US to demand mandatory registration of recreational drones

Drone owners in US will be required to register their drones in order to deter misuse

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The FireFlight UAS TwinHawk is carried to the runway during Black Dart, a demonstration of 55 unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, at Naval Base Ventura County Sea Range, Point Mugu, near Oxnard, Calif., July 31, 2015.

US Transport Secretary Anthony Foxx announced on Monday that the country will require mandatory national registration of drones and their users.   

The move follows an increase of incidents of drones hampering the work of the emergency services in fighting fires and other dangers.

According to US officials, the new regulation will allow the government to trace operators of drones which enter prohibited airspace or break laws.

"We feel the level of urgency here is sufficient for us to move as quickly as we possibly can," Foxx said in a news conference.

"Registering unmanned aircraft will help build a culture of accountability and responsibility, especially with new users who have no experience operating in the US aviation system. It will help protect public safety in the air and on the ground."

A taskforce will issue a report saying which drones will be included in the database.

Improper usage of drones has soared since last year, including sightings near manned aircraft and major sporting events, and interference with wildfire-fighting operations, according to the government.

It is expected that the number of drones given as Christmas presents will increase this year.

The plan for mandatory registration of drones has won support from several groups in the aviation industry. One of these, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), will provide feedback to the taskforce.  

"Because safe operations are essential for all users of the national airspace, AUVSI is also looking forward to continuing its work with the FAA and other supporters of the 'Know Before You Fly' campaign to educate newcomers to UAS technology about where they should and shouldn't fly," according to the group.  

Recently a bill was proposed by the California Governor Jerry Brown to make it easier to use electronic jamming in disaster areas to stop drones from flying.

The bill gained wide support following devastating wildfires in northern California in which firefighters had to down drones in order to stop them interfering in their work.

Following the announcement of the proposal the National Press Photographers Association opposed it, sending a letter to Mr Brown.  

In the letter the NPPA expressed concern over the effect the new regulations might have on the ability to cover stories by using drones.

TRTWorld and agencies