The Zombie Rises Again: Drone Registration Is Back

It’s a trope of horror movies that demonic foes always return. No sooner has the bad guy been dissolved in a withering hail of holy water in the denoeument of the first movie, than some foolish child in a white dress at the start of the next is queuing up to re-animate it with a careless drop of blood or something. If parents in later installments of popular movie franchises would only keep an eye on their darn kids, it would save everybody a whole lot of time!

The relevant passage can be found in section 1092(d) of the National Defense Authorization Act, on page 329 of the mammoth PDF containing the full text, and reads as follows:

(d) RESTORATION OF RULES FOR REGISTRATION AND MARKING OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT
.—The rules adopted by the Administrator
of the Federal Aviation Administration in the matter of registration
and marking requirements for small unmanned aircraft (FAA-2015-
7396; published on December 16, 2015) that were vacated by the
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
in Taylor v. Huerta (No. 15-1495; decided on May 19, 2017) shall
be restored to effect on the date of enactment of this Act.

This appears to reverse the earlier decision of the court, but does not specify whether there has been any modification to the requirements to prevent their being struck down once more by the same angle of attack. In particular, it doesn’t change any of the language in the FAA Modernization Act of 2012, which specifically prevents the Agency from regulating hobby model aircraft, and was the basis of Taylor v. Huerta. Maybe they are just hoping that hobby flyers get fatigued?

We took a look at the registration system before it was struck down, and found its rules to be unusually simple to understand when compared to other aviation rulings, even if it seemed to have little basis in empirical evidence. It bears a resemblance to similar measures in other parts of the world, with its 250 g weight limit for unregistered machines. It will be interesting both from a legal standpoint to see whether any fresh challenges to this zombie law emerge in the courts, and from a technical standpoint to see what advances emerge from Shenzhen as the manufacturers pour all their expertise into a 250 g class of aircraft.

Thanks [ArduinoEnigma] for the tip.

69 thoughts on “The Zombie Rises Again: Drone Registration Is Back

  1. Am I terrible for thinking this is reasonable? Model aircraft used to require considerable practice to fly. Now literally anybody with a few hundred bucks can go buy a drone (multirotor) and ten minutes later be flying it somewhere he shouldn’t, crashing it into people, vehicles, or buildings, and generally ruining things for others in the hobby that are more responsible.

    If somebody is really a bad actor, this won’t stop them, but it should help cut down on the stupid factor and may actually help people to fly a little more responsibly.

      1. It doesn’t…. AT ALL…. I sold my drone after registering it when required the first time, getting insurance to cover my hobby use of after watching to many other idiots with their drones do stupid stuff….

        Last summer, last day of school, my son’s principal puts on a huge event in the park where the students get into a massive mashed potato fight. I offered to get aerial film of the event. Of course not flying directly over anyone and keeping a safe distance.

        Instead – some other idiot shows up and starts dangerously buzzing the kids and parents watching. I had my drone out ready to lift off, but saw this and noped out of there incase something bad happened. After the event I went and tried to talk to the guy, letting him know it was against the law to fly directly over people etc.

        Get this….. He KNEW the laws, didn’t care, had never registered the drone, had no insurance and thought I was crazy for following the rules.

        The best part? He’s a pilot for a major airline…. FACEPALM….

        Had a few more similar experiences and just decided to walk away from it…. Miss the flights and the pics/videos, but people are going to get hurt and until there is some actual responsibility of some of the others flying these things, I don’t want to be associated….

        You can’t legislate stupid. I don’t know what the answer is though….
        Require insurance for certain size drones? If you are caught flying with out it you aren’t allowed to own one again?

        Anyone else have ideas?

        1. No we can’t legislate stupid, but doing nothing doesn’t seem to work either. This is why we have all this “what ifs…” before technology really gets a foothold, so problems like this can be headed off. What if…cheap miniaturized communications/computers with cameras and mics and an always on presence are offered to the masses? What if…uncontrolled cheap mobile platforms with video and audio with enough kinetic energy to do some damage are offered to the masses? What if…genetics becomes so cheap that everyone can be an unlicensed genetics engineer? “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” approach to technology with no thought to consequences is how we’ve gotten to the state we’re in and it will get worse because people love the new shiny.

    1. How is that different than 25 years ago someone with a couple hundred bucks buying an RTF model and crashing it into people, buildings, equipment? You could probably even find an old Navy/Airforce target plane back then at the right swap meet or on this new online auction site where you can sell the junk in your basement.

      I think it’s not the ease of availability that has changed but the ease of advertising & availability of small cameras. As you said flying used to be a niche hobby. It wasn’t well advertised you couldn’t order a plane while on the toilet (well, you could but the person on the other end of the phone might hang up).

      For a person bent on doing harm, you don’t need much skill to crash into a target and a multi-rotor doesn’t make it much easier, if anything it reduces your payload over fixed wing. The big problem (in the west) has never been terrorists, it has been voyeurs, unethical journalists, & punks racing where they shouldn’t.

      This regulation you are in favor of, doesn’t address the problem you want solved.

      1. 25 years ago, you could buy a RTF aircraft, but it took skill to get it more than a few feet in the air for more than a few seconds. Sure I crashed a bunch in trees and fields, and once broken they didn’t fly.

        Today, buy a DJI quad copter at Target, push the throttle up, and watch it go up. It is actually harder to make it come down than go up. Up up and up, and suddenly you are near an aircraft flying over, or the wind blew it somewhere too far away to see it.

        1. Even 15 years ago you could buy or build foamies that had gentle learning curves and were quite forgiving when it came to crash landings. We still didn’t see the issues we’re having today. Sure the autopilot and gyros make learning to fly much easier but the low end drones from China or the local hobby shop still take an hour or two of crashing into things to get a handle on. Not much different from foamies or easy to repair balsa models that didn’t get turned into kindling. I still contend that cheaper small cameras, not drones themselves are the reason for the issues we’re having now.
          I’m not sure comparing anything from DJI to the typical RTF bought from the hobby store is helpful given the massive price/quality difference.

      2. You seems to have a much rosier recollection of early RC aircraft than I do…

        I remember buying my first foam plane for ~$400 through a mail-order catalog, with three channels and barely enough thrust to keep itself airborne let alone carry something. And that assumes you had put enough time in with somebody who had a trainer-port radio to show you how to get that far, I don’t think I ever kept that thing aloft for more than 40 seconds.

        That is a far FAR cry from being able to spend $50 at Walmart and walk out with a gyro-stabilized aircraft with enough excess thrust to carry a useful amount of payload anywhere you want. For $99 you can even get one with GPS guidance, which would have been called military grade hardware 15 years ago.

        1. In 2010, 11,123 accidental BB/pellet gun injuries were reported, and 15,928 accidental injuries from firearms.
          Source: https://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/nfirates2001.html

          And that’s without encouraging people to randomly shoot over my house in the suburb. No imagine encouraging people to start shooting anything that flies because it makes them “uncomfortable” and watch that statistic skyrocket.

          When you see something you don’t like, is your first instinct to shoot it? That’s alarming.

      1. Counterpoint: Registration/license plates and to a lesser extent driver licenses give the state and individuals the ability to track down the at fault party and get redress for damages.

        1. “Counterpoint: Registration/license plates and to a lesser extent driver licenses give the state and individuals the ability to track down the at fault party and get redress for damages.”

          Counter-counterpoint: Give me one example where drone registration has resulted in the apprehension of a drone perp. You can’t because there hasn’t been even ONE instance. Idiots and criminals ignore laws. Most of them aren’t very bright, but they definitely aren’t stupid enough to register or, worse yet, mark their drone with their registration number if they’re planning to do anything dodgy with their drone.

          Registration only affects those pilots who are not causing problems.

      2. Eliminated? No.
        Reduced? Dramatically.

        Great analogy, though! Even heavy regulation won’t eliminate the bad apples, but very light regulation should go a long way to bringing a little accountability to the scenario.

        It’s a heck of a lot better than having your neighbor shoot at your house because you’re flying your toy around.

        1. Before passing ANY regulation:

          1. PROVE there is a statistically valid threat compared with other threats to people on the ground and manned aircraft. Bird strike stats prove there isn’t for the latter – 38 per day reported to the FAA, over 2 per day causing “negative effect on flight”, just under 2 per day resulting in damage requiring repair.
          2. PROVE via reasoned analysis that the proposed regulation will fix the problem.

          NEITHER has been done in the case of drone legislation. This is, as usual, just nanny-state government “we’re protecting you” feel-good legislation for the clueless.

          1. Good points. The average Canada goose weighs around 5000 grams, and I regularly see large flocks of them flying higher than your typical drone pilot would. Geese and ducks account for 7% of overall bird strikes, but 30% of the strikes that cause damage to the aircraft. Gulls (19 species) average around 500 grams and account for about 15% of bird strikes. Mourning doves are the most-struck single species and average about 128 grams. The 250 gram threshold seems arbitrary to me.

            I’d certainly like to see the videos if they ever start to actually test typical drones versus typical aircraft engines and get some actual data to determine if regulations are needed, and if so what they should be.

    2. I think there are other laws involved if someone decides they want to shoot my quadcopter because they are gun-loving troglodytes afraid of da Obummer spyin’ on dem wit doze buzzy things like Fox n’ Friends said, yehaw!

      I also think it’s a much greater loss of freedom to have to give up my quadcopter hobby just because my snowflake neighbor is afraid of it and will start shooting at my home if I fly it around. This is America,you can’t just shoot out people’s windows because you don’t like them.

      My property. My home. My hobby. Kindly don’t endanger my safety because you’re “triggered”. If you don’t like it, you’re welcome to move to a nanny state where nobody’s allowed to fly, or a warzone where you can just shoot people when you disapprove of their hobbies.

      1. My airspace. Unless you keep it firmly 20-30 feet above the tallest feature on my property, I do own that airspace. That’s the decision of the courts about airspace. As such, any intrusion below that line is trespassing by the laws and legal decisions on the books. You want to fly over my property, you can request permission for low level passes. I’ll give you a general band of 200 to 400 feet, since that clears all the normal airspace usage.

        Now, I know that’s a pain in your butt, however, I’m well within my rights to call the sheriff and press charges, or even take appropriate action to evict you from my property. I say this because I do have things that would be harmed by drones in the wrong place at the wrong time, such as greenhouses or guywires. Now, you ask nicely, I’ll probably do a walk down of the area with you, so you know where you can and can’t fly for either your drones safety, or my properties safety.

        But the attitude you seem to demonstrate, that anyone who wishes to enforce their property lines, regardless of reason, is some sub-human moron, would mean I would give you a warning about flying over my property lest I call the sheriff and get him to read you the riot act for trespassing. Is opening fire on an airborne platform as a first resort stupid? Absolutely. I would like to turn about your argument, kindly do not violate my property right without permission. Kindly do not endanger my property because you feel entitled to low altitude flying over space you don’t fully control. Kindly do not try to take what is mine by law and right, simply because you want to enjoy yourself.

        If you have a burning need to do low level flying, please find your local model aviation field, as they have all the permits on file for even more flying that you might enjoy, and everyone around you knows what the risks are and has agreed to them.

        I thank you for reading this less than fully polite rant/argument as it pertains to drones and their flight,
        TRN

    3. As long as Republicans continue to argue that “guns don’t kill people people kill people” and “bad guys don’t follow laws, so more gun laws won’t stop bad guys from getting guns” they have no excuse for regulating drones.

      Also by regulating drones to stop the stupid people from using them you turn otherwise responsible users who can’t be bothered or forget to register into criminals, and hurt business by discouraging people from buying them because it’s too much paperwork.

      It also discourages people from buying them by adding to the cost. Even if registration is free or cheap now, that’s no guarantee that once they get their foot in the door they won’t charge more. Remember that at one time they charged you $75 to register a domain name for one year! And I just paid $50 just so an inspector could hang a tag on my gas line that says the guy that I paid $200 to to actually inspect it, had in fact done so.

      Plus there simply aren’t enough drone accidents to justify regulating them.

      1. “you turn otherwise responsible users who can’t be bothered or forget to register into criminals, and hurt business by discouraging people from buying them because it’s too much paperwork”

        Yes. Because nobody bothers driving motorcycles because that extra regulatory hoop-jumping is just too much work. /s

        “It also discourages people from buying them by adding to the cost.”

        Is there a cost? It was free when I registered. It also took all of 30 seconds.

        “Plus there simply aren’t enough drone accidents to justify regulating them.”

        THAT I can agree with. There are, however, enough people threatening to shoot at my quadcopter that I’d like some regulation to protect my right to pursue my hobby. Then you get the endless comments about deliver drones, even on Hackaday, saying how people will shoot down the first drone they see and take the contents for themselves.

        I honestly don’t think most people are advanced enough to handle quadcopters or drones. Most people, especially on this site, need a few more centuries of evolution until they stop being scared of the buzzy things in the sky and stop thinking they can shoot things they don’t like. It’s not a matter of freedom, it’s a matter of being able to function in a modern society.

        Until these people evolve, we need some regulation to protect the hobby and the industry by calming the gun nuts, anarchists, and “libertarians” who think my $40 quadcopter is infringing on their 5th amendment rights somehow.

        1. Well your $40 drone with a camera may in fact be infringing on their rights. While you haven’t tried to compel them to incriminate themselves, if you live in the 11th circuit of appeals below 400ft is considered private property so you are trespassing and possibly breaking voyeur laws in your area if the camera is recording.

        2. “Yes. Because nobody bothers driving motorcycles because that extra regulatory hoop-jumping is just too much work. /s”

          A lot fewer people drive motorcycles than might otherwise because you need a special license. I can’t rent a motorcycle and give it a test drive to see if I enjoy it. Not that that would necessarily be WISE in this case, but your argument is about whether fewer people ride because of the extra regulations. And the answer to that is absolutely yes fewer people ride because of that.

          “Is there a cost? It was free when I registered. It also took all of 30 seconds.”

          I don’t know. I thought the plan was to make it free for a while and then begin to charge. Even if they have not stated that is is almost a certainty they will charge for it eventually because they can.

          “Until these people evolve”

          People don’t need to evolve. The drones do. If we can make self driving cars work, we can certainly make a drone capable of seeing everything in a sphere around it, detect people and other obstacles, and avoid them automatically. Then any idiot can fly one safely.

    4. “Am I terrible for thinking this is reasonable? ”

      That depends on your actual motivation. You might be a horrible tech and fun hating technophobe. Or.. you might be well meaning but wrong or even just a useful idiot to the real terrible people.

      “If somebody is really a bad actor, this won’t stop them”
      Exactly!

      “it should help cut down on the stupid factor”
      “may actually help people to fly a little more responsibly”
      How?!?!

      First, most of the people who were going to do those bad things will not register their drones. Nope, I’m not even making the NRA argument regarding criminals and guns (which is also totally true btw). They won’t register because they will not even know they are supposed to! Who is following this stuff? Only the geeky minority who are motivated to behave well anyway because they care about their hobby. The rest are just picking up a toy and taking it out to play. Pass this law and I doubt even 10% of the population will have any clue that anything changed and no, it’s not the 10% that you are trying to reach. The only way this information is going to get to a significant percentage of the rubes is if a whole lot of tax money is spent to pay the networks to interrupt whatever the current hot reality tv series is, a bunch of church shows (make sure to get both protestant and catholic ones) and of course, “Ow my Balls”. I for one don’t want to pay for that!

      Of course I don’t have to worry about my tax dollars getting spent that way because it isn’t going to happen. What they will do is just make the manufacturers include a little card telling the user how to register. (Questionable if the Chinese shops will bother to comply) Nobody will read this card, or if they do they will immediately forget because of selective memory. It will be exactly like the little cards that come with FRS/GMRS radios that tell users to stay off certain channels unless they buy the license that almost nobody buys.

      Second, those bad things are already illegal! If you can identify the drone flier that flies an un-registered drone then you can identify the flier that breaks any of those other rules too! Except.. you can’t. That’s why this rule has no real teeth! It can’t actually harm the ill-behaved. It can only harm those that want to fly their crap unmolested and without putting themselves on any sort of list. Cause.. you know… our governments NEVER misuse lists right?!?!

      1. basically, some people are idiots most of the time, and all people are idiots some of the time (especially after a few drinks), and everybody can now buy these contraptions that are easy to fly (and crash) with no skill for just a few quid. I can’t understand all the people crying out ‘why stop our fun just because of a few idiots’. Control measures are inevitable as the skies get filled up with these things, including amazon and co using them for deliveries. I agree that enforcement might be difficult, but I think some people would think twice if the sentences were harsh enough.

        1. If you don’t realize why none of that addresses the parent post and you haven’t given any good reason for drone registration then read the above again.

          “everybody can now buy these contraptions that are easy to fly (and crash)”
          This is equally true both before and after enacting registration. Nobody is talking about mandatory “don’t be an idiot” classes.

          “Control measures are inevitable”
          That doesn’t mean that registration is sensible as the particular control measure chosen or really accomplishes anything good..

          “as the skies get filled up with these things”
          An absurdly unrealistic prediction.

          “including amazon and co using them for deliveries”
          This remains to be seen. Personally, I think it is a gimmick that will actually be done in a few big cities just to show it can. It will never be reliable or energy efficient enough to make any sense and once the novelty wears off the program will end and be quickly forgotten. But.. if it does happen.. due to range restrictions it will forever be limited to locations in big cities near distribution centers. Let these cities regulate and police themselves. Regulations that are tailor made for such a minority of area do NOT need to be applied nation wide. In any nation. Seriously, in the United States people from the wilds of Alaska to the suburban midwest do NOT need laws which are written to solve the problems of New York and San Francisco!

          “I agree that enforcement might be difficult”
          Completely irrelevant. What you want is people not crashing their drones into other people and or their stuff right? The whole point above is that ruling one must register and put numbers on their toys does nothing towards that goal.

          “I think some people would think twice if the sentences were harsh enough”
          Sentences for what? Sentences for flying in the wrong place and endangering people? What does that have to do with drone registration? Sentences for that can be made tough with or without drone registration. There is absolutely no correlation between the two concepts!

          Even then, sentences won’t dissuade people until they know about them. And.. the majority probably aren’t paying attention. What do you want to do, lock some dad up in jail for 50 years because he tried to record his son’s baseball game using a drone flying over the crowd? Give a few people ridiculous punishments that don’t fit the crime just to make sure that the rest of the public gets the idea? I don’t think I want to live in your kind of society.

  2. I really wish there was some constitutional protection about sneaking a heavy tome’s worth of loosely-related or just plain random laws through in one omnibus mega-legislation. The mummified frat boys who theoretically represent us absolutely never read these things, they just sign off for their lobbyists. Having those unelected sharks literally write our laws themselves with no oversight is just one more thing that makes this republic a farce.

  3. your title is a misnomer. they aren’t registering drones. they’re registering drone pilots.

    I’m also interested in hearing what probable cause they have to search me or my models so long as I’m flying within the laws. I’m certainly not going to submit to a search of me or my property without probable cause.

    1. “I’m also interested in hearing what probable cause they have to search me or my models so long as I’m flying within the laws.”

      Nobody’s saying you can’t fly here, Dave, we’re saying that you have been flying back and forth next to a playground for 3 hours with your camera pointed at the kids.

      “I’m certainly not going to submit to a search of me or my property without probable cause.”

      Enjoy getting a facefull of asphalt, sovereign citizen. These officers will be happy to help you “make joinder” to the ground while they take you in for the suspicious behavior of refusing to talk to cops and answer questions like a normal functioning adult.

      1. You’re quite a tough talker. It’s literally as simple as saying “No warrant? No.” I’m not as tough as you obviously are but I’ve done it and it’s a beautiful feeling. This will not result in an asphalt related event. Calling someone “sovereign citizen” because they know their real actual rights that a court would uphold is kind of Summer’s Eve-y.

    2. Drone operators made it a issue. This wasn’t a problem with old school RC users but drone operators tend to be total jerks who enjoy messing with people’s privacy and aircraft.

      Don’t like it? The grow the f up. But I don’t expect it.

  4. Am I the only one who has actually read the rules? You DON’T NEED TO REGISTER, if your aircraft is
    “exclusively operated in compliance with Section 336 of Public Law 112-95 (Special Rule for Model Aircraft)”
    Look at Section 336 of Public law, fly in compliance with that, and BAM no registration necessary. Which is the only way I fly anyway. So what’s the BFD?

    1. This completely kills FPV flying and muddies the water on what is commercial. FPV is at least as safe as any pilot in their air frame. More so if you have someone acting as a spotter to keep track of the whole picture (effectively a local ATC tower).
      If you record your flight and post it on youtube or where ever with a couple ads on it that is now commercial flight and you need a license. Even if only 5 people watch the video and you never get your check for $0.15 from google. Same thing with using a photo you took on a blog with a couple ads on the side. The photos may be completely unrelated to the content of the blog but they’re commercial drone photos and you’ve violated the law.

      I understand the need to regulate commercial flight. Maybe there could be a maximum annual dollar amount ($500, 1000? ) rather than zero tolerance. The guys at Flite Test and companies scouting power line right of ways, are clearly commercial pilots, the guy shouting politics to his 12 followers with drone footage as the background, not so much.

      1. This wouldn’t be a issue if drone users didn’t have the mentality of spoiled children who think they can mess with people with impunity.

        IOW it’s people like you who make it a issue.

        1. I know right, they just started off assuming they could fly where, when and how they damn well liked and it was a natural right, and all the community and legal relations developed over decades of flying RC didn’t apply to them because they were special, and now they’ve pulled a whole bunch of shit down on themselves and are crying foul.

    2. SEC. 336. SPECIAL RULE FOR MODEL AIRCRAFT.
      (a) IN GENERAL
      .—Notwithstanding any other provision of law relating to the incorporation of unmanned aircraft systems into Federal Aviation Administration plans and policies, including this subtitle, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft, or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft, if—

      (1) the aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use;

      (2) the aircraft is operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization;

      (3) the aircraft is limited to not more than 55 pounds unless otherwise certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight test, and operational safety program adminis-tered by a community-based organization;

      (4) the aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft; and

      (5) when flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport) with prior notice of the operation (model aircraft operators flying from a permanent location within 5 miles of an airport should establish a mutually-agreed upon operating procedure with the airport operator and the airport air traffic
      control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport)).
      (b) STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION
      .—Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of the Administrator to pursue enforcement action against persons operating model aircraft who endanger the safety of the national airspace system.
      (c) MODEL AIRCRAFT DEFINED
      .—In this section, the term ‘‘model aircraft’’ means an unmanned aircraft that is—
      (1) capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere;
      (2) flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft; and
      (3) flown for hobby or recreational purposes.

      1. “…the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft, or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft, if— [(1-5)]”

        Ok. So.. are these 5 provisions meant to be applied with an AND or an OR? Way to be clear!

        “(1) the aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use; ”
        “(c) MODEL AIRCRAFT DEFINED – (3) flown for hobby or recreational purposes.”

        Why? If any of this BS was written with a motivation to keep people safe then it wouldn’t matter if the person operating the aircraft was getting paid or not. I do not understand this obsession with non-commercial use. Then again.. I don’t get why people release things with the “CC-NC” licenses either. i understand the non-commercial aspect of amateur radio because bandwidth is limited but for pretty much anything else if it’s bad you shouldn’t be doing it if it’s good then leave people the hell alone. Making a comercial vs amateur distinction is stupid.

        “(2) the aircraft is operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization; ”

        What the hell does this mean? Do I need to join some club to legally fly? Does this club somehow get authority to make rules beyond what the government is already determining? If so who elects these club leaders? And how much of my money do they get?

        “(3) the aircraft is limited to not more than 55 pounds”

        55 pounds? Ok. That is pretty generous. I am imagining the neighbor kid flying a 54 pound drone over my house and surprisingly I have actually found a rule in here that I think I might want made MORE strict! Damn!

        “unless otherwise certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight test, and operational safety program administered by a community-based organization; ”

        Ok. Who are these community-based organizations. In my humble experience the more local government gets the more intrusive, arbitrary and clicky it gets. Also.. how much are they going to charge me for the privilege of having them inspect my stuff. Personally I think that any time society needs to inspect what an individual is doing it is society, not the individual that should pay the bill!

        “(5) when flown within 5 miles of an airport”

        Ok. Not being a professional pilot myself I will differ to others whether 5 miles is reasonable or not. I do have one thing I would like to see added though, it should read “when flown within 5 miles of an OPERATIONAL airport”

        I remember some time ago there was an FAA provided map linked to here at HaD. I checked it for my area. It was rediculous! There were all sorts of little airstrips, each with that 5-mile circle around them that I am pretty certain do NOT exist except on paper. There was even some sort of seaplane club whose 5 mile circle enclosed MY home. Supposedly they land/take off from the local big river. BSBSBS!!!! That river has 3 bridges, 2 with major traffic, a lot of recreational boats and even large freighters on it. All that and it’s only maybe the width of about 5 or 6 highway lanes and is surrounded by occupied buildings. Nobody is taking off or landing an airplane there!

        “.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of the Administrator to pursue enforcement action against persons operating model aircraft who endanger the safety of the national airspace system”

        Sounds good to me but only so long as this is only applied to people who actually do endanger others and not just used to allow some DBs to arbitrarily go after whoever they want. Heights and distances from airports where special rules apply should be limited to where airplanes actually fly!

        “(c) MODEL AIRCRAFT DEFINED … (2) flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft; and”

        Yup.. there’s that anti-FPV clause again. I’ll let all the FPV flyers talk about how Deuchey that rule is. I would even like to see automated flying allowed. But only in unpopulated places away from airports and well below the altitudes of cruising passenger and freight craft.

      1. I doubt they are going to invest in massive personnel to hunt down tiny drones when they know it’s not even legal and they have no case though.
        And sometimes you have to make a stand.

  5. Hmmm. May as well register all laser pointers/handheld lasers because they can be used to blind aircraft pilots, emergency services personnel, the average vehicle driver, or any other non-descript human being. Hey, let’s require the registration of all cpu based devices because they could possibly be turned into audio and video surveillance devices for voyeurs, and be used to hack the internet to obtain personal information for the purpose of identity theft or personal vengence, and obtain access to IoT devices. Or, we could just require any object or combination of objects that could become injurious to anybody, either by accident, stupidity, or premeditation to cause damage to property or life to be registered. Oh wait, cars, motorcycles, watercraft, aircraft, and firearms are, for the most part, already require registration. Whew. I feel safer already. Nevermind. Hobbies DO need to be regulated, and all RC craft should be registered and regulated. (Can you fathom the sarcasm in this statement?)

  6. Congressional legislation can nullify a court decision,unless the US supreme Court has ruled that legislation or regulation is unconstitutional the NDA is l Congressional legislation. Where it takes little effort and cost about the same, why waste the effort to complain?

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