The Federal Aviation Administration Task Force has recommended a registration process for drones, unmanned aviation systems. The proposal may go into effect later this month and apply to drones weighing more than 250 grams, about half a pound.
Owners of drones will have to register. Each drone will have to be identified and identification placed on the drone.
The next step is a set rules released from the FAA. The Task Force did not address how to enforce the registration process, a future step for the FAA.
The Task Force approached its discussions of the registration process with two goals in mind, according to the report it released last week. The first objective was to ensure accountability by creating a traceable link between aircraft and owner. The second was to encourage the maximum levels of regulatory compliance by making the registration process as simple as possible.
The Task Force’s intent was to create a simple registration process that would be easy to comply with. The process will be electronic and accessible through either a website or through an application and should be completed before flying the drone.
After submitting their name and street address (email addresses or phone numbers would be optional), the owner will receive an electronic certificate of registration and a personal universal registration number to use on the drone.
The single registration number is intended for use on every aircraft they own. However, where applicable, registrants may be able to use the manufacturer’s permanently affixed serial number to satisfy the marking requirement.
The Task Force was concerned that a registration process more burdensome would discourage registration.
The Task Force also recommended that the registration be free.
In his blog earlier in November, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta wrote, “We will consider their recommendations and the public comments as we develop an interim final rule on registration, which will likely be released next month and go into effect shortly thereafter. This step will be followed by another opportunity for the public to comment as we move toward issuing a final rule on registration.”
The danger of drones flying in inappropriate airspace was a major issue this summer. The U.S. Forest Service and Cal Fire both reported several incidents where drones affected their ability to use aircraft while fighting major fires in Southern California. In September, a drone crashed into a section of fortunately empty seats during the U.S. Open Tennis Championships.