U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., and U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., chairman and ranking member of the aviation subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives, respectively, have outlined what they feel are the top priorities in establishing a national registry for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
Four priorities are a streamlined registration process, FAA access to data, education and training, and incentives for users to register their aircraft, the congressmen wrote in a letter to Michael Huerta, administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.
LoBiondo and Larsen write, “The government and industry task force the Department of Transportation launched last month to consider how best to institute a recreational UAS registration requirement is an important step forward for safety. We believe that aircraft registration is an important part of a comprehensive safety solution.”
The congressmen write that the process “should be entirely accessible to ordinary consumers who are becoming users of the airspace for the first time.” Thus, ease of use “will promote participation.”
Regarding FAA access to data, they explain, “A key purpose of registration is to create a long-term deterrent to unauthorized UAS operations by establishing a means for detecting and prosecuting those who violate the law. In order for this approach to be effective, we believe the FAA must have access to the data regardless of whether a public or private entity operates the registry, just as the agency has access to registration data of manned aircraft today.”
Furthermore, LoBiondo and Larsen add that the process “should include a knowledge or training component” on drone flying. The Know Before You Fly campaign, although it’s a “good start,” the letter says, “may not reach the entire new massive consumer drone market.”
Lastly, the congressmen recommend, for example, “software updates and other improvements from manufacturers” as possible incentives for users to register their drones.
An FAA-selected task force is currently meeting (Nov. 3-5) to come up with recommendations for a registry process. The FAA and Department of Transportation aim to have registration rules in place by the middle of December.