No More Drones Flying Freely Over USA’s Green Pastures - They Need to Be Registered First

Things have been building up towards this moment for the past few months, and with the rapid proliferation of UAVs among the public, it was only a matter of time.
Drone with camera 1 photo
Photo: Pete on Flickr
That time has come and the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) is now requiring all owners of drones, big and small (actually, between 0.55 and 55 pounds), to register their aircraft with the government. You even have to pay for this privilege, but it’s only $5, so the hassle itself is worth more than that.

We’re thinking the guy with the flame-spitting drone might have some difficulties registering his little UAV, considering it’s capable of laying waste to about ten acres of cornfield in no more than two minutes. But we’re pretty sure he’ll have more luck with his previous attempt: that one only came with a handgun attached, and we all know the government has a lighter touch when it comes to the delicate subject of firearms.

But it’s not just those with killer drones that need to register. Everybody currently owning a UAV and those who will buy one before December 21 have got until February 19, 2016 to comply and declare their drones. However, if the drone enters your possession after December 21, you’ll need to register the thing before its first flight. So there isn’t really a fixed deadline, it’s simpler than that: if you want to play with it, you have to register it first.

There’s a simple explanation for the haste with which the FAA implemented this decision: a study conducted by Bard University and quoted by shows that 2015 has witnessed over 300 “near-misses” involving drones and piloted aircraft. No later than a few days ago we were telling you about one such event between a police helicopter and a UAV flown by a young man that could have ended badly.

And then there’s another very scary number for the FAA: over 400,000 drones are expected to find their new owners during this holiday season, so that number of “near-misses” will most likely increase ten-fold over the next year, while some of the encounters might even exit the “near-miss” category and generate a new one. And nobody wants to see more aeronautical incidents, not to mention actually causing one.

How exactly registering the drones will limit the probability of accidents isn't very clear. The FAA presumably hopes that if the authorities can link a person with a specific drone, people will think twice before doing something stupid with it. And they're probably right.

For all those in a hurry to get rid of $5 and feel they’re not breaking the law, they can register their drones here.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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