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No Longer a 'Toy': Feds Require Drone Registration

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on October 20, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you're the owner of one of the 1 million drones out there in the United States, get ready to have another one of your vehicles registered with the US Government.

The Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Association announced yesterday that they would require drones to be registered -- ostensibly to promote safer, friendlier skies.

Once a Toy

Just yesterday most of the public dismissed drones as children's toys that were the modern incarnation of your father's RC airplanes that he would buy at the local model store and build on the weekend. In a weird way, so did the FAA.

No more. The FAA had hitherto distinguished model aircraft from "Unmanned Aerial Systems" (FAA speak for drones) based on their intended use.

Bad Apples

Unfortunately, it didn't take long for that distinction to lose real value. We all remember drone stories that made the headlines:

Local laws have not made an impact on the usage of drones. So those "proposed" drone rules finally took shape into actual applied drone rules. Apparently, "Registering unmanned aircraft will help build a culture of accountability." Thanks, guys.

More "Big Brother" to Come?

The FAA/DOT announcement is right on the heels of incidents like the ones listed above, and it is no accident that most of the more notorious incidents took place during 2015. Whenever a few individuals cross what were once common sense rules (granted, somewhat arbitrary), the rest must pay the price. Thus, a few bad apples have changed drone flying.

The alternative view, which isn't without merit, is that drones are the next embodiment of what is a next step in personal technology and that it is right to have them registered. While some look to the mandatory registration of all drones as an infringement on personal liberties, for others it acts as a disincentive to purchase one and take it to the beach.

Get ready to see a lot more of these things. Consumer Electronic Association has predicted that the drone industry has jumped 50% over last year's sales.

But, seriously -- who wants to buy one only to have it shot down?

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