FAA recommends registering drone pilots instead of individual drones

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2015
A U.S. Federal Aviation Administration task force has issued a set of recommendations for registering unmanned drones, looking to manage the increasingly popular technology.




For drones between 250 grams and 55 pounds, owners would only need to register the names and addresses of the pilots, instead of each individual drone, according to the task force's official report. Submitting things like email addresses, phone numbers and serial numbers would be purely optional. People choosing not to submit serial numbers, though, would have to mark their registration numbers somewhere on their devices that can be accessed without tools.

Owners would also have to be at least 13 years old, but a parent or guardian could register on behalf of younger individuals.

Another critical suggestion was that registration be free and handled via the Web, with owners getting a digital certificate unless they specifically ask for a paper copy. There would be no flight tests or training, though people might have to sign off on some safety and flying education.

The report was more ambiguous about penalties for unregistered drones, though the task force suggested they be "clear and proportionate" -- avoiding the potentially severe punishments associated with full-sized aircraft.

Drones are now flown not only by the military but a growing number of other groups, ranging from hobbyists and filmmakers to rescue teams. Businesses like Amazon are exploring the idea of using drones for small deliveries, which could potentially see swarms of the devices flying over major cities.

A concern has been that without regulation, there could be serious problems with things like crashes, security and privacy concerns, and noise pollution.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    All I want is to *legally* fly a drone and get paid for it.

    It used to be that you could fly for "fun" but not for "commercial use"

    I want to shoot drone video for real estate purposes.
  • Reply 2 of 36

    This topic is going to get nasty.

     

    But please remember they are flying plastic toys.

  • Reply 3 of 36
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post



    All I want is to *legally* fly a drone and get paid for it.



    It used to be that you could fly for "fun" but not for "commercial use"



    I want to shoot drone video for real estate purposes.



    Unless the real estate is too close to an airport it should be pretty straightforward once they set the regs.

  • Reply 4 of 36
    sog35 wrote: »
    dont worry about it.  The chances of getting cited for not having a drone license is nill

    Oh sure. I'm not that worried about it. I don't even have a drone yet. But it's on my radar since I have a bunch of friends in real estate and they're asking about it.

    I just wish the FAA would make a decision. I never really understood the difference between flying for "fun" and "commercial use" anyway.

    It can't be safety reasons... a drone could injure someone in either case. It's more likely that someone who is being paid to fly would be *extra* careful.
  • Reply 5 of 36
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post





    Oh sure. I'm not that worried about it. I don't even have a drone yet. But it's on my radar since I have a bunch of friends in real estate and they're asking about it.



    I just wish the FAA would make a decision. I never really understood the difference between flying for "fun" and "commercial use" anyway.



    It can't be safety reasons... a drone could injure someone in either case. It's more likely that someone who is being paid to fly would be *extra* careful.



    A lot of regulations differentiate between commercial activity and "fun": look at pilots licenses for example to stay in the realm of aircraft. For a "fun" sailplane walk up with eyesight and a pulse and you're more or less good to go: ask about a license to fly a 747 full of paying passengers, well, let's say it's a more involved process..... Boats and the Coast Guard are the same way: your own boat is fine, accept paying passengers and the regulations come out to play.

     

    ETA: And as mentioned below recreational activity is often far less frequent than activity someone is doing as a commercial enterprise. So the opportunity for some sort of incident just goes up as the flying time goes up...

  • Reply 6 of 36
    joshajosha Posts: 901member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post



    All I want is to *legally* fly a drone and get paid for it.



    It used to be that you could fly for "fun" but not for "commercial use"



    I want to shoot drone video for real estate purposes.



    I suggest you be careful whose property you fly over.

    I'm sure there are others who also have their slingshot at the ready !  :mad:

  • Reply 7 of 36
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,001member
    sog35 wrote: »
    dont worry about it.  The chances of getting cited for not having a drone license is nill

    Oh sure. I'm not that worried about it. I don't even have a drone yet. But it's on my radar since I have a bunch of friends in real estate and they're asking about it.

    I just wish the FAA would make a decision. I never really understood the difference between flying for "fun" and "commercial use" anyway.

    It can't be safety reasons... a drone could injure someone in either case. It's more likely that someone who is being paid to fly would be *extra* careful.

    A commercial (business purposes) use drone will be flown a lot more than one flown for fun.
  • Reply 8 of 36
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    250 grams???

    That's WELL within "toy" range. I don't want to have to register with the government to own a harmless toy that can't fly far, carry a payload, or do anything harmful that someone can't do worse by throwing a rock.

    In fact, it's much safer than R/C toy airplanes and helicopters that have existed for decades.

    Enough with the absurd moral panic. Naming an R/C toy a "drone" does not make it the same thing the military uses to kill people.

    I can see registering SOME drones (or their pilots), but 250 grams?? And all R/C aircraft should be treated the same. If little Billy's 400g toy plane can be flown around the park without a government file, so should my AR.Drone.

    And if little Billy sticks a camera on it and flies on the neighbor's private property, that should be illegal the same as any other toy aircraft.

    There IS a new potential problem and a new reason to consider regulation, but it's not the one people are talking about. It's simply this: [B]R/C aircraft have gotten much easier and more fun to fly. As a result, they—and any potential problems that have existed for decades already—will be more common.[/B]
  • Reply 9 of 36
    jfc1138 wrote: »

    A lot of regulations differentiate between commercial activity and "fun": look at pilots licenses for example to stay in the realm of aircraft. For a "fun" sailplane walk up with eyesight and a pulse and you're more or less good to go: ask about a license to fly a 747 full of paying passengers, well, let's say it's a more involved process..... Boats and the Coast Guard are the same way: your own boat is fine, accept paying passengers and the regulations come out to play.

    Gotcha. Yeah my only thing is that the same drones are available to hobbyists and professionals. Yet they put the limit on the professionals.

    Any idiot can buy a DJI Phantom and wreak havoc on the public :)

    I'll get a license when they offer it.

    josha wrote: »

    I suggest you be careful whose property you fly over.
    I'm sure there are others who also have their slingshot at the ready !  :mad:

    :)

    dasanman69 wrote: »
    A commercial (business purposes) use drone will be flown a lot more than one flown for fun.

    Oh yeah... a photographer drone pilot might be flying 5 days a week for his job.

    But he's really not supposed to. That's the part I want fixed.
  • Reply 10 of 36
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by iloveapplegear View Post

     

    This topic is going to get nasty.

     

    But please remember they are flying plastic toys.


     

    Can one avoid these registration requirements by flying an armed drone and getting the NRA to lobby against registration?

  • Reply 11 of 36

    What we need here is the NDA. National Drones Association.

  • Reply 12 of 36
    nagromme wrote: »
    250 grams???

    That's WELL within "toy" range. I don't want to have to register with the government to own a harmless toy that can't fly far, carry a payload, or do anything harmful that someone can't do worse by throwing a rock.

    In fact, it's much safer than R/C toy airplanes and helicopters that have existed for decades.

    Enough with the absurd moral panic. Naming an R/C toy a "drone" does not make it the same thing the military uses to kill people.

    I can see registering SOME drones (or their pilots), but 250 grams?? And all R/C aircraft should be treated the same. If little Billy's 400g toy plane can be flown around the park without a government file, so should my AR.Drone.

    And if little Billy sticks a camera on it and flies on the neighbor's private property, that should be illegal the same as any other toy aircraft.

    There IS a new potential problem and a new reason to consider regulation, but it's not the one people are talking about. It's simply this: R/C aircraft have gotten much easier and more fun to fly. As a result, they—and any potential problems that have existed for decades already—will be more common.

    Be careful with the letters "AR." The liberal anti-freedom crowd will for sure want to ban your drone now because it sounds scary, even though they have no idea what AR actually stands for except that it's associated with a rifle that's painted black.
  • Reply 13 of 36
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RedRaider2011 View Post





    Be careful with the letters "AR." The liberal anti-freedom crowd will for sure want to ban your drone now because it sounds scary, even though they have no idea what AR actually stands for except that it's associated with a rifle that's painted black.

    The "liberal anti-freedom crowd"? Really? Dude, turn off Fox News once in a while, will you? What an idiotic statement.

    The fact is there's a push for regulating this specifically because while the vast majority of drone users are responsible, there are always some schmucks to pull stupid stunts, like flying in controlled airspace or over the White House lawn. This will set the standard for what's reasonable to do and what's a no-no. I don't see anything unreasonable here. What's unreasonable is that we're talking about registering drone owners before talking about registering guns and gun owners.

  • Reply 14 of 36
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post



    250 grams???



    That's WELL within "toy" range. I don't want to have to register with the government to own a harmless toy that can't fly far, carry a payload, or do anything harmful that someone can't do worse by throwing a rock.



    In fact, it's much safer than R/C toy airplanes and helicopters that have existed for decades.



    Enough with the absurd moral panic. Naming an R/C toy a "drone" does not make it the same thing the military uses to kill people.



    I can see registering SOME drones (or their pilots), but 250 grams?? And all R/C aircraft should be treated the same. If little Billy's 400g toy plane can be flown around the park without a government file, so should my AR.Drone.



    And if little Billy sticks a camera on it and flies on the neighbor's private property, that should be illegal the same as any other toy aircraft.



    There IS a new potential problem and a new reason to consider regulation, but it's not the one people are talking about. It's simply this: R/C aircraft have gotten much easier and more fun to fly. As a result, they—and any potential problems that have existed for decades already—will be more common.

     

    Yeah, I'd be curious how they came up with the 250 gram limit. Perhaps that's the size where getting sucked into an engine of an airplane could pose a threat. I'd think that they'd also consider criteria such as the maximum range and duration. A lot of the "toy" drones can only fly for 10 minutes or so and can't be controlled past a few hundred feet away, so I would't consider them much of a threat.

     

    And I'd also think that the same regulations should apply to all: drone, R/C toy/hobbiest aircraft, etc. R/C aircraft take a bit more skill to master. So the number of participants were limited and usually a certain amount of responsibility could be assumed for the owners. Any moron can fly a drone, and there in lies the problem. Just like the idiots with the toy lasers who flash the cockpits of aircraft flying overhead. There are always going to be some people who are going to do incredibly stupid things.

  • Reply 15 of 36
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,943member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post



    250 grams???



    That's WELL within "toy" range. I don't want to have to register with the government to own a harmless toy that can't fly far, carry a payload, or do anything harmful that someone can't do worse by throwing a rock.



    In fact, it's much safer than R/C toy airplanes and helicopters that have existed for decades.



    Enough with the absurd moral panic. Naming an R/C toy a "drone" does not make it the same thing the military uses to kill people.



    I can see registering SOME drones (or their pilots), but 250 grams?? And all R/C aircraft should be treated the same. If little Billy's 400g toy plane can be flown around the park without a government file, so should my AR.Drone.



    And if little Billy sticks a camera on it and flies on the neighbor's private property, that should be illegal the same as any other toy aircraft.



    There IS a new potential problem and a new reason to consider regulation, but it's not the one people are talking about. It's simply this: R/C aircraft have gotten much easier and more fun to fly. As a result, they—and any potential problems that have existed for decades already—will be more common.

     

    I don't quite agree with you on the R/C part.  R/C planes require essential 100% full attention just to keep the thing from slamming into the ground and potentially hurting someone.  It takes serious skill, patience, and responsibility to fly an RC airplane.  You're not going to see (most of the time) some knucklehead flying an R/C airplane in the middle of an urban environment.



    Drones are an entirely different beast.  They are made to hover, stay put and allow the "pilot" to allocate their attention from flying the aircraft itself, to surveillance, and for others... payloads.  Yes.. I see a difference and I see how drones can so easily be abused.  Having a million of those things flying around doing whatever concerns me.

     

    Yes, the tech has evolved that lets just about everyone pilot one with minimal effort.  That concerns me.  I'm not going to get into the ethical dilemmas or fairness of it all, but drones do have me worried.  I still think "serious" drones should be registered as well as the pilot of those drones.

  • Reply 16 of 36

    Some idiots are going to ruin this for everyone else. That's how it always goes.

  • Reply 17 of 36
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post





    Oh sure. I'm not that worried about it. I don't even have a drone yet. But it's on my radar since I have a bunch of friends in real estate and they're asking about it.



    I just wish the FAA would make a decision. I never really understood the difference between flying for "fun" and "commercial use" anyway.



    It can't be safety reasons... a drone could injure someone in either case. It's more likely that someone who is being paid to fly would be *extra* careful.

    It's not the FAA that makes any decisions. They can only make recommendations. Congress would have to pass a law. There is lots of confusion regarding drones and the law. For example, many people tell you not to fly above 400 feet, which the FAA recommends. The reality is, there is no law preventing anyone from flying their drone above 400 feet. 

  • Reply 18 of 36
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post



    All I want is to *legally* fly a drone and get paid for it.



    It used to be that you could fly for "fun" but not for "commercial use"



    I want to shoot drone video for real estate purposes.

    All you need to do is file a Section 333 exemption if you want to go the legal route. I actually wouldn't do that though if all you are doing is shooting properties for real estate purposes. 

  • Reply 19 of 36



    The FAA has rules and laws for commercial use of a drone.  That means selling you work for a profit.  In order to do that you must be 333 exempt.  Not an easy process.  They you must register your drone and be assigned an "N" number.  

     

    That is another reason they are cracking down.  People don't know the rules other that get a drone and do what I want to.  There are so much "miss information" on the rules for flying in the airspace.  

  • Reply 20 of 36

    I don’t have much need for one, but I’ll be purchasing the most advanced drone I can just prior to the law that hardwires in restrictions on their movements.

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