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Dec 14, 2015 | News

FAA releases official small-UAS registration rule

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced a rule for small-UAS registration. The rule has been a work in progress for months, and is based off the FAA’s task force’s recommendations.

According to the FAA, registration is a statutory requirement that applies to all aircraft.

“Make no mistake: Unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility,” said Anthony Foxx, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. “Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely. I”M excited to welcome these new aviators into the culture of safety and responsibility that defines American innovation.”

Owners will be able to register through a paper-based process or a Web-based system here. Anyone who was operating an unmanned aircraft as a model aircraft prior to Dec. 21, 2015, will have to register by Feb. 19, 2016. Anyone who purchases drones as models after Dec. 21 will have to register before they can begin flying outdoors.

“We expect hundreds of thousands of model unmanned aircraft will be purchased this holiday season,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “Registration gives us the opportunity to educate these new airspace users before they fly so they know the airspace rules and understand they are accountable to the public for flying responsibly.”

Registrants will have to provide their name, home address and e-mail address. Once registered, they will receive a Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership that will include a unique identification number for the drone owner and their aircraft. Owners of a model aircraft for hobby or recreational use will only have to register once and can use the same ID number for all their model UASes. Registration will be valid for three years and cost US$5. In an effort to encourage people to register as soon as possible, the FAA will waive the registration free until Jan. 20, 2016.

The registration process is currently only for drones used for hobby or recreational purposes. The FAA is still developing rules for drones used in connection with a business. The FAA expected those online registrations to begin by the spring of 2016.

The full small recreational drone rule is available here.