FAA Finally Readying Legal Rules for Drones, Will Require Registration of Every Drone [Updated]

FAA Finally Readying Legal Rules for Drones, Will Require Registration of Every Drone [Updated]

According to NBC News, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is getting close to announcing new rules for recreational drone use, beginning with the requirement to register every drone a person buys. Registration itself, however, is not a large obstacle to drone ownership and operation, as registration will only be able to help the FAA keep track of just how many there are and, hopefully, identify aircraft that break rules or cause collisions. But just how effective will this be? And what other laws will come in the way of recreational drone flight?

The idea of using registration to track and find drones that are themselves found in law-breaking situations, the same truth remains: criminals will do what they need to in order to get the job done. While the serial number of a drone might help identify its owner after an incident, a drone is like any other major electronic product that has software with an embedded serial number and likely only one area with a printed serial number. It wouldn't be that difficult, in theory, to erase the record of yourself from the drone you are flying by essentially digitally and physically filing off the serial number associated with the device.

The bigger question is what other rules there will be. Certainly this will not be the only or the last requirement of the FAA when it comes to drones.

[via NBC News]

UPDATE: It's now official. A new task force will consider ways to best implement this registration process, including a possible fast-track, low-resistance registration path for commercial operators.

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Adam works mostly across California on all things photography and art. He can be found at the best local coffee shops, at home scanning film in for hours, or out and about shooting his next assignment. Want to talk about gear? Want to work on a project together? Have an idea for Fstoppers? Get in touch! And, check out FilmObjektiv.org film rentals!

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Tyranny is always sold in the former of safety.

Not being able to fly your drone over my house is not tyranny. That term is reserved for despots and stupid people who make sure, by their actions, that we can never have nice things.

Blame the idiots...not the Gov't. It was always going to happen because of people who feel they are entitled to do as they wish.

I do find it fascinating that drones must be registered in the US but guns can be purchased in supermarkets... But i know it's a hot debate, where i don't want to go. As non US, living in europe it's quite surprising and seems like very abnormal.

Guns still have to be registered in the U.S....but of course criminals don't care about that...the same is bound to happen with drones.

Yeah, all those drone-wielding criminals. Oh the horror!

Give them time. It's still a developing technology.

I don't personally know of a supermarket that sells guns and I'm from/in the south (y'know, gun-totin'-haven of the world). But maybe supermarket and superstore are interchangeable to you since you're not in the US. You can buy guns in some large scale retail stores, that also sell groceries, but it's the exact same process as when you go to a gun store. Which, btw, does include an FBI background check despite what some would have you think.

Another law that is unenforceable. Sure all the DJI's drone will be registered but if someone will want to brake rules, he/she can always make his own drone.

I just got section 333 exemption and learned that I need to get at least sport pilot license ($4k - $5k) to fly drones commercially :D It looks like all the idiots are working as law makers.

I have no idea is this will work. Nor, it seems, does the government.
But...how about regulations on delivery drones?
Amazon and Co have carved up our skies into layers to suit its hideous delivery drones.
Just wait till these loud, annoying, invasive, visually scarring robots are screeching over our homes and beautiful areas to deliver pizza and cola.
And, guess who is going to be on the committee deciding on the regs?
Yup, Amazon and Co!
A rock is the answer to this corporate takeover, thrown with accuracy and righteousness!
Please visit my facebook page, Throw Stones at Drones.

Oh no. I think I have to start a Facebook page: Throw Stones and Those Who Throw Stones at Drones... :-)

I know fstoppers is very pro-drone, but as a licensed private pilot, this is a step in the right direction. I honestly don't want every pimple faced kid in the neighborhood "droning" around the airports, even regional ones, as many have recently done.

I totally agree with you. There need to be smart regulations. And registration is the start of something good, I suppose. I just hope it won't get too restrictive or impossible (there should be a separate test for drone flight, for example...asking people to have a pilot's license is over-the-top and too restrictive...although I realize that's temporary while the FAA figures out what the hell to do about this "new" situation -- they should have had a plan for this years ago, however).

It would be enough to require passing FAA test, equivalent to the one for sport pilot license. In the feature they could introduce some test for controlling the drone in "attitude" mode etc.

Anyone can still buy one and fly anywhere they wish, even if registered. I'm for reasonable regs, but without a mandatory training session, just how does this accomplish what you wish to see, especially knowing that there are already tens of thousands already out there. In almost every incident where the drone crashed or was disabled, the perpetrator, stepped up and was identified anyway. And in almost all incidents described as "near misses" the perpetrator was never identified and the drone was never recovered. Without the drone, a registry is useless, so I just don't get the point. I suppose in that one-in-a-million case where the drone isn't completely destroyed in a disaster, the perpetrator would be identified, but that is not going to prevent the disaster that you, this story, and the government states is the reason for this.

Y'all. Since when is regulation and registration a sign of the government's plan to take them away? Cars are registered and nobody has come to take mine. I don't know that I feel it's necessary, but I understand the logic, and don't feel that my freedom is being taken away by registering a drone.

Don't have a problem with registering drones, as long as its free and the government doesn't use it as another reason to take money from people.

Even if it is free to start, I guarantee you it won't be for long. Government agencies use registration fees to help fund them and to manage those that are registering. Annoying, but true.

wonder what the new drone flying lic will go for ?

More nonsense and the government trying to prove that they are on top of this, and the media reporting incomplete and inaccurate facts. Anyone can still buy one and fly anywhere they wish, even if registered. In cases of "near misses" the drone and operator is almost never caught. No drone, no registration number. Sure in that small probability that there is a disaster, and the drone is not obliterated, the operator could be identified, but this is after the fact and wouldn't prevent the event that this story and the government states is the reason for this action. In every case I'm familiar with, where the drone was recovered, the operator stepped up and identified himself anyway.

I'm interested to know what will they consider a drone. Will it be all RC aircraft or will they just pick on the multirotors, leaving a huge gap along with the tens of thousands already out there? Don't forget the home builds. Will it include all UAVs including the tiny palm size toys that couldn't harm a fly if it collided with one? Seems a huge wasted effort when compared with something which might actually work, like finalizing the regulations for commercial operators, and catching and actually penalizing a few of the knuckleheads actually causing most of the issues. At best, a registry will only work, after the fact.

This is not the only "restriction" or requirement that will come from the FAA related to drone use...it's simply ONE of them. I'm absolutely certain they'll have plenty of other stipulations and rules that will become more or less complex as time goes for both recreational and commercial pilots of all remote aircraft. To your point, remote aircraft are nothing new -- they're decades old at this point. It's merely with the drop in price and ability to add relatively high-quality cameras that drones have become more popular with those looking to capture still and video imagery, adding to the concern (and size) surrounding these drones. More to come -- count on it.

The golden age of amateur drone usage has already passed. The number of places you can legally fly your drone literally gets smaller every day. Soon, the red circles on the map where you cannot operate a drone will be replaced by a few green circles where you can. The only things to photograph in those green circles will be lots of bored drone pilots.

The FAA really needs to tweak its rules for commercial photographers/cinematographers. I recently purchased a DJI Phantom 3 4K and registered it, but the requirement of a pilot's license to operate commercially is absurd. I use the drone the exact same way any hobbyist would, operating safely and within the FAA regulations. The fact that I want to sell the photos I make on my website doesn't change how I operate the drone, nor does it create some special need to have a pilot's license.

The only difference between me and a hobbyist is people's willingness to purchase my art.