FAA Begins Online Drone Registry for Recreational Operators

FAA Begins Online Drone Registry for Recreational Operators
Image: Pixabay
December 14, 2015

Hobbyist drone operators will now be required to register their aircrafts with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The streamlined web-based aircraft registration process is for owners of small unmanned aircraft (UAS) – commonly known as drones – weighing more than .55 pounds and less than 55 pounds. This registration only applies to recreational and hobbyist operators; an enhanced process for commercial operators will be available in 2016.

"Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. "Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely."

Under the rule, owners that previously operated their drones exclusively as a model aircraft prior to December 21, 2015 must register no later than February 19, 2016. Owners who purchase or receive a drone after the 21st must register before the first outdoor flight. Owners can use the paper-based process or the web-based system, but owners using the web-based system must be at least 13 years old to register.

Registrants will need to provide their name, home address, and email address. Once completed, the web application will generate a Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership that will include a unique ID number, which must be marked on the drone.

Registration is valid for three years, and operators only need to register once. The same ID number is used for all of their drones. To encourage quick registration, the FAA is waiving the $5 fee between December 21 and January 20.

"We expect hundreds of thousands of model unmanned aircraft will be purchased this holiday season," FAA Administrator Huerta said in a statement. "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."