FAA to Require UAV Registration, Convenes Task Force

By Ken Briodagh October 28, 2015

The drone market is already heavily regulated, almost to the point of impossibility if you ask some folks. Well, thanks to a recent announcement, it looks like the FAA could be taking steps to make it a bit less impossible by adding a registration requirement. We talked about this possibility in Las Vegas this year, and our panel had a lot to say. Drone talk will again be a big part of the IoT Evolution Expo in January in Ft. Lauderdale.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta have created a task force to develop recommendations for a registration process for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), the announcement declared.

The task force will be about 25 members, with representatives from the drone industry, manned aviation insiders, the federal government and other stakeholders. The group will be given the assignment of advising the FAA on which aircraft should be exempt from registration, primarily due to low safety risk, including toys and certain other small UAVs. Also, the task force will have to create a plan for a streamlined registration system for commercial drone operators. Foxx directed the group to deliver its report by Nov. 20.

“Registering unmanned aircraft will help build a culture of accountability and responsibility, especially with new users who have no experience operating in the U.S. aviation system,” Foxx said.  “It will help protect public safety in the air and on the ground.”

Image via Shutterstock

This push has been driven by a huge volume of complaints about unsafe drone operations all over the country. Pilot sightings of UAVs have doubled between 2014 and 2015, the FAA said. Reports have included incidents at major sporting events and flights near manned aircraft, as well as interference with wildfire operations.

“These reports signal a troubling trend,” Huerta said.  “Registration will help make sure that operators know the rules and remain accountable to the public for flying their unmanned aircraft responsibly.  When they don’t fly safely, they’ll know there will be consequences.”

The drone industry seems to be on board with the registration regulations. The announcement was backed up by representatives from The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the Academy of Model Aircraft, AirMap/ Small UAV Coalition and the Consumer Electronics Association.

Major drone operator Measure was on board, too. “As the nation’s leading operator of drones, Measure welcomes the FAA’s efforts to increase accountability and discourage bad behavior among drone users,” said Brandon Torres Declet, CEO¸ Measure. “Too many newcomers to the industry have ignored the rules and put aircraft in the national airspace at risk, while commercial drone service providers have made the effort to work with the FAA. This pattern has been bad for business, bad for the industry, and bad for the American public. The technology is clearly here and can be used to society’s advantage; what the industry needs are reasonable regulations to ensure safe operations while respecting people’s privacy. The FAA’s rules should be welcomed by all drones operators who care about keeping the American public safe.” 

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere

Editorial Director

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