So, there is dancing in the aisles over the (temporary) defeat of drone registrations.
Yes, Part 48 is a new rule contrary to Section 336. That was my argument in my response to the FAA when they announced the “emergency” rule with no public comments.
So, now while the combatants celebrate their win, let’s look at what has been set in motion. Drone registration is not dead, simply asleep.
This decision is fuel to Dianne Feinstein’s bill that would give low-altitude airspace control to local officials. Imagine how devastating that will be to the commercial drone industry. My base is Massachusetts. There are 295 towns and 56 cities in Massachusetts and I shudder to think I will have to license, permit and otherwise comply with 351 different sets of regulations? That would be business-ending. Ms. Feinstein’s bill, and it’s growing list of supporters should be raising all kinds of warning flags in the personal drone community, but most drone businesses, let alone hobby drone owners, won’t bother to let their legislators know what they think of this really dumb proposal.
The sentiment behind Feinstein’s bill is an insight into what will happen next when the FAA looks to Congress for another vector into drone regulation. The solution is so simple- ask Congress to repeal Section 336 and let the FAA regulate hobby flight as any other aviation activity. Part 107 is structured in a way that would easily allow the FAA to encompass hobby flight. Not only will we see registration, but pilot certification as well. Even for hobby use.
In my post from last year: Ever wonder about the words: “remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating”?, I explained that the FAA does not licence anything (there is one exception), everything they do is through certification. It appeared to me at the time that the FAA was setting up the pilot certification to be flexible enough to include hobby pilots.
“I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant.” (Isoroku Yamamoto)
Be careful what you wish for, you may get it.