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Should domestic drones be registered with the federal government?

October 27, 2015

By Jeremy Quattlebaum, Student Voices staff writer

In mid-October, the Department of Transportation announced that it would require that all domestic drones be registered with the federal government.

The announcement came after scores of reports of near-misses between drones and commercial and carrier aircraft and police helicopters. Pilots have been sighting drones with increasing frequency, and they have been spotted at sporting events and other large gatherings.

Currently, only drones that are used in commercial activities have to be registered with the Department of Transportation. That means that the drone Amazon is testing to deliver goods to your doorstep will have to be registered with the government, but your neighbor’s quadcopter needs no documentation. This will soon change.

Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said at a press conference that the reason for the registration requirement is safety. Drone registration will be much like registering a car and getting a driver’s license. The registration will inform drone operators of the laws regarding airspace and other restrictions that the federal government has created to reduce the potential for midair collisions. “Registration will help make sure that operators know the rules and remain accountable to the public for flying their unmanned aircraft responsibly,” FAA administrator Michael Huerta said. “When they don’t fly safely, they’ll know there will be consequences.”

Toys and smaller drones probably will be exempt, but the larger, heavier drones that can fly higher and travel longer distances will have to register with the government.

The Department of Transportation will create a task force to determine how to launch the registration, and members of the personal pilot less aircraft community and industry will be included in the group. The registration is expected to roll out in the next two months, Huerta said.

Members of the drone industry, one of the fastest growing tech sectors, have been giving mixed signals regarding registration. Registering drones “makes sense, but it should not become a prohibitive burden for recreational users who fly for fun and educational purposes and who have operated harmoniously within our communities for decades,” said Dave Mathewson, executive director of the Academy for Model Aeronautics.

Others say that the small number of unmanned aerial vehicles in the air, coupled with the limitations most hobby drones have in reaching high altitudes, does not merit federal scrutiny. They also argue that it would still be hard to identify offending drones because of their small size.

Former FAA attorney Loretta Alkalay also argues that small hobby drones may be protected by laws. She said to Forbes.com: “It’s doubtful to me that adding a new requirement to model aircraft is consistent with the intent of Congress. While the FAA has the authority to require all aircraft to be registered, it has clearly carved out a long-standing exception for hobby drones. That exception existed at the time Congress prohibited the FAA from issuing new rules on model aircraft. I don’t see how it will get around that law.”

The FAA has begun rolling out an app for drone pilots who want to fly their drone legally. Announced in May 2015, B4UFLY lets pilots know if where they want to fly their drone is in restricted airspace.

What do you think?

Do you agree that drones should be registered with the federal government? Why or why not? Join the discussion and let us know what you think!
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Comments
9/13/2017
Montana
P King
North Star
I beleive that drones should not be registered with the federal government, but only if they are not used in a dangerous way. Today, drones are being used for cinematography and video making, especially in vacation destinations or to capture the beauty of a state, such as Montana. I would hope that people would be smart enough to not fly their drones around commercial and carrier aircraft, but I guess that's why we are stating our opinion on this. If more occurrences happen where drones are a problem for bigger or federal aircraft, I do think it would be okay to require federal government registration with drones.

11/18/2016
Covington, LA
Jack
Covington High School
Drones are considered to be recreational devices, and as such, should only be registered and regulated by the federal government if purchased and/or used by the government. The drones' small stature and limited height likely would not provide enough of an issue to be regulated. However, if certain drones are intentionally used to create a dangerous scenario and/or flown over government-controlled airspace, I could understand having the government take control, especially if these events have happened recently (due to terrorist activity or other effects).

10/17/2016
Murrieta / CA
Matthew M.
Mr. Jabro / Murrieta Valley
No I do not think that the drones should be registered with the federal government because why would you want restrictions on a recreational device? However, I do understand the point that there may be no-fly-zones and that can really be a danger. Maybe instead of the drones being registered we can have them branded with an ID number that will provide the info of the owner so they can be contacted and fined.

10/6/2016
CA
Jon
Jabro
Drones should be regulated by the government only for safety reasons, a domestic drone can be a really dangerous thing and who knows who can access to one. Also if it's not regulated by the government what if someone flew it over a no fly zone accidentally, then they have full rights to shoot it down.

10/4/2016
Murrieta/CA
Bryson
mr.Jabro/Canyon Academy
Yes, sadly the problem about domestic drones is that they can be used for a variety of "purposes" and some may endanger people due to the seemingly infinite ways to modify these drones, it'd be foolish to let these run amok unsupervised, even for companies that use these commercially, its better safe than sorry

10/3/2016
Murrieta, CA
Maurice
Mr. Jabro MCA
Yes, they should be registered with each states local gov. so they law enforcement can be applied swiftly. Due to what they could be used for, offending privacy laws, etc. Yes they should be registered.

10/3/2016
Murrieta,Ca
Jabril
Mr. Jabro
I do not feel drones should be registered but i do think some people do not know their limits location wise. Near an airport, etc. can be very dangerous with drones and you are putting multiple lives in danger.

6/10/2016
California
Marco
Mr jabro
In my opinion drones should be allowed to go everywhere and go as high as they want yes there should be some rules for them but other than that should be freely

5/23/2016
Murrieta/CA
JacobStrommen
Mr.Jabro/CreekSideHighSchool
I feel with the growing number of drones and the excitability to get drones there should be a registration on certain drones. there are drones that have a high vertical flight length and there should be some restrictions on where you can fly the drones and there should be a rule on how you should fly the drones in populated or public places.

4/20/2016
Murrieta, CA
renzo
Jabro, Creekside
As Drones become more popular in the U.S., many people are not following the rules. I believe drones do not have to be registered as long as the owners and operators do not have a criminal history and are using the drones safely. Drones shouldn't be regulated but its sad to thing that because people don't think before they act, we might have to register them.

3/19/2016
Stroudsburg, PA
Matt
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I think that drones should be registered in the federal government. If the drones are registered with the government then if one was flying within a certain airspace they can look into it and find out if someone is spying on them. Also, they can control drones that may be endanger of interfering with a plane and they can manually control it.

3/16/2016
Stroudsburg
Ricardo
Mr.Hanna JHS
I do think that drones should be registered to the federal government. Why think this...well because the government needs to do what it takes to keep its people safe and I think that if drones were registered there wouldn't be many problems like terrorism. As in drones won't always be used for education nor fun the world is cruel and I think that if there isn't a way to check on drones bad people will take advantage of tht and do bad stuff to out country or society.

3/16/2016
Stroudsburg, PA
Willie
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I think that people who fly drones that can go high and far should have a license. Of course smaller drones that kids can fly wouldn't need any license. Drone flyers should have a license for many reasons. First it could be an issue for planes and birds. Also people can use the drone to hurt or spy on others. They should do a background check on everyone who purchased a heavy-duty drone for this reason. I like the idea of the app so people could know where they can or can not fly. This would also give them no excuses to fly in restricted airspace. The only thing is it would probably be very hard to find people who are not following the rules or do not have a license.

3/16/2016
Pennsylvania
Dj
Mr.Hanna/stroudsburg jhs
I believe that all domestic drones should be registered with the government because of safety reasons they need to know who's the drone belongs to if they're accused of spying on someone they can get information on them and stuff like that. Also they have to make sure it's not a terrorist drone

3/15/2016
Stroudsburg, Pa
Lisa Muccio
Mr. Hanna Sjhs
I absolutely think that drones should be registered with the federal government. Drones could get in the way of some low flying planes and cause problems, or purposely spy on people and the ones of bigger sizes are either used for that or education. So it's good that Drones will be registered so if crimes are committed with them they can be traced back. If the drone is being used for education, I think getting a license to own a drone shouldn't be much trouble if the education actually means anything good to the person who would have to get the drone license. drones can be great for legal and not spying exploration of wildlife and geography. they look like fun to fly and having them checked in with the government will just keep us even more safe from possible threats nowadays.

3/15/2016
Stroudsburg,pa
Ashley C.
Mr. Hanna / Stroudsburg JHS
I think that it should be registered with the government because the government wouldn't let someone do something bad if they knew they were gonna. So it will make the place more safer.

3/15/2016
Stroudsburg,pa
Ashley C.
Mr. Hanna / Stroudsburg JHS
I think that it should be registered with the government because the government wouldn't let someone do something bad if they knew they were gonna. So it will make the place more safer.

3/15/2016
Stroudsburg, PA
Ross
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I think that having certain restrictions would be better. As some people could endanger others if they don't know how to fly that drone.

3/15/2016
Stroudsburg,PA
Justin C.
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I think this is the right thing for the government to do. People will know the limits and restraints of what they can and can't do.

3/15/2016
Stroudsburg PA
Joe A
Mr.Hanna/stroudsburg JHS
I think the federal government is right that the drones should be registered. It's like having a concealed weapon it should be registered and the person needs a back round check to see if they have committed any crimes.

3/14/2016
Stroudsburg PA
Miguel
Mr.Hanna Stroudsburg sjhs
I agree with the federal government because some people use the drones to do bad things like Rob a store,house or even a bank and they use it to spy other people

3/9/2016
Rudyard, MT
Samantha
Mrs. Campbell/North Star High School
Domestic drones should be registered with the federal government. Depending on size, the larger drones that can cause problems for airplanes and helicopters, which puts the people piloting said airplanes and helicopters at risk whenever they are flying. By registering the drones, the government can keep track of which person is flying which drone and have accurate information if an accident is caused by the owner of the drone. Also, it would help the government keep tabs on whether drones are being misused.

2/22/2016
Muerrieta/California
Corey
Mr.Jabro/Creekside High School
Drones should be registered with the federal government, even if they are often used for recreational or educational purposes. These drones can cause harm to people both intentionally and unintentionally, thus needing the people who are manning them to be both traceable and properly trained to use them. Especially if that drone is able to travel high enough or far enough to get into the same airspace as aircrafts and police helicopters.

12/17/2015
Murrieta/California
Joshua Garcia
Mr. Jabro/Creekside HIgh School
I agree with the idea that drones should be registered with the federal government because drones seem to be a common annoyance or trouble in the airspace. So, if a drone were to cause an accident or problem in the airspace; Since they are registered with the federal government it will be easy to track who and what caused the problem

12/11/2015
Pomona/CA
AnyssaP1
Wong/Lorbeer
In my perspective, all domestic drones should be registered with the federal government. There are drones that are being sold to citizens around the United States that are capable of many things, such as flying very high into the air, and traveling long distances. This could seem like a cool, harmless toy to someone who just wants to watch a sports game live from his home for free, but it could be capable of things such as criminal activity. Anyone who owns a drone could transport illegal substances, or even weapons, across long distances. Someone could fly their drone to a window with the blinds open to watch the activity going on inside the house. If all drones are registered with the government, just like cars, it will insure safety to many cities across the country.

12/10/2015
Diamond Bar/CA
Randy P5
Wong/Lorbeer Middle school
I think domestic drones should not be registered with the federal government. This is because domestic drones can be flown high and they can be used to frame someone of a crime they did not commit for example, if someone gets a hold of someone’s drone and they have bad history together, since the drone is registered to their name and the person flies into a commercial airline and causes a massacre. The owner will be put through due processes and possibly put to jail for a crime they did not commit. If the drone is not registered, it can be traced from where it came from and the criminal will be located. Also for people who fly for fun will have to waste their time registering the drones.

12/10/2015
Diamond Bar
Franklin P1
Wong/Lorbeer
I feel that the drones should have to be registered for the safety of the people flying and the people on the ground. This will insure that the pilots flying the drones follow the rule and procedures that the government sets for the drones. Registering will also allow the pilots to fly their drones legally when this policy rolls out. Though these policies do restrict the drones to certain times, heights, and areas where they can fly it will ensure the safety of those above or on the ground.

12/10/2015
Diamond Bar, CA
NaderP5
Wong/Lorbeer
I believe domestic drones should be registered with the federal government. I think that using drones would be a smart way to communicate with the federal government. They are very useful and they are often used to make videos or movies or just to play around with as a hobby. They are really good for deliveries. They shouldn't be too high into the air because they could come in contact with an airplane or a helicopter which could deeply hurt the pilot and the people inside them which could be hundreds of people if it's a big airplane. So anyways drones are also used for sporting events. They could even be cameras for the news to watch criminals and to know where they go so cops could catch them faster. The big heavy drones are actually good for the military because they are used as UAVs(Unmanned Aerial Systems) so they could know where terrorists are at all times in the war. So yes I do believe domestic drones should be registered with the federal government.

12/10/2015
Diamond Bar/CA
JosephP5
Wong/Lorbeer
I think domestic drones should be registered with the federal government, only for the fact at so much terrorism is going on throughout the world, it just seems necessary now for maximum security and federal searches. They could be armed drones, and the description of the drone and all the info it uses should be stored in some sort of archive in the governments database. The terrorism needs to stop and that's why I think that the federal government should register all domestic drones.

12/10/2015
Diamond Bar/CA
JolieP1
Wong/Lorbeer
I believe drones should be registered with the government. This will insure that drones are not being used for criminal activities. However, if it used improperly authorities can easily track down the user. Also, I believe they should have height limits at which they can be flown. By having limits it will make sure they won’t get in the way of airline flights and police helicopters.

12/9/2015
Diamond Bar/CA
Jordyn P1
Wong/Lorbeer
I think drones would be a smart way to collaborate with the federal government. It would be crazy expensive and malfunctions can occur but i do think this can shape our future as a country. Eventually, everything will be operated by drones so why not know.

12/9/2015
Diamond Bar, CA
NicoleP4
Wong/Lorbeer
Drones are an object that are becoming more popular as a hobby. With the fun there has to be a degree of safety, not just yourself but to others surrounding you. I believe that domestic drones should be registered with the government. If a safety issues occurs the government will have the ability to track you, explain what happened, and prevent it from occurring again. The article did state that multiple near-misses between drones and commercial and carrier aircraft, even police helicopters. If this continues these incidents may no longer be near-misses but crashes. The crashes won't just harm the pilot, but also the passengers aboard the plane which could range over 100. That means a drone could harm over 100 people. Also, there are many no fly-zones (i.e. Disneyland, military bases), and if a drone flies over it will most likely be shot down thinking to be a terrorist attack. The alarm will cause great panic over nothing but a drone. It will be chaotic and dangerous because they don't know it is just a drone. Any aerial object in a no-fly zone will cause chaos, no matter what it is. Being registered will keep citizens safe because the flyer will learn from their mistake and not let it occur again.

12/9/2015
Murrieta California
Killian
Mr. Jabro Creekside
Drones are a popular toy and is getting cheaper to buy so there is going to be more and more. and if they can interfere wit air traffic. and possible use to spy or stalk people is a serious thing. they should be contained and registered.

12/8/2015
Diamondbar,CA
DavidP1
Wong/lorbeer
I believe that having a drone registered with the federal government does not prevent anything that would endanger the public. Obviously nobody is going to watch the drone users 24/7 so there wont be any immediate response. However if a person tries to flee, then the information that is stored with the federal government will be useful. In long term situations, having the drone's information is better than having nothing if there is an accident.

12/6/2015
Diamond Bar, CA
SamuelP4
Wong/Lorbeer
I think that domestic drones should have to be registered with the federal government. It can help the government from preventing drone users who are uneducated about flying them. It would help people to get an idea of the rules of flying drones and know where and where not to fly them. Another reason that drones should be registered with federal government is because, like a Speak Out by Jeremy Quattlebaum states, safety. If a drone flyer does not know where not to fly, it can put others in danger. For example, as stated in an article by Jeremy Quattlebaum, "near-misses with between drones and commercial and carrier aircraft and police helicopters" have been reported, which can put the driver of the vehicle in danger.

12/6/2015
Diamond Bar, CA
Jaelin
Wong/Lorbeer
I think domestic drones should be registered with the federal government. Drones could be utilized for many illegal activities. Everyone has access to a drone, not all people will use it just for fun and entertainment. If a person flew their drone into a military or no fly zone, they would know who flew the drone if it was registered. Drones could cause many types of problems for the government and police. Drones could be utilized for surveillance.

12/4/2015
Watertown/MA
Jake L
Rimas/Watertown high school
Drones should be regulated by the government only for safety reasons, a domestic drone can be a really dangerous thing and who knows who can access to one. Also if it's not regulated by the government what if someone flew it over a no fly zone accidentally, then they have full rights to shoot it down

11/19/2015
Murrieta/California
Khedar Chuck Jones
Jabro/Creekside
I disagree that drones should be registered to the federal government because the already have control over are phones they could just hack into are phone but with drones its worse because they could spy on people and invade our privacy.

11/6/2015
murrieta
isaac
jabro
i believe that the drone should be registered depending on the size of the drone and the weight it could carry. all drones could be dangerous just like anything else, but only some drones could put many lives in danger

11/4/2015
murrieta ca
austen h
jabro
The real issue is may be the companies who manufacture the hobbyist drones don't really include how to follow good practices when flying and the air space rules. Or providing an easy online resource for hobbyist to see restricted airspace in the area they plan to fly in.

11/4/2015
Murrieta, CA
Davin C
Jabro/Creekside High School
In my opinion, drones should indeed be registered and regulated. It should be regulated to ensure safety for pilots and pedestrians around operated drones. There is necessary precautions that we have to take before we can play with such serious and potentially dangerous equipment.

11/3/2015
Murrieta CA
McKenzie Milligan
Jabro, Creekside High School
I think drones should be required to register with the government. If they arent someone has a chance to put lives in danger. What if one of the drones took part in an assasination or a bombing?

11/3/2015
Murrieta, Ca
Micah W
Jabro, Creekside High School
Drones should definitely be required to be registered with the government. Just like any other vehicle it poses a potential threat to the lives of other citizens if used maliciously or recklessly. To prevent further endangering U.S. citizens, registering your drone with the government is the most reasonable way to do so.

11/2/2015
Murrieta CA
McKenzie Milligan
Jabro, Creekside High School
I dont think you should have to get thedrone registered to be able to fly it,you paid for it and you shouldnt have to have permission to fly it ,other wise if they have a problem with drones they should make the people stop making them because if anything its just gonna cause problems if people fly them way to higjh and be a danger to public

11/2/2015
Murrieta, Ca
Jakob
Mr. Jabro
I believe that depending on the size and power of the drown it should be registered with the federal government because of all the different capability's that the drones can carry from weapons to bricks of narcotics and with the weapons it comes with the capability's of firing the weapon.

10/28/2015
murrieta, california
cameron miller
mr. jabro creekside high school
I dont think you should have to get thedrone registered to be able to fly it,you paid for it and you shouldnt have to have permission to fly it ,other wise if they have a problem with drones they should make the people stop making them because if anything its just gonna cause problems if people fly them way to higjh and be a danger to public

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