WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta have called for a task force to develop recommendations for a registration process for Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), also known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or drones.
The task force will be composed of 25 to 30 representatives from the RPA and manned aviation industries, the federal government, and others. The group will advise on which aircraft should be exempt from registration due to a low safety risk, including toys and certain other small RPAs.
The task force, which may make additional safety recommendations as it deems appropriate, has been directed to deliver its report by Nov. 20.
“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 FAA receives reports of potentially unsafe RPA operations, he noted. Pilot sightings of RPAs doubled between 2014 and 2015. The reports ranged from incidents at major sporting events and flights near manned aircraft, to interference with wildfire operations.
“These reports signal a troubling trend,” Huerta said. “Registration will help make sure that operators know the rules and remain accountable to the public for flying their unmanned aircraft responsibly. When they don’t fly safely, they’ll know there will be consequences.”
While the task force does its work, the FAA will continue its education and outreach efforts, including the “Know Before You Fly” campaign and “No Drone Zone” initiatives with the nation’s busiest airports.
The agency also will continue to take enforcement action against violators, officials said.