Secretary Of Transportation Announces The Start Of Registration Of Drones

October 19th, 2015

DroneRegistrationWASHINGTON (AP) via Seattle Times

The federal government will require many drone aircraft to be registered, a move prompted by the growing number of reported close calls and incidents that pose safety risks, officials announced Monday.

Pilot sightings of drones have doubled since last year, including sightings near manned aircraft and major sporting events, and interference with wildfire-fighting operations, the government said at a news conference to announce the step.

To work out details, the FAA and the Transportation Department are setting up a 25- to 30-member task force including government and industry officials and hobbyists. They’ll recommend which drones should be required to register and which should be exempted, and design a system that would be easy for commercial operators to comply with, the department said.

The video above is of the press conference this morning where Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and others made this announcement.

As Jason Koebler at writes:

The DOT’s announcement raises all sorts of questions, few of which the agency was able to answer. It’s clear that the agency, which oversees the Federal Aviation Administration, wants to crack down on the unsafe use of drones, and it’s looking like it’s going to try to bypass as much of the traditional rulemaking process as is possible.

Jason’s article raises many very difficult questions that have not been thought out yet. Seems like this is a move to force the FAA to start making progress. Expect to start registering your drones by Christmas or soon after.

Update 10/21: Registration Is Not The Answer To Responsible UAS Flying:

There is no doubt that something must be done to curb the irresponsibility operation of UAS, but the simple affixing of small numbers on the side of distant, fast moving drones is, at best, a Band Aid® response. More is needed, even if it takes it. Activity is a waste; action is a must.

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7 Responses to “Secretary Of Transportation Announces The Start Of Registration Of Drones”

  • Seems a lot of talking to just say that registration will be required and buyers and owners will need to read and digest the “Know before you fly” material. Other than that, there were no specifics made public at this time. I guess we will have to wait for the final report from the task force. Personally I am not against such a registration. What I await with trepidation are the new rules that will come out some time that control the use of the UAV’s and what applies to what sized UAV’s. And how these will affect the long awaited legal ability to be able to use them for real estate.

  • And of course the gorilla in the room are the “hobbyist” who have been universally exempt from any discussion concerning regulation yet were responsible for most of the infractions mentioned. Ultimately, they are going to have to address that group – not commercial, but showing immaturity and having fun to post on YouTube (ignoring it as a commercial medium.) Those actions are what creates the public outcry.

    Really scratching my head on what registration will accomplish. While this dates me, thinking back to the CB radio craze and everyone had to get an FCC license. Big deal…accomplished nothing. How will you be able to identify the drone – registered or not? Call letters on the craft? Electronic transmission creating a fingerprint? Each of those have other issues like visibility of small letters or availability of a receiver for the electronic transmission.

  • What I wonder is why the government has waited until this has become an emergency situation. It’s not like UAV’s just burst onto the scene. This should have been addressed a long time ago but, like most things our government does, they wait until it’s an emergency and then scramble to do things in a rush screwing it up. My fear is, knowing the government, they will complicate the process to the extreme because this is what they do. I cannot believe this will ultimately be a simple process as they claim in the video. Right now you need a pilots license to get a 333 exemption which excludes most of the real estate photographers out there. Putting ID numbers on the UAV probably won’t work because even at 100′ elevation it’s almost impossible to see any numbers on the aircraft.

  • Larry Gray I could not agree with you more. The idiots out there screwing it up for the responsible drone pilots and the professional community paying the price. I hope these new regulations will do something to lower the liability insurance which is currently $1,444 “Aerial Pak” through Hill and Usher and thats not covering the drone just damage you do with it.. I told them they were crazy and that my car insurance for full coverage was only $700/year. They would not sell me photographer liability insurance unless I bought the “Aerial Pak” as well. I had to go through the PPA to get photographer liability insurance.

  • The emergence of drones has created a thorny problem that is evolving quickly as equipment advances and people use them in new and novel ways. The FAA has been working on it for quite a while and we get less direction from them at this point than we’d like. I’m completely on the fence with entering the drone world commercially until I know what the ultimate requirements will be. Nonetheless, I agree with the current requirements. No, you can’t see registration numbers from the ground, but it’s difficult to see them on a plane, too. Registering flying craft is largely about helping to ID a crashed vehicle or one that has been involved in any kind of “incident”. Knowing who owns the craft important. Anyway, the FAA get pushed and pulled in a lot of directions from people and industries trying to advance their interests and agendas. It’s easy to take shots at the government…they either act too quickly and get criticized for not considering all the facts, or they are too slow and not allowing things to move at the perceived natural pace. The public deserves that they get it “right” because there are legitimate privacy and safety concerns. Real estate photographers are a thin slice of potential drone users so I guess we’re in line with everyone else.

  • I have a FCC broadcaster’s license. This allows me to be employed as “on-air” talent in radio and TV. Any employer hiring me to work on the air will want to verify that I have this license. If I screw up and lose my license, I won’t get a job. The cost was $0 to get the license and it doesn’t expire. The only real way to lose it is to say bad words live that can’t be bleeped out or to expose myself on a live broadcast where they can’t blur out certain bits of anatomy.

    It would be very easy to define a class of small RCMA’s under a certain weight that are only allowed to fly to a certain altitude that would have a license with the same sort of conditions as above. I wouldn’t feel put out if I had to pass a basic safe operation test of T/F and or Multiple choice questions and sent it in with a nominal one time processing fee ($20, $50?). To fly commercially, one would have to have a certain level of insurance probably under their commercial liability policy. You have to have your license card for your insurance to be valid and vice versa. Get caught doing something stupid and you lose your license. Do something stupid again with a revoked license, get a fine. No agency is formed to go around checking licenses and hauling people to the Clink® if they ain’t got one. Checks only happen if there is an incident. At the size level of what is used for most RE work, there wouldn’t be much in way of enforcement activity and there would be some mechanism for bad actors to get dinged for being chronic screw ups. For bigger machines, the tests get harder and other regulations must be followed. For the largest craft that operate in airspace along with peopled airplanes, a full pilot’s license is appropriate with endorsements for remote piloting, etc.

    Aircraft already has multi-tiered licensing. Sport, General Aviation-Single, General Aviation-multi engine, commercial, passenger.

  • New Drone laws coming in for the USA

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