FAA hints a possible radio-controlled drone regulations

Dec 01, 2015 11:12 pm
The media is full of predictions that radio-controlled drones would be one of the most popular gifts this holiday season. Congress got ready too by giving the Federal Aviation Administration a September 30 deadline to develop and implement a plan, “for the safe integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system.” Until recently, the FAA had few rules designed just for toy model airplanes, and the Federal Communications Commission also lacks regulations for the radio-controlled vehichles. The FAA also realized it really has no way to register all drones, as they already have not been able to deal with the more than 2,000 requests for registrations. Of course, the FAA missed its Congressional deadline, but it just issued a “clarification” on UAS registration and recomendations from a 27-member task force filled with representatives of companies making and selling radio-controlled drones, and the aviation industry. The panel recommended that all drones get registered by owners logging into a website asking for limited information, without a filing fee. The registrant would get an ID number to put on their aircraft. Non-registrants would pay fines, under the proposal, and there would be a sliding charge of up to $25,000 for intentional violators (like recent attempts to smuggle contraband into prisons by drone). The Electronic Privacy Information Center says the proposal does not go far enough, as they want to require drone operators to register contact information and any surveillance capabilities that the drone may have. The group also proposes that the drones should also broadcast their registration numbers.
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