Small UAV Coalition: FAA Registration Rules Should Preempt State/Local Requirements

Posted by Betsy Lillian on December 01, 2015 No Comments
Categories : Policy & Regulations

In response to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-released report of the recommendations for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) registration, the Small UAV Coalition is applauding the effort of the task force’s work in completing the report but is suggesting additional considerations.

The coalition says it supports a simple, Web-based, digital registration system for UAS and appreciates the hard work done by the task force members, many of whom represent Small UAV Coalition companies, to complete the panel’s mission on time and with consensus on a comprehensive set of recommendations.

The coalition takes issue, however, with the recommendation for a registration threshold of 250 g, as a weight threshold of 1 kg is consistent with other countries’ registration and similar safety requirements. Also, the group says that extending the registration requirement to UAS over 250 g that could reasonably be considered toys could undermine the credibility of the process and detract from the FAA’s mission of using the registration requirement to promote safety, education and accountability.

Additionally, the Small UAV Coalition urges the FAA to include a provision in the interim final rule to preempt state and local small UAS registration requirements. Consumers will be more likely to accept the FAA registration requirement if they are required to register only with the FAA and not any state or local government, which have no authority to govern or regulate the operation of aircraft, whether manned or unmanned, in national airspace, the group says.

Moreover, according to the coalition, duplicative state and local registration requirements would not be in line with the task force’s suggestion of a simple, free and easy registration process.

Michael Drobac, senior counsel at Akin Gump, which represents the Small UAV Coalition, says in a statement that he expects the recommendations “to be viewed by those in the industry as flying in the right direction, although there is much that remains to be done before the FAA issues its final rules.”

He explains, “While there is plenty here to cheer or quibble with, one thing in particular worth noting is that the task force’s recommendations represent a good example of government and industry coming together to try to develop solutions that are practical and thoughtful yet don’t constrain an industry that is poised for a great deal of success.”

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