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United States Technology

Meet the Drone Registration Task Force (roboticstrends.com) 92

An anonymous reader writes: The FAA has named the 25-member task force that will make recommendations for drone registration. Amazon has 2 members in the group, joining Google, Walmart, DJI, 3D Robotics and others. The group will meet formally from Nov. 3-5 before developing recommendations on a streamlined registration process and minimum requirements on which drones should be registered. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx has set a deadline of Nov. 20 for the task force to complete its recommendations and work is already underway.
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Meet the Drone Registration Task Force

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Isn't it obvious what's going to happen? A bunch of heads from huge companies are going to meet and decide what's best to control their monopoly. No small company is going to be allowed to compete with their drone services.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yep, something as simple as having to keep a certified pilot on staff for emergencies would do it. It'd play right into the FAAs existing domain, is easily spun as a safety issue and adds considerable expense to any small scale use.

    • by kuhnto ( 1904624 )
      ...Or a hefty "Administrative Fee" of $10,000 per vehicle
    • Richard Hanson – Academy of Model Aeronautics, Government and Regulatory Affairs Director
      Jim Coon – Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs & Advocacy
      Gregory McNeal – Small UAV Coalition, Co-founder of AirMap

      There are 3 names that are in no way "Huge Business" and are with advocacy groups for us regular Joes.

      • Honest question here, is it 3/25 are for the hobbyist and 22/25 are for the govt/corporations?

        • Actually closer inspection makes that 2/25. Corps have a big interest here because they are completely locked out of any kind of UAV operation by FAA regulations; UAVs are recreational use only currently.

      • The AMA only cares that old retired guys can fly fixed-wing aircraft in a circle at AMA club fields. Those of us who fly rotary-wing aircraft on our own don't matter.

        The AOPA wants all UAS out of the sky because they compete with General Aviation.

        McNeal cares only about commercial use and would be fine with a licensing and registration system that would keep casual users out.

        The FAA has been told by Congress not to promulgate any rules or regulations regarding model aircraft (Section 336 of the FAA Modern

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          The AOPA wants all UAS out of the sky because they compete with General Aviation.

          Incorrect. AOPA wants UAS to follow all the same rules if they want to integrate into the National Airspace System. So if your drone is big enough to fly with regular aircraft, then it should follow the same rules as regular aircraft. Which means if has all the same equipment (radios/transponders/etc) necessary to communicate with ATC and everything.

          Drones covers the spectrum from toys to Predator-sized vehicles (which are huge

          • Incorrect. AOPA wants UAS to follow all the same rules if they want to integrate into the National Airspace System. So if your drone is big enough to fly with regular aircraft, then it should follow the same rules as regular aircraft. Which means if has all the same equipment (radios/transponders/etc) necessary to communicate with ATC and everything.

            So a several thousand dollar (and > 1 pound) ATS-B transponder, registration, a pilot's license to fly them, a certificate of airworthiness, etc. Get real;

            • I fly within the NYC area mode C veil (and not far from class C airspace, which extends 5 nautical miles from almost every dinky airport in the country). Putting an FCC-approved transponder on my models would bankrupt me and they'd not be able to fly due to the weight and power requirements anyway. Also I have no pilot's license and am unlikely to get one. And I can't imagine how I'd get a certificate of airworthiness for these things.

              The Mode C veil goes all the way to the surface around the airport itself (out to various distances depending on the area).

              You're not exempt from that rule just because you're not physically in the aircraft.

              Now, does this really apply to $50 toys that you fly to 50 feet in your backyard? No.

              Does it apply to $1,000 toys that fly to 500 feet? Yes it does.

              Guess what, want to fly more than a bit above the tree line? Want to go a few hundred feet up? Want to do it in a congested area? You'll need a transpon

              • You're not exempt from that rule just because you're not physically in the aircraft.

                No, I'm exempt from that rule because I'm flying a model aircraft. Actually the regs say if you don't have an engine-driven electrical system you're exempt (the engine is electric; it doesn't drive the electrical system)

                Guess what, want to fly more than a bit above the tree line? Want to go a few hundred feet up? Want to do it in a congested area? You'll need a transponder.

                Not according to current rules. And the FAA can't

                • You're not exempt from that rule just because you're not physically in the aircraft.

                  No, I'm exempt from that rule because I'm flying a model aircraft. Actually the regs say if you don't have an engine-driven electrical system you're exempt (the engine is electric; it doesn't drive the electrical system)

                  You are flying an aircraft. 14CFR91.130 contains no exemptions for aircraft without electrical systems. You need to be in two-way communications with ATC -- unless you get an ATC authorization.

                  14CFR91.215 does not completely exempt aircraft without electrical systems from the transponder requirement. "This requirement applies-- (1) All aircraft. In Class A, Class B, and Class C airspace areas;"

                  • We're talking about the Mode C veil, here, not class A,B, or C airspace. No engine-driven electrical system, no transponder requirement for the Mode C veil, from 91.215.

                    As for the rest, that depends on if "model aircraft" are intended to observe all the restrictions on "aircraft". This hasn't been the case for over 50 years, and Section 336 of FMRA 2012 was certainly intended to preserve that. The FAA and NTSB insist that all these restrictions do apply, which would make all model aircraft operation for

                    • While it likely will end up in court sooner or later, at the end of the day, that is probably a waste of time and money.

                      Why? Because it is clear that the government has the right to regulate the national airspace system. Both Congress and the FAA have the right to control access to the NAS.

                      As such, while there may be some give and take on the specifics, you're not going to win in the long run by saying, "I get to keep doing what I've been doing for years, just because I've been doing it".

                      They may come up

                    • Why? Because it is clear that the government has the right to regulate the national airspace system. Both Congress and the FAA have the right to control access to the NAS.

                      They do, however, have to pass laws and regulatons to do so. Not just do it by fiat in an arbitrary and capricious manner contrary to the laws which have actually been passed.

                      They may come up with a specific rule in the regs that says "you may fly line-of-sight RC aircraft up to 200ft AGL in congested areas and up to 400ft AGL in unconges

                    • Not just do it by fiat in an arbitrary and capricious manner contrary to the laws which have actually been passed.

                      You must be new here... :) Have you not met our government?

                      I've worked with the FAA, there is what the book says, then there is what they do. You're welcome to fight them, but I'd rather not.

                      Now the FAA wants to ignore all that and set up a point of sale registration system for all model aircraft, without even going through the normal rulemaking process, let along getting the statutory authorization to make such rules.

                      You're welcome to protest, it may even work for a bit... the process might be messy, it may not even be correct...

                      My primary point however is that in some years time (might be 5, might be more or less), there will be new rules and restrictions on where you can fly an RC anything.

                      Of that, I'm 100% sure of...

                    • I've worked with the FAA, there is what the book says, then there is what they do. You're welcome to fight them, but I'd rather not.

                      You presumably have a pilot's license, so they've got you by the short-and-curlies. You buck them, they pull your license while you fight, you go broke. I have no such restriction.

                      My primary point however is that in some years time (might be 5, might be more or less), there will be new rules and restrictions on where you can fly an RC anything.

                      To paraphrase Andrew Jackson: "M

                    • You presumably have a pilot's license, so they've got you by the short-and-curlies. You buck them, they pull your license while you fight, you go broke. I have no such restriction.

                      :) You keep thinking that... not having a pilot certificate (it isn't a license, it is a certificate, it never expires) does not exempt you from the FAA's area of enforcement.

                      I'll ignore any rules they make contrary to that.

                      Sure, and plenty of people use drugs, and drive over the speed limit, and a thousand other things... and get away with it much of the time... but don't kid yourself, enforcement always comes down to "naked force" as you put it.

                      As I said, flying a small $50 RC quad copter in your back yard is not going to be an issue. Flying a $1,50

                    • :) You keep thinking that... not having a pilot certificate (it isn't a license, it is a certificate, it never expires) does not exempt you from the FAA's area of enforcement.

                      It means that the FAA can't pull my "certificate" first and ask questions later while I go broke.

                      Sure, and plenty of people use drugs, and drive over the speed limit, and a thousand other things... and get away with it much of the time... but don't kid yourself, enforcement always comes down to "naked force" as you put it.

                      Flying a mod

                    • It means that the FAA can't pull my "certificate" first and ask questions later while I go broke.

                      A pilot certificate is actually the least of your concerns.

                      What happens if the FAA fines you $500 per day until you comply with their orders?

                      Yes, the FAA can fine you, and when you refuse to pay it, you end up in administrative court where you aren't innocent until proven guilty, and your refusal ultimately ends up with the sheriff showing up.

                      Despite all that, once the FAA passes its new rules, it'll still be legal for me to fly my unregistered helis, still legal for me to buy or build new models without registering them, and still legal for me to fly them.

                      It can be really expensive to prove that your actions are legal, but you're welcome to try. Someone gets to be the test case.

                      At the end of the day, neither you nor I

                    • What happens if the FAA fines you $500 per day until you comply with their orders?

                      I continue to not comply, and the fines rack up. What else can I do? It's either not fly (in which case the case ends and I have no further ability to challenge) or continue to disobey.

                      Yes, the FAA can fine you, and when you refuse to pay it, you end up in administrative court where you aren't innocent until proven guilty, and your refusal ultimately ends up with the sheriff showing up.

                      Fortunately, I could be dead of old age

                    • I continue to not comply, and the fines rack up. What else can I do?

                      Do you honestly not know what happens when people don't pay the government what the government says they owe? :)

                      Lets just say that prison would be in your future... yes, the government ultimately would put you in jail over refusing to comply.

                      Fortunately, I could be dead of old age by the time "ultimately" happens.

                      The government isn't THAT slow... Pirker gave up when the rules were changed (by the FAA), when he correctly pointed out that even if he won, it wouldn't matter since the goal posts had been moved...

                • The issue hasn't been addressed in the past because it hasn't happened often enough to get attention.

                  It is getting attention now, the situation as it currently stands won't last.

                  Mode C veils didn't exist once, Class A airspace didn't exist once either. Both exist today for good reasons. As the price of drones (RC aircraft, whatever) drops and the number rises, this will have to be addressed.

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        This is going to make the second time, where drones are concerned, that I get to say, "I told you so." The first was in the Kentucky drone shooting. This one will be where I've continually suggested that you organize or you'll get draconian legislation. The, "I can do it anyways, fuck you!" Is actually part of the problem. Yet I see that reply nearly every time I bring this up.

        What you could have done is contact the vendors, setup a site, have all sorts of free training material, and get vendors to put your

    • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

      Well, duh. You didn't really think government regulations were meant to protect the little guy, did you?

    • AirMap will be there. I'm our representative on the Task Force and co-founder of our company. We are committed to an open system in which innovation can thrive and we're definitely not a huge company or a monopoly. We are hiring, join us: https://www.airmap.io/careers/ [airmap.io]
      • AirMap will be there. I'm our representative on the Task Force and co-founder of our company. We are committed to an open system in which innovation can thrive and we're definitely not a huge company or a monopoly.

        The FAA appears to lack your commitment. They forbid all operation beyond the visual line of site in their proposed sUAS rules, which would seem to make your products unnecessary. The only thing this task force appears to be charged with is figuring out a way to make it harder to buy a UAS, and

  • Woo hoo!

    Our wonderful government is going to SOLVE THIS PROBLEM for all time!

    Don't you feel great about that!

    Yep, I can't wait for ten thousand pages of rules that effectively only allow the government and big corporations to use drones!

  • Droning on and on (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pr0t0 ( 216378 ) on Friday October 30, 2015 @08:35AM (#50831469)

    I know this is probably being pedantic at this point, but can their first recommendation be to stop calling them "drones"? I feel like words matter, and what we say imparts connotations. Shouldn't we have a lexicon that in some way distinguishes recreational R/C hobby aircraft from mission-specific autonomous or semi-autonomous aircraft. The media absolutely refuses to make this distinction, and I have to wonder if the reason for that was initially to demonize the recreational variety and now it's just a simple matter of inertia.

    Since I'm not an enthusiast myself, I wouldn't mind hearing from people who are to find out what their take on the current vocabulary is.

    • I know this is probably being pedantic at this point, but can their first recommendation be to stop calling them "drones"? I feel like words matter, and what we say imparts connotations. Shouldn't we have a lexicon that in some way distinguishes recreational R/C hobby aircraft from mission-specific autonomous or semi-autonomous aircraft.

      These things are semi-autonomous. Even the most basic DJI drones, for example, have automated return-to-base functionality in the event of a lost control signal. It's pretty fucking cool: turn off the transmitter (under properly controlled and safe circumstances blah blah blah) and they climb to 60 feet, cruise back to their starting point, and execute a perfect landing. All by themselves.

      • Even the most basic DJI drones, for example, have automated return-to-base functionality in the event of a lost control signal.

        Sure, but there's lots of them that don't. Nothing without a GPS can pull that off, for example, so nothing without a GPS should probably be called a drone. But even assuming you fold all craft which can be operated without LoS into the definition, that means any quad would have to have either GPS or FPV to be considered a drone. It looks like they're also talking about some kind of size requirement, so that your itsy-bitsy handheld drones won't have to be registered. That, of course, will just drive a priv

        • Free flight do come back to home, or are supposed to, and many have failsafes to keep them from wandering to far. Lites and model rockets meet the definition of drones.
          • Free flight do come back to home, or are supposed to

            Without a GPS? I wouldn't trust a cheap-ass inertial tracking system to get a drone home, not for one second.

            and many have failsafes to keep them from wandering to far

            They do? A few have GPS-based area lockout, but that's only a subset of GPS-enabled copters, which is a subset of all copters.

            Lites and model rockets meet the definition of drones.

            What's a lite? Bud Lite? And model rockets sure don't meet the definition of drones. They're just rockets. You could make a rocket-based drone, but most of them just fire a recovery device and fall out of the sky.

            If you buy a GPS-based off-the-shelf drone, yes I would expect i

          • A model rocket with any kind of active control system is a fucking missile and is a ten year federal crime, same as a home made machine gun.

            Sounds like you know very little about this subject. Why are you commenting?

        • either GPS or FPV

          And now you can say most flying devices fit that definition. If you exclude the toys flown indoors nearly all devices fit that description. Heck my little indoor toy has FPV and it's no bigger than the size of my hand.

    • This should be covered by the AMA instead. www.modelaircraft.org/

    • by khallow ( 566160 )
      I rather use the word, "drones". But by all means, fair or dirty, let's detour this group into something more productive than limiting drones to government organizations and big businesses.
    • I have several quadcopters and one hexacopter. The quads are tablet-sized toys and only the hexacopter could be considered a "drone" because of it's RTB feature (while cool, it isn't as great as it sounds due to lack of any terrain avoidance. 60 feet is not that high.) I could bolt on a $200 box that would let me program waypoints and altitudes, but I just don't fly as often as I would like. I don't terribly mind "drone", but I do try to stick to the "-copter" terms. I think the only demonizing going on is
      • The quads are tablet-sized toys and only the hexacopter could be considered a "drone" because of it's RTB feature

        By who's definition?

        • How about mine? My largest quadcopter is the Hubsan X4 [amazon.com] (and, honestly, my favorite one to fly) and has no BVR or GPS capability; hardly a drone by anyone's definition. My hexacopter is equipped with the Naza-V2 flight controller; the only autonomous capability it has is RTB. The question was if there was a better way to distinguish RC toys from more advanced drones. I suggested that anything with BVR or autopilot (including RTB) would qualify as a drone. This isn't a hill I'm willing to die on; I fully und
          • That's fine, that's the way the English language works. You're free to play with the language to your heart's content. The problem is one of commonality. You have your definition of drone that excludes the device, but the common definition (despite your assertion of "anyone's") in circulation still classes your toy as a drone as no autonomy is required for the classification according to various dictionaries. You're going to have one heck of an uphill battle to convince people your way is the right way. But

          • by KGIII ( 973947 )

            I once wrote out a definition that was fairly well received but I didn't save it. It'd be in my post history somewhere but I'm too lazy to look for it. I basically used a similar taxonomy as we use for classification of species.

            So... Using your example, one of them, and from a layman's view...

            UAV (vs. Manned)
            Remote Controlled (allowing inputs via remote)
            Semi-Autonomous (vs. complete autonomy)
            Limited to X Range (not sure where you qualify here - not a hobbyist)
            Multi-Rotor (vs. single)
            Helicopter (vs. plane o

    • I feel like words matter too. Just because because we were using one word that fitted the definition at one point doesn't mean that we shouldn't use a different word which still fits the definition according to every dictionary out there as well as the common understanding of people who speak the language.

      I have so far been unable to find any evidence of the word being used improperly. If anything people's attribution of the word to the military, and the budget and capability requirements the military had f

    • Drones should be defined as devices that can act autonomously or be guided remotely through a live video stream all of which done without line of sight flying. I can certainly see the risks with these devices. Model aircraft should be defined as radio control aircraft that does not have autonomous or first person view features and is flown line of sight. The risks with "model aircraft" are much lower than "Drones" as defined above. The model aircraft hobbyist that have been flying for many decades safel
    • pr0t0 said:

      I know this is probably being pedantic at this point, but can their first recommendation be to stop calling them "drones"?

      Not going to happen I'm afraid: the mass media is like a dog with a bone and the word "drone" gets them slavering every time.

  • The Land of the Free strikes again!

  • This is just stupid anyway.

    If you make unregistered drones a crime...only criminals will have unregistered drones.

    • Then you can just shoot or intercept any unregistered drone. Time to get my drone hunting license...

  • Registering the millions of drones as aircraft with the FAA means a reinvention of the aircraft numbering system is in order.

    In the US, aircraft begin with an N, while other nations also have unique letter identifiers.

    It has been suggested that adding letter combinations will be necessary to keep up with the demand.

    • Registering the millions of drones as aircraft with the FAA means a reinvention of the aircraft numbering system is in order.
      In the US, aircraft begin with an N, while other nations also have unique letter identifiers.

      No, they're not being registered as aircraft. They're just being registered. You're not going to need a pilot's license. Yet. Though if you think about it though, arguably you should need a pilot's license to operate FPV in any conditions other than at low altitude over private property, and there will be requirements to do visual checks like anyone else. Then, some 20 years after it's been implemented, you'll be allowed to use sensors to detect incoming aircraft.

      • In Model Rocketry, there are active Associations like the National Association of Rocketry [nar.org] that has educational and mentorship programs and they even operate a High Power Rocketry [nar.org] certification program.

      • No, they're not being registered as aircraft. They're just being registered.

        They're aircraft, and they're being registered. What are they being registered as? Pixie dust, or unicorns?

        Perhaps you aren't aware but commercial use already requires registration AS AIRCRAFT, in the existing registration system. I know someone who is having to do that, including getting airworthiness certs and statements from the manufacturer that his aircraft has not been registered in another country before.

        The current N-number registration system is not cast in stone, and it is trivial to create an

        • The current N-number registration system is not cast in stone, and it is trivial to create an extended version with registrations that start with N and have 10 digits. Or 15.

          It's not trivial; it would literally take an act of Congress.

          • It's not trivial; it would literally take an act of Congress.

            Maybe someone could appoint a group to study the problem and come up with a way of implementing it? Oh wait ... they already have.

  • Sean Cassidy – Amazon Prime Air, Director, Strategic Partnerships

    Because no one would understand droning better than Banshee [wikipedia.org].

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm all for registration/requirements for drone/model aircraft flying over other peoples property without permission, but flight over private property should be up the the property owner. The most important question yet to be answered is how do you define "public airspace"? The FAA designates the beginning of "navigable airspace" as beginning at 500 ft, no aircraft is supposed to fly below that unless coming in for a landing or on private property (I think some ultra-lite testing takes place in this fashi

    • The FAA designates the beginning of "navigable airspace" as beginning at 500 ft, no aircraft is supposed to fly below that unless coming in for a landing or on private property

      The FAA regulates airspace to the ground. And there are aircraft that can fly below 500 feet. Your Causby reference claims it was the congress that defined it as "500 feet", not the FAA.

      People actually own the air somewhere 83 ft and above feet from their land, court cases haven't narrowed it in anymore than that.

      The court case you are thinking of did not say that. It was a case where the plaintive claimed damages from an aircraft at 83 feet above his chickens when that aircraft was causing significant disruption to that use. It didn't even begin to define "ownership" of airspace, and would have had a hard time getting past the fac

  • I didn't get an invitation to join the task force. Must be in my spam folder.
  • I hope the first thing they do is define what a drone is and isn't.

    Drones as we know them today are generally car-size, and can be fully automated on demand.

    I'm tired of seeing a quadrocopter, which is no different than an RC helicopter or RC airplane being called a drone.

    If someone wants to fly a 1 ton automated aircraft, then by all means, make them register them.

    If they want to fly a small RC toy, or even something as large as a golden retriever, then no. It's just considered a remote controlled craft th

  • Can we grow the government anymore. Soon I might have to vote for the party that crashed America with trickle down and wants me to believe the way to fix it is to cut what little the old and sick have by calling it entitlements.
  • Great, a bunch of idiots, fly quadcopter without any regard for anything, and what will they do? Completely wreck a hobby enjoyed by thousands of people who have been SAFELY flying RC planes & helicopters for decades. Thanks a lot you idiots!
  • This "task force" reminds me a lot of Dick Cheney setting US energy policy in closed-door meetings with oil industry execs. Prepare to be sold out again, America.

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