In a sad attempt to make the skies in the US safe from Unmanned Air Vehicles, the FAA proclaimed that all RC air vehicle pilots must now register and get a unique ID number that must written on or inside any and all RC vehicles said pilot owns. Obviously this registration paranoia comes from the explosion of autonomous drones and FPV aircraft and the untrained masses flying said machines in airspace shared by full size aircraft.
I'm not going to get into the politics and minutia of the new regulations, but I am a firm opponent of unnecessary regulation hastily written that effects thousands of hobbyists and modelers in the US who have safely flown in shared airspace for many years. This registration also goes against current laws already in place.
You can go on RC groups and read the banter back and forth about the regs and if the AMA will step in to help modelers and if one should register or not. I've done some research on this whole debacle and here are some of my thoughts.
First, don't go and register yourself yet. AMA suggests not registering now (they may have changed this suggestion) as the regs are vague and already lawsuits are being filed. The FAA site is not secure, and there have been data leaks and site snafus. The records are PUBLIC!
FAA regs suggest flying under 400 feet AGL, but make you check a box stating that you will not fly over 400'. I call bullshit. FACT: There is no 400' limit. Flying near an airport, yes 400' suggested. If you are an AMA member, you can fly as you always have, and I suggest that you become a member of the AMA if you are not. While their power is small, they have worked and are working with the FAA over these regs. You may get to use your AMA # as your official reg. #. All contests will be flown as they always have, no altitude limit.
The FAA is an understaffed, underfunded agency (ask any pilot of the FAAs effectiveness) and they have tasked local law enforcement with enforcing any infractions. The FAA will not be tracking your plane or altitude, they can't. Fly a drone over the city or around an airport and full size traffic, that's another deal. Local LE does not have the time to chase rc planes for reg #'s. Mess around and endanger people or property, then all bets are off. None of us glider guys is going to prison or get a 25k fine for not registering. This is just another bad not-well-thought out government solution to a small potential problem, much like the theater of the TSA trying to prevent terrorism at airports.
I'm all for civil disobedience on this one, I'm not registering until absolutely necessary. Registering will do NOTHING to improve safety. The regs will be changed, they are too stupid to stand. I will be flying as high as I want as long as I can be safe. Don't Panic, just fly as usual, I will.
Here are a few links to check out if you want to learn more: FAA Reg Site: https://registermyuas.faa.gov/
**AMA Video 1 https://youtu.be/iZwmGVtmgjM AMA Video 2 https://youtu.be/bj9isLNQLPY
AMA Relations Blog: http://amablog.modelaircraft.org/amagov/2015/12/17/hold-off-on-registering-model-aircraft/
RC Groups: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2565526
More To The Point: https://youtu.be/bj9isLNQLPY