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Drone registration plans could mean legal compliance issues

| Oct 21, 2015 | Business Formation & Planning |

Racecar driver Bobby Unser is noted as having said, “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” Many in North Carolina would likely agree that few people epitomize success in business and the sport of auto racing better than Unser and many of others in his family. So he knows about what he speaks.

We find ourselves thinking about this in light of the recent announcement by the Federal Aviation Administration that it is developing some new rules regarding the flying of unmanned drone devices in public air space. Some readers may recall that we discussed the implications of state drone rules back in January.

The question we posed then was whether the state’s regulations might crimp the efforts of entrepreneurs to apply drone technology to apparent business opportunities. At the very least we observed that where regulatory uncertainties exist, compliance issues are bound to arise and working with an experienced attorney might be advisable. And now, with the latest announcement, new questions may be cropping up.

According to an FAA news release, the plan is to require all owners to register their unmanned aircraft systems with the federal government. Whether they are used for commercial purposes or for private enjoyment, the government is going to want to know about them.

A special task force has been created to come up with recommendations for how to handle the registration process. Their advice is expected to include guidance on whether vehicles that are clearly low risk to aviation safety, including toys and particularly small UAS units, should be exempt. The recommendations are due by Nov. 20.

For now, rules currently in place are going to be enforced. So, as a businessperson looking to take advantage of possible opportunities, it is clear that compliance is going to mean proper planning and preparation.

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