There is a public outrage over the new FAA Drone Registration Program that is scheduled to begin on December 21, 2015. It requires that all UAVs over 0.55 lbs (250grams) and below 55lbs are required to register and display their registration number on the craft. The FAA is offering free registration for the first 30 days and will charge a meager $5 after that. All drones must be registered by February 19th, 2016 to remain in compliance. For official details check out the FAA Press Release.
We’d like to take a minute to take a deep breath and have a look a the Pros and Cons of the new FAA Drone Registration Program. We have studied the debate in the popular drone groups and forums and these are the takeaways from the discussion, see details.
Pros of FAA Drone Registration
- The new program will likely significantly reduce the amount of stupid piloting mistakes, and reduce the risk or the hobby being banned completely. This simple concession forces pilots to be both responsible for their actions and aware of the consequences.
- If you lose your drone it will be much easier for the person who finds it to return it to its rightful owner.
- You can protect your parts with stamped registration numbers to reduce theft and resale.
- An official line has been drawn which separates the Class 1 and Class 2 (See our Safety Rating System) from the larger and more risky Class 3 and Class 4s. This opens the door to allow small craft a lot more leeway to being flown in many more places. This is fantastic for the micro community and will drive the size of drones down even faster.
- This system will provide an easy tracking mechanism for race organizations.
- Registration lasts 3 years.
- It’s free for the first 30 days and it will only cost $5 after that.
- It will help to ease the public concern.
- It is actually legitimizing our hobby. It shows that we can only expect to see amazing growth in the future.
Cons of FAA Drone Registration
- The penalty for non-compliance is extremely harsh. This is likely to force a lot of compliance we’re assuming.
- It feels heavy handed.
- It will be difficult and potentially costly to regulate.
- It’s annoying.
- It seems silly to have to register Christmas Gifts.
- Is the camel’s nose under the tent? How far will this registration thing go?
It is likely that this simple system will actually provide a lot of benefit to all of us involved in Drone-Piloting. The push back is mostly based on fear and annoyance and will likely subside as quickly as it arose. Flying safely is absolutely important and if this process helps to improve the hobby for all of us then we support the FAA completely. One scenario is that this system proves to be too expensive or difficult to actually regulate. In that case, all the fuss is for nothing. In the worst case scenario the FAA begins attempting to regulate everything that goes into the air including Frisbees® and paper airplanes. This seems like a paranoid possibility and is not really a likely outcome. The FAA is really just concerned with safety and we should honor their work to improve the airways for all of us.