Drones and Regulations

I was privileged to speak with Will Robinson-Smith w/ local FOX 10 today about today's announcement regarding Drone regulations.
Listening to the news cycle, it seems like there is a good bit of pre-over-reaction concerning the idea of a drone registry.  

At any rate, today's announcement is like so many others regarding drones.  
"Something is coming, we just don't know what, yet but we do know when: before Christmas."   :)

Having a drone registry isn't a terrible idea, promoting responsibility amongst drone owner-operators is a good thing.   

In an ideal world, drones would be no-more regulated than a hobbyist ultra-lite powered glider.  If a Drone registry makes the folks in Washington feel better about the increasingly-crowded skies, then so be it, it certainly sounds better than a full-on-pilot's license and there is something to be said about how officially-recorded personal responsibility can encourage safe-and-responsible use.

The Challenges as I see them:
1) Tracking ownership of any purchase has proven a bit problematic to the Government. (Think: Gun registry).    Do they really have the infrastructure in place to do this?  The answer is, No, not yet.   When you purchase a gun you fill out a transfer-form.  But, there is no national database for those transfers and those transfers do not cover person-to-person sales.    Same situation is ahead for drones.  

2) Officials have had a tough time defining drones.  They use weight, operating altitude, method-of-use to help define them but these aren't complete.   Defining what separates a so-called drone from a typical model aircraft is important.   Might I suggest range-capability, 1st-person view capability and flight controller features as a starting point.  

3) Who actually enforces a drone registry?  Doesn't seem on the face of it that this will be at all feasible.    Who stops and asks me for my drone registration?  Is that highway patrol?   Seems like they are busy enough.  FAA Regional offices?  How much does that cost the tax payers?  Perhaps the drone registration should have light fees to help offset this expense.  Point-of-sale doesn't even begin to cover where to enforce a drone registry, since - you know - any 16 year old with youtube can find parts and build one. 

At any rate, anything with the name drone grabs the attention and fears of an interested public.   Hopefully the legislation that gets formalized will be smart and agile.  

The Drone industry certainly is. :)