Drones could require government registration soon

A hot Christmas item could require government registration before its time to open gifts.

The Federal Aviation Administration expects over 1 million drones could be bought as Christmas gifts this year.

On Monday the FAA announced it’s setting up a task force to determine what types of drones need registration. The FAA says pilots have reported more than 650 drones this year compared to 238 last year. Operating drones around airplanes is dangerous and illegal. The FAA hopes registration will hold drone users accountable.

Paducah resident and business owner Todd Duff says with advancements in technology, drones are becoming more popular and affordable.

“I think it a great example of technology being faster than legislation,” Duff said.

He picked up flying drones as a hobby after playing with his nephew’s Christmas present.

“To be able to see things that we have never seen before, especially in our community that we have lived our whole life, it’s kind of neat,” Duff said.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says the FAA will make a recommendation by mid-November on who needs to register their drone.

Right now, only commercial drones require registration under section 333, which says “by law, any aircraft operation in the national airspace requires a certificated and registered aircraft, a licensed pilot, and operational approval.” 

It’s why Duff stopped using a drone for his marketing business, Innovations Branding House, but continues to fly drones for fun.

“I can get some amazing sunsets, and some terrific shots from angles we’ve never seen before,” Duff said.

The FAA has issued at least 1,891 special permits for commercial drones. Commercial registration is done through a carbon copy mail system. The task force said Monday it expects to use a separate, more streamlined registration system for drones. It plans to have new registration rules implemented by Christmas.

When it comes to privacy rights, technically it is not illegal to fly a drone over other people’s property if you’re on your own or in a public place. However, the FAA says special security instructions, "restrict flight over stadiums during major league baseball, national football league regular season, NCAA football, and motor speedway events."

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