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FAA Announces Recreational Drone Registration (Starting 12/21/15)

BY Alan Perlman
15 December 2015

Note: On June 21st 2016, the FAA announced Part 107, a new drone certification process. Registering your drone is one part of this process. Please consult this guide for more information.

Well folks, it’s happening.

Starting Monday, 12/21/15, U.S. pilots are required to register their model aircraft (drones/multirotors/UAVs) with the FAA.

I hopped on a call with Jake Efstration over at DroneTech to chat about how this is all going to look. We’re steering clear of opinions, of which I have many, and just sticking to the facts.

Watch this video and comment below if you have any questions.

FAA Drone & UAS Registration: What you need to know

Some Key Points

  • You only need to register if your drone weighs between .55 pounds (or 250 grams) and 55 pounds. Basically, if you’re flying anything from DJI, 3DR, or Yuneec, you’ll need to register. Most likely, if you’re flying a drone that cost you less than $100, you won’t have to register.
  • Registration will happen online, at this link. Registration opens up Monday, 12/21/15.
  • You only need to register if you’re flying recreationally (for now). Commercial pilots / those who have gone or who are going through the 333 exemption process still need to go through the existing N-number registration and will be given access to the online registration process in the next few months.
  • Registration happens at the pilot level, not at the drone level. Meaning, if you have multiple models, you only need to register once.
  • This will cost $5 per registration, but that fee will be waived for the first 30 days (through January 21st 2016). You’ll still need a credit card to register, and you’ll need to be at least 13 years old.
  • Existing pilots who already own drones have a 60-day grace period (until February 21st 2016) to register.

There are a lot of other nuances here. I should state that I’m not a legal expert. The above video and bullet points are meant for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. If you have any legal questions, please contact the FAA or an attorney.

Also, here’s a link to the official FAQ page, and here’s a link to the full 200+ page interim ruling.

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