ft is currently a guideline and a proposed maximum. The language also implies that "100s of thousands of Drones can easily fly above 500 feet" when, in fact, most of the lower end drones (including drones up to the size of the Parrot ARs) are limited to around 150 feet because of low output wifi that provides the control functions.

    Drones are not allowed to fly within five miles of an airport or in controlled air space like over Washington DC but many do and many operators do not even know of this regulation.

    Regardless of the accuracy of the five mile limit statement (it is an over generalization and simplification) the thought that operators don't know this regulation is already being addressed by the FAA and the Industry (What The FAA Wants You To Know Before You Fly Your Drone)

    Drones unlike model radio controlled airplanes can fly outside line of sight of the operator.
    As has been previously noted, many RC airplanes and helos are capable of FPV outside of line of sight operations.

    Drones cannot presently be tracked by air traffic control or military radar to any significant degree.
    This is not anything new to drones. If you are intent on avoiding radar it is possible and in some cases inevitable even for large aircraft. (see Can you actually "fly under the radar"? )

    The FAA has been required to treat drones as aircraft but has so far issued no enforceable safety or security regulations.
    This statement flies in the face of the process that is currently being undertaken by the FAA. Before new regulations are in place, the FAA is prohibited from regulating "model aircraft" being flown for non-commercial (hobbyist) purposes. Regardless of this, the phrase (safety or security purposes) is deliberately inflammatory. Commercial use UAVs are currently regulated.

    Commercial drones are easily equipped with and often come with cameras. They may also soon be modified to carry explosives or other weapons by anyone with modest skill and internet access.
    As mentioned previously, the lift capability of the largest percentage of consumer UAVs is insignificant when viewed as a delivery system for any significant weaponization.

    It is only a matter of time before they are used by terrorists and criminals in the USA. It is also only a matter of time before they collide with airliners and general aviation aircraft.
    Regulated, overly regulated or unregulated it is only a matter of time that everything may be used by terrorists and criminals or interfere with airliners and general aviation aircraft. If you need a couple of examples think of pressure cookers at the Boston Marathon and consumer grade Green lasers being shown at cockpits.

    The FAA should require that manufacturers have unique numbers on every drone, and that sellers have registration numbers that are affixed to each drone sold that identifies the drone owner's name, address, phone number and perhaps finger prints.
    This is another indication that the President of the group is completely uneducated in the current state of the law and rule making process. The FAA is currently working on regulations that will require registration. The thought that the seller is somehow going to be made responsible for providing this is overreaching. The thought that fingerprints be required for drone purchase is an irresponsible and inflammatory concept. You are not required to provide fingerprints to purchase an assault weapon so get serious.

    There should also be mandatory information on the FAA regulations on operating drones with a signed acknowledgement of receipt by the purchaser and statement of delivery verbally and in writing by the seller.
    Anyone who receives a drone as a gift should also have to register.

    While I have no issue with the provision of a copy of the FAA regulations (when they are in place), even if there was a requirement that an acknowledgement was required, there are NO assurances that the purchaser would abide by the regulations or even read the document. Compliance with the regs do not provide for a safe haven for those who claim that they did not receive disclosures about the implementation or enforcement of the law. This suggestion would not increase the enforceability of the regulations and therefore does not pass the cost benefit analysis the president of the group implies.

    Larger drones or drones that can fly over 500 feet need to have tamper proof radio beacons that would allow them to be identified by air traffic control.
    In the long run this may become a feasible solution, especially for commercially operated UAVs. To require them on all consumer UAVs capable of 500 foot altitudes is unreasonable and excessive.

    Otherwise there will be accidents and intentional mischief with drones with no effected enforcement or deterrence.
    This is clearly inflammatory and irresponsible anti-UAV rhetoric. There is absolutely no evidence that even the most stringent regulations will ever provide 100% safety from accidents and/or intentional mischief.
     
    #8 Jeff48920, Nov 25, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2015
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  9. Mark The Droner

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    You wrote: ...however, there is no current limit. 400 ft is currently a guideline and a proposed maximum.

    Per FAA document AC_91-57A:

    Public Law 112-95 recognizes the authority of the Administrator to pursue enforcement action against persons operating model aircraft who endanger the safety of the National Airspace System.

    Therefore, I would consider the 400 ft limit as more than just a guideline.
     
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  10. Jeff48920

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    While you correctly state the law, that is not the intent of that passage. For instance, should a hobbyist operate a drone in an unsafe manner even below 400 feet, the FAA had the authority to use that passage to pursue an enforcement action. However to the extent that a hobbyist were to fly a drone in a manner that did not pose a reckless endangerment the safety of the National Airspace at an altitude in excess of 400 feet AGL, the FAA has no clear regulation on which to base an enforcement action at this time. Clearly the new proposed regulations envision such authority but as of this moment, such authority does not exist and the only way for the FAA to bring an action against such a hobbyist would be to prove the specific hobbyist did endanger the Airspace during the specific flight above 400 AGL It is a very important legal distinction.
     
  11. Mario_SB

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    In my opinion, I agree with the thought that pilots have the ultimate responsibility in how they choose to fly their aircraft and they should be held accountable for their actions. That said, if you're going to require people to register their drones for the sake of accountability then I would like to add that manufactures, like DJI should themselves be held to a higher standard for the quality and reliability of their products. Case in point, the auto industry. If there is a flaw in design that circumvents safety in any way then the government requires them to issue a recall. That's just my own opinion.
     
  12. DiverDan

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    It's now 2148 on Turkey day, and I'll be up late working on my input to the article. Thank you all very much for your comments. I'll read them all, and also refer the writer of the proposed article to this thread. I want to see the article balanced from all sides.

    To Reed L, I won't name names, because I don't want to expose anyone or any organization to possible abuse; not from you, but from possible trolls and nihilists, like those who "believe in nossing, Lebowski". [Full disclosure. I've won Best Walter at three LebowskiFests in LA and NYC 2005-7]. Vietnam vet during Tet 68.

    And if you give up trying to make things better, you've pretty much become a nihilist or a human drone, so get to work and get involved!


    . But the publication is in one of the most high-tech areas on the west coast, so I doubt the article will be entirely anti-tech. Hint: Dionne Warwick's biggest international hit. If you get it, keep it to yourself.

    Scott H was especially eloquent, as was Jeff48920.

    Now, heigh ho, heigh ho, it's off to work I go. To maybe have some effect on the article. We shall see.

    I'll try to post a link to the final article here, later.

    Walter aka DiverDan
     

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  13. Reed L

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    Trying to make things better for UAV operators is my goal and that's a fact. The president of your company obviously has a different agenda with his negatively impacting letter towards UAV operators. I mean using the word terrorist in itself is unacceptable and it is obvious that this is for an anti-UAV article. People who want to post negative articles always refuse to let you know who they work for at first, it's not until the negative article is published that the owners of it are known. Negative activism has made a lot of money for these one time non- profit organizations and now they make money hand over fist by suing the government or anyone they see a profit in. First it was the logging, then it was the cattle ranchers, then the farmers, and so on. Most recently it has been the west coast gold miners and now the UAV community has been hit with the negative agendas. Follow the money once again. If you only see the negatives on tv then you can be sure that there is another huge profit for the one time non profits coming soon.
     
  14. DiverDan

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    As Sheriff Marge Gunderson said in Fargo, "I'm not sure I agree with you a hundred percent on your police work, there, Lou.".
    There is no "company". It's a political advocacy group for airline passengers' rights versus the airlines. Our current President got involved in this sort of thing because his daughter was on PanAm 103 when a bomb went off over Lockerbie, Scotland.
    I have a lot of respect for him, but we differ on this issue. The organization has about 50,000 members, and has done a lot of good, like getting the 3-hour tarmac rule passed.
    I just wanted to pass on a different viewpoint to the writer, to show that not everyone agrees with that.
    I've donated about $10,000 over the years, and I'm a volunteer unpaid proofreader for the weekly newsletter. What are they going to do, fire me? At my age, time is my most valuable asset. Dissent is not disloyalty, and I'm loyal to the organization, but sometimes the "official position" is something I disagree with, and I reserve the right to express it.

    I, too want do make things better for UAV operators, but I also understand that SOME of them are idiots and jerks who ignore FAA regs and endanger passenger aircraft, and those are the ones who smear us all with their bad behavior, and two weeks ago in one day I saw bad behavior twice from people who SHOULD have known better.

    The first was at a local camera store at a DJI-sponsored event. A major airport was less than a mile away, but the instructor said "don't fly the P3 over 250 feet", said that the airport had not been notified, and showed off the prop scars on his arm from where he flew one into himself. Sure, 250 feet was under the 15 degree zone, but...

    Then I drove 25 miles to a local club event, where an older club member said to me, "I hope someone notified the airports", meaning minor fields that don't show on the DJI maps. Those were both both fields without towers.

    So when even supposedly responsible people ignore the FAA rules, it's about time someone jerks their chains. Too bad it had to be the FAA. On a related topic, SCUBA training is not regulated by the feds because the industry and training orgs got together many years ago and developed their own standards. I speak as a former instructor with about 3500 dives. Safety was always my major concern with my students. I got fired twice for taking too much pool time to make sure my students got it right.

    The UAV industry has concentrated on sales over safety, and now the Feds are stepping into the void based on fears of crashes and surveillance from the general public.

    What is an airport? In my area, DFW, Love Field, and Addison show on the DJI FlySafe maps, but not smaller fields like Dallas Air Park, without towers. Do I need to contact all of them within five miles, when they have 0 to 100 flights a day?

    It took me three days of Google searching to find the phone number of the Addison tower. If the FAA wants all of us to call the tower before flying within five miles of the no-fly zone, they need to make those numbers easily accessible, like publishing a list with a link to it on their main web page.

    And all this fear of private UAVs? America has gone from the "home of the brave" to "land of the wimps and cowards" I say this as a Vietnam vet. Grow some cojones, people!
     
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  15. RoyVa

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    I don't understand all this as probably most on this forum. Are we not talking about a few that are not following the guidelines. Think about it. How did you find out about the FAA guidelines. Was it before or after you started flying. How did you hear about the 400 ft. Limit. For me I was flying for a couple of months and after I got to nosing around I became aware of the information. So the question is how many are flying and don't know they are not to fly over 400 ft and not to fly around people or air ports or over parades afar as that goes. I believe part of the problem is lack of educating the buyers and users.
    You don't have to teach a child to do the wrong things, we have to teach them to be good.
    Look at this world and drug use. Look at all the people that are passive. By lack of their saying any thing they are inherently agreeing. The politicians no longer care what we want they go with the lobbiest and the money. They've gone completely crazy as thing offend someone they change the rules. No prayer in schools no pledge of allegiance to the flag. Now they are talking about taking " in God we trust " of the dollar bills and such.
    I will be the first person to stand up and holler, but no one is listening.
    Look at our system for taxes, look at our system for welfare, just look at Washington.... Enough said. Your right it time for Joe public to stand up and Scream... We are headed to a society the is ruled by a few and no longer " We the People"
    We need to do something about gun violence and not worry about the petty stuff. As they say it's not the guns that are out of control it the gun owners good or bast, hmmm sounds like done users too doesn't it. We have to ban together for what is right or those few in Washington will tell us how, when and what we can do. EDUCATION is part of the key.... The other is having consequences for non compliance. Hard to control but we all know what can happen if we run a STOP sign or RED light. We've been taught and educated so we comply. Time to do the same with the drones !!!!!
    My 2 cents...
     
  16. Jeff48920

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    OK this explains everything.... Pass along my condolences and respect for him taking strong positions against ANYTHING that could ever be construed to be a threat to passenger airliners. However, this does not make him a drone expert and I would appreciate him saying, somewhere in his statement to the press, that he has not fully educated himself on the issues of drone regulation. I would also appreciate a disclaimer that he does not have sufficient education on the aerodynamics and physics of drones to knowledgeably discuss the potential for accidental or deliberate harm. All that said, he should be encouraged to discuss his fears about potential problems as long as he labels them as such.

    On another note, and as long as you mentioned it, I have been a qualified SCUBA diver since 1961 (as PADI and NAUI began asserting themselves) with many many hundreds of hours of logged "bottom time". I respectfully disagree with your notion that the government did not get involved because the sport self regulated. Instead, I believe that the sport remains mostly unregulated because the most severe dangers are largely limited to the individuals actually diving AND because the media didn't begin a fear campaign about the possibility that divers could accidentally or intentionally attack or sink civilian and naval targets. Just my two cents.
     
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  17. Reed L

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    Thanks Dan for clarifying who's who :) as a retired gold miner, I'm used to fighting the fight for our rights also. As you can see from my old avatar, I am a diver as well. There's a huge difference between a 20 year old 747 bombing and a UAV and I don't see a reason to group them onto the same playing field. It's a shame that the president of your group lost his daughter in an airline mishap and I have lost children as well, but I don't go off and write false letters that are strewn with lies and misconceptions like he has done with his letter above. Please ask him to keep his hatred of airlines honest and on the level. Plus he needs to be reigned in and put in check when he starts his false rantings against UAV's and goes public with his misconceptions. The best thing that he can do is to take care of his emotions and realize that he needs to take more time to heal. While being in the healing process after losing family members, it's best to keep your thoughts to yourself until that smile and happiness returns to your face. After 20 years it's time to let her go. I read some of the history on the crash and found this - "2003 - President Gadhafi agrees to pay $2.7 billion in compensation to families of those killed in the bombing." Once again when it comes to advocacy or non profits... Follow the money...
     
    #17 Reed L, Nov 28, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2015
  18. DiverDan

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    "when it comes to advocacy or non profits... Follow the money...". Good up to a point, but that was 2003 and Gadhaf is is dead. It got him involved it the PanAm families group, but I believe he's "over it". All of us experience traumatic events in our lives, and most of us "get over it". I have nothing against Vietnamese even tho some of them were trying to kill me in 1967-68. And we accepted a lot of refugees and my primary doctor is one.
     
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