FAA Task Force Calls For Nationwide Aerial Drone Registration

A task force for the Federal Aviation Administration has laid out a proposal that would require owners of unmanned aircraft to register their drones with the government. The registration system is one that's based on the weight of such aircraft and would only exempt ones that weigh less than 250 grams, or just over half a pound.

The Task Force crunched a lot of numbers dealing with ground level velocity, drag coefficient, air density at sea level, kinetic energy, and other factors in determining that drones weighing 250 grams or more should be registered. It also took into consideration things like risk levels for commercial air transport in coming up with a mass-based approach to determine registration requirements. That's all to say that 250 grams isn't an arbitrary weight measurement, but one borne out of numerous calculations and formulas.

Drone

Not everyone on the Task Force was in agreement with the end result. By making the proposed weight limit for registration so low, the FAA would face the challenge of figuring out how to get everyone to comply and how to effectively enforce the rule. The Task Force also noted concerns that other countries have already established or are in the processing of establishing cutoffs at considerably higher weights such as 1 kilogram or even 2 kilograms.

"The Task Force spent considerable time discussing and deliberating about what the appropriate weight threshold should be. While general agreement was ultimately reached on the 250 gram weight, there were Task Force members who believed it was too conservative, as the weight could negatively impact the credibility of the sUAS registration program and thus lessen compliance levels because it would require registration of some sUAS generally considered to be in the 'toy' category," the Task Force noted.

On the flip side, there were others on the Task Force who felt there shouldn't even be a weight requirement and that all drones should have to be registered.

If the proposal becomes law, drone owners would have to provide their name and street address when registering. Other information, such as email address and phone number, would be optional. Interestingly, registrants wouldn't be required to provide any aircraft information, such as the manufacturer serial number, make, or model.

Tags:  Government, FAA, drones
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