The FAA Wants Your Input On Upcoming Drone Regs

Earlier this week, the US Department of Transportation announced registration would be required for unmanned aerial systems. Yes, drones will be regulated, and right now representatives from the Academy of Model Aircraft, the Air Line Pilots Association, the Consumer Electronics Association and others are deciding which quadcopters, planes, and other aircraft should be exempt from registration.

Now, the US DOT and FAA are looking for consumer’s input. The US DOT is asking the public such questions as:

  • Should registration happen at point-of-sale, or after the box is opened?
  • Should registration be dependant on serial numbers? If so, how will kits be registered?
  • Should certain drones/UAS be excluded from registration? Should weight, speed, maximum altitude, or flight times be taken into account?
  • Should registration require a fee?
  • Are there any additional ways of encouraging accountability of drone/UAS use?

Comments will be taken until November 6, with the task force assembled by the US DOT providing its regulations by November 20. The hope for all involved parties is that this system of regulation will be in place for the holiday season. One million UAS are expected to be sold by Christmas.

106 thoughts on “The FAA Wants Your Input On Upcoming Drone Regs

  1. I don’t think registration should be required for “drones” incapable of autonomous or non-line-of-sight flight, those are toys, not drones. I think it should be automatically required for all drones regardless of size, if they are capable of transmitting live audio or video or can fly autonomously or out of line of sight.

    1. “… transmitting live audio or video …”

      You should be more concerned about the 5 micron, solar powered, mesh networked array of camera dust that is transmitting in the 2.4GHz band from every surface of your home. Your supposed HEPA filters are useless to stop us now!

      But seriously, there is no express, or implied expectation of privacy when you are within LOS of any z-axis position on an adjacent property. So, why should the user of a device with a camera be subjected to such unconstitutional regulation?

  2. so today in the world of unregistered drones, you can get away with doing stupid things as long as you aren’t caught and connected to the drone. If we start registering drones, stupid people will just have to file the serial number off the drone and then hope not to get caught. So the only thing this does is punishes honest people and doesn’t change anything for the miscreants.

      1. that is the real problem, they applied the bullshit gun argument to it. Like bad people wont have guns in a gun free zone right? Same problem now with drones. Its utter total bs. It is not meant to enhance safety by design. It is meant to be able to id craft AFTER THE INCIDENT . So their entire line of being “Hyper focused on safety ” is just a bunch of buzz word bullshit. By their own admission it won’t and was never supposed to make things safer. It is to enable enforcement. IE to give cops a reason to mess with every single person , to generate revenue.

        1. The same could be said of red-light cameras. If they were there for safety, and not revenue generation, there would need to be someone in authority on-site to actually STOP the unsafe activity, not send someone a bill a month later, allowing the unsafe activity to continue unopposed(and subsequently collecting additional revenue)…

      2. No one gives a shit who *owns* a drone; that’s not what the registration is for. The idea is that when someone does something stupid with a drone, it will have a serial because while people expressly intending to do something the FAA would disapprove of would file off the serial, most of the problems aren’t coming from folks who know they’re being irresponsible. That’s the whole problem with stupidity.

        In addition, no gun zones and so forth are bullshit in large part because by the time anyone knows you have a gun, it’s out and ready to use, and bullets can’t be swatted out of the air with a tennis racket.* The same is not true of drones, particularly the drones that can actually do damage to somebody.

        * Well, not with any tennis racket I’ve ever seen. If you know otherwise, please post a video!

  3. A website, you register and identify yourself ( maybe a little small time fee) and there you can enter the serial number of your drone, or get a number and print it on the drone. Nothing more..

  4. Should registration happen at point-of-sale, or after the box is opened?
    At point of sale like a gun store.
    Should registration be dependent on serial numbers? If so, how will kits be registered?
    All Should have a VIN number. Like the dogs have an rfid chip or cars/bikes so when i die because of a drone some one could be blamed for.
    Should certain drones/UAS be excluded from registration? Should weight, speed, maximum altitude, or flight times be taken into account?
    yes, like free radio is limited to 500mW so the “no reg needed” drones should be limited in range
    Should registration require a fee?
    No but requiring 18+ age to reg.
    A drone can cause an accident when misused.

    I know kids with high end drones that get into peoples backyards to see what they got to steal from them.

    1. I disagree with PoS registration, because UAS are often bought as a gift and/or have defects requiring an exchange.

      The downside is that it’s harder to get people to register once the purchase has been completed unless you build in complexity where a registrations has to be entered prior to flight.

      BTW, the serial should be stores in the FC and be on the PCB. You can include a card with the serial in the box for registration, but the on-PCB serial should be done such that attempting to remove it via scratching would ruin the board (I’m sure there are ways to remove the silkscreen carefully, but I’m talking dissuade the casual person. Also the serial would still be in the FC).

      Frankly, I’m kinda hoping for a UAS Tail Number, so I at least get to feel somewhat special for registering. Sure it’s not practical too put on the UAS, but I would like to have the pride of doing the right thing.

      1. In this day in age, I would think it would be possible to implement a system that would make a drone effectively useless unless registered. Why not have the firmware downloaded after you register the drone. This cuts down on the aspect of people that have little to no know how of how these work to keep them honest and also allows the authorities to know when someone who does know how to build these things from scratch, to be punished appropiately, since it would seem that if they did not register their personal hand built drone or whatnot, it is likely they had malicious intent.

    2. Funny how americans are upset about the need to positively ID yourself for voting but when asked to register and be tracked about purchase of toys they jump to it with much enthusiasm..

      Sometimes when certain subjects come up in internet forums I find myself respecting loyal north-korean subjects more than the average US citizen.

    3. TX power limiting will not work because anyone can go on 1000’s of different websites and purchase a ‘2.4GHz Broadband WIFI Amplifier’ and a high gain WIFI antenna and boost themselves up to 2W just by soldering a couple connections.

  5. 1. Since many UAS systems are custom built, they may not have valid serial numbers. Registration should be similar to home built experimental aircraft, where the “manufacturer” and unique number is used to identify the aircraft.

    2. Registration should be done before the craft is flown in the NAS (indoor test flights on private property should be exempt).

    3. Point of sale registration is impractical, and a burden on the retailer. The Registration information must be included with all UAS vehicles sold. The registration information should include brief regulations and penalties.

    4. Aircraft that will be used exclusively privately indoors, line of sight and under 8 oz should be exempt. Any aircraft flown in the NAS should be registered if flown for commercial operations. Any aircraft over 55lbs should be registered.

    5. The burden will always be on the operator to register the craft before operating it in the NAS. Putting the burden on retailers will significantly limit number of aircraft sold. Manufacturers should encourage registration of the aircraft with them to get warranty and software updates, this should allow tracking of manufactured aircraft.

    6. Registration should be similar (if not identical to) the registration process available for other aircraft, using either the web or the US mail, and include the need for a fee. De-registering an aircraft should also be possible, in case of sale or aircraft no longer being airworthy.

    7. Registration of all aircraft should be harmonized. The owner (corporation or individual), legal address and aircraft identification should be listed.

    8. Aircraft records must be harmonized. Manned and unmanned systems should have similar record storage.

    9. Registration should be similar (if not identical to) the registration process available for other aircraft, using either the web or the US mail, and include the need for a fee. De-registering an aircraft should also be possible, in case of sale or aircraft no longer being airworthy.

    10. Encouraging ADS-B and other tracking systems should be a goal. Certainly it should be possible to have a small transmitter broadcasting position information information on each UAS. This tracking information would have either the ICAO identifier or some other owner ID value available. The system would allow participating aircraft to be aware of the UAS in the area, as well as a tracking by ATC and other entities.

    1. There are currently 24bit ICAO numbers that is a limit of about 16.7 million unique numbers. I think that they should all be reserved for actual full size aircraft. Maybe a similar system with a separate frequency, so that cheap hardware does not cause interference, with life critical systems.

  6. •Should registration happen at point-of-sale, or after the box is opened?
    At POS, requiring a license. Similar to amateur Radio paradigm, with increasing privileges per class.

    •Should registration be dependant on serial numbers? If so, how will kits be registered?
    They should be dependant on both a license number and serial number.

    •Should certain drones/UAS be excluded from registration? Should weight, speed, maximum altitude, or flight times be taken into account?
    Yes, anything 1lb. still requires a license.

    •Should registration require a fee?
    Yes, and a test to prove the minimum knowledge required to safely operate the drone.

    •Are there any additional ways of encouraging accountability of drone/UAS use?
    Yes, start fining the dirt-clods who who are abusive in their use of these vehicles.

  7. Keep your dirty government hands out of my business. Regulate by law. Anyone who crashes into people: fine. Serious injury or damage: Damages + fine + time. Don’t make us register or your just hindering advancement. How are they going to regulate that anyway? I can scratchbuild in my basement and nobody’d be the wiser. Look, another government agency trying to do something to look like it’s doing something, but instead we all just see it’s head shoved firmly up it’s

    1. Except that there’s currently no way to link the “drone” that caused the crash to it’s owner, and it’s generally not the scratch builders causing problems. It’s easy to flee and get away clean, and even if they track you down later, it’s easy to establish “reasonable doubt” with commercial models: “yeah, I did own a drone of that make, but I crashed it a few days before and couldn’t find it.”

    1. The FCC has appeared to be responsive to comments made by amateur radio operators many times. Sure are those hams when the FCC has acted in the manner those hams wished the FCC would have, use that as evidence the government isn’t responsive. Good luck in selling that bridge, you read like very good salesperson

  8. “Regulate by law.”

    That is what they are trying to do; provide a uniform set of laws that are applicable to the entire nation as a whole. Otherwise, we end up with millions of laws, in every imaginable jurisdiction, which overlap and instigate massive confusion.

    This would be much worse for the industry and advancement.

    1. In the US, “laws” are not created arbitrarily by regulatory agencies. They are created through Congress and the process defined in the Constitution. And the situation you describe is exactly what we have now that Congress has abdicated it’s duties in the making of regulation to arbitrary agencies.

      1. I understand that that the purpose of an agency is to suggest/enforce laws, a nd that the legislative bodies are to create/publish them. Maybe I could have been clearer by using the word “suggest” instead of “provide”.

  9. I notice a few people have said that registration should not apply to any drone that is being flown in line of sight.

    The problem is that all drones have a micro-controller which ultimately controls where it flies, even if the controller is purely supposed to maintain stability.

    If the micro-controller decides that the drone is descending, when its not, the drone will ascend into its battery goes flat, most probably entering controlled airspace.

    There are numerous cases of DJI Phantom’s suddenly flying off out of control, most of which remain unexplained.

    1. Take a cue from mobile phone systems – monitor the signal from the controller.
      If the signal gets too weak, you have exceeded maximum distance: cut power to engines, deploy parachute if fitted.
      Signal strength increases with appropriate level of license.

      1. this exactly. on a 65lb Skidsteer RC, I’ve got a “Radio Deadman” line that puts it into Brake if it loses connectivity. And because most outdoor-suited multicopters that I’m aware of operate on Negotiated 2.4GHz control links, the radio-good logic is in place already

      2. But you would have to have some way to access FAA database, which could make smaller drones much heavier, and if it was just firmware, anyone could just download it from a pirate site

  10. Seriously HAD was the last place I thought people would be pushing for more regulation?? What would regulation really acheive? So some kid is out annoying people with his UAV it’s not like you can take down his Licence plate is it? Make some sensible laws like don’t fly on privateland without permission, Don’t buzz peoples houses it’s that simple.

    Registration won’t change much it is just going to make peoples hobbycost a little extra with no real tangible benefits.

    1. You are right that it could be that simple. But look at how our society really works. Ever hear a story about judges locking kids up for being little more than a nuisance, just so they can receive their referral fee? How about speed traps, or parking tickets, or fines for feeding the homeless?

      Leaving the laws up to State, County, and Municipal authorities is likely to lead to laws which disproportionately affect hobbyists as a means if lining their coffers; and pockets in many cases.

      1. I didn’t really think of it like that, I live in the UK so we have a slightly different system but I can see you point. I know this may seem like an American issue but if we start putting VINs on UAV’s other countries will adopt the system.

        I think we need to differentiate between entry level hobbist’s and serious hobbist’s, If we force entry levelist’s into registration it might kill a lot of business and interest in getting started.

        1. Agreed. But, I think that a license showing a minimal amount of knowledge would be reasonable. It is a flying radio after all. Maybe something like this:

          Toy (Class C: Less than a pound, no license, no registration)
          Technician (Class B : 1 to 4.99 pounds, license, no registration)
          Full (Class A: Five pounds or greater, license, registration)

          1. I like that. Regarding the scratch built multicopters, when I scratch built my kayak I had to get a hull ID number from the state watercraft office for a few bucks, a little stamped metal plate. Do the same thing for multicopters in the appropriate weight classes.

            Any law that does not have a minimum weight requirement is really stupid. If you have to register the little palm sized micros, then we have truly gone off the deep end.

          2. I think the even the toys should require some level of license. They should be exceedingly easy to obtain, but it should require you to show some level of basic skill and test common sense rules since people are so lacking in common sense. I know it seems extreme, but you can harm with toys. Just fly an X5C out in traffic on a busy road and see what happens. It’s not hard for a beginner to loose track of which end is pointing forward and end up 40′ above a busy road and out of battery.

        2. (note that even though i say this here, when it was time for the FAA comment I basically answered each question with the least restrictive answers possible. I figure if we tell them self-registration only, they may compromise somewhere half-reasonably)

          1. There is something to be said for the art of negotiation(war). But, all the idiot operators are costing us the moral ground; so it doesn’t really matter if we appear strong…

  11. Since the 20’ies a personal aircraft in the garage has been the elusive dream at different expos ever since. Now we have them, not quite there yet for personal transport, but in a similar sense as in that the average Joe has the means to navigate the airways.

    Personal liability for consumers does not quite cut it for this situation. The degree of training and the insurance requirements for pilots, recreational as professional, are a lot stricter. This is a battle of domains, whatever the FAA or rather DOT decides, they will have to give in even with registration of every single flying toy.

    Make no fly zone maps easy to read maybe as a requirement in any gps drone application, so no one can claim ignorance.
    Have part of the registration fee go to a common insurance to cover damages over i.e. $25.000, not only physical damages but also losses related to interruption to air traffic search and rescue, etc.

    Reduce the 5 Km no fly zone to only include major airports of a certain size. Make only the approach paths inaccessible on smaller airports
    Autonomous piloting should require upload and autorisation of the flight plan as such a craft does not have the wits of a human to constantly assess the situation if beyond LOS.

    Exclude toys, any craft not capable of waypoint following except return to home and less than a certain kinetic energy. In Switzerland this limit is 90 grammes which is not much, but electronics and batteries get smaller so anything a DJI Phantom can do today a 50g quadcopter can do in a few years. (You will be grateful of a low mass limit for toy copters if your kid drops his craft on a neighbor’s car or prize winning stud.)

    Make exemptions for FPV if flown under perhaps 200 feet. This will limit risk to air traffic and not kill of FPV racing or over the horizon piloting.

    I hope manufacturers would incorporate standalone hardware.
    Phones with gsm radios and tablets with wifi and a shitload of questionable apps installed have no place near your craft or transmitter, especially if you fly on 2.4GHZ. Is there and DJI virus out there yet, You know, just for the lolz?

    AS a pilot of a registred craft, join a local or national RC club, maybe not as a requirement but we need the lobby of a national organisation to influence legislation.

  12. Registration is futile. Too easy to ignore or evade. Well-written guidelines covering operating in an emergency would be helpful to all those with good intentions. As for those with bad intentions, well, that’s a hard problem that will only get harder.

    1. (Disclaimer: DONT DO THIS)

      If you think your statement is true, go buy an old Yaesu or Kenwood radio and an antenna, then power up the rig, spin the tuner to a random frequency (maybe fat-finger some buttons too) and then key your mic while listening to porn for 15 minutes.

      There are radio people, repeaters, and antennas all over this nation. They can pinpoint you in seconds. Think tracking a few putzs with low-powered UAVs is beyond their capability? They’ll have a field day with this.

      1. That is an extreme over-statement. It usually takes months, if not years for the FCC to actually do anything about those violating operating policy. And no one is going to attempt to track intermittent interference 24/7 for any length of time. They’ll complain and complain until a year later an FCC monitor -might- show up and do something about it.

      2. Enforcement of FCC, FAA, and a lot of other rules seems to vary a great deal with how much of a nuisance you are. Avoid bothering other people, especially people who know what the rules are, and you may get away with a lot. Get in your face with violations or just come to attention as “undesirable” over matters that may technically not be a violation, and the enforcers can throw the book at you over every last minute detail.

      3. I agree the putzs will be easy picking, but to suggest that signal finding will catch everyone implies everyone is a putz.

        Consider an autonomous drone that receives no control signals during operation. It receives GPS and follows a pre-programmed flight plan. There’s basically nothing in the radio spectrum to triangulate.

        For scofflaws that want telemetry in realtime, yes, they’ll need to be careful about frequencies, power and encryption.

  13. Registration should only be required for vehicles that fly autonomously or that can be easily flown outside visual range of the operator. All other vehicles used for private purposes should be exempt from registration (including vehicles that are operated with FPV cameras) regardless of size, flight time or anything else.

    Registration should also be required for anyone operating a drone for commercial use and should definatly require a fee. Drones operated by law enforcement, government agencies etc (e.g. a local council using a drone to check for illegal building activity in their area) should also be required to be registered.
    Registration for kit or scratch-built drones should be handled exactly like registration for kit or scratch-built manned aircraft.

    In terms of the distinction between private and commercial use the rules should be the same as for manned aircraft. If you are a pilot and take video from an airplane (without being paid to take that video) and upload it to YouTube, you dont need a commercial license (even if the YouTube video has ads attached) so the same should apply with a drone. Do you need a commercial license if someone pays you to go up in a manned airplane and take photos/video on their behalf? If not, you shouldn’t need one to do the same thing with a drone either. If so, you should need a commercial license to do it with a drone.

    The rules about where you can fly a drone without a commercial license should be as simple as possible and just set a limit for how far away from any operating airport or restricted area you can fly as well as how high off the ground you can fly (something that doesn’t require drone hobbyists to understand all the specifics of different classes of airspace). The rules should state that if you want to fly close to an airport with a control tower (including military airbases), you need approval from the control tower to do, if you want to fly close to an airport without a control tower you need approval from the relavent airport authority and if you want to fly close to a private airstrip (e.g. a ranch or station with its own airstrip or one of those private estates with its own runway) you would need permission from the owner of the airport.

    1. As they are currently worded, FAA policy says if you use the (model) aircraft for commercial purposes of any kind, it requires a commercial license. Even taking aerial pictures.

  14. I can build props in my house.
    I can build motors in my house.
    I can build chassis in my house.

    I cannot build lipo, in my house.
    The only engineering bottleneck to exploit to control these is the batteries , but you can just parralel them up so even there, there is no metric to make this workable. It is just a dumb assed idea to start with. What we have is a surge in new , idiot users that need education. Ok make a HUGE pr mission to advertise you need a license to fly. Make the test be given in all dmv just like written drivers test. Make the questions how to id your craft , where to look for no fly’s and how to check your chosen place to fly. Dont make every one be an expert provide a website or app that makes it easy , test them to confirm they know about it , and how to ide their crafts , and then apply a huge fine if you dont use it. IF you break the law and the app said the law or notam you break make the penalties severe.

    I wont pay for registration, i dont even wanna do it , its the dumbest thing ive ever heard and i wanna kick the FAA guy in the shin for doing this. Make a license to fly , and make that license prove you know atleast how to find the rules before flying , and that the fines if you screw up are like 100,000$. Call it a day. Charge people 5 $ for the test. Authorize the pilot not the craft.

    Parents and kids.
    If under 18 the child cannot enter a legal contract and parent assumes liability and legal operatorship .

    You would then make a little money to maintain the app / websites to provide the rules in an easy to receive way for dumb idiots, from the test cost.
    I will happily take a test and get my card to turn eager police away from ruining my hobby.

    1. The app / website i mention is in development even.

      Now just make it answer the core “Do Not’s” Like don’t fly for money or you need to do the stuff at this page. List 333 and show people how to pursue it , and break down the costs.

      register all commercial craft. ALL. Screw those guys :) Cost’s money to make money.

      What they did is going to destroy a market. It is going to destroy people’s motivation to contribute/advance the tech and further push our country from one that made things and had innovation to a second rate slow to innovate country that doesnt make anything not even ideas anymore. Every single person who supported them by being on stage should go find new jobs imho. That was just a horrible idea.

  15. As long as they’re at it, they need to fix the path for Commercial operation and come up with a way to get a license to operate that is entirely multirotor/fpv based. Having to get a pilot’s license / ballooning license to fly a quad is beyond moronic.

  16. Current TX and RX require linking to work together. When the TX creates the link the RX records the TX’s serial number in a non-volatile memory. If a problem occurs it is highly probable the memory will survive. The serial number can be retrieved.

    You track the TX. Either at POS or online the owner has to register with the vendor and get a code to enable the TX. Without the code the TX won’t transmit. This registration requires a credit card to get positive ID. That person is responsible for whatever happens.

    The real purpose of this is to make someone realize that could be traced if they cause a real problem. It’s a deterrent more than an investigative tool. But a few highly publicized cases of egregious behavior would get the message out.

    1. Until you go and buy a transmitter directly off Alibaba, or build your own. Technological solutions won’t work because there’s nothing you can’t make at your own bench. Legislative solutions won’t work because outlaws will still have outlawed transmitters and outlawed quads. you could make a TX/RX with nothing but an arduino and a esp8266 or a $9 CHIP computer and a WIFI dongle and a laptop or tablet with wifi and a simple opensource control program. RF is everywhere, abundant and hackable.

      Require software crippling in the flight controllers? you can make one with an Arduino and cast off Wii parts.
      Register the batteries? Wire up your own pack from laptop cells or burner phone batteries. Pull them out of e-cigs, wire up some rechargeable AAs. Motors are everywhere too. ESCs are easy to build.

      Fact is the jinn is out of the bottle and there’s no putting it back. In a way it’s comforting to think that we can regulate and control things, but they can’t even keep people from pirating movies/tv shows/music. Sure, they get some high profile cases and make examples, but in mass people ignore the laws and pirate away, even when there are legal alternatives.

      1. Someone who purposefully wants to cause a problem will find a way. There is an old saying: “Locks are for keeping honest people out.” This situation calls for a solution that makes aware those who are unaware of the problems they can cause.

  17. It should also be illegal to cause serious harm or death with a drone (though that will screw with US foreign policy)
    I’m wondering what will technically constitute an aircraft, will tethered crafts be covered? If so, how about kites?

    If not, if someone wants to fly in a field or open space, could they get around registration with a piece of string?

  18. The information I miss here is.. is that supposed to apply to standard fixed wing model RC planes? Because I believe the rules should be the same for any number of rotors and any propulsion type (rubber, electricity, ethanol, gas..).

    I do not care much about US (except when the rules get duplicated by EU) but here in CZ we are allowed to fly anything under certain weight as long as it is noncommercial, line of sight only and the operator is in control of the plane/drone. Any business operation, autonomous operation or FPV requires a special pilot license.

    1. No, you see those are harmless fun toys. These are DRONES.

      Drones are scary and evil because they’re used overseas to kill people with no human intervention! They carry CAMERAS and are used to SPY on YOU. It’s only a matter of time until these drones will be fully autonomous big brother machines.

      TV news told me so!


        1. Just letting you know that drones actually CAN steal your phone calls. Most commercial phones will automatically connect to cell towers without verifying them, and you can have a cell repeater in a drone. Oh, and it cracks Wifi.

          And this was 4 years ago. I know that others have had this idea because *I* had this idea and was massively disappointed that it had been done before.

          1. “Just letting you know that drones actually CAN steal your phone calls. Most commercial phones will automatically connect to cell towers without verifying them”

            1.The craft in question is actually not capable of stealing phone calls. The illegally operated cellular gear inside the craft is. You could put the same gear in your car or backpack and drive or walk around the neighborhood doing the same thing,. Let’s make regulations about cars and backpacks and walking! In the city I live in the cops are kind of famous for peppering Stingrays all over town, but not a single one (that we know about) is mounted on a UAV.

            2. Oh wait, maybe we could take the “WASP” at face value. The entire point of building the $6000 craft was to showcase the absurd insecurity of cellular phones. Maybe… I know it’s a stretch… maybe we should be talking about regulating cellular phones and making them more secure?!? I know it’s a crackpot idea to require consumer devices to be MORE secure.

            3.You’ve clearly never cracked wireless networks before. Unless it’s an extremely common password it’s not going to happen within the flight time of this or any other UAV within the grasp of John Q Public.

  19. I think the definition of a “drone” needs clearly defining AND the mass media needs educating about the correct use of the terms as i think a lot of so called drone close calls are not drones at all but conventional RC planes\ quads being flown in an inappropriate manor.

    To my mind a drone is a device that can pilot its self autonomously, either full time (so you let it go at take of and it buzzes of and does it’s thing then comes home to land without any human direction) or part of the time (like combat systems that are taken off the ground manually, told to fly somewhere and then the operator takes over at the other end to do the business then sets it on its way home where it is manually landed again.) and NOT an fpv rig or normal RC plane\ quad as they still have the squishy part at the controls. Not a computer.

    1. You’re correct in your definition. A “drone” is autonomous; basically given non-realtime instructions and figures out how to accomplish them on its own. So “go to this height, fly to these coordinates, perform this action,” and it the actual control of flight surfaces, powerplants, etc. are given over to the control system, independent of a real-time “squishy” controller. Unfortunately, the term “drone” has become mainstream and misused by laypeople that refuse to be educated (like “cosplay”). And it just gets worse when you try to explain that a UAV can be a drone or not, or both, and that a drone isn’t necessarily a UAV, etc.

      R/C stuff is all LOS (if you get out of LOS, you typically freak out and pray it comes back) and is already controlled by the AMA. Sure, I could fly at a non-AMA field or anywhere, really, but I’ve actually yet to personally see anyone do that. R/C aircraft are actually not part of this regulation, due to the existing regulations on the books and the technical requirements or old-school R/C planes.

      FPV is a bit of a sticky wicket. Sure, you may have a human controlling it, but if they take it out of LOS, it’s not like an “old-school R/C plane.” I personally feel like FPV gives people a false sense of security, and they don’t pay attention to the loss of situational awareness. I’ve seen it happen firsthand; someone slamming into the side of a shed because they were too busy staring at a video feed and not where the plane was in its 3-D environment.

  20. Sounds great! If you aren’t doing anything “untoward” with your flybot then you have nothing to worry about. For others it will be a primer into being a responsible owner of anything that requires government oversight and weird regulations that change yearly. Either way, even at this stage, I have seen enough VIDEOS of abuses that the undocumented shit on usenet must be horrifying. Hopefully the registration fees/tickets will go into a victim relief fund.
    On a side note: Any of you legal eagles out there know anything about airspace above your property? Like can I protect the first 400′ above my property? Can I keep anything I shoot down and prosecute for trespassing when they fly over?

    1. 1946 supreme Court. You have absolutely no air rights. Furthermore if you go shooting guns in the city you are going to jail. Even if you aren’t in the city you can’t be shooting other people’s property (rc craft) regardless of where in the air it is. If it’s on the ground it’s fair game, but you might consider just politely asking the operator not to fly around your house.

  21. What about requiring that any quadcopter, model airplane, or other remotely or autonomously operated flying machine have a kill signal capability. You are never going to prevent people from flying around an airport or an active fire/emergency because they won’t know about the rules, or feel that the rules don’t apply to them. If you require that a flying machine must respond to a kill signal and immediately drop out of the sky then a permanent exclusion zone can be set up around airports, and emergency helicopters and planes can have a kill signal transmitter to keep the air safe around them. Anyone who doesn’t want paparazi looking in their windows could set up a transmitter on their property. The kill signal transmitter would have an unique serial number that would be transmitted. The transmitters would have to be registered at time of sale with some government organization so that if someone was abusing its use then they could be tracked down.

    Yes, I know that people like us on this forum could always make our own transmitters with spoofed serial numbers and could build quadcopters ourselves that didn’t respond to the kill signal but this woud prevent 99% or more of potential problems because the average person is just going to go to the drone aisle at Frys and buy theirs for $100 or less.

  22. I suspect many of those pushing hardest for registration want to restrict who can legally own and operate what kind of UAS. Imagine the secrets that might be uncovered by a flying camera going where a human pilot should not. A central database is abusable, more so if the UAS has a readable ID number.

    Much of the benefit of registration can be had by requiring the UAS carry a business card with owner / operator contact information.

  23. Learning about this mandatory registration just makes my heart sink. Flying my self-built quadcopter gives me a sense of freedom like nothing else ever has. Tonight I’m just sad :-(

  24. I think all UAS that can travel beyond said distance (maybe like 15 meters in the air?) should have to have a chip connected to the motherboard, in a little container also containing crucial flight control circuits, so that any non-geek (general population) could’nt remove it. As for custom UAS, all sellers of control boards should have to include such device on prebuilt boards and schematics. Police could check the chip with a long range scanner (little pistol-grip thingy, like a FLIR), and if there wasn’t any they could confiscate it. The chips could be free, the government would’t care. Heck, in my county, they’re giving out free needles for drug addicts! Or they could just have a killswitch that police could activate with said pistol-grip thingy.

  25. Maybe if you had a number, your drone could be returned with a small fine (around $50), but with no number police could confiscate and destroy it. (this would have a bigger effect on people who payed a load for their drones)

  26. I feel like that at POS registration ought to be an option to simplify things if the customer will be the owner. Otherwise it ought to be after the box is opened since they might be gifting it to someone. I.e. both options should exists for practical/common sense reasons. Not sure how you’d register them without serial numbers, hardware IDs? I would hope they would exclude drones that can even get above the average single family home and need line of sight. Free registration is the best way to ensure maximum participation, imho.

  27. This law is poorly prepared and that is why I think it is not going to make it through congress. There are just too many ways to abolish it. One can make a drone by itself. That could be just buying 2 key components and getting them to stick together. That’s not really hard to do and BAM… Terrorists and others who might want to harm the safety can very easily bypass those rules. The only thing this law will do will be to reduce number of drones in the circulation. That is bad because the drone industry could actually make many advancements in future. Aerial photography and videography, which are the topics I discuss a lot on my blog (link in signature) can rarely be done without quadcopters. And if people will not use the drones, this will kill the industry which is actually very promising. So basically I really highly doubt this will hold a vote. A concious and sober thinking about that says it will not pass the congress.

  28. The Idea that “dones” are a huge problem and great threat to the public safety (not to mention a risk to the very security of the nation!!), is a huge farce and example of how our sheep like citizens bite on any hyped out news story designed to grab attention and ae generally very loose and sparse on actual facts. The thought that any person can possess a “DRONE” is made to seem like the absolute path to anarchy and total mayhem and that the only reason a person could want to have one of these new cursed objects for is to commit criminal acts. Of Course they ignore the difference between a true autonomous and programmable drone capable of very precise and diverse missions with little or any pilot or operator input and the far more common and cheaper RC toys that only fly with direct and constant piloting from an radio wielding operator. The bluring of this line allows the actual numbers of so called Drones to be vastly over stated by a factor of several hundred times the true number of programmable and automatic flying robotic aircraft. Why ? well it would be hard to create a huge issue over a thousand or so aircraft capable of autonomous flight and make it seem like a big problem needing action but easy to get the public to believe there is a great chance of accidents if they include any flight capable device from the DOD fleet of enormous (compared to even the biggest public “drone” yet made) and deadly remote operated military “Drones” and the less than an ounce “Air HOGG” indoor only, 5 minute flight time , Infrared linked, toys sold in local gas stations around here for about $20 and report these all as DRONES !! absolute media created Hype with no concern for actual facts and careful editing to eliminate any good uses or examples of positive uses for or responsible and proper operations instead concentrating reports on any infraction on airspace, close calls and negative examples of hazardous, dangerous, or operators flights into restricted airspaces or any other illegal acts involving a so called “DRONE”.
    The FAA seems so concerned to write rules to keep passenger airliners from accidental collisions with the so called Drones every idiot seems to have,, Folks I have seen no flying and commercially built, home or school DIY Project built equipment that operates at any really active altitude currently used by passenger aircraft, nor any that if a collision occurred would even scratch a big jets paint A BIRD IS MUCH MORE a hazard than a hobby “DRONE”.!! If a few ounces or even a pound or so quad rotor is really a problem for a passenger jet in collision I think some nit wit is building the passenger jet way to flimsy and prone to damage I WOULD NEVER FLY COMMERCIAL AGAIN!!
    No one even mentions the RC flying hobbies long history of operation of all types of radio controlled planes, and structurally and weight wise these historic RC models are very much identical to the hideous and evil scourge named “DRONES”, the only difference is a small electronic board of about a couple tens of grams that make a RC model into a DRONE.!!
    If registration is required things need to be corrected a bit, Registration and possible pilot credentials requirement should give the person registering their hobby or light commercial purposed aircraft some expanded privileges over the direct radio linked flight of the exempted hobby type aircraft. Specifically longer range operation, Pilot POV operation via video/ telemetry data, operation over the general public (the idea of telling a bunch of people to stay inside while I operate my drone IS ABSOLUTLY LUNATIC NUTTY Idea to propose in a FAA RULE FOR ANY REASON! Like sure that would be feasible to coordinate or insure compliance by any crowd greater than say one in size!! Not a workable solution for either public or operators!! Longer range ops with reliable control via AMATURE radio equipment and frequencies are not only safe and stable but the same method used for DECADES to operate our fleet of commercial sats and deep space probes, they are flown WELL over a line of direct sight and with a telemetry link, so arguments to severely limit the range and conditions where flight ops are considered legal are very weak in having a real and factual basis supporting them. THe fact is the DOD and NSA folks are pissed about private citizens possessing technologically advanced robotic aircraft with capabilities similar or close to what they have available to them, as a government becomes corrupt and unjust and exerts unlawful pressures on the citizens the same errant government begins to fear a populace capable of resisting or fighting back, a disarmed and hobbled citizenry is much more at risk of Blatant and deliberate denial and encoded civil and other codified unabridged rights of all persons. Dictators and tyrants first dis arm then under educate a public to allow revolt free rule to occur. FAA REGS for ANYTHING WEIGHING UNDER 1000 POUNDS is unneeded and Expensive solution to a nonexistent problem and will cost loads of cash to enforce, comply with and legal fees law suits and will accomplish very little actual benefit or increased safety . it will hinder research and development, commercialization, and acceptance of a very promising new technology and be as a result a net negative benefit to the citizens, exactly opposite of what regulations and LAWS should be doing!!
    NO FAA REGULATION OF “DRONES” unless improved to automatically allow new technology to expand operations to greater range, limit cost and complexity of a person getting proper credentials, written as to say only specifically disallowed uses instead of current versions specific use allowed rules, only limit proven and obvious hazard operations instead of requiing persons wishing to use the tech. in a previously unheard of application to get the new use added to the approved special permit use listings (damn near impossible) ALLOW persons with Armature Radio licenses to use that capability to operate at greater distance and with pilot point view operations, OR ELSE NOT REGULATE WITH FLAWED CURENT IDIOT VERSION that reads like the technology is from the 1950’s and is stagnated never to evolve when actuality the tech is changing DAILY and Should be written to allow new tech to be used to increase safe operation and commercialization to occur with the vision of new innovative uses. The current law cripples instead of enables!! (COMMON PROBLEM IN TODAYS FEDERAL GOVT> )!!

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