Drones are a remarkable innovation, and in recent times, they have stormed the market and garnered massive popularity, and it is easy to see why. Not only are they a trendy technological marvel, but they also have an assortment of uses ranging from commercial, agricultural, governmental, and of course recreational. Even so, their surging numbers combined the several near-miss incidents with both firefighters and commercial aircraft led the Federal Aviation Administration to declare that these gadgets need to be registered.
For first time owners, in particular, it can be quite a challenge trying to understand how to register your newly acquired drone. However, thanks to this comprehensive drone registration guide, you can now rest easy as everything you need to know about drone registration is at your disposal. This resource has been put together to guide you through the somewhat hallenging’ process of registering your drone and outlines among other things how to register, where you should register, not to mention how to do it. It seeks to answer some of the most common questions relative to drone registration including:
•Do I need to register my drone?
•Why is registration important?
•What are the drone registration requirements?
•Where should I register my drone?
•What are the registration costs?
•What types of drones should be registered?
By carefully following through this guide to the end, you can now have a hassle-free drone registration process. However, before going into the process of drone registration, it is important to answer these questions to give you a better understanding of the entire process. Check it out.
Do I Need To Register My Drone?
Yes and here is why…
On 12th December 2017, the US President signed into law the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) to allow the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to make the registration of drones mandatory! Generally, the rule states that you MUST register your drone with the FAA provided it weighs over 250 grams (0.55 pounds).
Why Is Registration Necessary?
With consumer drones gradually gaining popularity, there is a need to control how and where these gadgets operate. In recent times, drones have been frequently spotted around airports, crash-landing close to the White House, as well as even interfering with firefighters. It is these actions that sparked the need to hold drone owners accountable as well as help avert accidents that led the FAA to introduce the new registration rules.
In essence, the process of registration was initiated for several distinct reasons which include:
•To maintain public safety
•To uphold national security
•To safeguard the privacy rights of individuals
What’s more, registration of drones allows the FAA to verify the status of the gadget and if it is safe to fly. By doing so, the FAA can reduce the risks of accidental drone crashes among other incidents. Also, besides just safety, registration ensures that if your drone isappears’ in the air, it can subsequently be returned to you.
What if I Forgot to Register My Drone?
Ensure that you follow up and register your drone right after buying it (that is if it qualifies for registration). However, in case you forget to register it-which is often an unlikely event since most manufacturers tend to remind you-ensure you do the registration as soon as it hits your mind! Why? Unlike before, if you are caught with an unregistered UAV, you are liable to being penalized or even prosecution.
Where can I register my drone?
All drones are registered with the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). The FAA is an exclusive government agency headquartered in the USA. It administers everything in civil aviation.
How much does FAA Drone Registration Cost?
Usually, the FAA charges you a one-time registration fee of $5. This registration, however, lasts for three years.
Are there penalties for failing to register my Drone?
Since the new law was introduced, the FAA has also come up with several penalties to punish any defaulters. If a drone owner/pilot fails to register their drone and are expected to, he/she will be subject to criminal and civil penalties as established by the USA drone regulation terms.
Civil penalties can usually mean a hefty fine of up to $27,500 and even potential jail time. Similarly, Criminal penalties have an even heftier fine of up to $250,000 or a jail sentence not exceeding three years.
Is there a legal age to register and operate a drone?
Provided you are an American Citizen; you have attained the minimum age of 13 years, not to mention that your drone satisfies all requirements, you are eligible to register your drone through the official registration of the FAA. However, if you own a drone but are below the age of 13 years, you will need your parent, guardian, or anyone who is older than you to do the registration on your behalf.
Do I Have to Update my Drone Registration?
As earlier mentioned, your FAA drone registration only lasts a maximum of three years. As such, you will be required to register your gadget once more. Even so, there are several circumstances where you can have just a single drone registration that covers all your devices notwithstanding how many you own whether ten or a hundred.
In such an event, all you need to do is mark all your drones with one registration number. Nonetheless, in some unique cases like when you want to sell your drone, you are required to update the ownership of the drone’s registration number. In this case, you will have to send an email to request a database update to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I need to Have My Aircraft Registration certification With Me While Flying?
Yes. In the event that you are flying your drone, you MUST have an FAA registration certificate. Fortunately for you, you can easily access this certificate either on paper or electronically. This rule also applies where you have someone else flying your drone-they should also have the certificate with them.
As per the US Federal Law, all drone operators MUST show the registration certificate to any local, State, or Federal officer on request.
Drone Registration Requirements:
Typically, the FAA will offer you two different drone registration options:
Most drone owners fall in the category of recreational drone registration.
The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) outlines that all drones which weight less than 55 lbs or more than 0.55 lbs, must be officially registered with the Authority (FAA). Therefore, if your gadget weight ranges between 0.55 lbs (pounds) and 55 lbs (pounds), it is vital that you ensure that you register it with the FAA.
Similarly, if the drone weighs well over 55 lbs, you MUST register it as a traditional aircraft.
Alternatively, if you operate your drone either for recreational or hobby purposes, the FAA requires that you register it as a standard odel aircraft’ and in particular, under Section 336. Nonetheless, if you solely operate your drone for commercial purposes, the FAA requires that you register your aircraft under Part 107 as a standard mall unmanned aircraft’.
One other essential requirement is that you need to have a Remote Pilot Certificate issued by the FAA.
Generally, all government-owned drones notwithstanding their weight need to be registered under 14 C.F.R. Part 48 or Part 47 as standard traditional aircraft. You can get this and much more on FAA’s official website. In comparison to registering commercial or recreational drones, the registration procedure for government-owned aircrafts is relatively more difficult. If you are having trouble navigating through this process, you can always consult an attorney to guide you through it.
If you are establishing your own arsenal of aircraft/drones, you need not register all of them individually. All you need to do is register once which grants you your registration number similar to a typical license plate number which applies to your whole fleet and which lasts three years. After expiry, you need to register again.
Notwithstanding whether you need to register your drone when it comes to flying your drone, similar rules apply. Flying your drone close to a military base, or an airport is prohibited. Also, you should not fly your drone over densely populated regions such as Washington D.C for instance or any national park. You should also not operate your drone when intoxicated not to mention flying your drone above 400 ft.
Lastly, the law also prohibits you from flying your aircraft where you have no clear view of it.
How do I start the drone registration process?
Although there are multiple resources about drone registration around the world, you need not assume that you have completed the registration process of your drone if you register it anywhere other than with the FAA.
As soon as you have ascertained that your aircraft fulfills all the necessary drone registration requirements, you can now go ahead with the process of registration as highlighted below:
Step-By-Step Guide on How to Register Your Drone:
Step 1: The first step in registering your drone is to visit the FAA official DroneZone website. Log in using your existing account details (that is if you have already registered).
Step 2: If this is your first time or you have never owned a drone before, you will start by creating an account. This you will do by following all the standard necessary account creation steps where you use your email to create your account name. The process will require you to input a case-sensitive password with a few unique requirements as well as verify the email address you have provided.
Step 3: After you have opened an account, you will be expected to select the registration type you want. Usually, there are two types of registrations options available for you as earlier mentioned. One of the options is to fly your drone under art 107’ that enables you to operate both commercially and recreationally. If you select commercial flying, you will have to pay a fee of $150 as well as pass an exclusive Pilot Certificate Test. On the other hand, if you choose Recreational Flying, you will only have to pay a fee of $5 and adhere to recreational flying rule as part of a model aircraft group.
Step 4: The next step is to fill out the necessary profile credentials that include your full names, your physical address, as well as your mailing address. Afterward, you will have to read through and agree with the safety guidelines as established by the FAA. Considering the severe consequences that come with the misuse of a drone, It is crucial that you familiarize yourself with and read all the guidelines carefully before agreeing to them.
Step 5: This is the last step, and in this step, you are required to disclose your credit card information. This is to allow the successful processing of the $5 drone registration fee.
As soon as you have completed the process, the FAA will then give you a special 10-digit drone registration number.
Note: In line with the decree issued on 25th February 2019, you MUST mark all your drones with this 10-digit number and ensure that it is placed in a visible area on the aircraft’s exterior before you can proceed to fly it/them.
What’s more, the FAA will also send you an email through the email you registered with containing a legal certificate which officially confirms your registration. The wisest thing to do once you receive this certificate is to print it in case you are needed to avail further proof of FAA drone registration for your aircraft by authorities.
What’s next after completing the registration?
Once you have registered your aircraft, the FAA will provide you with a special registration number and an official certificate. The FAA requires all drone owners and operators to have this registration certificate nearby especially when you are flying your drone. Furthermore, the FAA also requires that you display this registration number on a visible part of your drone. You can use a permanent marker or label to do this.
Even after registration, don’t fly your aircraft unless you are well-informed on the fundamental operating requirements. Usually, there are varied requirements for mall unmanned aircrafts’ as well as odel aircraft.’
Lastly, ensure that you do not fly your drone close to an airport (don’t go within 5 miles of the airport to be precise!)