PhotoThe Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has acted on the recommendations issued last month by its Registration Task Force, submitting a new rule requiring drone enthusiasts to register their aircraft by December 21.

The requirement covers all small, unmanned aircraft weighing more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds, including payloads such as on-board cameras.

“Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “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.”

Under the new rule, owners of small, unmanned aircraft who previously operated an unmanned aircraft exclusively as a model aircraft prior to December 21, 2015, must register no later than February 19, 2016.

Online registration an option

If a drone were purchased for use as a model aircraft after December 21, 2015, it must be registered before the first flight outdoors. Owners may send in a paper form or go online to complete the process.

To register, drone owners will need to provide their name, home address, and e-mail address. Upon completion of the registration process, the web application will generate a Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership that will include a unique identification number for the UAS owner, which must be marked on the aircraft.

The normal registration fee is $5, but in an effort to encourage as many people as possible to register quickly, the FAA is waiving this fee for the first 30 days, from Dec. 21, 2015 to Jan 20, 2016.

“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.”

Earlier this month, the Consumer Technology Association predicted as many as 400,000 drones would be sold during the holiday period.


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