Last updated: 04:50 PM ET, Mon November 23 2015

Task Force Gives FAA Its Proposals For Drone Registration

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | November 23, 2015

Task Force Gives FAA Its Proposals For Drone Registration

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

The task force commissioned with proposing a drone registration system to the Federal Aviation Administration has delivered its suggestions to the government agency.

Though the FAA did not release all details of the proposals, the 14-page document highlighted the main point – owners of drones will now have to register themselves. That is, anyone over the age of 13 who owns a drone that weighs between eight ounces and 55 pounds will have register their name and address with the FAA.

They then will receive a certificate of registration and a dedicated number, which they will put on their respective devices. (One number can be used on multiple devices since it traces back to the owner).

In large part, it has been something of an unprecedented process, as the 25-member task force was just commissioned last month and includes an incredibly impressive and diverse group, from professional associations such as the Air Line Pilots Association to tech firms like 3D Robotics and retailers like Wal-Mart.

There was a sense of urgency among the FAA and these stakeholders alike. Due to the rising number of incidents involving drones, particularly ones that have interfered with commercial airlines, the FAA is concerned the situation will get worse. Just recently, a drone crashed into the main stadium at the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament – fortunately in an area of the stands that was unoccupied – and a drone tried to fly contraband into a prison.

Retailers like Amazon, Google and Walmart have been experimenting with package deliveries via drone. And manufacturers such as GoPro obviously have a vested interest.

The next step is for the FAA and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to marry the recommendations with several thousand public comments and come up with a formal set of regulations. These are scheduled to be implemented by end of year.

Interestingly, however, Gizmodo pointed out one strange aspect of the recommendations.

“Because this new requirement will impact unmanned aircraft owners who do not have the means to protect their identities and addresses behind corporate structures (as some manned aircraft owners currently do), it is important for the FAA to take all possible steps to shield the information of privately owned aircraft from unauthorized disclosure, including issuing an advance statement that the information collected will be considered to be exempt from disclosure under FOIA.”

Whether the FAA agrees with that request remains to be seen.


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