Today is the day that the FAA’s Drone Registration opens. While the bets are being placed on whether or not the website will actually go live today – at the time of this writing, 8:30 am EST, the site is not yet active – registration is planned. Here are 5 important things to know before you register.
- The operator is registered, not the drone. Operators (U.S. Citizens over the age of 13) must register; a registered operator will then receive a registration number to mark on all of their aircraft. Registration will require name, address, email, and credit card. Despite the FAA’s ambiguous statement to the contrary, Forbes reports that the name and address information of registered drone operators WILL BE public.
- You do need a credit card. Even if you are 14. Anyone over the age of 13 can register themselves, but they will need a credit card. Even though registration is “free” if completed in the first 30 days of the program, you still need to enter a credit card, which the FAA says is for identification verification. It is unsure what will happen when the 14 year old enters their parents’ credit card. The site will charge you $5 and then refund it to your card if you are registered within the “free” period.
- Not all toys need to be registered. Some drones may weigh less than .55 pounds. The FAA says that most “toys” that cost less than $100 don’t make the weight requirement of 250 grams (about .55 pounds.) If you have a question, you can find an FAA “UAS Weights” document here that gives examples and specifics.
- Even if your drone is marked, you need proof of registration with you when you fly. You can print it out and keep it with you, or download it to your phone or computer and present it digitally when asked. And if you loan your drone to someone else to fly, you need to loan them the certificate of registration to go with it.
- Only hobby and recreational drones are registered through the new site. Commercial drones or those heavier than 55 pounds are still registered through the paper process.
More questions? The FAA has published an FAQ on drone registration here.
You will be able to register your drone sometime today at this link.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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