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Drone owners must register with FAA

Published: December 15, 2015
The Federal Aviation Administration announced that most unmanned aircraft (UAS) will have to be registered through its website starting Dec. 21. The registration rule states that any UAS weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds, including payloads such as on-board cameras, must be registered. This includes homemade UAS and those received as gifts. The rule also applies to those UAS that will only be flown in private backyards but does not include UAS that will only be flown indoors, which are not regulated by the FAA. All UAS must be registered before being operated.

Registration will be free for 30 days after registration opens until Jan. 20, after which the FAA will charge a $5 registration fee. Any UAS purchased before Dec. 21 will have until Feb. 19 to register.

Failure to register an aircraft may result in regulatory and criminal sanctions. The FAA may assess civil penalties of up to $27,500. Criminal penalties include fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years. An operator will be required to have his or her FAA registration certificate in possession when operating the unmanned aircraft.

An operator must be 13 years of age or older before being permitted to register an unmanned aircraft. If the owner is less than 13 years of age, then a person who is at least 13 years of age must register the unmanned aircraft. They will have to provide their complete name, physical address, mailing address and email address.

Registrants will receive a unique registration number that applies to any and all UAS they own. All UAS must be marked with the registration number before operation. A registration certificate that contains the registration number, issue and expiration dates, and the name of the certificate holder will be sent via email.

The FAA believes the cost to operate the drone registration system will be $56 million through the year 2020.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that registration will improve drone safety. "Unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility," he said. "Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely."

For more information and to register, go to: http://www.faa.gov/uas/registration/.