In another sign that the Federal Aviation Administration is serious about regulating remote controlled aircraft, the Administration today announced a drone registration program that will launch on December 21—just in time for a holiday season that an FAA spokesperson expects will result in the purchase of hundreds of thousands of new unmanned aircraft.
“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.”
Under the new rules, drones that weigh more than 250 grams and less than 55 pounds will need to registered. Registration will normally cost $5, but that fee will be waived for the program’s first month.
Registration, which will be valid for three years, will be available via an online interface or by paper.
“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,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.
The online registration system is for hobbyists only. The FAA is still developing a system for registering drones in connection with a business.