US Government to demand registration of RC Quad-copters

engadget story

These toys can be useful and/or fun, but they can also be a nuisance – especially around airports and wilderness areas. In the past, RC aircraft were kind of a neesh hobby, pursued by suburban geeks who were really into it, spending a fair amount of money and time on it. And it might have been so with the quad-copters, before the pretty good cameras entered the picture and the whole hobby became commoditized. Seems like every other joe has one to play with.

In a way, they are a bit like lawyers or congressmen: “I hate them all, but mine is cool.

So the government wants them registered, sort of like cars. The subject has, of course, been discussed rather thoroughly by the internescenti. The one thing I have not seen mentioned is the particular RC aspect itself. Like automobile remotes, the quad-things obviously have some type of Lamarr-esque signal security encoding, but security is nonetheless still vulnerable. I wonder about the possibility that a hijacking device, perhaps even operated by the authorities, could emerge, allowing the copters to be commandeered by nefarious, or simply irked, individuals. The government might even demand installation of back-door entry to allow them to hack your device out of the sky.

I am not fully convinced that registration will curb mischief, but for now, it seems like a step in the right direction.

Seriously? That’s the spelling you’re going with?

Yes. The proper spelling leads to a bad place. Then people mispronounce it and it ends up with a “t” in the middle.

I thought it was an abbreviation or contraction of nebbish.

So did I.

Another thread de-railed into a grammar/spelling rant.

Registration of toys seems a bit over-kill. Have there been any deaths from non-military domestic use of drone copters? Sure there are a lot of logged nuisance claims, but if registration of things that are nuisance is the go-to solution there’s a long list of things that equally qualify.

Car stereos
Pedophiles (oh wait)

“Children”? Seriously?

I think it’s only a matter of time before one of these gets sucked into a commercial jet engine and takes out hundreds of people.

Might as well register all RC toys then. That little toy helicopter, the toy car, the 4x4, the motorcycle, the rc plane. All of them can run into the path of cars and cause a distraction for drivers, for example.

I mean, we do know there are large rc planes that literally have gas engines in them, right? (I’m just gonna leave this really cool rc jet plane video here) If it’s specifically flying toys that are a problem (and flying toys that can do things like carry packages or cameras or something) they should’ve been up in arms about registering this stuff a long time ago.

Yeah, however the deal is that while RC aircraft were the niche domain of dedicated hobbyists you could generally expect the operators to police themselves. RC hobbyists did not play in the approach airspace to LAX because, LAX dude. Recently however with the rise of the camera-drones in the hands of people who just want to create the most viral upload, there have begun to arise more nuisance incidents AND worrisome events like dozens of airliners on approach reporting they’re being shadowed, and a drone crashlanding into the White House grounds, and interference with firefighting aircraft.

As BobLibDem said, get one of those swallowed by an engine intake and you’re talking big trouble.

Also, flying around with cameras and looking in our backyards? That’s the government’s gig, son :wink:

I am not wholly convinced that this is that huge a problem. The main drive fan of a jet engine would almost certainly pulverize the quad on contact. Most commercial jet engines are high-bypass, which means that something like two-thirds or more of the airflow through the engine goes past the actual turbine itself: they are kind of like glorified turbo-props. The biggest concern would probably be things like the wiring making it into the turbine and choking it. I would certainly not want it to happen on the flight I was on, but it would probably not be catastrophic. Damage from impacts on other parts of the plane are probably more of a concern.

“Something might become dangerous. Government takes half-assed measure to appear to be doing something about it. Film at 11.”

I just don’t see registration being effective in preventing accidents, and I see no reason to add layers of red tape that aren’t effective.

I would much rather see something like a mandated kill signal that would prevent these things from getting too close to airports, government buildings, etc.

I don’t know, damn birds can take out an engine. Perhaps the drone parts are flimsy enough to be shredded to dust, but on the other hand if it bends one blade and makes the rotor wobble at high enough RPM, could not the entire engine blow apart?

I’m gonna go with yes, register them. I would also include the old fashioned RC planes (yeah, sucks, I know), to make sure all bases are covered. We, as a society, need to be able to police our airspace.

The inevitable unintended consequences will be a rise in black market “unregistered” drones, scratched out serial numbers, law enforcement headaches, etc. Ain’t life grand!

From what I’ve seen little copters, which can only go up a few dozen feet, won’t have to be registered. The big hundred pound drones that can go up a thousand feet will. Which seems reasonable to me.

I have personally witnessed aircraft engines ingesting hamburger sized rocks (and lots of them), with the responsible engineers not getting particularly worried about it.

So, I think the risk of quad copters and their ilk is overated.

On the the other hand, I can see these things causing such problems and plenty of OTHER problems so I rather the government actually get ahead of the curve for a change.

You can loosen the rules as needed, but its hell to tighten them once it becomes socially acceptable (for example texting while driving, which any moron should be able to see is a bad fucking idea, yet it became common).

During the fire along I15 between LA and Las Vegas firefighting activities had to be suspended for 15 minutes during a crucial time because of a drone. Plenty of pilots have reported seeing them too close. I don’t know how one would restrict them electronically around a fire.
Besides registration, which would at least make people careful, especially after some clown to risked the lives of others with his drone gets thrown in the slammer, I’ve hear of immunity for firefighters and others who damage interfering drones, and some work on being able to track where the control of a drone comes from.
Maybe someone can come up with heat seeking anti-drone missiles.

It’s about time. Older models had a very limited range and payload capacity for either gas or electric motors. Now with lightweight motors and batteries they have a very long range, cameras, and could easily carry enough explosives or other weaponry to kill someone. They are also a danger to all other aircraft. I can’t believe that the FAA with all the restrictions they have on everything else didn’t crack down on this immediately. I smell conservative anti-government sentiment behind this delay.

Congress passed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 to “improve aviation safety and capacity,” with provisions that the Secretary of Transportation “shall develop a comprehensive plan to safely accelerate the integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the national airspace system” by September 30, 2015. The FAA (under the DOT) did not meet this deadline, but I’m guessing that this registration requirement is one of many things put into place to assist in meeting the integration.

Better start registering them then.