Claiming that pilot sightings of potentially unsafe drone flights have doubled since 2014, the U.S. Transportation Dept. and the Federal Aviation Administration on Oct. 19 said they are taking steps to develop a system to register unmanned aircraft.
A task force of about 30 industry and government experts on Nov. 20 will deliver to the agencies a report that outlines registration-process recommendations, including which aircraft should be exempt due to a low safety risk and options for a streamlined system that would make the process less burdensome for commercial operators. Among the participating trade groups are the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the Academy of Model Aircraft, the Air Line Pilots Association and the American Association of Airport Executives
“These reports signal a troubling trend,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. He says a registration system will give the agency a tool not only to make sure operators know the rules, but also to provide the agency with a way to trace an offending drone back to its operator. Registering unmanned aircraft will help build “a culture of accountability and responsibility,” especially among new users not experienced at operating in the U.S. aviation system, said Transportation Secretary Jamie Foxx.