Not For Drones Only

I just registered with the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) as a hobbyist operator of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). That means I can legally fly radio controlled “drones” and any radio controlled model aircraft that weight between .55 and 55 pounds. It doesn’t indicate or mean that I am trained or qualified to do so.

There are a few safety “rules” I pledge to abide by, and I must place my registration number on my aircraft. That’s it. Nothing different than I have been doing as a 50 year plus member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA).

It is blatantly clear this has nothing to do with qualifications such that I had to demonstrate to obtain my FAA private pilot’s license or my FCC amateur radio station and operator license. The FAA simply does not have the staff to be fooling around with examining skills and knowledge of folks playing with Radio Control R/C toys (more or less).

What they want is a registration and a marking on the flying device so they can trace a crashed craft to the properly registered owner. It does nothing substantial to prevent clandestine and illegal flying of these devices by anyone who desires to do so. Laws never do that.

I have read the huge bureaucratic morass of documentation this registration has created, but that is always how a government program operates. This UAS registration is to provide a legal base from which to prosecute offenders when caught, at the expense of additional burden on those who play by the rules.

I take no real offense. It really isn’t that big of a deal to register with the FAA. It’s just that sucking noise of more freedoms being drained away from the law abiding citizens that irritates me. The registration is an exact duplicate of an existing, long established and working AMA registration system for hobbyist. The only issue is needing a paid membership into the AMA. Not every model pilot belongs to the AMA organization. Those that do, shouldn’t be required to register twice.

The FAA really needs this registration system for the larger business and commercial operators of Drone type flying devices. These folks do need some government oversight as their operation is far different than a hobbyist flying for the fun of flying.