An appeals court on Friday struck down a Federal Aviation Administration rule that required owners of drones used for recreation to register their craft. The ruling was a victory for hobbyists and a setback for the FAA, which cited safety concerns as it tried to tighten regulation of the fast-growing army of drone operators. Some pilots of commercial airliners have reported close calls with drones flying near airports. About 760,000 hobbyists have registered more than 1.6 million drones since 2015, and sales have skyrocketed. The FAA estimates that hobbyists will buy 2.3 million drones this year and 13 million by the end of 2020.
The Federal Aviation Administration is predicting a bright future for the growth of the commercial and hobbyist drone industries after final regulations are approved. In an aerospace forecast report released Thursday, the FAA said unmanned aircraft systems will be the "most dynamic growth sector within aviation." It noted that venture capitalists have already sunk "considerable" funds into the industry in hopes of building early market share. Already, the FAA predicted that 1.9 million hobbyist drones will be sold this year, along with more than 600,000 commercial drones. The FAA predicts that 4.3 million hobbyist drones could be sold per year by 2020.
In March, the FAA noted that over 100,000 hobby drone owners had registered their machines since the year began, bringing the total in the US over 770,000. Owners have filed their non-commercial UAVs with the agency ever since the DoT passed a law in December 2015 that made registration mandatory. But a Washington, D.C. court has struck down that legislation, freeing just-for-fun drone owners from notifying the government of their purchases -- for good and ill. Model aircraft enthusiast John Taylor brought his case against the FAA back in January 2016, shortly after the regulations came in place. The DC court of appeals ruled (PDF) in his favor, effectively classifying non-commercial drones as model aircraft and subject to the FAA's 2012 Modernization and Reform Act, which prohibited the agency from making new laws restricting flying hobbyist craft.
Any ammunition storage location, full of explosives collected in one place, makes a tempting target. For an attacker, the hard part is getting an explosive inside the perimeter to set it off. Drones are the ideal mechanism for this mayhem. Relatively cheap and expendable, a drone's major limitation is how much weight it can carry. In this case, the aerial vehicle seems to have transported a Russian-made ZMG-1 thermite grenade.
UK Drone Insurance Start-up, 'Flock', opened its'pay-as-you-fly' insurance and safety smartphone app, named Flock Cover, to be used by professional pilots, trainers and hobbyists. This drone insurance aims to offer hobbyists "peace of mind at the touch of a button." The algorithms analyze the pilot's risk profile alongside real-time and geospatial data within the selected flight area. "Understanding the risks associated with drone flying is vitally important. Flock Cover is the first pay-as-you-go insurance product that allows any type of pilot to insure their flight for the price of a coffee.