Drone Racing League is Getting Slick but Cheesy

The DRL has put out another video pushing their professional racing league. While the video is pretty slick and fancy, with a lot of production value, it’s so overloaded with obviously scripted interplay, the ‘token’ female pilot (who gets pushed out almost immediately), and the hypercuts and obviously staged crashes, it just looks like a boring “reality video” show.

Drone racing is about skill and enjoyment of the sport. Trashtalking your pilot friends and wearing costumes is not why we’re here. Skilled piloting, exciting courses, and the thrill of flying is what drives us. Not “win at all costs.”

DRL, you obviously have the money, but stop trying to rip the soul out of our sport.

FAA Implements Drone Registration

2015-09-273.jpgAs the USDRA predicted a few weeks ago, the FAA has announced the final details and launch date for online Drone Registration. The details are about as expected; using an online registration system a pilot will receive an identification number that must be visible on the craft. The registration number can be used on any number of hobbyist-built/owned craft owned by a single pilot. These rules are required for anything over 250 grams, which covers most racing quads.

According to the press release

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced a streamlined and user-friendly web-based aircraft registration process for owners of small unmanned aircraft (UAS) weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) including payloads such as on-board cameras.

The site isn’t active yet – it will go live on December 21st. For the first 30 days, registration will be free. After that, it will be $5. Registrations are valid for 3 years.

FAA Registration Recommendations are now available

Sign here…

The task force making recommendations regarding Drone Registration have published a paper outlining their findings.

The USDRA, while not on the advisory panel, did submit a paper to the panel recommending a very easy, self serve registration process, and it looks like the task force has come through with a well thought out, balanced set of guidelines for the FAA to use when implementing the process.

Some brief notes – again, these are recommendations, not ‘rules’.  They have not been adopted into law yet…

  • Drones less than 250g are exempt
  • Registration is immediate and free. An online form with a name and an address will get you a registration number, which you can apply to your sUAS and go flying immediately.
  • Registrants must be at least 13 years old
  • A serial number is not required, so home built craft may be registered, as long as the registration number is easily visible on the craft.

The full PDF is available on the FAA website.

FAA Open Comment Period

The FAA has opened up it’s comment period on the new proposal for registering UAV’s. Under the tongue-bending title “Clarification of the Applicability of Aircraft Registration Requirements for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Request for Information Regarding Electronic Registration for UAS”, the site is now looking for comments and feedback on the proposal. If you have an opinion on this topic, now is the time to voice it!

NH Techfest Drone Race a Success!

At NH Techfest
At NH Techfest

Yesterday 10 pilots and tons of spectators turned out at the New Hampshire Techfest to have a race and show off the drones to kids and families attending the event. The morning was full of practice runs and course adjustments, with races happening in the afternoon. 3 full 5 lap races were held, with 3, 4, and 4 participants in each race. A great time was had by all!

Yvonne, the event coordinator for the Techfest, sent along a thanks:

I really want to Thank you and the USDRA for coming to do his demo. SO many folks were talking about your event and that included my good friend – an 80 year old MIT emeritus professor- who honestly said- I want one of those! Your group was very professional and put a good face on responsible drone usage!

FAA To Roll Out Drone Registration

The FAA and US Transportation Association announced this week that in the next 30 days they will be making a recommendation on how to implement drone registration :

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta today announced the creation of a task force to develop recommendations for a registration process for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

The USDRA is supportive of this process, and believes the FAA is acting in the best interest of the public. We have reached out to the FAA requesting that we have input into the decision process, so that the racing community will not be adversely affected by any new rules that are forthcoming.