FAA Announces All Drone Pilots Must Register

FAA Announces All Drone Pilots Must Register

The FAA has just announced that all small unmanned aircraft operators (read: multi-rotor pilots) must register with the FAA by February 19th to avoid a $5 registration fee. The registration is good for three years, and you will be given a unique identification number that you need to place in/on all of your aircraft. Here’s the scoop from the FAA:

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced a streamlined and user-friendly web-based aircraft registration process for owners of small unmanned aircraft (UAS) weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) including payloads such as on-board cameras.

The Registration Task Force delivered recommendations to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on November 21. The rule incorporates many of the task force recommendations.

“Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely. I’m excited to welcome these new aviators into the culture of safety and responsibility that defines American innovation.”

Registration is a statutory requirement that applies to all aircraft.  Under this rule, any owner of a small UAS who has previously operated an unmanned aircraft exclusively as a model aircraft prior to December 21, 2015, must register no later than February 19, 2016. Owners of any other UAS purchased for use as a model aircraft after December 21, 2015 must register before the first flight outdoors. Owners may use either the paper-based process or the new streamlined, web-based system.  Owners using the new streamlined web-based system must be at least 13 years old to register.

Owners may register through a web-based system at www.faa.gov/uas/registration

Registrants will need to provide their name, home address and e-mail address. Upon completion of the registration process, the web application will generate a Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership that will include a unique identification number for the UAS owner, which must be marked on the aircraft.

Owners using the model aircraft for hobby or recreation will only have to register once and may use the same identification number for all of their model UAS. The registration is valid for three years.

The normal registration fee is $5, but in an effort to encourage as many people as possible to register quickly, the FAA is waiving this fee for the first 30 days (from Dec. 21, 2015 to Jan 20, 2016).

“We expect hundreds of thousands of model unmanned aircraft will be purchased this holiday season,” said FAA Administrator Huerta. “Registration gives us the opportunity to educate these new airspace users before they fly so they know the airspace rules and understand they are accountable to the public for flying responsibly.”

The online registration system does not yet support registration of small UAS used for any purpose other than hobby or recreation – for example, using an unmanned aircraft in connection with a business. The FAA is developing enhancements that will allow such online registrations by spring of 2016.

The full rule can be viewed here: www.faa.gov/news/updates/media/20151213_IFR.pdf

Updated: December 14, 2015 — 8:18 pm


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  1. Can anyone dispel the rumor, with certainty, that the AMA has supplied the FAA with members names, addresses, etc.?
    Thanks AMA for raising membership fees and allowing this thing to get to this point.

  2. This system will undoubtedly work flawlessly….Obama care – well thats another story. Obama care is FOR US….drone registration is FOR THEM, so yeah it’ll work flawlessly.
    Looks like the loop hole is to say that you’re only gonna fly indoors if they come-a-knockin.
    Tell me – why don’t we have to register our RC cars n trucks?? I could load it up with 2″ nails and take it to the nearby interstate and wreak deadly havoc!!! Or what about my laser pointer/mouse that I use for my power point shows….could bring down a plane with that I bet.

    America. Land of the sheep.

    As for the AMA, I’m sure that if they could generate a few cents per name they’ll sell the list to whoever wants it.

  3. Don’t Register. Never Quit, Never Surrender. Molon LaBe

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