If you want to buy a new drone, or already own one, and you’ve been hearing about the FAA drone registration but don’t really know what everyone’s talking about, this article is for you. Fear not, you won’t get into trouble for buying a new quadcopter, just keep reading!
In the end of 2015, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) published new regulations for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs) and if you own a drone you will probably be affected by them. Effective December 21st of 2015, if you own a drone you basically must register it with the FAA, with some exceptions. These regulations might seem confusing at first, but I’ll help you digest them easily.
Well, it all starts with some irresponsible guys crashing drones and almost hurting other people. After some episodes, the FAA realized they needed more control of who is flying what, because quadcopters are becoming so widespread that it would be hard to trace them back to the owners in case of accidents. So one way or another, you should be more protected than exposed by this new regulation, because you can’t be wrongly blamed by someone else’s hit-and-run.
Who needs to register?
For most people, it will be easy and painless (except for the $5 fee) to register. If you own a drone that you use for non-commercial and recreational purposes only, and that weighs more than 0.55 lb (250g) and less than 55 lbs (25kg), you can do everything online, from the safe of your home. You only need to be 13+ years old and a US citizen or legal permanent resident. The link to do it is at the end of this article.
There is one exempt case, in which you don’t need to register, which is if your drone weighs less than 0.55 lb (250g) and also if it is used solely for recreational purposes. Pay attention to this, because many small and mini drones are below this limit (you can check some specs here), therefore they are exempt of registration (if used only for recreational purposes).
On the other hand, there are some cases where you must register (and it must be using paper forms, it cannot be over the internet), for example if you use your drone for commercial or purposes other than recreational (e.g. scientific research), or if it weighs more than 55lbs (25kg). In these cases, please look for further assistance, because other forms and documents will be needed.
OK, so what do you need to register online?
Well, that’s easy… All you need are: an email address, a credit or debit card, and a physical address. Yep, that’s all. Just follow the steps in the website, pay the fee, and you’ll be alright.
The deadline for anyone to register, including those who already had drones prior to this new regulation, is February 19th, 2016. If you don’t register, you can face penalties, so beware!
If you have other questions, you can look for more info directly in the FAA’s website; the link is posted at the end of this article. The FAA has even a help desk to assist you with any question: you can get help at UAShelp@faa.gov, and also over the phone, calling 877-396-4636.
So have you registered yet? Was it smooth?
Let us know what you think about it in the comments!
FAA’s drone registration rules: https://www.faa.gov/uas/registration/
FAA’s drone registration process: https://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/aircraft_certification/aircraft_registry/UA/
Now, if none of this scared you (as it shouldn’t have!), check out our 7 Best Quadcopters by Category.
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And in case you need some comparisons, check our Quadcopter Comparison Table, it has helped many people choose what best fits their needs.