The FAA’s task force on commercial drone aircraft–which includes representatives from Google, Amazon, and Walmart–has just issued its recommendations for how to operate unmanned aircraft. Although the recommendations are not binding and do not have the impact of a law, they reveal that the largest forces in commercial drone operation in the U.S. want drone operators to register with the government if they are flying an unmanned aircraft that weighs more than half a pound.
According to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, registering drone operators–and not the aircraft they’re flying–will help the Transportation Department identify flyers who violate FAA regulations. Under the proposed registration, drones operators would give their names and addresses to the FAA via a website. Pilot training or courses would not be required.
Industry watchers believe the FAA will set up a penalty structure that could include fines for pilots who violate the rules. One possible unintended consequence of the new UAV registration program could be an impact on the world of remote controlled model aircraft enthusiasts–the separation between drones and remote controlled hobby aircraft is still not exactly clear.