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FAA Administrator Michael Huerta has urged a task force to "think outside the box" as it ponders ways to set up a national registration system for recreational drones.
Tuesday was the first day of a three-day meeting of the task force, which has been asked to come up with recommendations by Nov. 20.
In prepared remarks, Huerta said there have been too many close calls between airplanes and small unmanned aircraft, and registration of drones is one way to keep the skies near airports safer.
"Unmanned aircraft have countless potential uses — from package delivery to tasks that are dangerous for people or manned aircraft to perform. No one wants to see this promising technology overshadowed by an incident or accident that could easily be avoided with proper training and awareness of the safety principles that are now second nature in manned aviation," Huerta said.
Amazon, Google, Walmart and Best Buy are among the companies exploring the use of drones for package deliveries, and they all have seats on the 25-member task force.
Huerta urged the group to consider ways to make registration easy for consumers who buy drones, as well as determining what type of data should be collected. He noted that the task force is facing a very tight timetable — the holidays are just weeks away, and recreational drones could be a popular gift.
"Please think big, and think outside the box," Huerta told the task force. "Take the interests of all stakeholders, of everyone who will be affected by registration, into consideration, and you need to factor that into your conversations and deliberations."