Many drones were gifted this holiday season and the Federal Aviation Administration has rolled out guidelines and a registration program to help users fly safely and responsibly.
Drone and model aircraft pilots are strongly encouraged to follow the federal safety guidelines for drones and other model aircraft, which include:
- Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles
- Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times
- Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations
- Don't fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying
- Don't fly near people or stadiums
- Don't fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 pounds
- Don't be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft – you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft
The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) new web-based registration system for small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) is now active. Hobbyists and recreational users who fly UAS, which include remote controlled aircraft, may register at www.faa.gov/uas/registration
Owners must register small UAS weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) if they are to be flown outdoors for hobby or recreation. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Deputy Administrator Mike Whitaker announced the rule requiring registration earlier this month.
Aircraft operated by the current owner before Dec. 21, 2015 must be registered no later than Feb. 19, 2016. For all others, registration is required prior to the first outdoor flight. Owners must provide their complete name, physical address, mailing address (if different), and a valid email address to register.
Federal law requires a $5 registration fee that will be collected at the time of registration via credit card. To encourage speedy compliance, the FAA is making the process free for the first 30 days. (The registration website will initially charge the owner’s credit card $5, but a refund credit will appear shortly afterward.)
After completing registration, owners will receive a personal registration number. If a person owns more than one small UAS, each aircraft must be marked with that number. Any method may be used to mark the UAS, as long as the number is legible. Registrants may put the number in the battery compartment if it is easily accessible.
The FAA will immediately email a certificate containing the holder’s name, registration number, and the dates of issuance and expiration. The operator must keep either a printed or electronic version of this certificate on hand for inspection as proof of registration. Registration must be renewed every three years. If assistance is needed with registration, email UAShelp@faa.gov.
The full rule can be viewed here: http://www.faa.gov/news/updates/media/20151213_IFR.pdf
A Registration FAQ with answers to most common questions is at: http://www.faa.gov/uas/registration/faqs/
The FAA wants everyone who buys a drone this holiday season to know they’re responsible to understand the airspace rules and to fly safely. If you own a drone weighing about 9 ounces but less than 55 lbs. you must register with the FAA by February 19 . Registration is free through a rebate until January 20 . So register online now at FAA.gov. And give the gift of safety to your friends and family this holiday season by encouraging them to register their drones as well.