Task Force publishes UAS registration recommendations report

By Ann Bailey | November 23, 2015

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Registration Task Force has recommended to the Federal Aviation Administration that small UAS owners register their aircraft with the Federal Aviation Administration by providing the agency a phone number and street address.

The task force also recommended that there be no fee for the registration. Optional recommendations from the task force were that owners provide an email address and aircraft serial number in addition to their street address and telephone number.

Unmanned air systems weighing between 250 grams and 55 pounds and that are operated outdoors in the national air space are subject to the FAA registration. The UAS owners must be a minimum of 13 years old to register with the FAA. The task force also recommended that the FAA establish a reasonable and proportionate penalty for violation that is distinctly different from penalties for manned aircraft violations.

The task force, made up of 26 aviation and non-aviation businesses, met Nov. 3-5, 2015, to discuss three main objectives. They were: Develop and maintain requirements for UAS that would need to be recognized, develop and recommend registration processes and develop and recommend methods for proving registration and marking.

The final task force’s final report published Nov. 21 recommended that owners of small UAS:

-Fill out an electronic registration form through the web or through an app,

-Immediately receive an electronic certificate of registration and a personal registration number for use on all small UAS owned by that person.

-Mark the registration number (or registered serial number) on all applicable small UAS before their operation in the national air space.

The task force chose only three simple steps for the registration because they believed that more steps may make the registration process burdensome and jeopardize the likelihood of widespread adoption and undermine the overall registration philosophy that enabled the task force to cone to a consensus, the report said.

“We kept things simple and generic,” said Dave Voss, a task force member from Google X. Although the task force members did not agree on everything, all of them could accept the recommendations, he said.

“It truly was give and take among the group,“ Voss said. “Nobody got exactly what they want, but everyone got mostly what they want, and that’s my definition of a good compromise."

Earl Lawrence, FAA director of UAS integration, stressed during a Nov. 23 conference call to reporters that the task force’s recommendations were just that.

“We take this report and we (the FAA and Dot) add it to the public comments we’ve received in the public docket,” Lawrence said. “We group all of those recommendations together.”

The FAA does not have a time frame for when it will make its rules for registration, Lawrence said.