Category Archives: Drones

USDOT announces plan to require drone registration

U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) officials yesterday announced the creation of a task force that will recommend a process for registering with the government unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones.

The task force will be charged with developing the recommendations by Nov. 20, said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a press release.

The panel’s participants will represent the UAS and manned aviation industries, the federal government and other stakeholders. They will advise the department on which aircraft should be exempt from registration due to a low safety risk, including toys and certain other small UAS.

The task force also will explore options for a streamlined system that would make registration less burdensome for commercial UAS operators.

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

Every day, the Federal Aviation Administration receives reports of potentially unsafe UAS operations. Pilot sightings of UAS have doubled since last year.

To learn how some in the railroad industry use drones, read this feature article on ProgressiveRailroading.com.

Schumer wants to keep drones way from airports, major events

Drone manufacturers would be forced to implement technology to keep the unmanned crafts away from airports and possibly events like parades and major sporting contests under a proposal Sen. Charles Schumer plans to introduce.

ChuckShumerSenator

Schumer said he would introduce an amendment to a bill that funds the Federal Aviation Administration requiring drones sold or operated in the U.S. to have geo-fencing technology that would prevent them from operating within two miles of an airport or above 500 feet.

The amendment would also encourage the FAA to enact policies forbidding drones in other “sensitive locations,” like sporting events, parades or near the Pentagon, Schumer told The Associated Press on Saturday.

“God forbid a drone was sucked into the engine of a passenger airline that was flying, it’d be a huge tragedy,” he said. “And it’s a matter of time before that happens.”

Under current regulations, drone pilots must get clearance to fly within 5 miles of a sizeable airport in most cases. The FAA also notified drone enthusiasts in October that the law does not allow them to fly the aircraft near Major League Baseball, NFL and NCAA Division I college football games and major auto races.

FAA officials did not immediately return a message seeking comment on Sunday.

Schumer said his amendment was an “elegant solution” to a rise in drone incidents at sporting events and parades across the country. He believed the proposal will pass this month with bipartisan support among legislators.

Schumer pointed to an incident earlier this month where a drone buzzed above a match at the U.S. Open before it crashed into empty seats in the stadium. A high school science teacher who had been flying the drone in a park surrounding the tennis center was arrested on a reckless endangerment charge.

“Somebody could attach weaponry to them, or explosives,” Schumer said. “No one has yet, but sooner or later someone will think of that.”