With a record number of recreational drones flooding the market and close encounters with aircraft becoming increasingly more common, the Federal Aviation Administration said this week that it would require all recreational drone pilots to register under new federal rules.
The federal agency had stayed away from the recreational drone market, having issued licensing requirements for commercial drone use earlier this year. But due to increased encounters with drones in national airspace, the agency was virtually forced to take action.
“The signal we’re sending today is that when you’re in the national airspace, it’s a very serious matter,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told reporters, according to the Washington Post.
Earlier this year, a fire fighting helicopter was forced to abandon attempts to put out a California fire when a drone was spotted nearby. Other times, airplane pilots have reported coming close to drones during landings and takeoffs, in addition to police helicopters. A single drone striking a rotor or motor can disable an aircraft.
The FAA expects to have rules drafted in a couple of months. Americans are expected to purchase 700,000 recreational drones this year, a 63 percent increase from 2014.