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FAA introduces unworkable drone registration rules in time for Christmas

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The FAA also stops plucky UK webzines from flying to meteoric heights. :)

Actually, there's the loop hole you've been looking for. Classify LOHAN as a drone, pay $5, stick your name and address on the side and launch!

You'll need to practise your "What do you mean that's not a drone?" look.

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Interesting

The reality is that below 83 feet, the airspace is under the control of the person who owns the land directly underneath it (thanks to a 1946 Supreme Court ruling).

If that is the case, why this was not applied in the case of the bloke who shot down a drone above his back garden. Under that statute he was entitled to blow the thing out of the sky period. So he had no case to answer in the first place.

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Facepalm

Re: Interesting

Well, you can't just fire shells into the air, even birdshot, at least not in a city or suburb. That stuff pretty quickly leaves the 83 feet of airspace above your castle and comes down in unexpected places.

(Icon depicts neighbor who got a piece of birdshot in the peeper!)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Interesting

Not to mention, there's that pesky federal law that prohibits shooting at any aircraft - manned or unmanned.

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Re: Interesting

Just declare it was an advanced form of clay pigeon.

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Mushroom

Re: Interesting

It was in the "gray (grey) area" of 83 to 400 feet. No one decided to take it to the Supremes for clarification.

Icon ---------> Drone crashing and burning but just a small one about 300 grams.

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Re: Interesting

Big problem with discharging a gun in a neighborhood not dropping peeping drone.

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Re: Interesting

Actually AC, that law doesn't prohibit shooting at any aircraft. The relevant statement would be (a)(1)

(a) Whoever willfully—

(1) sets fire to, damages, destroys, disables, or wrecks any aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States or any civil aircraft used, operated, or employed in interstate, overseas, or foreign air commerce;

Inasmuch as the drone was civilly employed it wouldn't fall under the special jurisdiction of the U.S. and likewise it wasn't involved in commerce at all, much less interstate or otherwise, so it would appear to be fair game. Being unmanned the other sections of the law are inapplicable.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Interesting

> Inasmuch as the drone was civilly employed it wouldn't fall under the special jurisdiction of the U.S.

Wrong. If you read there definitions for "aircraft" and "special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States" you'll find that the scope of the law is all-encompassing.

Even if there were a loophole that made the shooting down of a certain class of aircraft legal, how would you determine if that unknown drone hovering overhead fell into that class? Would you be willing to wager your snap judgement against a 20 year prison term?

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Re: Interesting

Well AC, you've got me. I did go read the definitions that you couldn't be bothered supplying links to so I've provided them here.

(2) “special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States” includes any of the following aircraft in flight:

(A) a civil aircraft of the United States.

(B) an aircraft of the armed forces of the United States.

(C) another aircraft in the United States.

(D)...

So the drone doesn't fall into either A nor B but would appear to be scooped up in C. But don't sprain yourself patting yourself on the back so fast there AC. If you read that first part carefully you'll see it only applies to "aircraft in flight". Naturally you're thinking a flying drone is obviously an "aircraft in flight" but let's check the law on the matter. It reads:

(1) “aircraft in flight” means an aircraft from the moment all external doors are closed following boarding—

(A) through the moment when one external door is opened to allow passengers to leave the aircraft; or

(B) until, if a forced landing, competent authorities take over responsibility for the aircraft and individuals and property on the aircraft.

Huh, drones don't typically have external doors and aren't typically boarded so there is no way for it to become, legally, an "aircraft in flight". Let's see where we stand, since it's not legally an "aircraft in flight" it isn't in the "special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States". Therefore said law doesn't apply and it's no different from the same drone sitting on the ground, a bucket or a clay pigeon.

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Re: Interesting

@ Eddy ito

I am aware of those definitions.

Remind me again. Why can't an unmanned aircraft be a 'civil aircraft of the U.S.'? Really?

Also, if you continue to read the definitions you will find the term "in flight" is followed on by, and contrasted to "in service" the definition of which starts "any time from the beginning of preflight preparation of an aircraft by ground personnel or by the crew for a specific flight until 24 hours after any landing".

Clearly the intention of the law is not to enumerate the steps in a preflight checklist, but to indicate that when control of the aircraft passes from ground personnel to the pilot, the legal status of the aircraft changes from "in service" to "in flight".

The law considers boarding to be the last possible step of the preflight preparation process carried out by ground personnel. Hence upon completion of this step, an aircraft is considered 'in flight' and therefore under the 'special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States'. If the preflight preparation of a particular aircraft does not include boarding, it is a trivial matter to determine where the transition from "in service" to "in flight" takes place.

> Therefore said law doesn't apply and it's no different from the same drone sitting on the ground, a bucket or a clay pigeon.

Does the law allow you to take pot-shots at a drone sitting on the ground, a bucket or a clay pigeon?

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Re: Interesting

Why can't an unmanned aircraft be a 'civil aircraft of the U.S.'?

It could be but it would also mean it was the property of the United States and I'm sure entities like the State Department and DOJ have their own civil aircraft. Just as an aircraft 'of the armed forces of the United States' means it is the property of the armed forces and not just any armed forces but only those armed forces which belong to the United States. Furthermore the "aircraft of the armed forces of the United States" covers all aircraft not just civil aircraft.

Does the law allow you to take pot-shots at a drone sitting on the ground, a bucket or a clay pigeon?

Actually the law doesn't typically address such things. The law is much better at addressing things that aren't allowed. But the short answer is yes, skeet, trap and sporting clays are perfectly legal sports as is plinking which is typically done with tin cans rather than buckets or drones. Please note that buckets and drones have no more legal protections than a tin can or a clay pigeon even if the any of the above are 'in flight' as clay pigeons often are. Granted, you can't just shoot trap in the middle of a busy freeway but that's addressed with something like a law limiting the discharge of a firearm in a populated area or some such.

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Re: Interesting

Before you answer, are you willing to tell me that the trigger happy shotgun hero who downs the drone targeting the President while he's on a Nantucket golf course is going to jail for shooting an aircraft in the special bullshit of the US?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Interesting

@Eddy

> It could be but it would also mean it was the property of the United States

No, once again you're just making up stuff as you go along.

An aircraft that's US government property is a public aircraft., whereas a “civil aircraft of the United States” is any aircraft registered under US law that isn't a public aircraft.

Although you're loathe to admit it, the fact of the matter is now that drones are FAA registered it's illegal to shoot at them. Not only that ... by virtue of the Special Aircraft Jurisdiction of the United States clause, the US claims it's illegal to shoot at an FAA registered drone in flight anywhere in the world.

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Stop

Re: Interesting

> Before you answer, are you willing to tell me that the trigger happy shotgun hero who downs the drone targeting the President while he's on a Nantucket golf course is going to jail for shooting an aircraft in the special bullshit of the US?

Define 'targeting'.

If the drone has opened fire on the president, blaze away! However, you can't shoot paparazzi and you can't shoot drones nosing around capturing video. The correct response in that case is to call the police.

This is basic gun law; you can only legally shoot at stuff/people to save yourself from deadly force or to prevent imminent bodily harm.

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Trollface

Re: Interesting

OMG, AC managed to figure out how to post an actual link. Good for you AC! I knew you could do it.

And kudos on partially proving me wrong but thanks for proving that an unregistered drone is still nothing more than a flying paint can and as the rule doesn't start until next Monday, most will still be unregistered and legally equal to a clay pigeon.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Interesting

> OMG, AC managed to figure out how to post an actual link. Good for you AC! I knew you could do it.

Good lord, you're annoying. What does it take to shut you up?

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Bet you read this with FAA's voice of faux authority in your head.

"Based on SCIIII-en-TIFIC CAAAL-cu-LAAAA-tions"

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Boffin

Bill Nye the Science Guy...

... the administration's Go-To Guy, Expert in Everything Sciency, Proud owner of a BA in Mechanical Drawing, will be by shortly with a presentation...

Dr. Nye will not be accepting questions, the science is settled.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bill Nye the Science Guy...

>Dr. Nye will not be accepting questions, the science is settled.

Those who would quote the Bible instead are so much less likely to be dogmatic.

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Re: Bill Nye the Science Guy...

He's never claimed to be a real scientist. Only a science educator and entertainer. He was an engineer before that.

Not all scientists are capable of presenting their field in a way laypeople can understand. Few are, fewer want to. People like Nye work in the media as go-betweens, presenting science in a manner that people can not only understand, but enjoy too.

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Re: Bill Nye the Science Guy...

Personally I find Neil deGrasse Tyson to be even better (both science and communicator) but he tends to be even more confrontational towards silly fairy bullshit which I love.

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Re: Bill Nye the Science Guy...

'Those who would quote the Bible instead are so much less likely to be dogmatic.'

I read the dog bible once. Well, it was more of a ruff draft.

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Re: Bill Nye the Science Guy...

God will punish the sinful Canineites.

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500' Rule

I'm not 100% up to speed on FAA Regulations, but when I learnt to fly there over a decade ago I think you had to be more than 500' from any person, object or structure, not the ground.

A quick google came up with

FAR 91.119 - Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.

Which does raise the issue of drones being flown in sparsely populated areas.

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Re: 500' Rule

lol, drones. I've seen a few military aircraft breaking that rule... and it was pretty awesome.

Now if they would ban noisy-ass helicopters from flying over my neighborhood, that'd be great, m'kay...

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give me give me

This is an obvious case where the bureaucrats (bureaucracy the game where the first one to do anything loses) ran out of time due to the market finally making drones available for the prole but in desperation are still trying to get their cut. The rules are just a distraction.

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Black Helicopters

Wait a second...

"In fact, it is hard to find a drone that weighs less than 250 grams."

While true, my 11.5g quadcopter is easily under that limit, and thankfully a whole other pond away.

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Re: Wait a second...

The Syma X5 is about 100g, including the battery. I would think all of the kind of quadcopters given as presents to kids will be less than 250g.

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Stop

Kieran-

Do you remember the CB craze of the middle 70's? (From reading your writings, I surmise that you might well be too young to remember.) Well, to refresh your memory, the FCC charged, IIRC, $10 for a 5-year license to operate that shiny new CB rig in your car, pick-up, 18-wheeler, or desktop in your bedroom. Back then, that was a decent amount of money; not a King's ransom, to be sure, but you could fill up your gas-guzzler for far less than that. Adjusting for inflation, that's somewhere around $40 to $50 nowadays.

So pardon me If I don't share your misplaced sense of outrage at the FAA charging a mere pittance for the requirement for drone owners to register. As was the case with the FCC and CB radio operators, it might just have the (intended?) side-effect of making drone owners think before doing something butt-stupid with their new shiny toys.

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Re: Kieran-

Like state firearm registration fees? Government fees can often have benefit to the common good (hunting licenses for conservation for example) but simply having fees to alter behavior might go a long way to explaining things like the Trump phenomenon.

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Re: Kieran-

> "...fees to alter behavior..."

AKA 'Sin Taxes.' Hmmm, is it a sin to want a drone?

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@someone else -- Re: Kieran-

Back then, I knew a lot of folks that never bothered with the license for their CB as who was going to go to the trouble to arrest them.

I predict this will end the same way. Why bother to register it? If it crashes, no one will come to your door since your name isn't on it. The FAA isn't come down your street and check your house, etc. for a drone. Why bother?

This whole thing smells of theater... and maybe a power grab for some value of "power".

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Re: @someone else -- Kieran-

Presumably you would happily get a HAM radio licence and pay a the FCC a licence fee for all those Bluetooth/Wifi/Zigbee transmitters around your house?

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Coat

@ Big John -- Re: Kieran-

The trouble with Sin Taxes is that I keep making errors, and the compiler bitches at me.

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Re: @ Big John -- Kieran-

I know, I know...

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GBE

For what definition of "workable"?

For one to define "workable", one must understand the goals to be acheived.

The goals in this care are _not_

1) To get anybody to register their RC aircraft.

2) To get anybody to stop doing stupid things with RC aircraft.

3) To prevent accidents or damage when people do stupid things with RC aircraft.

The cry has gone up in Washington D.C. that "Something Must Be Done!".

And the goal is to have "Done Something".

Something has now been Done.

I'm sure Sir Humphrey could explain it better...

There is a slight possibility that purely by chance the "Something" might provide a new club with which to hit people who do something particularly stupid with an RC aircraft, but in most cases existing tort law probably provides a better one.

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What really matters

I think the truly critical part of the proposed regs are the part about sticking your name and address on the damned things.

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And another one

Is Drone Racing Legal?

The FAA’s justification for prohibiting FPV is that the pilot’s eyes are not on the aircraft, which in its view is contrary to the part of the 2012 law that says that for a flying device to be considered a model aircraft, it must be flown “within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft.” Traditionally, modelers have taken “visual line of sight” to mean that the model must be close enough that the pilot can see it if he looks in the right direction. But with its 2014 interpretation, the FAA redefined this phrase to mean that the pilot needs to keep the model in sight at all times, and it very specifically prohibited the use of video goggles.

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Shivers

Registration gives us the opportunity to educate these new airspace users

There's a phrase that should send a shiver down the spine of any citizen when uttered by a Government entity.

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Re: Shivers

Tell that to the DMV and see if they register your stupid monster truck next season? As with guns or monster trucks, or the bigger drones; they are NOT toys and stupid assholes should be tested before they are provided with the remote, or the keys, or the 69-round magazines for their jollies to begin. When your "freedom" starts landing in my fucking yard, or crashing though crowds of people because someone can't control their anger or stupidity, then you need to be registered and educated. End of story, idiot.

Personally, I say take all the guns away from the uneducated, civilian idiots and replace them with explosive drones and let them all fly them into each other and upgrade the gene pool. Besides, if you think you need a gun for protection and you're not at least military or police level trained, then I have a word for your type; pussy. End of another story. Go tell it to your parole officer, dickheads. I piss on gun-nut fucks.

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Re: Police level trained

There is a wide range of police training. This is not the link I was looking for. The one I wanted was much clearer. For example, the link I could find says thirteen officers get shot but does not say if that includes the 8 that shot themselves, or how many of those 8 were accidental shootings. At first sight, it looks like the police shot more suspects than bystanders but the link I wanted split the 24 dog shootings into suspects and bystanders. I do remember that according to the statistics the safest thing for the bystanders to do was to reach for a concealed weapon and look threatening - if the police aimed for you, they were more likely to hit someone else. The safest thing for the actual suspect to do was to stand next to a dog. Innocent dogs caught more gunfire than suspects.

Many police forces train their officers until they pass a test, then practice stops for lack of time and money. As a result, gun nuts who practice regularly are often better shots than an average policeman. I am all in favour proficiency tests for people who want to own dangerous tools. 'Police level training' is not a clear standard, and in some states it is dangerously poor.

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Re: Police level trained

Although to be fair, the Police investigation into the cases where the policeman shot himself did conclude that the officer acted in self defense and the victim was a possible threat to the public.

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Re: Shivers

@Dadmin: Dude, what the fuck are you on? You rant on about cars and guns and shit which has fuck all to do with the story. Calm down, take your meds, and read what I put. I'm commenting on the way Government tends to believe that if your viewpoint differs from theirs then you need "educating". As the article states, it is dubious as to whether the FAA even has the authority to undertake what they are up to.

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Re: Shivers (@ Dadmin)

I really wish that people like you that can't have any civil discourse would do exactly what you advise others to do.

I piss on you and your wimpy, timid anti-gun friends too! Like deserves kind "Dadmin"!

You have no rights to tell me what to do.

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Quick, start a KickStarter whip-round for $27,500 and then let Lohan soar.

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"it's not clear why the FAA would try to force every drone owner across the country to register their device in an effort to catch the few people that break these rules."

Lots of $5s. Seems clear enough to me.

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Lots of $5s.

... but it surely costs more than $5 to collect each of those $5?

I don't see a clear profit motive here (unless the cost of collection is borne by a different department?)

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