Last month, the FAA released an “interim final rule” that makes it illegal for anyone to fly a drone without first registering it with the government. That someone decided to sue the agency over it isn’t surprising, because the regulation is controversial for a couple reasons. First, it was implemented on an “emergency” basis with no time for public comment, as is customary with most regulations. Second, the rule may violate the FAA Modernization Act of 2012, a law that notes “the administrator oft he Federal Aviation Administration may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft, or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft if . . . [the aircraft is] flown strictly for hobby or recreational use.”
I think this could lead to real problems for us. If he wins, and it sounds like he has a good case, Congress will end up getting involved. And we all know what that means: onerous regulation; lobbyist-generated law designed to benefit big business and “activist” groups; and general, unnecessary interference. All to control the small percentage of morons who insist on ignoring common sense. Let me give you an example: I have a motorcycle. I am required to have a license and insurance and I am required to obey the laws governing the use of the motorcycle. Now and then I see someone doing wheelies at 100MPH on the freeway, risking the lives of everyone around them. That is not reason enough to ban motorcycles in general or to overly regulate their use.
As it is, I don’t have a problem with registering. In fact, I registered on the first day. General jackassery, flying near airports, emergency responders being grounded due to dangerous conditions, endangering people by flying over crowds, invading the privacy of others, etc. has led to the registration requirement and I think it makes sense. I don’t want unnecessary restrictions on my flying. I think as long as I follow the rules I should be allowed to enjoy the freedom of flying my drone without undue regulation. Laws are created to deal with the exceptions. The average citizen is not a thief but laws are needed to deal with the tiny percentage who are – they protect the rest of us.