You might have heard about the new FAA registration and you need to know if this affects the new drone you just got (or gave) this holiday season. The short answer is that the vast majority of new copters in the “toy” category are well under the .55 lb weight limit. There is a little more to it than that, so we will go through and see who needs to register and who doesn’t.
What is registration?
As of December 21st, 2015, the FAA has put a new drone operator registration into place. The purpose of the registration is to help encourage safe flying, provide accountability should something happen, and help return lost or stolen equipment. The registration costs $5, although people signing up before February 21st will get the $5 refunded. Registration is good for three years and will need to renewed at that time.
While people are referring to this as a “drone registration”, it is really an “operator registration” as you get a single number that is assigned to you, and you place the number on all of your aircraft.
Who has to register?
All drone operators who are US citizens and are 13 years or older must register before they fly.
Indoor Flight Only Excluded
If you only have a small copter that will never be flown outside, then there is no need to register. You only need to be registered if you are going to be flying outdoors.
Drone Weight Limits
As stated above, operators need to be registered if their aircraft are .55 lbs up to 55 pounds. This will exclude most of the toy sized copters. The copter shown here, a Dromida Ominus FPV weighs in at only .25 lbs.
The FAA has said that if you don’t have a scale, .55 pounds is the equivalent to 2 sticks of butter.
How do you register your drone?
In order to register, you first go to https://registermyuas.faa.gov and fill out the form. The system will send an email verification link. Once you click on the link in the email, you will be prompted for your contact info and credit card information. Once you receive your registration number, you need to keep a copy of the card either printed, or electronically. You also need to put your registration number on your drone somewhere. The number does not need to be visible, just accessible without tools. We recommend putting it in the battery tray or underneath the battery.
Do you have to register?
Failure to register an aircraft may result in regulatory and criminal sanctions. The FAA may assess civil penalties up to $27,500. Criminal penalties include fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years.