According to an article on ABC11.com, the federal government has reversed course and is announcing plans to create a registry system for operators of drones and other unmanned aircraft. The FAA had previously stated it would not create such a registry, but reversed course after news of several near-misses between drones and helicopters and other aircraft. The FAA says it hopes to have the registry in place by Christmas, before thousands of drones are given as gifts. The short deadline sounds hard to imagine for a slow-moving federal agency, and may doubt if it could be in place by then. But the agency is very concerned that it is inly a matter of time before a drone brings down an aircraft or lands on someone, causing serious injuries.
The FAA now receives about 100 reports a month from pilots who say they’ve seen drones flying near planes and airports, compared with only a few sightings per month last year. In June, the National Park Service announced a ban on drones flying in National Parks, due to concerns about the effects on animals, according to the New York Times. The Times goes on to report that the FAA is also considering the feasibility of tracking radio communications with drones, in order to track down the owners of misbehaving unmanned aircraft.