One of the scariest men on Earth–to a middle school reader–doesn’t think that he should be subject to the rules and regulations of the FAA. For a good reason.
Obviously, this is a joke, but the FAA did just release some regulations ahead of what should be a drone-filled holiday season.
The new regulations are for small unmanned aircrafts between .55 and 55 pounds including cameras and other payloads that pilots plan to fly outside. If you’ve purchased your UAV before December 21, 2015, you have until February 19, 2016 to register your UAV with the FAA. If you’re planning on purchasing your drone any later than that must register before you fly.
You’ll need to provide your name, address, and email.
If you do the paperwork–either online or paper-processed–before January 20, they’ll waive the $5 per aircraft registration fee. Once you submit your information, the web-app will provide you with a unique ID number, which must be written or attached to the UAV. You’ll have to renew the registration every three years to keep it up to date.
Given that estimates for 2015 sales are predicted to include 1.6 million small UAVs–with about 50 percent of those sales happening at the end of the year–that’s a lot of aircraft to register. They’re expecting 1.9 million in 2016.
This is strictly for hobbyist pilots. Commercial entities or larger drones will have other requirements.
The government will be spending $56 million on this project through 2020, and they’re looking to establish some accountability among pilots. According the filing, reports of unsafe operation have doubled. These reports include an immediate risk to people, manned aircraft, or property. Pilots are spotting the UAVs extremely close to major airports including Newark Liberty International Airport and JFK. Plus, they’re looking at stories of people flying drones near aircraft fighting wildfires and close to other planes.
For 2014, there were a reported 238 incidents, but that skyrocketed in 2015 to 1133. With the influx of new UAVs expected–and that’s not including any commercial drones–we could be looking at a lot more. The report also includes some specific examples including one where a UAV flew into primary conductors on a power line and another where a 11-month old at an outdoor movie was injured by a falling UAV.
The FAA is also concerned that many people purchasing the UAVs won’t be experienced pilots, so this opens up an avenue of communication and education that could be beneficial.
Failure to register a UAV could result in fines of up to $27,000 and criminal penalties of up to $250,000 in fines and/or three years in jail.
Editor’s Note: This article has been edited to note that recreational users will NOT have to supply the UAV manufacturer, model, and serial number when registering.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense