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FAA small unmanned aircraft registration begins

December 21, 2015  - By
Image: GPS World

The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Small Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) registry is now live and ready for owners of hobby UAS to use at www.faa.gov/uas/registration. Registration is free for the first 30 days with a rebate, then $5 after that.

The online registration system does not yet support registration of small UAS used for any purpose other than hobby or recreation — for example, using an unmanned aircraft in connection with a business. The FAA is developing enhancements that will allow such online registrations by spring of 2016.

During the registration process, each owner must provide his or her name, home address and e-mail address. When registration is complete, the web application will generate a Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership including a unique identification number for the UAS owner, which must be marked on the aircraft.

Owners using the model aircraft for hobby or recreation will only have to register once and may use the same identification number for all of their model UAS. The registration is valid for three years.

All aircraft weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms), including payloads such as on-board cameras, must be registered.

Under this rule, owners who previously operated an unmanned aircraft exclusively as a model aircraft prior to Dec. 21, 2015, must register no later than Feb. 19, 2016. Owners of any other UAS purchased for use as a model aircraft after Dec. 21 must register before the first flight outdoors. Owners can use either the paper-based process or the new streamlined, web-based system. Owners using the new streamlined web-based system must be at least 13 years old to register.

If assistance is needed with registration, email UAShelp@faa.gov.

The FAA also reminds unmanned aircraft owners there’s no need to work with a “drone registration” company to help file an application for a registration number. The registration site is designed to be simple and easy to use for every hobbyist.

The FAA has partnered with several industry associations to educate the public about using unmanned aircraft safely and responsibly. Flight rules include:

Fly below 400 feet altitude.

  • Keep your unmanned aircraft in sight at all times.
  • Never fly near manned aircraft, especially near airports.
  • Never fly over groups of people, stadiums or sporting events.
  • Never fly near emergency response efforts.

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