Spitfire76

Drone Registration for Hobbyist

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In December of 2015 the FAA introduced drone registration and required all owners of UAVs, including RC model aircraft, weighing over 0.55 pounds (250 grams) to register. The cost was $5 and valid for 3 years. As a hobbyist you only needed to register once irrespective of the number of drones you owned. This rule was overturned by the John Taylor case earlier this year (2017). The re-introduction of this registration rule has been snuck into the bill for the National Defense Autorization Act for 2018 and so is very likely to be signed into law.

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr2810

From above

(d) RESTORATION OF RULES FOR REGISTRATION AND MARKING OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT.—The rules adopted by the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration in the matter of registration and marking requirements for small unmanned aircraft (FAA-2015-7396; published on December 16, 2015) that were vacated by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Taylor v. Huerta (No. 15-1495; decided on May 19, 2017) shall be restored to effect on the date of enactment of this Act

Personally I did not have a problem to register but it wasn't very welcomed by a lot of RC model aircraft hobbyist that were upset that the AMA with its relationship with the FAA had not got an exemption for its members. Looks like they can't do much about it this time either.

http://www.modelaircraft.org/aboutama/gov.aspx

Edited by Spitfire76

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This is one of the many pet peeves of mine.  This debate, and the lawsuit was not about the need to register your drone, it was about the rule of law.  For any rule to become law there's a process it MUST go through.

all of the alphabet organizations like the AMA only cared about how it effected their members and did not fight the ruling based on the fact that the FAA did not follow the NPRM process.  

Although the FAA often tries to, they can't just propose such a rule to congress and have it signed into law, that would be arbitrary and capricious which is actually against the law.  These rules get included as part of a much larger bill to become law but if anyone is accused of breaking this rule and fights it in court the FAA will lose again because they did not follow the process for the rule to become law.

This process is in place to stop bureaucrats of any government agency from arbitrarily implementing law for their own political agenda.  As a citizen you have the right to challenge a law any time your accused of breaking it.  People will argue that it's too expensive to "fight city hall" but in this case you don't have to, it's already been litigated and the FAA lost.

What makes me angry about this is the AMA knows this and did not fight for the rights of ALL operators, they thought that by cooperating with he FAA that they could be exempt from the law.  Wow, really!?  That's the definition of why the NPRM process is so important.  

Another reason the NLRM process is so important is that it filters out frivolous rules or through debate turns them into rules that actually solve a problem.  The way this registration was implemented IS the problem.  But debating it on forums like this is kind of pointless. 

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I agree with Bruce, If the model doesn't have GPS, like most RC model aircraft and FPV racing drones it should not require regulation/registration.

 

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You need to be careful with that sort of logic, does that mean any drone with a camera should be considered “professional” drone?  

GPS is not really the problem.  

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12 hours ago, Av8Chuck said:

You need to be careful with that sort of logic, does that mean any drone with a camera should be considered “professional” drone?  

No, because FPV racing drones have cameras but no GPS and as they require a lot of skill to fly, similar to fixed wing RC aircraft, they should be considered in the same category. What Bruce is proposing is a way for regulators to separate the traditional community of RC model pilots that have had decades of flying safety without being regulated by a country's airspace authority with those that go to Best Buys and buy a DJI camera drone that practically flies itself. Its seems fair that this new category of hobbyist should be regulated rather than bundle the entire existing RC model aircraft community into the same bucket.

Edited by Spitfire76

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Why would you use the skill level of the operator as the determining factor for regulatory policy?  Doing so creates two classes of operators.  

When this mess started commercial operators blamed hobbyist for the regulatory S^%t storm that ensued, the AMA blamed the commercial operators and wanted carve outs for registration and the FAA divided operators into those that make money and those that don’t. 

We have an operator working for us with 10k hours of flying RC, in fact all our operators have years of experience flying RC so to say that “drone” operators are the cause of this mess is wrong. What everyone needs to understand is that we’re all in this together and pointing the figure at the “other” guy doesn’t cut it. It wasn’t that long ago that the AMA made similar accusations against RC pilots that flew FPV.  

There are two classes, those that control the plane while in it and those that control the plane from the ground, other than that we’re pretty much the same and if people continue to divide the operators based on skill, equipment, or commerce the only ones doing the conquering will be the FAA and none of us will be allowed to fly. 

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I don't really understand how using the distinction of if a model has a gps receiver it makes it a drone and if it doesn't then it's just an rc model aircraft.  The gps makes autonomous missions possible and can also make human control much easier.  It also has the benefit of being able to return the aircraft to a set location if there is a problem with a control signal where the racing drone will happily impact with the ground or car windshield. I am not an expert fpv racing pilot, but I can fly a multirotor in rate mode.  A gps is certainly not needed to get into mischief.

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I guess as National Defense Autorization Act for 2018 was signed by the president today drone registration for hobbyists is officially back.

 

Edited by Spitfire76

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The FAA can’t create regulations through executive fiat they must use the NPRM process. They tried this with the modernization act and they lost every rule they tried to bury in that bill.  Government agencies put all kinds of pork in these bills which means the courts will have to decide the matter.  

If the AMA actually stood for something they would stand up against this, but I bet they will once again try to appease the FAA and get an exemption for their members. 

This is the very reason for the NPRM process.  Your tax dollars at work.

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https://uavcoach.com/hobbyist-registration/

If that is really the case and we now have to register every UAV that we own rather than just ourselves I wouldn't call that a big improvement. One guy at my local RC model club owns 130 planes and I don't think that is unusual. Does it mean he needs to pay $5 registration for every one ?. I checked my registration profile on the FAA website and I could not see a way to add more UAVs but then I had registered in 2015 and did not cancel when the ruling was thrown out earlier this year.

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22 hours ago, Spitfire76 said:

https://uavcoach.com/hobbyist-registration/

If that is really the case and we now have to register every UAV that we own rather than just ourselves I wouldn't call that a big improvement. One guy at my local RC model club owns 130 planes and I don't think that is unusual. Does it mean he needs to pay $5 registration for every one ?. I checked my registration profile on the FAA website and I could not see a way to add more UAVs but then I had registered in 2015 and did not cancel when the ruling was thrown out earlier this year.

 @Zacc Dukowitz, I don't see on the FAA or AMA websites any information on the reintroduction of registration for hobbyists on having to register each UAV that they own. It appears to be the same as before in that we just need to register once. If it is indeed the case that we have to register all our UAVs it maybe good for market analysts but not for RC model aircraft pilots.

This is why I agree with Bruce (earlier post in this thread) as the FAA has not done a good job of defining a drone. They simply define it as a remote controlled aircraft weighing between 0.55 to 55 Lbs so this includes all RC model planes and helicopters. Also I don't think it would be of interest to any drone market analyst that I fly a model Spitfire at my local RC club's airfield.

Edited by Spitfire76

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I hear you guys, and agree that model airplanes are a different animal. The new FAA registration site can be found at https://registermyuas.faa.gov/ - apparently it's not currently connected to the FAA's website (it seems like they've rolled this whole thing out pretty quickly, and without a lot of forethought).

Sorry if it seemed like I only support the idea of hobbyist registration so that I can get more marketing data, I totally understand how that would be annoying. Although I'd love to see that data, I'm way more interested in being able to tie drones back to their owners in order to encourage safety and accountability. 

One of my fears is that a drone might be involved in a very bad accident or fatality (like what happened in Las Vegas back in Sept: https://www.ktnv.com/news/drone-falls-from-the-sky-at-hotel-pool-injures-woman, but even worse), which would be terrible in and of itself, and also for the entire industry. Requiring registration seems like one measure that could help prevent that scenario (although I understand that compliance will not be anywhere near 100%, and that this is certainly not the only thing that needs to be done).

Just my two cents, I understand that there are other opinions out there. Thanks guys for writing, and hope you have a great weekend coming up.

Edited by Zacc Dukowitz

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10 minutes ago, Zacc Dukowitz said:

I hear you guys, and agree that model airplanes are a different animal. The new FAA registration site can be found at https://registermyuas.faa.gov/ - apparently it's not currently connected to the FAA's website (it seems like they've rolled this whole thing out pretty quickly, and without a lot of forethought).

Sorry if it seemed like I only supported hobbyist registration so that I could get more marketing data, I totally understand how that would be annoying. Although I'd love to see that data, I'm way more interested in being able to tie drones back to their owners in order to encourage safety and accountability. 

One of my fears is that a drone might be involved in a very bad accident or fatality (like what happened in Las Vegas back in Sept: https://www.ktnv.com/news/drone-falls-from-the-sky-at-hotel-pool-injures-woman, but even worse), which would be terrible in and of itself, and also for the entire industry. Requiring registration seems like one measure that could help prevent that scenario (although I understand that compliance will not be 100%, and it's certainly not the only thing that needs to be done).

Just my two cents, I understand that there are other opinions out there. Thanks guys for writing, and hope you have a great weekend coming up.

I still don't see where the FAA are requiring hobbyists to register each UAV they own and this is from the AMA's FAQ on registration.

Q: Do I have to register every aircraft?

A: You only need to register your name, physical address, and email address once. You will receive a single FAA registration number which is to be placed inside all of your aircraft along with your AMA number. 

http://www.modelaircraft.org/aboutama/faa-uas-faq.aspx

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7 hours ago, Zacc Dukowitz said:

One of my fears is that a drone might be involved in a very bad accident or fatality (like what happened in Las Vegas back in Sept: https://www.ktnv.com/news/drone-falls-from-the-sky-at-hotel-pool-injures-woman, but even worse), which would be terrible in and of itself, and also for the entire industry. Requiring registration seems like one measure that could help prevent that scenario (although I understand that compliance will not be anywhere near 100%, and that this is certainly not the only thing that needs to be done).

Zacc you need to get over this fear.  I've been doing this since 2008 and I don't know of a single death attributed to civilian drones.  I'm not saying drones aren't dangerous, but that makes it even more remarkable.

How many people do you think have drowned in pools?  Seems to me swimming in the pool is way more dangerous than the drone.  Do I think the operator of the drone is an idiot? Sure, but you can't legislate stupidity.

What problem is this registration supposed to solve?  The registration information can be accessed by the public?  If you see a car speeding in a school zone you can report it but there's no where you can go to find out where the driver lives.  There's a very good reason for that.  What about the privacy rights of the drone operator?  What should an operator do if a disgruntled beach goer shows up at your door?  

Why has the FAA circumnavigated the NPRM process again?  There's is no way this rule would make it through that process.   

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I think we have to agree to disagree. Being able to tie a drone back to its owner seems like a good thing to me - take the recent Blackhawk crash, where the only way they connected the drone to the pilot was through the reg data on the drone (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-drone-helicopter-collision-20171214-story.html). 

Re: the FAA bypassing the NPRM process, this law was created by congress, not the FAA.

 

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Hey all - correction to the original article on this topic: turns out the new law only reinstates the existing FAA hobbyist registration requirement, and *does not* require hobbyist pilots to register each one of their drones. I relied on a few incorrect secondary sources in writing, my apologies for the error.

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2 minutes ago, Zacc Dukowitz said:

Hey all - correction to the original article on this topic: turns out the new law only reinstates the existing FAA hobbyist registration requirement, and *does not* require hobbyist pilots to register each one of their drones. I relied on a few incorrect secondary sources in writing, my apologies for the error.

Thanks for updating us, @Zacc Dukowitz.

We're not professional journalists but do our best to track this industry. We make mistakes. This isn't the first time and likely won't be the last. Thanks for quickly updating the original blog post.

Interestingly enough, the FAA still has yet to update the "Registration" section of their FAQ page. I expect the language here, and potentially a notification box, to show up in the next week or two :)

https://www.faa.gov/uas/faqs/#reg

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54 minutes ago, Zacc Dukowitz said:

the FAA bypassing the NPRM process, this law was created by congress, not the FAA.

 

Congress signed the bill into law, the FAA put this rule into the bill.  The NPRM process was developed to stop this sort of legislation.  

Im not saying that registration is a bad thing, I’m saying that because they didn’t follow the NPRM regulatory process the regulation is not valid.  If it had been created correctly it would have been vetted by all of the stakeholders that this rule effects, most importantly us!  

Also, regulations can’t be arbitrary or capricious.  Where are all of the accidents, invasions of privacy, drones being used for nefarious reasons?  Again, I’m not saying that  the potential isn’t there, but the statistics don’t warrant this level of regulation.  More that 50 people died from taking selfies this year, cell phones have cameras that invade other peoples privacy and are used for nefarious reasons all the time but we’re not required to register our cell phones with the government.  

This is not a “drone” registration, it’s an operator registration.  Zacc if you register your drone in this system I can find out where you live. Who’s protecting your right to privacy and safety.  This is a bad rule, it was not created lawfully, the FAA arbitrarily decided to implement it based on a lot of hyperbole of the day and that is illegal.  

 

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22 hours ago, Zacc Dukowitz said:

Hey all - correction to the original article on this topic: turns out the new law only reinstates the existing FAA hobbyist registration requirement, and *does not* require hobbyist pilots to register each one of their drones. I relied on a few incorrect secondary sources in writing, my apologies for the error.

That's good news as it would have been totally impractical and costly for a lot of RC model aircraft pilots to have to register their entire collection of aircraft. 

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On 12/16/2017 at 7:45 AM, Alan Perlman said:

Thanks for updating us, @Zacc Dukowitz.

We're not professional journalists but do our best to track this industry. We make mistakes. This isn't the first time and likely won't be the last. Thanks for quickly updating the original blog post.

Interestingly enough, the FAA still has yet to update the "Registration" section of their FAQ page. I expect the language here, and potentially a notification box, to show up in the next week or two :)

https://www.faa.gov/uas/faqs/#reg

This is a bit off topic, but the way I see it, blogs are for journalists, organizations or people who want to express a point of view and forums are for debate.  So even if things aren’t factually correct in a forum but it spurs debate is that a bad thing?  Especially when the the topic is as vague as this...

So again, this is just my opinion but on a blog the information had better be factually correct on a forum it needs to be information from someone you trust. If someone continually provided inaccurate data on a forum then that member tends to be ignored, if the data is incorrect but it’s from a member who is active, then there’s a track record and readers can decide for themselves if they trust the information being provided or what the authors agenda might be.  

Obvioisly the same can be said for a blog but they tend to be only the authors perspective so there’s more of a group think mentality.  I occasionally interact with blog for real estate photographers where if you say anything contrary the post is deleted or if you question the author the rest of the “sheep” lambasts you.  I’m sure there are members here who have experienced that sort of behavior in the DJI sponsored threads on “that other” RC forum.  

There have been quite a few things that Zacc has written about that I don’t agree with, and I’m sure that I’ve written things he doesn’t agree with either,  but in my opinion that’s a good thing.  Forums shouldn’t be about conformity of thought, it’s always more interesting to debate our differences than it is to talk about what everyone agrees with.  

People make mistakes, it’s how we learn. 

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If you follow Alan's link to the FAA FAQs it clearly states:

If you operate your UAS exclusively under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, you can voluntarily use the web-based registration process to register once and apply your registration number to as many UAS as you want.

Unmanned aircraft flown not as model aircraft must be registered individually by the owner, and each registration costs $5. Registrants must supply their name, address, and email address, in addition to the make, model, and serial number (if available) for each UAS they want to fly.

So, if you fly strictly under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (Public Law 112-95 Section 336) you do not have to register.

If you fly under the FAA's Small UAS Rule (14 CFR part 107) you must register each UAS that you own separately, as a non-modeler.

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@kwi, I'm pretty sure that information was the updated info AFTER the loss in the TAYLOR case.  I don't believe FAA has updated the site re the new requirements for Part 336 registrations.  Very soon, I'm sure.

 

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In January of 2017, Trump signed "Executive order, for every new Federal Regulation, two must be omitted".  With the new UAS registration rule......not only done so without NPRM.....but tell me what "two rules" were eliminated?

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14 hours ago, KWI said:

So, if you fly strictly under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (Public Law 112-95 Section 336) you do not have to register.

Incorrect: Since last week's signing of the National Defense Autorization Act for 2018 by the president registration is again required but is the same as when it was first introduced in December of 2015 and only requires one registration irrespective of the number of owned UAVs. 

http://www.modelaircraft.org/aboutama/faa-uas-faq.aspx

14 hours ago, KWI said:

If you fly under the FAA's Small UAS Rule (14 CFR part 107) you must register each UAS that you own separately, as a non-modeler.

Correct: Flying commercially under part 107 has not changed and does require each UAV to be registered.

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