The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has released the final recommendations from its unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) registration task force. The task force was set up after the FAA announced it would require recreational drone operators to register their drones.
“This group of experts embraced the challenge with the energy and creativity we expected and delivered its report to me today as scheduled,” said Michael Huerta, administrator at the FAA, in a statement. “I will work with my team at the FAA to review their recommendations, as well as public comments we received, as we present the recommendations to [Transportation Secretary Anthony] Foxx. We will work quickly and flexibly to move toward the next steps for registration.”
For the registration process, the task force’s recommendations included the ability to submit registration electronically through the Web or an app, and the ability to designate an electronic certificate of registration and personal universal registration number that must be displayed on all recreationally owned drones.
As for what drone operators will need to register, the task force concluded that drones weighing less than 55 pounds didn’t pose a threat to national airspace or safety, and therefore they don’t have to be registered.
Other recommendations included that the registrant's name and street address be required to register their drones; operators may only be able to operate their drones once they are registered with the FAA; the process should contain an educational component; there should be no fee to register the drone; and operators must be 13 years or older.
The task force also recommended that the FAA set up a clear penalty framework for operators who do not abide by the rules.
“These recommendations were agreed upon in a spirit of cooperation and compromise. Many Task Force members approached the proceeding with strong convictions, derived both from their personal experience and from knowledgeable input from their organizations and users,” the task force wrote in its report.
“In such a time-limited tasking, many of these convictions were necessarily set aside in order to reach a general consensus among the group and to provide the FAA with a workable solution that met its safety and policy requirements while not unduly burdening the nascent UAS industry and its enthusiastic owners and users of all ages.”