If you live in the US then you'll know that back in December the FAA, expecting of a huge surge in drone sales over the festive period, made registration mandatory. New owners had to register their drones before flying them, while people already flying have until February 19th.
For the first month registration was free, but as of last Thursday, it's gone up to $5. Fail to register and get caught and you could face fines of almost $30,000. It's probably not worth the risk, right? At least that's what the near 300,000 people already on the database must be thinking.
But, it's fair to say that the FAA's new law has met with a mixed reaction. Federal action appears to be the result of a small number of high profile cases, where drones have got in the way of firefighters or crashed into the White House. The majority of users probably don't deserve or require tighter regulations. On the other hand, marking your drone with a registration number seems a pretty small price to pay and, as with most laws of this kind, if you're not doing anything wrong you have nothing to worry about.
Although drones are becoming more and more popular for recreational and commercial use, pilots don't yet have a union equivalent in power to the NRA. With that in mind, more regulation, not less, seems likely in the near future.
US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a press release “Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility. Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely.”
There you have it from the man at the top: With a small flying camera comes great responsibility...