Trump Reinstates FAA Drone Hobbyist Registration Rule

Trump Reinstates FAA Drone Hobbyist Registration Rule

A couple of weeks ago, I bought my first drone: a DJI Mavic Pro. I’d been eyeing one for months, trying to decide if it was worth it and if I could justify its use for my business. I pulled the trigger right after Thanksgiving, have been trying to learn all of the rules about using it, and have been studying for the FAA Part 107 test ever since. And there are a lot of rules. And one of those rules is about to change — again— thanks to a bill President Trump signed yesterday that requires all drone flyers in the U.S., including hobbyists, to register with the FAA. Back in 2015, the FAA issued a rule that required all hobbyists to register their drones with the agency. It was a relatively painless process: you just give your name and contact information, pay $5, and you get an ID number to put on your drone. But that rule was overturned by a federal judge in May, and since then it was unnecessary to register with the FAA if you weren’t flying for commercial purposes. 

That rule was reinstated yesterday with the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which Trump signed into law, and now all hobbyists (and, if I’m not mistaken, all commercial flyers as well) will have to register with the FAA. 

Navigating all of the rules relating to flying drones legally and safely isn’t always easy, especially when they keep changing. But, it’s understandable why the rules exist. Drone sales are increasing quickly, and are expected to double by 2020, and that means that without some sort of framework in place, there would be a lot of little electronic birds floating around without anything to hold them accountable. 

What do you think of this rule reinstatement? Or about the rules surrounding drone use in general? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below, and let us know whether you fly for fun or for business.

[via The Hill]

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21 Comments

Neville Ross's picture

This stupid shit wouldn't be happening if it weren't for the fears started by that jackass Edward Snowden...

user-156929's picture

Really? I thought this was an attempt to avoid collisions with commercial aircraft, etc.

Or who to sue if you drop one on someone's head and run. And how long til someone straps a bomb to one?

user-156929's picture

I feel sorry for Canadians. You guys would be considered a world power if you existed anywhere else in the world. Of course, were that the case, you'd have to spend a lot more for defense, decreasing your funds for other things.

Neville Ross's picture

Expect all of the creativity that people have been achieving through cameras and the use of drones to be gone, then.

user-156929's picture

I've seen a lot of perspectives that would have been difficult or impossible to capture but not a whole lot in the way of creativity. We'll probably see more of that once the "cool" factor dies down.

David Penner's picture

You gotta understand why they have these rules when you go online and ser people doing stupid things with their drones. Dont blame the govt for putting in these rules. Blame the people not caring about anything but getting a shot.

Drones aren't a problem, and if they become one, this won't do anything to prevent it.
This is just pointless, who is going to (and capable) enforce this in a way that makes any real difference whatsoever?

It's really weird to me the stark contrast between commercial and hobby level flying. I'm currently studying for the FAA Part 107 test and it's almost ridiculous the amount of knowledge they expect you to know as a commercial drone pilot. On the other hand, all you have to do to fly for fun is register the drone without any other knowledge of the rules and regulations. I'm not advocating for every drone owner to have to pass a test or get licensed to fly a drone, but registering them isn't going to have any positive impact on the current incident levels.

Jeff McCollough's picture

Exactly. So if I just want to shoot some photos of a landscape or some footage at a wedding I have a take a huge test and people who just want to muck around and do almost the same thing except make money can do it no questions asked lol.

I'll register my Spark when people register their guns.

Why? Honestly.

Yeah it makes infinitely more sense to require registration of drones and not for items that have no other purpose and are explicitly designed to injure and/or kill living creatures. Which, by the way, I'm not necessarily advocating federal gun registration, but I AM saying that if you're gonna require registration of drones for reasons of public safety, not applying the same logic to guns is absurd. Drones didn't kill 20 kids 5 years ago.

Living is a constitutional right, and you have to register your identity with the federal government...so...if you want to say there is no possible regulation on constitutional rights, that's out the window.

Cameras on drones can certainly protect life and property, for example in search and rescue cases. They don't even have to fly, as they're also used in bomb squad robots.

The "kill 20 kids" thing wasn't an emotional argument. It was a statement of fact. I know that arguing via factual assertions is a losing proposition these days, but I still hold out hope.

Let me ask you this, how can you have a "well regulated militia" (quoted from the sacred text of the 2nd Amendment) without knowing who is in the militia and what they bring to the table?

I'm an "anti-gun type"? I'm not sure when that happened without my realizing it....Oh wait, it didn't. Here's the thing, try to stay with me...

*****It's possible to be in favor of laws regulating usage and ownership of firearms without advocating guns be banned or confiscated.*****

You "pro-gun types" aren't even willing to enter into a a public debate about the issue. Your lobbyists threaten political consequences if gun violence is studied as a public health issue. I'm no Constitutional Law professor, but it's pretty clear, even to idiots, that the 2nd Amendment doesn't prohibit study or discussion - and I'm pretty sure that notion would be repugnant to the founding fathers.

You have set forth *an* explanation of the 2nd Amendment that happens to support your position. But the reality of the interpretation of "well-regulated militia" is anything but clear. If you intend to have an honest and educated debate about the meaning and intent of the 2nd Amendment, you really can't just pick the 4 words that happen to be the most important to you personally, and then refuse to address the meaning or potential importance of the other 23. You've conveniently reduced it down to

"The people [get guns because] free state"

And that seems to be the extent to which you're willing to discuss the issue. In the face of that, what else is there to say?

Answers to your questions:

"What am I doing now?"

Dodging straightforward questions, answering questions with other questions, suggesting that there is no reason to study firearm-related crime and violence, and questioning my patriotism. Straight from the Universal NRA Public Policy Playbook.

"What is there to study...and for what purpose"

Off the top of my head:

1. The leading causes of gun-related crime and violence in the U.S.

2. Why the firearm homicide rate is 7x higher than Canada and 18x higher than Australia.

3. Why 82% of worldwide firearm deaths occur in the US.

3a. Why 90% of women's homicides occur in the US.

3b. Same question, but 91% and children under 14.

3c. Same question but 92% and people aged 15-24.

How about we start with finding the answers to those questions and hundreds of others related to firearm homicide? You don't know the answers nor does anyone else.

Why should we study this stuff? Because I assume we are all in agreement that reducing homicide rates are a worthwhile pursuit. Because this is how intelligent people in enlightened countries address and solve their problems. If you're not willing to study this stuff (or anything else), then the simple fact is you are advocating willful ignorance. You are never going to convince an intelligent, reasonable person that *not* studying something is better than studying it, or that less knowledge is somehow better than more knowledge.

Once again, when attempting to explain What They Really Meant regarding the 2nd Amendment, you've quoted 5 words and ignored the rest.

"Are you suggesting that the security of a free State can not be threatened by tyranny from within?"

I'm not suggesting that. But it seems like you really really want me to be saying that.

Here's the thing about tyranny from within. When it happens, it's not going to come in the form you are anticipating, and it might not even be coming for you specifically. I assume you'd be in favor of arming victims and protesters of police brutality?

"Are you suggesting that somehow some of the most intelligent and wise men in human history, America's Founding Fathers, somehow missed that when they wrote and approved it, and after just engaging in a war of independence from that same exact situation?"

I'm not suggesting they overlooked anything. Where did I say that? Surely you would agree that the 2nd Amendment isn't *only* meant to address tyranny from within. I mean, that's almost objectively indisputable. If the primary or only intent of the 2nd Amendment was meant to address tyranny from within, it would have been worded more clearly and there would be no ambiguity. For example, the use of the words "tyranny from within" might have made an appearance. And while the Bill of Rights was written relatively fresh out of the Revolutionary War, I'm pretty sure those guys were sharp enough to not have it cloud their vision. Although really, the Revolutionary War was not about fighting tyranny from within at all, but from afar. Many of the same guys had already declared the country's independence, and they were fighting an invading army from overseas.

I can do much more damage with my car. I don't have to register that with the feds.

I also have a gun. I don't have to register that with the state or fed. The real question is what does registration truly achieve? You aren't required to register at the checkout so anyone can choose not to register and use a drone for ill-conceived purposes.

Ken Stapleton's picture

I have been a Private Pilot for 40 years...I own 3 airplanes. I also fly drones (fixed wing and multi rotor). According to AOPA, as of 2011 there were 224,475 active General Aviation aircraft. According to the FAA, there are around 2.5 million drones in the USA. FAA expects that number to grow to 7 million by 2020. The FAA is a slow moving, antiquated dinosaur that has refused to embrace modern technology. They struggle to deal with the small number of aircraft currently under their administration(just apply for a simple field approval for an STC and sit back and enjoy the circus). I cannot begin to imagine how the FAA can even begin to police the number of drones that are in this country. The scary thing to me is that as these numbers grow, the "drone" community will become powerful enough to have a voice in politics (you can bet the manufacturers will have lobbyists). The day very well may come when I, as a Private Pilot, will move to the "back seat" in the National Airspace System(after all I will become the minority in the future). Before I end this little "rant", let me remind everyone that we are dealing with a government agency (the only agency that gets to make the rules AND enforce them). I'm doubtful that the FAA is up to the task and SURELY the small matter of 5 dollars x 7 million had nothing to do with the decision to require registration.