Drones to be regulated under federal law

Recreational drone users will soon be required to register their unmanned aircraft in accordance with new guidelines. Due to an upswing in popularity, drone sightings have become more commonplace in the past year.

Lawmakers are attempting to thwart potential dangers that arise from an increasingly occupied airspace. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, various aircraft, namely passenger planes, report more than 100 “sightings or close calls” with drones every month.

“The signal we’re sending today is that when you enter the national airspace, it’s a very serious matter,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

Current FAA guidelines dictate that drones shall not be flown above 400 feet or within 5 miles of an airport (without permission). In cases where procedure is not followed, the trouble is not tracking down the drone itself, but rather the owner.

“Finding the drone has not been as much of a problem as finding the person who was using the drone,” Foxx continued, “the registration is designed to close that loophole,”

The new regulations are set to be implemented in December, before an onslaught of Christmas wish lists fill the airspace with largely uncontrolled aircraft.

It is still to be determined which models and speculations are to be registered, as larger, more capable variations pose a more menacing threat.

[Washington Post][AP News][LA Times]