Does my unit need to registrar the drone (UAS) we have in the unit?
The FAA has released requirements to register recreational/hobby UASs that weigh more than .55 pounds (approx 9 oz) starting next week. These requirements apply to our CAP resources including the model airplanes and copters provided through the STEM program as well as any UAS that our CAP units have received or procured through other means. CAP National Headquarters will accomplish this registration for all of our CAP owned resources. DO NOT INDIVIDUALLY REGISTER THEM YOURSELVES. If you have already done so, please contact Mr. John Desmarais at JDesmarais@capnhq.gov. The path forward:
First, we must register all of the units we have fielded for educational purposes. Dr. Jeff Montgomery is providing the operations staff the information on the STEM kit UASs fielded by his the Aerospace Education office. If any of your units own a model airplane, copter or other system that could be considered a UAS (see http://www.faa.gov/uas/registration/faqs/) that was NOT provided as part of a STEM kit that you are using for educational purposes, please have your unit POCs email the CAP headquarters operations administrative assistant, LaShonda Frazier (email@example.com) with the make and model of the system, the unit charter number it is assigned to, and the email address and CAPID of the POC for the system.
Second, we must individually register UASs that will be used for operational mission purposes like imagery collection for disaster relief, search and rescue, etc and expect we will also have to provide details to our insurance carrier as well. We do not have any approved UASs for operational mission use yet, but I know some of you have either already received units from your state counterparts or other means with that intention, will soon, or would like to dual purpose the STEM kits above. The online process for us to register UASs for this purpose with the FAA is expected to be available sometime after the new year, and the Operations office will register those units as well. We will need more information in order to register those units and will put out more detailed guidance on that after the new year. Until otherwise registered and approved, do not fly UASs for operational mission purposes on behalf of CAP. If any of your units have a UAS already or are expected to receive one any time soon that they intend to use for operational missions, please also have the unit's UAS POC contact LaShonda via email (see above) so that we can work together to chart a path ahead. I intend to host a conference call or webinar that we will announce the first week of January. For now, do not plan to re-purpose STEM kits for operational mission use immediately; NHQ will develop guidance for how we can do so legally and effectively in the coming months.
Last, because of the above registration issues and the insurance and liability associated with them, we will need to track all model aircraft, copters, and other types of UASs that CAP owns across the country. Expect more guidance on this after the new year once tools have been put in place to do so.