FAA UAS Registration is Open

To my friends in the Drone community – registration is open!

FAA UAS Registration


Registration and acknowledgement from the FAA is a good thing as it keeps irresponsible pilots OUT of our airspace. It puts regulations at a national level and prevents overly restrictive local laws. It is a formal acceptance that Drone pilots add value to society and can serve in many ways like the heroes in the HAM Radio community who are always there in a crisis.

Houston Waterwall
Houston Waterwall

Now we can identify our birds properly for the authorities. And the authorities can quickly determine which pilots takes their responsibilities seriously. Responsible pilots who know the limits of their birds and can maintain control at all times.

Heavily customized dji 550 with naza stabilization
Heavily customized dji 550 with naza stabilization

You just can’t compare our hex with DJI NAZA Stabilization to a quad parrot drone with optical stabilization. By that I mean that with optical stabilization you don’t want to fly over water because… waves. But if the goal is to NOT fly over people (hint: it is) then this technology is in direct contradiction to the safest (for the people) place to fly in some situations.

Having flown RC since I was a kid, trust me, it’s more complicated than it looks. And I say that knowing that it still looks complicated, I’m just saying that it is not something to take trivially.

Example: I once ordered a new stabilization system for a quad (I refuse to fly quads for safety reasons now but that is a different post.) The remotes we use these days have a series of stick movements that must be done to activate them. Sort of like a video game – ABAB then click some other button. In this case it was both sticks, lower left, back up, lower left. What could go wrong. Why would that suddenly make a small but dramatic amount of blood from my hand go flying across my office to the horror of one of my coworkers?

Well, in the US “down = throttle off”. In Asia “up = throttle off.” I of course had the throttle turned “fully off for safety which means DOWN”.  Thus when I went through the initiation stick movements on the controller she immediately went full throttle slicing my hand open, slamming into the ceiling before I could hit the emergency shut down on the remote.

And that was a quad! Imagine if that had happened with an octo? Now I know to always anchor them down or install new stabilization hardware/software with all  props removed. I got too comfortable with the machine, I was buying parts with instructions in Chinese and hacking everything together. I don’t mind that I sliced my hand open – I deserved it for being stupid. But what if someone else had been in the office?

So register your drones. Practice a lot. Test, test, test and be darn sure your kill switch works. Even in your office/workshop. These machines are much more powerful than people realize.