In an effort to maintain order in United States airspace, regulators said Monday that they plan to require operators of recreational drones to register their craft. This will be the first mandatory registration of its kind.
The Washington Post reports that the details of the registration process still need to be sorted out, but officials do believe that a quick action needs to be taken due to the increasing amount of affordable, easy to fly drones that have been made available. The increase in drones has negatively affected regular air traffic.
Pilots of standard aircraft have reported over 100 sightings or near accidents per month. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, this is a significant increase from incidents in 2014.
FAA guidelines forbid drone flight about 400 feet and within five miles of an airport without prior clearance. Many drone operators ignore these rules, and offenders are difficult to catch.
The effort to register drones will not be a huge help in catching offenders, unless they were to crash and still have a visible registration number. Drones are often too small to appear on radar and most lack transponders, that would typically report their positions.
A task force is being created by the FAA and Transportation Department, and will be comprised of government officials and industry personnel, in an effort to create the registration system. A news conference has been scheduled to announce the details. The group is expected to discuss drone size and the limits of what drones need to be registered.
Estimates say there are potentially one million drones flying in US airspace. It has not yet been determined if these drones will be affected by the registration process. The Consumer Electronics Association estimates that 700,000 drones will sell this year, alone. This is a 63% increase from last year.
The FAA is not permitted to licence drones, however they have the authority to fine individuals who put the safety of others at risk.