Huerta Announces UAS Registration Task Force Members

Aug 27, 2014
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Westford, MA
The list of participants in the Drone Registration Task Force was announced. By my count, it is a reasonably balanced group. Of 25 members, nine are on record as openly hostile towards any sUAS - commercial or hobby, eight are very much pro hobby supporters, and the last eight haven't telegraphed their predeterminaton that I can determine.

Sec. Foxx set a deadline of Nov. 20 for the Task Force to complete its recommendations and work is already underway. The group will meet formally from Nov. 3-5 before developing recommendations on a streamlined registration process and minimum requirements on which unmanned aircraft should be registered. Given the urgency of this issue, the DOT and FAA will move expeditiously to consider the Task Force's recommendations.

Task Force Members include:

Nancy Egan – 3D Robotics
Richard Hanson – Academy of Model Aeronautics
George Novak – Aerospace Industries Association
Chuck Hogeman and Randy Kenagy – Air Line Pilots Association
Jim Coon – Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Sean Cassidy – Amazon Prime Air
Ben Gielow– Amazon Retail
Justin Towles – American Association of Airport Executives
Brian Wynne – Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International
Parker Brugge – Best Buy
Douglas Johnson – Consumer Electronics Association
Brendan Schulman – DJI
Paul Feldman – General Aviation Manufacturers Association
Dave Vos – GoogleX (Co-Chair)
Tony Bates – GoPro
Matt Zuccaro – Helicopter Association International
Mike Fergus – International Association of Chiefs of Police
John Perry – Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors
Brandon Declet – Measure
Randall Burdett – National Association of State Aviation Officials
Sarah Wolf – National Business Aviation Association
Baptiste Tripard – Parrot
Tyler Collins – PrecisionHawk
Gregory McNeal – Small UAV Coalition
Thomas Head – Walmart

Along with the FAA and DOT, the following federal agencies will provide expert support to the Task Force:

Department of Commerce
Department of Defense
Department of Homeland Security
Department of the Interior
Office of Management and Budget
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Department of State.
Apr 10, 2015
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Looks like a well rounded group for the task at hand.
Aug 27, 2014
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Westford, MA
So how far off from the deadline do you think we will hear any definitive news? I have no idea how this stuff works...
This process is NOT NORMAL for the FAA. It is rare for the FAA to issue an SFAR (Special Federal Aviation Regulation). An SFAR is reserved for exceptional and sudden emergencies. SFAR's include prohibiting US air carriers from flying over war zones in the middle east. An SFAR was used to ground all civil flight in the US immediately after the 9/11 attack. SFAR's are intended to be short-term regulations.

Here's how the FAA describes it:
SFARs & Emergency Rules

A Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) pertaining to airspace is typically a temporary rule to address a temporary situation. It is generally not used to replace or enforce regulations that are to remain in effect for many years. Consequently, an SFAR has an expiration date, usually no more than 3 years from its effective date. SFARs are listed at the beginning of the most relevant Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), and may be cross-referenced to other regulations. SFARS can prohibit, restrict, or have additional requirements to operate in the airspace the SFAR applies to.

SFARs cover a broad range of topics, for example:

  • SFAR 50-2, Special Flight Rules in the Vicinity of the Grand Canyon National Park , AZ;
  • SFAR 73, Robinson R-22/R-44 Special Training and Experience Requirements

Emergency Air Traffic Rules

When authorities determine there is (or will be) an emergency condition affecting the FAA's ability to operate the air traffic control system with the necessary level of safety and efficiency, the Administrator may issue an air traffic rule with immediate effect – that is, a rule that does not go through the normal rule making processes.

The NOTAM system is used to disseminate information on the precise impact, terms, and conditions of the emergency air traffic rule, so it is imperative to check FDC NOTAMs before every flight.​

I am not opposed to ensuring that people fly responsibly, including taking responsibly if their drone causes a problem. But this rush to judgement through an emergency SFAR to register all drones and model aircraft is simply a hysterical solution to an imagined problem. But that's what bureaucracies do - make regulations to appear to be doing something.

The Federal Aviation Administration has the explicit right under federal law to issue emergency regulations related to air safety. But an emergency has to exist first. Just because an rogue drone might cause an accident is not an emergency and smacks of "Minority Report".

Stay Tuned.

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