Breaking: Drone Registration Will Be Required Says US DoT

Today, the US Department of Transportation announced that unmanned aerial systems (UAS) will require registration in the future.

The announcement is not that UAS, quadcopters, or drones would be required to be registered immediately. This announcement is merely that a task force of representatives from the UAS industry, drone manufacturers, and manned aviation industries would provide recommendations to the Department of Transportation for what types of aircraft would require registration. The task force is expected to develop these recommendations and deliver a report by November 20.

A Short History of FAA Model Aircraft Regulation

Introduced in 1981, AC 91-57 was the model aircraft operating standards for more than 30 years. This standard suggested that model pilots not fly higher than 400 feet, and to notify a flight service station or control tower when flying within three miles of an airport.

The FAA Modernization And Reform Act Of 2012 (PDF) required the FAA to create a set of rules for unmanned aerial systems, however the FAA is expressly forbidden from, ‘promulgating any rule or regulation regarding model aircraft.’ The key term being, ‘model aircraft’. This term was defined by the FAA as being, “an unmanned aircraft that is capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere; flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft; and flown for hobby or recreational purposes.” Anything outside of this definition was an unmanned aerial system, and subject to FAA regulations.

While this definition of model aircraft would have been fine for the 1980s, technology has advanced since then. FPV flying, or putting a camera and video transmitter on a quadcopter, is an extraordinarily popular hobby now, and because it is not ‘line of sight’, it is outside the definition of ‘model aircraft’.

This interpretation has not seen a great deal of countenance from the model aircraft community; FPV flying is seen as a legitimate hobby and even a sport. The entire domain of model aircraft aviation is expanding, and the hobby has never been as popular as it is now.

The Safety of Model Aviation

The issue of drone regulation focuses nearly entirely on the safety of airways in the United States; model aviators flying within five miles of an airport must ask the airport or control tower for permission to fly. To that end, the FAA created the B4UFLY app that takes the trouble out of reading sectional charts and checking up on the latest NOTAMs and TFRs.

However, the FAA is increasingly concerned with drones, multicopters, and model aircraft. In a report issued last summer, the FAA cited a marked increase in the number of ‘close calls’ between manned aircraft and model aircraft. The Academy of Model Aeronautics went over this data and found a different story: only 3.5% of sightings were ‘close calls’ or ‘near misses’. The FAA data is questionable – the reports cited include a drone flying at 51,000 feet over Washington DC. Not only is this higher than any civilian passenger aircraft capable of flying, the ability for any civilian remote-controlled aircraft to operate at this altitude is questionable at best.

Nevertheless, the requirement for registration has been greatly influenced by the perceived concerns of regulators for mid-air collisions.

What exactly will require registration?

The group of industry representatives responsible for delivering the recommendations to the Department of Transportation will take into account what aircraft should be exempt from registration due to a low safety risk. Most likely, small toy quadcopters will be exempt from registration; it’s difficult to fly a small Cheerson quadcopter outside anyway. Whether this will affect larger quadcopters and drones such as the DJI Phantom, or 250 class FPV racing quadcopters remains to be seen.

78 thoughts on “Breaking: Drone Registration Will Be Required Says US DoT

  1. Headline: “DRONE REGISTRATION WILL BE REQUIRED”

    First sentence: “unmanned aerial systems (UAS) will require registration in the future”

    Third sentence (the actual truth): “provide recommendations to the Department of Transportation for what types of aircraft would require registration”

    Seriously? Sensationalize much?

    1. The actual wording from DoT is “The group will advise the Department on which aircraft should be exempt from registration due to a low safety risk”.

      The decision has already been made that there will be a registry. The advisory window is for which equipment will be exempt.

      1. Yeah….that’s sound correct, but based on that the title should probably have been this:
        Headline: “Drone registration will be required, for certain types of drones based on risk to public safety, says US DOT”

        1. What if the headline read “Gun registration will be required, for certain types of guns based on risk to public safety, says Congress and ATF.” ? Replace “drone” with “gun” in the headline, and people will lose their heads, yet drone deaths in the US = *zero*, while gun deaths (every year) = 30,000+. I have no problem with a registration for guns or drones, but it begs the question, why some people do for one and not the other. (Of course, to really stir the pot, what about ‘privately owned weaponized drones’? :-) ).

          1. Why do people keep using that number? 12-13k murders, mostly in poor communities. You don’t count suicides, that’s a choice of instrument. That’s really annoying, especially since there are so many things killing people (like traffic accidents 35,000 a year). They make it sound like it’s enemy number one in the Nation. Hell, Medical care in the U.S. kills almost 200,000 people a year from mistakes – and that’s the ones we know of. But it’s always those scary gun things. 36,000 – 60,000 people die of the complications of having the Flu in the U.S. each year. (cdc.gov). On the drones, unless they are going to paste tail numbers on the drones somehow, and it crashes, there will be no way to identify it – and thus registration is either a tax thing or some other kind of bulls**t.

          2. Hey Chris Floyd,

            The reason is we have a Constitutional Right to bear arms, not drones. And once Big Gubbment takes one of your rights away, it only gets worse as time goes on.

          3. Wouldn’t weaponized drones count under the second amendment right to bear arms? If the government is using armed drones to fight wars instead of muskets, shouldn’t the civilians have the same right to do so?

    1. Your car, the one you use to drive to the location to launch your drone and report from, is registered with the state and you are required to display a current plate on it. How is this any different? Or do you plan to sue the government over your car’s plates (and your driver’s license, and your mandatory insurance coverage) as well?

      I’m not saying I’m a fan of drone regulation if it ends up being Draconian, I’m just saying I think you’re overreacting a bit. This is all a few years out, let’s see what direction it goes before we sharpen up our anarchistic legal swords.

      1. It totally depends on how ignorant the registration is. To use your example, what if we had to register every go kart and power wheels because they can physically drive on the road and have collisions with traffic. For that matter why haven’t we started registration for bicycles? Education goes a lot farther than laws and regulations. But politicians make laws not school books.

        1. Don’t forget about wild animal registration since they pose a hazard as well. We could also embed a device into all flying animals that will neutralize them while aircraft are flying around.

      2. Your car needs registration and you a driver’s license to operate it on publicly managed roads, but not for instance on private property. The FAA already has rules dictating height restrictions.

        The question I think becomes: will there still be a height considered “private” or non-regulated for hobby and such that won’t require a registration. Or will it be a kind of “papers please” scenario where registration is compulsory to ownership whereby just having one sitting in it’s box on your back seat could warrant a not-registered fine if it happens to catch the wrong person’s eye.

          1. So my three story house isn’t my property once I get off the ground level? The 400′ rule was fine and most of the “close calls” were/are in violation of that rule in the first place. The RC hobby has been flying much larger models for far longer then a 250 FPV racer has been on the scene. If people are already breaking altitude and proximity to airport rules, what makes people think that they are going to register the quadcopters with the FAA? Sales regulations you say? Amazon… People are already buying hand held radios off Amazon which they are not licensed to operate and there are confirmed cases of them interfering with public service. If the FCC can’t manage the RF spectrum what makes people think the FAA is going to mange backyard airspace?

          2. They won’t manage it unless it becomes a problem, i.e., your neighbor reports it to the authorities. It would have to be a significant reason, such as a camera mounted system spying over a privacy fence. It’s all going to be a case by case basis and you are probably safe flying it over your property as long as you aren’t directly next to an airport.

            Also, in response to your house argument, it’s resting on the ground is it not? I know there is a clause about so many feet deep into the ground (basements), and so many feet above you off the ground (like 100 feet). You’d have to look that up to get it but it isn’t much and I believe that varies by state. So yes, you technically can fly your RC plane on your property unregistered depending on your laws.

            On an unrelated side note, in some states you are not authorized to even collect rain water. Once it rests on your property, it still isn’t yours to collect. Ain’t that some shit?

  2. Small point of correction (according to my understanding, at least): under current law RC hobbyists are required to contact the airport if they are within 5 miles, but nothing is said about getting permission. For much of the airspace in the US, I think the purpose is so that the tower can inform low-flying aircraft of RC activity nearby. Pilots don’t have much to fear from small, lightweight model planes… bird strikes are much more common. Heavier and faster RC aircraft such as those driven by turbines are another story, and play by different rules (within the community-based organization, per FAA advisory).

    1. “Pilots don’t have much to fear from small, lightweight model planes …”

      Um, have you seen what happens when a bird is sucked into a turbine? If chunks meat and liquid are a problem, I would imagine that chunks of metal and strings of melted plastic would be so much worse. At least you can rinse the pigeon out with water…

      1. Small aircraft suffer minor damage from bird strikes. Large commercial turbines suck birds in and literally vaporize them. Now, consider this: the blades will have nicks in them and pieces missing due to the rebound off the individual compressor blades. The performance of the engine will decrease but barely in a measurable amount. Something as small as a screw, a bolt, or a metal nut, can cause considerable damage. Think of dime sized pieces missing from several blades with smaller hits scattered about. That can impact the engine performance significantly, but the motor will probably be able to operate for a limited amount of time to safely land. A whole quadcopter or RC plane? Well, the quad will cause a crash if it doesn’t have twin engines. As far as RC planes, they are largely foam with some metal bits.

        This all only accounts for turbo jet engines. Someone flying a turbo prop may fare better considering the mass of a propeller. Also less to hit as well since its only traveling through one pass. Likely should shred it apart with a little damage to the prop.

        1. I really have to disagree there. The risk of damage to small and large aircraft from a collision is much higher than with a birdstrike. Many light GA aircraft don’t have birdstrike rated windscreens and modern high bypass ratio gas turbines are rated for full thrust operation for 60 seconds after birdstrike and the shutdown. There is much less “space” inside a gas turbine than you may imagine and after wrecking the compressor the fun will really start when the Li-Polymer battery pieces reach the combustor.
          The denser sections of the aircraft will cause the damage even as the foam disintegrates around them.
          Depending on relative vectors the closing velocity could be well over 200mph.
          However we can’t know for sure until someone sacrifices and engine and a test stand to see what really happens.
          Anyone got a spare couple of million?

          1. I assure you I know plenty on bird strike damage as I have been working in the aviation field for several years now. You are correct on assuming the space inside a turbojet engine is limited but I referred to large commercial engines, usually the ones by GE. These are commonly found on Boeing 747’s, and on landing and take off they are likely to report strikes. As the size scales down (like a j52-p408),bird strikes can cause issues but I never had a pilot return to land. It was found after landing, during inspection. The pilots might report a minor hesitation on engine performance or even a slight bump in EGR, but we didn’t know what was happening till after our ground inspection. That’s when we’d find blood streaks down the intake. The metal blades are actually going to flex a little on impact, and this helps minimize damage. If you don’t believe me, go check YouTube videos of frozen turkeys being shot into turbojet engines. It vaporizes them. Like a big food processor.

            Wind screens weren’t brought up in my comment, that’s a different bag of peanuts. I could even talk about radome cavity failure. We were simply talking about the effect on the engine with a direct bird/small craft strike. You do bring up an excellent point. Large birds (hawks, storks, etc) can significant damage to the windscreen and can damage the radome leading to cavity failure. They would also have an effect on smaller turbojet compressor sections, but usually the strikes commonly reported are smaller birds on take off and landing.

          2. @mcnugget for some reason i can’t reply to your reply.(Perhaps something to do with reply depth?) I accept that you have professional experience in this area but I also have professional experience in this area. I have seen the videos of geese etc being tested in gas turbines but I do not share your confidence. Given chips and burrs are reported as the outcome of mere birdstrikes I believe we can be confident that worse effects will be seen when the comparatively denser and harder UAV/RPAS components enter the gas turbine. Also of particular interest to me is the effect of debris entering the turbine section. As you will know the TBC on the turbines is thin and often comparatively brittle. This may allow new damage which organic matter would not be able to create.

          3. @joey Sorry I can’t reply directly. I’m merely discussing the level of danger presented. Not suggesting what level of regulation and response would ensure a safe operating environment. Personally I think the UK CAA approach is better. As laid out in CAP-722 The only operators needing to register are those who wish to conduct aerial work.(Those who receive valuable recompense in exchange for flight) I think that is reasonable and gives grandfather protection to those pursuing a hobby. Unfortunately the few in the UK that have been caught flying dangerously were just pursuing their hobby. However the UK law as it stands was sufficient to punish transgressors so I don’t think a change is warranted here.

          4. Thanks all for the intelligent, reasoned discussion here! I agree completely that metal bits being thrown into a turbine engine would be catastrophically bad for the engine, but I offer the following points: 1) RC aircraft don’t usually fly at 30,000 feet where those large turbines operate. 2) We absolutely *should* keep RC aircraft out of the flight path of manned vehicles (especially on takeoff and landing). 3) Most turbine-powered planes (I think) have more than one engine and the engine shrouds are designed to contain a blade failure [engine designers: please correct me if I’m wrong!].

            As for windscreens, nose cones, wings, small craft, etc… yes, model aircraft pose a different danger to those parts, in some cases more severe and less recoverable than engine ingestion. But so do larger birds. And at least with current population/sales numbers, the birds greatly outnumber the RC vehicles. As Jonathan Pleham says, we won’t know for sure until testing (or a real accident) happens. I wonder how many tests have already been carried out in secret by the world’s military contractors? Too bad they wouldn’t share their results. It might make for better (more reasoned) regulations.

  3. Where this will get messy is at the intersection of regulated and unregulated. The logic required to control a massive drone capable of delivering or firing a weapon is exactly the same logic that is required to control a 10 gram nanocopter; the only real difference is in the choice of motor controllers.

    1. Delivering/firing a weapon shouldn’t be the point for which regulation needs to be made on drones.
      (Because regulation won’t stop someone if they want to do harm)

      Regulation is there to prevent stupid people from doing stupid things. Like flying drones into real plane/copter windows. Invading people privacy. Or making shitloads of noise/pollution.
      Gasoline powered model planes are heavily regulated where I live. Gliders are almost no issue as long as you stay away from flight areas and below the normal flight levels. And I think those are good things.

      1. So, you think we should be required to prove we’re mentally capable of following the rules and flying responsibly. Before we can get a drone and fly? Just like we’re required to get a license and insurance to drive a car? (Because, after all…nobody ever drove without a license and insurance…) Ok, now go take that argument to the people fighting over gun regulation and see how well that’s going. Personally, I fall under the “People shouldn’t be idiots, and the government should stay out of our business, until someone’s an idiot…then they can nail the idiot to the wall….not the rest of us.”

        1. Drivers licenses originaly were *not* required for motor vehicles. The result was completely unskilled and untrained people purchased cars and immediately drove on the public roads, and caused high rates of traffic accidents. It became painfully obvious to anyone with a working braincell that some form of training and certification was required, and the active drivers test and license was born. By your logic, you should be able to purchase an aircraft, and immediately take off from the local airstrip, because well, you know, “if someone is an idiot” and does that “the government can nail the idiot to the wall”. What your short-sighted and blinder-ridden logic fails to recognize is that *other people* (i.e., the rest of us) are affected by idiots flying planes, driving cars, and even flying drones – without any regulations or license requirements. Will *some* people fly/drive/control without registration or license? Sure, but *most* people will comply which makes the world safer for everyone. For those who choose to break all the rules and operate without registration and licenses, the penalties are even more severe than those who break the rules with licenses, etc… Multiple layers of deterrents against non-compliance are built into the registration, testing, licensing, law & enforcement, and punishment process for exactly these reasons.

  4. I hope the line gets drawn based on thrust/weight and power density. Mini quads and smaller planes aren’t going to be able to do anything nefarious, but as you go up in size the ability to carry dangerous payloads goes up significantly.

    On a similar note I think something needs to be done outside of FAA regulations to hold owners responsible for reckless use. You would think that people would be more cautious when operating a flying machine with four spinning blades and a volatile power source.

  5. I think it would be worth while to look at the requirements for high power rocketry for drones larger then a couple of pounds. In middle georgia we can fly rockets up to several thousand feet by letting the local FAA office know and getting a waiver. ( as least as of several years ago…)

    The real issue is people doing stupid things with drones.
    Things like:
    1. Flying large drones ( 5+ pounds maybe… ) in public spaces where failure could cause harm to buildings or people.
    2. Flying in restricted airspace like over forest fires with other air operations going on.
    3. Flying well out of visual range or into low altitude aviation airspace without prior consent.

    A lot of the problems are being caused by people flying drones outside of the bounds defined as ‘model aircraft’. And doing so recklessly.

    If drone flying is going to be a viable ‘hobby’, there is going to have to be some guidelines / rules defined. The ‘powers that be…’ see this as the wild west. Just look at youtube!! all kinds of stuff going on there that is clearly outside of any reasonable set of rules that would be considered for a ‘hobby’.

    It seems a good place to start would to define a ‘hobby’ drone as:
    1. A craft ( plane, copter, quad, hex, octa,… whatever) that is less then…. say 5 – 7 pounds, maybe up to ten but that might be pushing it. This limits the damage that could be caused.
    2. Is not capable to flying for longer then about 15 minutes. Limits the range of mischief.
    3. Must have contact with its transmitter at all times and be configured to return to start location if contact is lost.
    4. Must be flown from a Model Aircraft field, or other location that has sufficient room for the drone to land or crash safely.

    Drones that are under 1 or 2 pounds are considered ‘toys’ and unregulated.

    -John

    1. 2. Most of the drones causing the issue can not be flown for longer than about 15min. Mischief ensues.
      3. I disagree with this for 2 reasons: Firstly the safe option is to land in place. Secondly the only times I’ve ever needed such a function it wouldn’t have worked because my drone was in a position not to be able to operate autonomously.
      4. How much room is sufficient to crash safely? I’ve seen a hex not flown very high go crazy during a high wind situation and crash some 400m from where we started. Only a small subset of failures cause a drone to fall out of the sky. A way to common problem is the drone gets confused and flysaway.

      1. Add LOS (line of sight) to that and you will probably be on par with the type of toy UAS that will be exempt from registration (Think Mopeds vs Scooters/Motorcycles).

        With just a 30ft cap, you could still get a long ways with an FPV setup and some creative flying. also, still sufficient height to be a modern-day peeping tom (seriously!? who uses a perfectly good quadcopter to try and spy/peep on a neighbor?)

        1. “still sufficient height to be a modern-day peeping tom (seriously!? who uses a perfectly good quadcopter to try and spy/peep on a neighbor?)”
          Not really a worry IMHO. Curtains will stop that and civil laws about being a peeping tom should be good enough. The FAA regulations should just be about physical safety.

    1. Your strawman has no teeth. Gun registration is at the state and local level, not federal level. The federal government says you can own a gun (Constitution of the United States, 2nd Amendment), the states and municipalities each decide (and each decide differently) what gun ownership entails. Some states and local governments do require registering certain types of guns.

      As for drones, this isn’t law yet. It’s still in consideration, though I think it makes sense for certain classes of drones (just as I think gun registration makes sense for certain classes of guns).

    2. Given tactical potential for a remotely piloted system, I can see argument for extending 2nd Amendment protections to them. This same potential probably has control freaks in goobernment throwing a conniption fit.

      1. Reductio in Absurdum:

        Given tactical potential for amphetamine…
        Given tactical potential for RPGs…
        Given tactical potential for Claymore mines…
        Given tactical potential for SNukes…

        Once you open that door…

  6. Seems like if I don’t fly using video feed, I won’t need to register. So I guess I’ll just stick with LOS flying.

    How would it be enforced anyway? Generally one can’t tell where the operator is if you spot a quadcoptor flying illegally. Also you can’t tell which quadcoptor is legally registered and which isn’t, they are often too small to bear legible registration code.

    1. I don’t think the point is for registration necessarily to be legible the same way license plates on cars are. What makes remote control craft different is that when you find the wreckage of one, you won’t find the body of the pilot inside. I think they want to be able to find the responsible party when one is found in the wreckage of a large accident, responsibility for which the pilot may wish to attempt to avoid.

  7. How about this: Any craft that is intended to be able to be operated beyond LOS must have a GPS both in itself *and* its controller, so that the craft can be limited to travel no further than ‘X’ metres from its controller, where ‘X’ is based on its operator’s license.

    1. That can be hacked to bypass and if the operator is careful with fingerprints and sticks with cheap model that doesn’t use serial numbers, any crashed drone won’t be traceable.

  8. Just another excuse for “Big Brother” government to license you like a dog, regulate you, steal your money, fine you, prosecute you, jail you, and put you to death.

    For starters, let’s see…

    Annual Registration Fee: $40
    License Fee: $45
    Annual Inspection Fee: $35
    Inspection Sticker: $15
    Liability Insurance Rate (minimum $1 million): $700
    Flight Scheduling and Notification Rates: $$ undetermined
    FCC License Fee: $$ undetermined

  9. I will repeat here:
    Congress is full of idiots (too obvious?). Whatever they do here will be unnecessary. Whatever they do here will be too much but enough to help them get votes. Count on it.

    Anyone that thinks passing a law will help anything is either a moron or at least misinformed.
    No law ever passed ever helped anybody with anything. Ever. It’s the enforcement of a law which makes a difference, if any. It’s like noticing that there are tons of people speeding down a particular street, and thinking a solution will be to lower the speed limit or erect a bunch of one-way signs or something. If people are ignoring signs, what difference can it make to change the sign? If they gave tickets to speeders, then folks will change.

    If folks are flying into planes, peeping or creating a dangerous situation with their quadcopters (and they are), then they are ALREADY BREAKING LAWS!!! Am I the ONLY person who can see this?????
    Ok yea, then lets “change the sign”. But this time let’s make it so people who aren’t flying stupid can be fined or jailed too. Yea, that would be great.

    So passing a law banning quadcopters won’t help a dang thing. And the BIG problem I see is that this trivial law, which is unnecessary in the first place, will more than likely cause a LOT more problems than it will ever solve. More mild but similar to the “war on drugs” which has proven to be (and continues to be) a complete failure and enormous drain on society. People who are causing grief can more than likely be prosecuted for being stupid already !!! A new law restricting a lot of fun for tame citizens who thoughtfully exercise their freedom to pursue a little happiness is unnecessary and will more than likely be a source for abuse of enforcement bureaus, period.

    If someone is bothering you by flying their quadcopter recklessly and dangerously close to non-participants, then get them busted. There are already laws on the books for that. If you don’t like them for the noise, then call the wahmbulance – I don’t like to hear your lawnmower and leaf blower for six hours straight either. Also, the batteries last typically barely over five minutes and maybe up to 15 minutes. Just wait until the next commercial break and you can rest your ears.

    Holy cow. The thinking that comes out of people these days. I just don’t know.

  10. Well, the tech world is largely populated with folks with liberal sensibilities. I wonder if any of them will stop and reflect on how this embodies governmental over-reach, and how it parallels the issue of gun-control.

    Someone will comment, “Oh, so you think drones are literally the same thing as guns?” in 3..2..1…

    1. actually defensive idiots will ignore the similarities.

      Something that millions of people have that never causes harm, but one individual can eliminate dozens of lives with. A single drone ingestion could potentially bring down a plane yanno….and it’s those “potentials” that emotionally driven laws are created with.

      But some people like to pretend that the thing they are afraid of and want eliminated is different from the thing they like and want to protect. Herb enthusiasts, gun owners, motorcycle riders, vapers, book readers, hackers, rocket modellers, mountain bikers, skateboarders, and now “drone” pilots- all have been accused of being “dangerous” and something to be controlled, or if possible, eliminated.

      Everything has the “potential” to be abused, denying this is stupid as well. But making a difference between a potential misuse of one over another is cherrypicking. Since commercial grade autonomous drones have been floating around for only a couple years, and mostly only in wealthy richer parts of the world and in small numbers, there hasn’t been time enough for abuses to catch up to firearms parity.

      But unless you missed they hypegasm and fearmongering from a single report of a “near miss” with a drone, and didn’t see the Simpsonesque “think of the children!” cries, you cannot think there is any difference.

  11. – 1090/978 Mhz ES/UAT ADB-S Out schematic + code. Software simulated. Projected weight: <50g, Hardware BOM: $1/gram. ICAO compliant/FAA TCO compliant.
    – Spherical three-spectrum Optical S-S-A schematic + code, 10fps with MTI and object extraction. Software simulated and tested.
    – Lightweight 5nm range 10Ghz radar schematic, code, SITL-simulation.
    – Laser Altimeter, OTC.
    – Redundant fail-over encrypted data-links with RTW/H-on-Fail/RTH-on-Degrade/RTL-on-Warn.
    – Redundant Flight Controllers. OTC, schematics, code.
    – WAAS/SBAS redundant GPS units, Dithered track, 3-D.
    – Companion computers with RTW/H-on-Fail/RTH-on-Degrage/RTL-on-Warn.

    FAA/DOT Incompetence: Costing Jobs, Time, and sending STEM overseas.

  12. There are already laws in place to deal with people who recklessly endanger others.

    The dumb thing is that no matter what laws you put in place the ones who are going to abuse the system and use the “insert device here” for nefarious reasons will not bother going to get a registration, licence or whatever the requirement is. To be honest its just another way for the system to clip the ticket.

    Next issue is who is going to police the laws. Yes you are likely to get fined and end up with your equipment confiscated but imagine a police officer turning up, demanding you bring the craft down to land and the person refusing. Police officer then shoots or tasers the person and drone is now out of control.

    OK, who’s going to be the first to build a flying clock :)

  13. It’s sad that it has come to this. With the cost of drones becoming more affordable we got an influx of inconsiderate operators and imbeciles. I understand that something needs to be done, I just hope it’s not detrimental to the hobby.

    1. Oh don’t worry. It will be.

      Like I already said, and it doesn’t seem to get through I think. Something WAS already done. It just has to be enforced. Don’t enforce what’s already on the books and you get what we’ve been looking at. Pass a stupid new law and only thoughtful fliers suffer. And by the way, the new law won’t be any easier to enforce, but it will be easier to infringe on innocents. The morons will keep being what they have been. Sure one or two will get caught and pay the pauper, but it won’t stop the rest – it never does.

      So this is what our government has come to. They can’t enforce the laws that already exist, so criminalize toys. Brilliant.

    1. its because most people needed some sort of skill to keep an aircraft aloft and could not fly out of LoS. Now even cheaper drones are completely idiot proof and come with enough autonomous training aids as to fly themselves, do waypoints, and return home without oversight. And maybe even “worse” it allows the citizenry near equivalent surveillance oversight. Can’t be having power balanced now can we?

      fortunately government is usually so nearsighted that when they round up the quads as “drones” they’ll ignore the single rotor whirlybirds :)

  14. First they came for the guns but I said nothing because I wasn’t a “right wing gun nut”

    then they came for the drones…..

    they can have my drone when they pry the controller from my cold dead thumbs….or when I crash because I don’t use autopilots and am a crappy pilot :P

    1. Only if stupid people used them. My family played lawn darts all summer and nobody came close to getting hurt because we played responsibly. See how it works? Smart people = safe. Dumb people = hurt + banned.

  15. On the topic of drones: I noticed that military drones most often do not carry any identification, When they get shot down it is often hard to say what country they are from. Does that seem odd to anybody? You might understand it from CIA drones, since spies are undercover as it were, but the army/air force drones also seem to lack proper markings.

    It has an advantage though, if you shoot one down the owner (country) can’t complain or start a fight about it since they fall under the general ‘spy’ category. But it remains odd to me, I mean military fighters and bombers carry flags markers and numbers and such to ID them, so why not drones?

    Anyway, the military ignores classical rules and the civilians have to register now, how… interesting.

  16. I keep hearing this 5-mile-notification radius from an airfield or airport being thrown around. The problem is, especially on the east coast of the US, there are very few places that aren’t within five miles of an FAA-registered private/restricted airfield(maybe as little as a lawn with a windsock and a shed) or helipad(hospitals, some police barracks). Look at the sectional charts, take a compass and draw 5-mile lines from anything marked as an airport and you’ll get very small islands of “clear” areas.

  17. Mwa ha ha!
    Drone Hobbyist: ” I don’t need guns, you freaks! I don’t need a business! I don’t care about anything more than my drones! Look at my nice drone collection! Don’t bother me with your talk about government overreach you bitter clinger!!!! You’re probably a racist too!!!”
    Me: ” Gov wants to require registration on drones”
    Drone Hobbyist: “Tyranny!!!!!! Where’s the blue face paint! Revolution!!!!!”
    Me; “welcome to the party”.

  18. “To that end, the FAA created the B4UFLY app that takes the trouble out of reading sectional charts and checking up on the latest NOTAMs and TFRs.”

    App was released in August on iOS for beta that should have lasted a couple months…and that’s it. No updates, no download links. Maybe it’s still in beta? Either way, it’s useless to me (I own no Apple devices).

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