Drones have become wildly popular. People are already flying them all over the place (occasionally places where they shouldn’t) and plenty of kids and adults will probably unwrap their very own drone in the next few weeks during the holidays. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been busy working on guidelines to keep recreational drone use safe, and to that end have decided on a simple drone registration for anybody that wants to start flying drones as a hobby.
As part of their 211 page report on the issue, the FAA has stipulated that any operators who have flown their own drones, or will have flown before December 21st must register before February 19th, 2016. Anyone who buys or receives a drone after December 21st must register before their first outdoor flight. The FAA further stipulates that this registration applies to any drone over .55 pounds, and under 55 pounds. There are a few hobby drones that are smaller than that, but most anything larger will be outside of recreational use. Operators must also be 13 or over to register. Anyone under 13 that intends to operate a drone would likely have to have a parent or legal guardian register for them.
The registration itself at least in theory appears to be very quick and easy. A website will become available in the near future where applicants will need to enter their name, home address, and an e-mail address. The website will then create a Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership, including a unique identifier that needs to be marked in some way on any drones that you own. This simplifies the process as drones are registered to the owner, and the owner is registered via the FAA.
Anytime you hear about licensing or registration as it’s related to any government agency, one of your first thoughts will likely be about how much that licensing will cost. In this instance though, the FAA isn’t looking to gouge potential drone hobbyists. This drone registration will cost only $5 and will be valid for three years. At the end of the three year period a $5 renewal fee will be collected.
Now, if a $5 registration weren’t cheap enough, the FAA is waiving that fee for the first month (December 21, 2105 – January 20, 2016) as an incentive to get drone owners signed up. Honestly if you’re even considering buying a drone at any point in the next three years it might not be a bad idea to register during the free period. Free (or even $5) is a lot cheaper than the penalties that you could face for operating an un-licensed drone, since as Robotics Trends tells us:
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.
So, get those drones registered everybody! The new registration site should be live in the next week, and should be available off of the FAA’s unmanned aircraft systems website.
Do you fly drones as a hobby? What do you think about the FAA’s drone registration? Tell us in the comments below or on any of your favorite social media sites.