FAA Releases Proposed Drone Regulations

Date: November 24, 2015

Owners Of Unmanned Drones Would Have To Enter Personal Information Into National Database

 

A Federal Aviation Administration-appointed task force has issued its proposed regulations for unmanned drones. Among the recommendations, according to the New York Times, is that owners with drones weighing between half a pound and 55 pounds be required to register their drones with the Federal government and have their names and addresses entered into a national database. Owners would also have to display a government-issued registration number on their drones. However, owners would not have to submit any information about their drones, and drone users would not have to be citizens or permanent residents. USA Today reported that registration would be free and aircraft would have to be marked in a way that identified the owner, but not necessarily by serial number. “I do want to highlight that we do have unanimity,” said Earl Lawrence, who was co-chairman of the task force as director of drone integration at FAA. “Some decisions were simply compromises.”

The Los Angeles Times called the recommendations “quick work” but a “thoughtful first step to bringing some order to the explosion of recreational drone use.” However, some holes in regulations remain, and the Times pointed out that the task force didn’t address how to publicize the required registration, whether the current fine of $25,000 is too steep, or the process for remote identification. Fortune reported that Brian Wynne, CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, “said in a statement that he was pleased with the task force’s recommendations,” however, “he still wants the FAA to finalize separate rules dictating how and where drone owners and businesses can operate their aircraft. like whether they can fly out of the line of sight of the operator.”

What Happens Next

The FAA is looking to move swiftly on this issue. USA Today reported that FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx have said they would like to create a registry by Dec. 20 under a proposed rule that is still under development, based on the recommendations and comments they’ve received about drone regulations.

What This Means For Small Businesses

Many small businesses are eager to adopt new technologies to help their businesses grow, including drones. However, innovations in drones have been lagging behind government regulators, who were dealing with outdated, incomplete laws predating new technologies. The task force that crafted this new proposal included large business interests representing Amazon and Wal-Mart, meaning the regulations aren’t likely to fully consider the needs of small businesses who might seek to develop or use drone technology.

Additional Reading

Among the other outlets that reported on the new FAA drone regulations were NBC News, The Hill, Reuters, NPR, Entrepreneur Magazine, Wired, PC Magazine, The Verge, Fast Company, Slate, CNET News, Air Transport World, the Huffington Post, Aviation Today, and AFP.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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