Valley drone pilots support regulation plan

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The most popular drones, or unmanned aircraft are small battery powered toys, ranging in price from one hundred to one thousand dollars. (KFSN)

The most popular drones, or unmanned aircraft are small battery powered toys, ranging in price from one hundred to one thousand dollars. They are expected to be hot sellers this holiday season. Geoff Goerlich/HobbyTown USA tells us: "We plan on stocking as many as we can."

With that in mind US transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced plans to require the registration of drones. "Registering unmanned aircraft will help build a culture of accountability and responsibility, especially with new users who have no experience operaitn in the US aviations sytem. It will help protect public safety in the air and on the ground." Foxx said.

Unlike the remote control airplanes of old, these things are easy to fly, right out of the box. Chris Geiger is a licensed pilot, and fly's unmanned aircraft as a hobby. He thinks registration is a good idea. "I think given the number of people now flying model aircraft something on the order of a million people in the united states it was going to happen sooner or later we need some kind of tracking to keep track of who's flying in the air. "

Chris already has identifying information on his flying devices, and is well aware of the current rules. Fly at least five miles from an airport, and fly under 400 feet.
But in most metropolitan areas, that can be tough. For example Fresno with three airports puts most of the city off limits to most drones for personal use.

Commercial operators like Ron Wingo who' business, Montico Incorporated use drones for things like inspecting cell phone towers, must already register their drones and have them flown by licensed pilots and follow the same restrictions as regular aircraft. " If we are within five miles of an airport we would have to talk to air traffic control to get a clearance, outside of that five mile zone we can fly to 200 feet."

He also supports tougher federal restrictions and some form of testing for amateur operators. "They can theoretically interfere with air traffic. Some of the amateur models can go up to 2 thousand foot elevation and that can endanger aircraft, they need to know some basic safety and air traffic regulations."

The FAA's registration plan is expected to be figured out by November 20th.
Since the remote control flying devices can range in size from just a few ounces to 55 pounds, the details should explain what size of "hobby" drone will be required to be registered.

The rules are expected to include both new and existing drones. Revised rules on commercial use are expected to be finalized by next June.
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