The FAA is back in the news when it recently announced a new drone registration program that will require owners of drones to register with the FAA. This comes after the FAA confirms a partnership with CACI International, Inc., who has been developing technology that can detect an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV // a.k.a. "drone") within a certain radius around an airport to prevent a battle of drone vs. plane.
Who flies their recreational drone near RDU?
Someone did. And the FAA wasn't happy (reasonably so). According to the FAA, drone sightings by pilots in and near airports has doubled within the last year. This makes sense considering the purchase of drones has increased dramatically within the last 24 months and drones are easily obtained through vendors like Amazon.com. Most experts agree that this increase in drone purchases will only get higher in the next few years as we wait for the FAA to issue final rules on small UAVs.
Who flies their commercial drone near RDU?
Trick question! Commercial drone use is not allowed without a Section 333 permit so no one should be flying a commercial drone near RDU or anywhere (unless they hold a valid permit).
Don't drone near an airport, please.
For those of you scratching your head, flying a drone near an airport is extremely dangerous. Not only could a drone theoretically interfere with airliner systems but one could literally get eaten by a larger plane's engine which could in turn lead to a terrible accident. Keep in mind a "safe distance" for flying a drone may be miles not feet. Also keep in mind that unusual sightings in FAA airspace often leads to airport delays which we all know to be the bane of every traveler's existence. Considering I will be traveling soon, I ask that everyone refrain from RDU drone use.
The FAA is forming a committee tasked with the goal of coming up with a reasonable registration system. The DMV-style registration plus CACI's technology should help the FAA prevent drone interference and assist them in finding the perpetrators. My guess is whatever this registration system looks like will appear verbatim in the final rules regarding small UAVs we discussed in this blog post and here. If you are anywhere in the vicinity of an airport, I recommend reaching out to a drone attorney to make sure you are not violating any FAA regulations. Once this registration program is confirmed, we'll be here to guide you through the process.