Monday, January 4, 2016
I belong to a forum for unmanned aircraft owners... also known by most of the public as "drone" fliers. I'm not a fan of that "drone" nomenclature, it is simply a small radio-controlled craft. People have been flying radio controlled airplanes for years - the fact that technology has made it easy for people with no flying knowledge to run one of these quadcopters has created a perception problem with the general public. It is because of this that the government now requires registration of these craft.
One guy on the forum said...
"Registration is stupid, unneeded, achieves nothing and the FAA has no jurisdiction over "uncontrolled airspace which is we are supposed to be flying anyway. My "drones" have always had my phone number on them in case of fly away. Simple and more effective than Government intervention and Control."
As a commercial rated pilot, I can assure you that "uncontrolled airspace" does NOT mean the FAA has no jurisdiction. It means that pilots flying in that airspace may not be in contact, or it is deemed unnecessary to be in contact, with Air Traffic Control. In other words, they are not being given traffic separation by ATC. If it is an aircraft, the FAA has jurisdiction.
Considering the number of incidents with people flying their unmanned craft in close proximity to actual aircraft (or over crowds, etc), there IS a need for some kind of action. Registration is the means to educate those flying unmanned craft - if you registered, you acknowledge that you read and will follow the rules... you can't use "I didn't know" as an excuse. As such, it does achieve the goal of educating "drone" operators. If you are unregistered, you are illegal. If you do something stupid (like not registering or flying too close to an airport, or...), there is a consequence.
Simple solution: register and don't do stupid stuff with your "drone." It is a painless procedure that only takes a few minutes. The FAA is not looking to be "lost and found" if your craft flies away - that isn't the purpose for registration. The issue is public perception, and the general public perceives "drone flying" as a potential problem. Stupid behavior has brought about the absolute need to do something. I sure don't advocate government intervention in every aspect of our lives, but I also don't want to be associated with those who do that stupid stuff that gets in the media. I truly don't see a down side to registration.
Worried that the government will have your "private information"?? Those on Facebook, or those who have a drivers license, or a job, or pay taxes, have already given way more information. This isn't a government "plot," it is a response. Too bad some folks have made this response necessary. Saying that registration is "stupid, unnecessary, achieves nothing," or being on the losing side of a jurisdiction argument doesn't change the fact that registration in now not optional."
Like most situations, rules get written when stupid people (and their stupid behavior) make rules necessary. Flying one of these quadcopters is fun. My fun shouldn't impinge on others. Reminds me of that corollary: you can't fix stupid. But, you can make rules to make it "painful." ;-)