Here we go.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced Oct. 19 “the creation of a task force to develop recommendations for a registration process for Unmanned Aircraft Systems.”
The task force will be comprised of “25 to 30 diverse” industry representatives.
“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,” said Foxx. “It will help protect public safety in the air and on the ground.”
“Registration will help make sure that operators know the rules and remain accountable to the flying public for flying their unmanned aircraft responsibly,” said Huerta. “When they don’t fly safely, they’ll know there will be consequences.”
Incredible…the power of registration.
Chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee, New Jersey’s Frank LoBiondo stated, “I am pleased to see DOT taking the concerns and suggestions of the House Aviation Subcommittee seriously. UAS technology represents the next frontier in aviation, creating new economic opportunities here at home. But safety must always come first. We cannot allow reckless individuals to endanger the safety of our airspace. The registration process will play an important role in protecting our airspace and allowing the industry to grow. I will continue to work with DOT and stakeholders towards fully integrating UAS safely into the national airspace.”
Okay, enough hyperbole.
Cars and trucks are registered, which should “play an important role in protecting our” — switch airspace for — roads.
Yet, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “In 2013, 10,076 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.”
Further, “In 2010, over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. That’s 1% of the 112 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year.”
Possessing properly registered vehicles, the operators no doubt understood the “culture of accountability and responsibility” and that they’d face “consequences” to their unsafe actions. Apparently they didn’t care. Maybe they didn’t happen to agree. Perhaps it was something else.
And still, we let these “reckless individuals endanger the safety”… of our roads.
Look, I’m not typically this cynical. I prefer to seek and find the good in people and opportunities. This announcement — and what it represents — I don’t care for.
If “safety must always come first” as LoBiondo specifically stated, then why does the FAA make it so difficult to create safer products?
This is less about safety than it is about doing something. Anything that’ll make the public feel like the government is doing something.
It also enjoys the side benefit of justifying a huge — and growing — budget. The remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) industry is growing rapidly. This is a great way to justify that ever-increasing budget and head-count.
How about a dose of reality? The vast majority of pilots and drivers operate their craft responsibly and legally. Just like the vast majority of RPA operators.
Among the “responsible” are the commercial operators. They’ve got skin in the game. They risk everything if they operate negligently. And they know that. They’re the ones who will get caught up in this proposed registration process. Ironically, they are also the ones we least need to worry about.
Does anyone really think DJI, maker of the hugely popular Phantom-line of RPAs, will allow itself to be sucked up into a registration procedure? I don’t think so.
How’s the saying go? You can’t legislate common sense. Maybe you can register it.