Federal Government Outlines Drone Registration Task Force

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DroneWire  |  October 19, 2015
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The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration announced the creation of a task force that will develop a new system requiring business and consumer drone operators to register their unmanned aircraft.

In a press conference held in Washington, D.C., U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta introduced members of the task force, which includes executives from several key aviation and UAV industry organizations.

Few details were available on the proposed registration plan, with Secretary Foxx asserting “There’s still a lot of work to do.” Foxx and Huerta confirmed that the plan would include retroactive registration requirements for drones purchased in the past, with program implementation before the end of December.

Task force member Rich Hanson from the Academy of Model Aeronautics said the registration process should be “streamlined, welcoming, and unobtrusive to allow this emerging industry to flourish,” and he confirmed that inexpensive, “toy” drones that posed a low safety risk would not be required to register.

When asked how the new registration system will help to track drones that have been sighted dangerously close to manned aircraft, Foxx conceded that “You do have to have some access to the drone to connect it back to the user.”
“If unmanned aircraft operators break the rules, clearly there should be consequences, but in fact there can be no accountability if a person breaking the rules can’t be identified. Registration will now allow us to identify them,” said Foxx.

When asked how the new registration system will help to track drones that have been sighted dangerously close to manned aircraft, Foxx conceded that “You do have to have some access to the drone to connect it back to the user.”

The FAA has been working on a plan for integrating UAVs into the national airspace since 2005, and has struggled to implement solutions viewed as sound and reasonable by many in the drone industry. On September 30, the agency failed to meet a congressionally mandated deadline for developing such a plan.

Foxx praised the FAA for their “ongoing work to quickly and efficiently integrate unmanned aircraft into the national airspace”.

The task force, which consists of executives from the Association for Unmanned Vehicles International, the Academy of Model Aeronautics, the Airline Pilots Association International, the American Association of Airport Executives, the Helicopter Association International, PrecisionHawk, and AirMap, is expected to release its findings on November 20.



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