Drone Task Force Recommends Simple Registration Process for Owners
There are substantial proposed penalties for operating an unregistered drone, in some cases as high as $25,000 per incident. The idea is to make it unattractive for drone owners to avoid registration. The committee suggested that the FAA not require a registration fee, but said that if one is legally mandated, it should be so small as to make collecting it pointless. The amount mentioned was one-tenth of a cent. The task force also suggested that the age limit for registration should be 13 and that drone operators younger than that operate with the supervision of their parents or guardians. The idea behind all of this is to get a handle on the illegal use of drones. This way, the people who fly drones near airliners in flight, or around sporting events could be found and brought to justice. Unfortunately, it does little good if the drone isn't recovered since there's no way to read the registration number, assuming that the person doing this actually registers it. On the other hand, it does give the government one more tool to encourage accountability, since if an owner is caught illegally operating a registered drone, there are significant penalties that can be imposed.In the process of preparing these regulations, the FAA apparently came across a drone registration scam that is widespread enough that the agency felt like it must act. As a result, the FAA issued an announcement about drone registration firms that advertise that they'll help owners out with the difficult process of getting a drone registered. The FAA "wants unmanned aircraft owners to know that there's no need to work with a 'drone registration' company to help them file an application for a registration number," the agency said in a press release issued a few days before the report. The point of the effort by the FAA is that the registration process simply won't be hard enough to require the help of a third party. What this means to you is that if you plan to employ drones in your operations, you must register. And if you're planning to hire someone who will operate drones for you, then you should know that the drone must be registered before it can be used and that a quick inspection of the drone should confirm that it's registered. And yes, you do want to make sure that any drone associated with your business is registered as required by the law.
But if someone buys a drone with the idea that they're going to use it to buzz airliners or crash the U.S. Open, chances are they won't register. But if they use a drone that had been registered, then it may help find the person who misused it.