Full Transcript of the US Department of Transportation Drone Registration Announcement

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Anthony R. Foxx (Secretary of Transportation)

The United States Department of transportation is bullish about technology and transportation. It requires this agency to be agile enough to adapt and integrate innovation.

The details of this new registration system will be developed by a task force consisting of government leaders and a diverse group of stakeholders who will work on a tight deadline to get this work done.

Registration will reinforce the need for unmanned aircraft users including consumers and hobbyists to operate their drones safely, it’s really hard to follow rules if you don’t know what the rules are or that the rules apply to you.

Registration gives operators the opportunity to learn the airspace rules before they fly and enjoy their devices safely. Registration will help us enforce the rules against those who operate unsafely by allowing the FAA to identify the operators of unmanned aircraft.

We can take enforcement action as necessary to protect the airspace for everyone. If unmanned aircraft operators break the rules, there should be consequences but there can be no accountability if a person breaking the rules cannot be identified. Registration will now allow us to identify them.

We have done a lot with education and outreach to inform new users of the airspace and we will continue to do that outreach. We have partnered with members of industry in the modelling community to initiate know before you fly campaigns, providing recreational operators with the information they need to fly safely and responsibly.
Several manufactures now voluntarily include educational material in their packaging and we thank them for that. The San Francisco 49ers football team even partnered with us to record a short commercial to discourage people from flying drones over their stadium. We are also working with many major airports on a similar campaign to spread the that flying around airports and runways is unsafe and will result in stiff penalties and fines. Additionally, the FAA has a national no drones own

Additionally, the FAA has a national no drone zone campaign. The FAA is currently beta testing an app the helps unmanned aircraft operators determine whether there are any restrictions or requirements in effect where they want to fly.

This step we are taking today has an added benefit as an educational tool. People registering drones will be exposed to the rules and the reasons for those rules and this will help reduce some of the incidents I described earlier.

We also want to ramp up on enforcement. We will be able to instil the accountability for safety that is generally ubiquitous among those responsible model aircraft users and users of the national airspace.

I now want to state the obvious point here there is still a lot of work to do, this is not the whole solution this is just a part of it and a task force will be charged with answering a number of critical questions but clarifying that federal law requires the registration of all aircraft including unmanned aircraft is essential to ensuring accountability and is an important part of our on going vigilance on this issue. This is a positive step forward for safety in our skies by taking this measure we will create a streamlined process for all small drone users and will continue to protect and encourage innovation in our airspace.

I also want to assure you that the FAA’s on going work to quickly and efficiently integrate unmanned aircraft in the national airspace will continue and will not be slowed down by this effort.

Early this year we took an important step by releasing a proposed rule, this laid out a flexible framework for allowing the routine commercial use of small unmanned aircraft. The FAA received more than 4500 public comments on the proposal and is working to address those comments so the rule can be finalised by June 2016.

We are accommodating requests for some commercial operations under our section 333 exemption process and to date I have signed off on roughly two thousand exemptions that allow unmanned aircraft to be used for a variety of purposes.

So the registration requirement that we are announcing today will not delay any of this on going work especially the completion of our small UAS rule. With that I want to conclude by thanking all of our stakeholders for their continued input to ensure the successful integration of unmanned aircraft technology and their unflagging commitment to safety.


Brian Wynne (Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International)

This collaborative effort develop registration,

We hope the FAA will finalise the rules soon to be an established framework for UAS operators allowing anyone who follows the rules to fly.

Safety is also essential for UAS operations that’s why last year AUVSI, the Academy for Model Aeronautics and the FAA launched the Know Before You Fly campaign which seeks to educate newcomers to UAS technology about safe and responsible use.

So far two dozen associations, organisations and businesses from both the manned and unmanned aviation communities have become supporters of Know Before You Fly. These supporters include UAS manufactures and distributers who are putting Know Before You Fly materials in product packaging at the point of sale and online to provide consumers with the information they need to fly safely.

AUVSI is pleased to be apart of this initiative and to work with the other task force members on this important issue for the UAS industry and the entire aviation community.


Rich Hanson (Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs: Academy of Modal Aeronautics)

The Academy of Model Aeronautics recognise the importance of this issue, we stand ready to lend our nearly eighty years of experience managing the model aircraft community and operating recreational UAS in finding a reasonable and appropriate solution to this issue.

Registration of certain UAS that meet and appropriate threshold of weight, capability and other safety factors makes sense in fact AMA safety program already instructs all members to place their AMA number or their name and address either on or within their aircraft. Thus ensuring operator accountability and promoting safety within the model aviation community.
This is just one of the many reasons why hundreds of thousands of model aircraft have operated harmoniously within our communities for decades. Even more these devices are virtually toys that pose little to no risk, have minimal capabilities and have extremely short lifespan.

The challenge therefor will be striking the right balance and setting the criteria and threshold for registration and an appropriate and effective level. This process should be streamlined, welcoming and unobtrusive to allow this emerging industry to flourish and the community of users to continue to enjoy the use of this technology while necessarily keeping our airspace and our communities safe.

At the same time we are also continuing working on the Know Before You Fly campaign that Brien mentioned, along with the FAA and our other supporters to provide essential educational tools to the legions of new flyers taking to the skies. We look forward to continuing the advancing of all of these efforts.


Captain Tim Canoll (President of the Air Line Pilots Association)

I can say with confidence that safety is our collective priority. As the operators responsible for flying passengers and cargo we are hyper focused on ensuring the safety of our aviation system including the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace.

ALPA fully supports Sectary Foxx’s decision to create a task force that will recommend procedures and policies for creating a national registration database for all UAS and testimony I gave earlier this month at the house aviation sub committee and I will reiterate I will reiterate later this month at the senate I outlined ALPA’s recommended four point action plan that included a registration component. This simple and necessary tactic will not only allow authorities to immediately identify the owner but will also drive home the seriousness of operations of these UAS.

The FAA task force is certainly a step in the right direction but we also need timely decisions there is an anticipation of sale of more than one million UAS’s during this years holiday season, this is on the heels of hundreds of FAA reports of pilots and UAS encounters.

With all these safety concerns in mind the Air Line Pilots Association is ready to engage in discussions with its counterparts and to assist the task force in developing the procedures necessary to ensure we maintain the highest levels of safety of our aviation system.

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