FAA to drone owners: Get ready to register to fly

FAA to say any drone weighing 9oz or more will need to register with agency


While an actual rule could be months away, drones weighing about 9 ounces or more will apparently need to be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration going forward.

The registration requirement and other details came form the government’s UAS Task Force which was created by the FAA in last month and featured all manner of associates from Google, the Academy of Model Aeronautics and Air Line Pilots Association to Walmart, GoPro and Amazon.

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Other proposed requirements were to offer a simple, free online registration system and a requirement that unmanned aircraft would need to fly with an visible registration number tying the aircraft to the owner.

“By some estimates, as many as 400,000 new unmanned aircraft will be sold during the holiday season. Pilots with little or no aviation experience will be at the controls of many of these aircraft. Many of these new aviators may not even be aware that their activities in our airspace could be dangerous to other aircraft -- or that they are, in fact, pilots once they start flying their unmanned aircraft,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in announcing the task force’s results.

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“It should be noted that the Task Force acknowledged that the timeframe

provided for deliberations did not allow for in-depth analysis of all the factors

involved in instituting a federal requirement for registering UAS, nor did it allow for an assessment of the impact of such a mandate on the recreational/hobby community. The 250 grams [9oz] or less exclusion was based on a maximum weight that was defined as the maximum weight possible including the aircraft, payload, and any other associated weight. In manned aircraft terms, it is the ‘maximum takeoff weight,’” the task force wrote.

A summary of UAS Registration Task Force Aviation Rulemaking Committee is as follows:

  • UAS that weigh under 55 pounds and above 250 grams maximum takeoff weight, and are operated outdoors in the NAS.
  • The registration system is owner-based, so each registrant will have a single registration number that covers any and all UAS that the registrant owns.
  • Registration is mandatory prior to operation of a UAS in the NAS not at point of sale.
  • Registration will include name and street address of the registrant. Mailing address, email address, telephone number, and serial number of the aircraft are optional.
  • There is no citizenship requirement
  • Persons must be 13 years of age to register.
  • The system for entry of information into the database is Web-based and also allows for multiple entry points, powered by an API that will enable custom apps to provide registry information to the database and receive registration numbers and certificates back from the database. Registrants can also modify their information through the web or apps.
  • A certificate of registration will be sent to the registrant at the time of registration. The certificate will be sent electronically, unless a paper copy is requested, or unless the traditional aircraft registration process is utilized.
  • The registration certificate will contain the registrant’s name, FAA-issued registration number, and the FAA registration website that can be used by authorized users to confirm registration information.
  • For registrants who elect to provide the serial number(s) of their aircraft to the FAA, the certificate will also contain those serial number(s).
  • Any time a registered UAS is in operation, the operator of that UAS should be prepared to produce the certificate of registration for inspection.
  • The registration number of the aircraft must be affixed to the aircraft. Whether the owner chooses to rely on the serial number or affix the FAA-issued registration number to the aircraft, the marking must be readily accessible and maintained in a condition that is readable and legible upon close visual inspection. Markings enclosed in a compartment, such as a battery compartment, will be considered “readily accessible” if they can be accessed without the use of tools.

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