Drone operators will once again be required to register their aircraft with the federal government under a sweeping defense policy bill signed into law Tuesday.
The requirement that recreational drone operators register their unmanned aerial vehicles with the Federal Aviation Administration was included in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which President Donald Trump signed Tuesday. The provision reinstates a 2015 drone registration process voided by court order earlier this year.
Drones, which are typically camera-equipped quadcopters, have become a new consumer and business phenomenon for those interested in remote-controlled vehicles, aerial photography and even aerial racing. As the aircraft have grown in popularity over the last several years, though, drones have become a concern for the government agency responsible for regulating the nation’s airspace.
The FAA’s drone registration system took flight two years ago, requiring hobbyists to pay $5 apiece to register drones weighing between 0.55 pounds and 55 pounds, or face potential criminal charges. Meanwhile, drone sales continue to climb, more than doubling in the past year.
But the agency’s registration process ran in to turbulence in May when the US Court of Appeals said the registration rule violated the FAA Modernization and Reform Act (PDF), which states the FAA “may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft.”
The FAA applauded the return of the rules.
“We welcome the reinstatement of registration rules for all small unmanned aircraft,” the FAA said in a statement to TechCrunch. “Ownership identification helps promote safe and responsible drone operation and is a key component to full integration.”
The registry is to be reinstated when the act is enacted, according to the text of the bill.
Credit: Article published on CNET
Credit: Inside Unmanned Systems