The Drones Club

With so many people filling the sky with drones, the FAA is kindly reminding you that they must be registered.(The drones; not the people.) This actually makes sense since drones can, and no doubt will, be misused by idiots and criminals. Smaller drones that are glorified toys are not as much of a problem, so they don’t have to be registered. To encourage people to register without delay, the  $5 registration fee will not apply if you register by January 20. All of this seems reasonable, but how does it work in practice?

adrone

Well, I got a drone for Christmas, and, being a law abiding citizen, I rushed to comply by January 20. The first thing I noticed is that the feds don’t simply waive the fee as any normal sentient being would do; they require you to pay up front, then send you a refund. This no doubt allows them to hire scads of new people to process the refunds.

But wait; what about those smaller drones that do not need to be registered? Fortunately, they don’t follow the refund logic and require you to register so they can then cancel it; they simply say don’t bother. So far so good, but how small is small? If the drone weighs less than 250 grams or 0.55 pounds, no registration is required. So I checked the box the thing came in and the instructions. The weight was not listed anywhere. I checked two websites of places that sell my particular model. One said one pound and the other said 0.45 pounds. But the FAA website was there to help. They had a subpage that listed typical drones and their weights….in ounces! Not grams; not pounds; ounces.  Now I can convert ounces to pounds easily enough, but why make a standard, then show examples in different units of measurement?

Anyway, I’m less than 0.55 pounds, so I don’t have to register. It’s just as well.

I’m getting tired of crashing it into things and getting it down out of trees.

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About johnreisinger

retired engineer and author of historical fiction and non fiction. My current book is Master Detective, the story of America's Sherlock Holmes and his involvement in the Lindbergh kidnapping investigation.
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