FAA: $5 Drone Registration Valid for 3 Years

The registration system will go live on Dec. 21, 2015. Anyone who already owns a drone needs to register by Feb. 19, 2016.


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced in 211 pages the registration system for drones that weigh between 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and 55 pounds (25 kilograms), saying the registration website will be live on Dec. 21, 2015.

For those who already own a drone or will own a drone before Dec. 21, 2015, you must register by Feb. 19, 2016. Anyone who becomes a first-time drone owner after Dec. 21, 2015 must register before their first flight outdoors.

The FAA deviated from the task force’s recommendations a bit and will charge a $5 registration fee, no matter how many drones you own. So, essentially, the registration is tied to the owner, not the drone. The registration is valid for three years, and there will be a $5 renewal fee as well.

However, 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) that the registry is live. You might not be happy with this registration requirement, but why not register early and save $5. Afterall, failure to register a drone can result in civil penalties up to $27,500, and criminal penalties for failure to register can include fines of up to $250,000.

MUST-READ: 10 Drones You Don’t Need to Register

To register, you’ll need to provide your 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 that must be marked on all of your drones.

Drone Registration

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Owners using the registration website must be at least 13 years old to register. Apparently there’s still an old paper-based process you can use to register, but just head over to the registration website and you can register online starting Dec. 21.

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“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.”

The online registration system does not yet support registration of small drones used for any purpose other than hobby or recreation - for example, using a drone for business purposes. The FAA is developing enhancements that will allow such online registrations by spring of 2016.

“We expect hundreds of thousands of model unmanned aircraft will be purchased this holiday season,” said FAA Administrator Michael 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.”

Drone registration comes after a report found more than 240 close-call collisions between drones and planes nationwide over the last two years. The FAA defines a near-collision as two aircraft flying within 500 feet of each other. In 51 of the incidents studied, the drone-to-aircraft clearance was 50 feet or less, the report said.

The analysis released Friday by Bard College’s Center for the Study of the Drone found most of the sightings occurred within 5 miles of an airport and at altitudes higher than 400 feet - spaces in which the FAA prohibits drones from flying.

The report is based on an analysis of government records detailing 921 incidents involving drones and manned aircraft between Dec. 17, 2013, and Sept. 12, 2015. Researchers cautioned that it’s hard for pilots to judge their distance from another object when flying at high speeds.




About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
Contact Steve Crowe: scrowe@ehpub.com  ·  View More by Steve Crowe.




Comments

Stephen Mann · December 16, 2015 · 5:17 pm

The FAA has released their plan to register your drones, and all unmanned aircraft including fixed-wing scale model hobby aircraft. This is not a new law, but it is a new rule in 14 CFR Part 48 – “Registration And Marking Requirements For Small Unmanned Aircraft”.

The regulation is following the law set by Congress: 49 USC § 44102 requires aircraft to be registered prior to operation. For decades all aircraft were required to be registered, but the FAA has ignored model aircraft. Until now. Also by law and by international treaty (International Civil Aviation Organization - ICAO) any flight in commerce must be done by certificated pilots.  The FAA is just following the law - they are not making it up.

Note - in the US, there is no pilot’s license. The FAA issues ‘airman certificates’, not licenses.

Recreational pilot or balloon pilot certificates are airman certificates that satisfy the IACO treaty requirements and the Section 333 exemption letter condition requiring a certificated pilot at the controls. Requiring pilot certification has nothing to do with being able to fly a Cessna, but that the small UAS operator possesses some aviation and airspace knowledge. Sometime in 2016 we can expect the Part 107 rules for commercial drone operations to be finalized, making the Section 333 exemptions mostly obsolete. The list of terms and conditions in the exemptions will be codified in the rules. The new rules will likely be much more liberal than the current COA process required by the list of operating conditions in the Section 333 exemption letters. But an airman’s certificate will still be required for commercial flight.  Part 107 rules will create a new class of airman’s certification requiring only a written test. No flight experience will be required.

The announcement from the FAA includes this provocative line: “The FAA is developing enhancements that will allow such online registrations by spring of 2016.”  Is this a hint of the release of the Part 107 rules for commercial drone operations expected in 2016?

Aircraft registration also has nothing to do with the FAA database of 951 drone sightings. (And that’s all they are - someone thought they saw a drone. The data does not support the sensational news headlines of 900 near disasters). But the number of personal drones expected to be in the air in the near future has raised concerns.  Registration of model aircraft using existing law offers the FAA an opportunity to deliver some aviation and airspace knowledge to the user. Most of the buyers of personal drones have no clue that a “Class B” airspace exists, let alone how to know where it is.

Registration is not poorly thought out as many claim, rather it is poorly perceived by those who don’t see the bigger picture.  When the other shoe drops, things will be more clear.

Totally_Lost · December 15, 2015 · 5:07 pm

Provides very important accountability means to target offenders, with some hope that other restrictions can be reduced later when there is better compliance and training smile


Totally_Lost · December 15, 2015 at 5:07 pm

Provides very important accountability means to target offenders, with some hope that other restrictions can be reduced later when there is better compliance and training smile

Stephen Mann · December 16, 2015 at 5:17 pm

The FAA has released their plan to register your drones, and all unmanned aircraft including fixed-wing scale model hobby aircraft. This is not a new law, but it is a new rule in 14 CFR Part 48 – “Registration And Marking Requirements For Small Unmanned Aircraft”.

The regulation is following the law set by Congress: 49 USC § 44102 requires aircraft to be registered prior to operation. For decades all aircraft were required to be registered, but the FAA has ignored model aircraft. Until now. Also by law and by international treaty (International Civil Aviation Organization - ICAO) any flight in commerce must be done by certificated pilots.  The FAA is just following the law - they are not making it up.

Note - in the US, there is no pilot’s license. The FAA issues ‘airman certificates’, not licenses.

Recreational pilot or balloon pilot certificates are airman certificates that satisfy the IACO treaty requirements and the Section 333 exemption letter condition requiring a certificated pilot at the controls. Requiring pilot certification has nothing to do with being able to fly a Cessna, but that the small UAS operator possesses some aviation and airspace knowledge. Sometime in 2016 we can expect the Part 107 rules for commercial drone operations to be finalized, making the Section 333 exemptions mostly obsolete. The list of terms and conditions in the exemptions will be codified in the rules. The new rules will likely be much more liberal than the current COA process required by the list of operating conditions in the Section 333 exemption letters. But an airman’s certificate will still be required for commercial flight.  Part 107 rules will create a new class of airman’s certification requiring only a written test. No flight experience will be required.

The announcement from the FAA includes this provocative line: “The FAA is developing enhancements that will allow such online registrations by spring of 2016.”  Is this a hint of the release of the Part 107 rules for commercial drone operations expected in 2016?

Aircraft registration also has nothing to do with the FAA database of 951 drone sightings. (And that’s all they are - someone thought they saw a drone. The data does not support the sensational news headlines of 900 near disasters). But the number of personal drones expected to be in the air in the near future has raised concerns.  Registration of model aircraft using existing law offers the FAA an opportunity to deliver some aviation and airspace knowledge to the user. Most of the buyers of personal drones have no clue that a “Class B” airspace exists, let alone how to know where it is.

Registration is not poorly thought out as many claim, rather it is poorly perceived by those who don’t see the bigger picture.  When the other shoe drops, things will be more clear.


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