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National Agricultural Aviation Association eNewsletter
Voice of the Aerial Application Industry
January 18, 2018
One Million UAVs Officially Registered with FAA

Last Wednesday the number of UAVs registered with the FAA eclipsed 1,000,000. According to the Department of Transportation, the 1,000,000-total registration figure includes 878,000 hobbyists, who receive one identification number for all the UAVs they own, and 122,000 commercial, public and other UAVs, which are individually registered. For comparison, there are currently 320,000 manned aircraft registered with the agency.


Registration was originally required under the FAA’s small drone registration rule effective December 21, 2015.  Under this rule, aircraft weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms), including payloads such as onboard cameras, must be registered. After briefly being halted by a judge in 2017 for conflicting with the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act, which prohibited the FAA from regulating model aircraft, the registration system was reinstated through the 2017 National Defense Reauthorization Act. 


NAAA has long been advocating for the safe integration of UAS into the national airspace to protect manned aircraft. In addition to UAS registration requirements, NAAA has promoted the installation of tracking technology like Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) on all UAS, visible strobe lighting, rigorous training for UAS pilots and requiring all UAS to get an airworthiness certificate from the FAA.


To help keep ag aviators safe from the ever-growing number of UAVs, you can donate your GPS data to Mississippi State University’s Raspet Flight Research Laboratory (RFRL). The RFRL is leading a team of aviation researchers to help determine when and where unmanned aircraft systems can operate safely with other aircraft at low altitudes. By anonymously sharing your GPS data logs with Mississippi State University, the university will work with the FAA to show it where ag pilots fly. This, in turn, could lead the FAA to have sufficient data to better protect ag aviators flying in and around UAVs, based on submitted GPS data logs.


NAAA also developed a checklist for low-level aviators should they have an encounter with a UAS.

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This newsletter is intended for NAAA members only. NAAA requests that should any party desire to publish, distribute or quote any part of this newsletter that they first seek the permission of the Association. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA), its Board of Directors, staff or membership. Items in this newsletter are not the result of paid advertising and are only meant to highlight newsworthy developments. No endorsement by NAAA is intended or implied.
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