Today, U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx and FAA Administrator Huerta announced the creation of a task force to develop recommendations for a registration process for small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) weighing less than 55 lbs and use for recreational (non-commercial purposes), expected on November 20, 2015.
The task force will be comprised of 25-30 representatives from UAS and manned aviation industries, the federal government, and other stakeholders. The task force will advise the Department on “which aircraft should be exempt from registration due to a low safety risk, including toys and other small UAS.” The announcement gave no indication as to the parameters of any exemptions or the requirements for registration. The task force will also explore options for a streamlined registration system and make other recommendations as it deems appropriate in light of the increased reports of potentially unsafe UAS operations, ranging from incidents at major sporting events to flights near manned aircraft, and interference with wildfire operations.
According to the DOT, the registration requirement is intended to “build a culture of accountability and responsibility, especially with new users who have no experience in the U.S. aviation system” and “will protect public safety in the air and on the ground.” Various trade groups joined Secretary Foxx during the announcement, including the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, Academy of Model Aircraft, and AirMap/Small UAV Coalition. The press release and link to statements in support of DOT’s approach are available here.