The Department of Transportation (DOT) created a registration task force (RTF) in October to submit recommendations to the FAA on the registration requirements for small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
Here are the key points from the report:
All UAS weighing more than 250 grams (~½ pound) must be registered prior to flight. Most UAS exceed 250 grams.
The proposed registration process will be a free, electronic or app-based system, which will provide the registrant with an electronic certificate of registration and a universal registration number that can be applied to all UAS owned by the registrant.
Moving forward, commercial UAS operators should be permitted to use either the existing FAA registration system or the new, electronic/app-based system.
What does this mean for drone pilots if the FAA follows the RTF’s guidance?
UAS operators will be able to e-register their UAS by providing their phone number and address to instantly receive a registration number, which is applicable to their entire fleet of UAS. Registration for multiple UAS will be cheaper, easier, and faster than the FAA’s current system, which treats UAS the same as manned aircraft.
Pilot and line-of-sight requirements are not addressed, as they are part of a separate on-going policy process.
We expect the FAA to release a draft of a broader policy by the end of 2015 with the goal of finalizing a law by summer 2016.
It’s important to note the FAA must still review the recommendations, then draft and issue a final ruling before the new registration requirements will take effect.
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