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Old 02-29-2020
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New FAA drone rule is a giant middle finger to aviation hobbyists

More than 34,000 people have deluged the Federal Aviation Administration with comments over a proposed regulation that would require almost every drone in the sky to broadcast its location over the Internet at all times. The comments are overwhelmingly negative, with thousands of hobbyists warning that the rules would impose huge new costs on those who simply wanted to continue flying model airplanes, home-built drones, or other personally owned devices.

"These regulations could kill a hobby I love," wrote Virginian Irby Allen Jr. in a comment last week. "RC aviation has brought my family together and if these regulations are enacted we will no longer be able to fly nor be able to afford the hobby."

The new regulations probably wouldn't kill the hobby of flying radio-controlled airplanes outright, but it could do a lot of damage. Owners of existing drones and model airplanes would face new restrictions on when and where they could be used. The regulations could effectively destroy the market for kit aircraft and custom-designed drones by shifting large financial and paperwork burdens on the shoulders of consumers.

"I think it's going to be harmful to the community and harmful to the growth of the UAS industry," said Greg Reverdiau, co-founder of the Pilot Institute, in a Friday phone interview. He wrote a point-by-point critique of the FAA proposal that has circulated widely among aviation hobbyists.

Comments are open until Monday

The debate isn't over. The FAA published its revised rules a few weeks ago and gave the public until Monday, March 2, to submit comments. Once the deadline has passed, FAA staffers are supposed to read all the comments—tens of thousands of them—and take them into account as it fashions a final rule.

The overwhelming public opposition to the current proposal could cause the FAA to rethink its approach, but it's not guaranteed to do so. Once the FAA has taken all the public comments into account, it will likely publish a final rule along with written responses to issues raised by commenters.

Commenting is easy. If you're a drone hobbyist, model airplane enthusiast, or anyone else who is affected by the rules, you can click here and then click the "comment now" button. Comments can range from a few sentences to many pages. Comment submission will be open until 11:59pm on Monday.

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drones, faa, regulacion

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