Drones Drones & Vehicles
FAA Drone Registration Becomes Official on Dec 21, Costs

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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.

10 thoughts on “FAA Drone Registration Becomes Official on Dec 21, Costs $5

  1. Lyrics properly amended:
    Let’s go (register with the FAA and then) fly a kite, up to (but not including) the highest height! Let’s all go…fly a kite.

  2. OK, so What is a “drone”?
    Completely non-autonomous aircraft are “drones”?
    Is an RC airplane or RC helo considered a “drone” now?
    Or only the multi-rotors?

    1. Read the FAA release linked in the article. It does not use the term drone.

      “… 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.”

    2. It appears that model aircraft need to be registered as well, but a single registration is good for an entire fleet But it looks like multi rotors and the like are going to be registered one by one.

      I’m currently skimming the FAA document. .it’s long so I won’t actually read the whole thing, but I saw what looked like an answer to your question so I figured I’d share it

      1. No, this applies to anything over 250g that flies that has a “control system” used by the pilot. It’s not any different for mutli-rotors. One number, the PILOT’s number, on everything. By that wording, even a stunt kite and control line model aircraft will need to have their PILOT registered with the federal government. That pilot’s number is then to be put on anything they fly that’s over 250g and the pilot’s certificate is to be carried by the pilot when flying.

        A MASSIVE overreaction to a non-problem hyped by a sensationalist media. I fully expect a legal challenge to the overstepping of authority by the DOT/FAA.

    3. There is more than one type of drone (even in the military) and some millitary drones have a lot more ability to fly on their own than others.

      Unfortunately the term DRONE (like the term Hoverboard when used to describe an electric one wheeled skateboard) has been misused so often that the definition set now includes anything and EVERYTHING that has no pilot.

      So all of those people who have been using FUELED radio controlled model planes, will now have to get a licence. I expect official groups that gather to do this will wind up inspecting the planes and the pilots to be SURE they have licenses. I wonder if they will make people get licenses for model rockets over a certain size too…

      And again… I am glad I left the USA in 1999 and completely missed : Dubya, the shredding of the bill of rights, having cameras everywhere feeding photos to the NSA and NSA contractors going through people phone data for “fapping material” photos (they really do that…very very common)

    1. Looks like about 55% won’t comply vs 45% that will based upon the people who voted here:

      http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2561790

      Since the very first question in that thread asks for their vote, I’ll bet even more change their mind to “won’t comply” after actually reading the thread, but their vote once made can’t be changed.

      If this stupidity isn’t killed via legal challenge, I’m just waiting for the first dad out flying a 251g “killer drone” TOY with his kid to be fined $27,000 for FLYING IN HIS OWN YARD unregistered because that’s EXACTLY what this IDIOCY would REQUIRE to be the penality.

  3. It’s funny that I can go to the U.S.A. and fly a hang glider or ultralight just about anywhere without hassle (the F.A.A. regulations are pretty much just “fly with common sense”), but if I want to fly a model airplane I have to read a 211 page document, pay $5, and fill out paperwork to register with the F.A.A..

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Jon Christian is the co-editor of the Maker Pro Newsletter, which covers the intersection between makers and business. He's also written for the Boston Globe, WIRED and The Atlantic.

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