With the FAA’s drone task force three days into planning its recommendations for what type of machine you will be required to register, words are starting to leak out about how things are headed — and they’re not going the direction we’d hoped for.
The WSJ reports that three unnamed people “familiar with the matter” have told them that the recommendation on the table will be for consumers to register any flying drone 9 ounces and up with the FAA for use.
9 ounces isn’t much — the mostly-styrofoam Parrot BeBop weighs about 14 ounces. The popular DJI Phantom 3 isn’t even close, at 45 ounces. And according to 3D Robotics’ Chris Anderson (3DR Solo with gimbal and GoPro: 63 ounces), pilots will even have to register the new Millenium Falcon toy drone from Air Hogs.
— Chris Anderson (@chr1sa) November 6, 2015
Smaller rigs are still in the clear — the newer Parrot Minidrone is just 2.3 ounces, and the Microdrone 2.0 is even less, about 1.3 ounces. But still, initial discussions were expressing hope that the registration clause would take effect for machines over three pounds, not half a pound. It’s a huge difference.
The team is also considering how to deal with home-built quadcopters and such, although the Journal doesn’t mention any of those elements.
The WSJ’s report does explain that the lower weight allowance is offset by a concession to make the registration process fast and easy for consumers — it will be web and/or app driven, and will simply require a name and address for immediate use, contrasted by the current FAA commercial drone process that takes weeks. Your machine will need its registration number listed clearly on board.
The task force planning sessions are still underway, so it’s possible that these provisions change before being made official; the agency’s goal, however, is to get them implemented by end of this year.
The group itself is made of representatives from industry, drone manufacturers, and retailers, including GoPro, Amazon, BestBuy, and Walmart. The full list indicates the wide interest that these flying platforms have generated.
Nancy Egan – 3D Robotics
Richard Hanson – Academy of Model Aeronautics
George Novak – Aerospace Industries Association
Chuck Hogeman and Randy Kenagy – Air Line Pilots Association
Jim Coon – Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Sean Cassidy – Amazon Prime Air
Ben Gielow–Amazon Retail
Justin Towles – American Association of Airport Executives
Brian Wynne – Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International
Parker Brugge – Best Buy
Douglas Johnson – Consumer Electronics Association
Brendan Schulman – DJI
Paul Feldman – General Aviation Manufacturers Association
Dave Vos – GoogleX (Co-Chair)
Tony Bates – GoPro
Matt Zuccaro – Helicopter Association International
Mike Fergus – International Association of Chiefs of Police
John Perry – Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors
Brandon Declet – Measure
Randall Burdett – National Association of State Aviation Officials
Sarah Wolf – National Business Aviation Association
Baptiste Tripard – Parrot
Tyler Collins – PrecisionHawk
Gregory McNeal – Small UAV Coalition
Thomas Head – Walmart
More to come.