Holiday Shopping For Drones?
FAA’s New Drone Registration Proposals
The Christmas shopping season is upon us and the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) is speculating that one of the hottest items for well-to-do shoppers will be drones. They are speculating that up to a million drones could be sold in the coming weeks – a development that complicates matters for an agency seeking to regulate the public airspace.
As such, the registration of drones has become a fairly urgent item of business for the FAA, and on November 23 it released its recommendations around a drone registration system. Online business news publication Quartz studied the report and summarized the findings.
1) First and foremost, it’s important to note that it’s not the drone itself which needs to be registered, it’s the operator. One person can own multiple drones and only have to register once. “After completing the registration, pilots will get a number that they can use for all the drones they fly—they just need to complete the registration before they fly a drone for the first time,” reports Quartz.
If a drone weighs over 250 grams then it needs to be registered, the logic being that any drone under that weight which falls out of the sky is unlikely to hurt anyone.
Currently the fine for flying an unregistered drone stands at a whopping $25 000, which the FAA has acknowledged is perhaps slightly too steep, yet it has not come out and specifically indicated that it is contemplating a lower fee.
2) The FAA recommends that drones only be flown by people over the age of 13 and that everyone in the US who wants to fly a drone needs to be registered. For foreign drone operators, the agency is ‘still requiring them to register, but with an expedited application process.’
3) At this point there is no test envisaged for people to gain a license, yet there is an acknowledgement that gaining a license to operate a drone should also entail some sort of educational element, in order to make sure that people are aware of the risks and the dangers involved in flying an unmanned craft.
Take a look at this educational site, entitled ‘’Know Before You Fly.’’
4) The act of registering a drone will be done through a website and registration will be free. Furthermore, drone owners will have to provide a name and address, but not be required to give any other details unless they wanted to, and that this database will be kept secret, “recommending that it not ever be available through the Freedom of Information Act.”
Tech blog ArsTechnica reports that the registration process is unlikely to involve more than 3 steps, as “”Any registration steps more burdensome than these three simple steps may jeopardize the likelihood of widespread adoption,” the task force said in its final report, dated November 21.”
5) Details have still not been established on who will be building the website and on when it will be up and running and come into law. There was also no comment yet on what would be required for drones which are already operating in US airspace.
By Jeremy Daniel