The Federal Aviation Administration announced their official rules around small unmanned aircraft, or better known as drones. This is going to affect everyone buying drones starting Dec 21, 2015 or getting gifted a drone weighing more than 0.55 lbs and less than 55 pounds with a payload, such as a camera and mount.
The drones may be considered hobbyist devices, but the FAA is concerned about drones flying in restricted airspace or a drone colliding with a manned aircraft. The drones will need to be registered before flying, and the registration number will need to be written on the drone. The registration is $5, and the FAA notes this is the same price for a Cessna.
Starting the 21st all civil drones unregistered will be illegal to fly, and if caught could come with a fine and civil jail time. The registration is open to all U.S. citizens, meaning foreign residents and aid workers may need to find other ways around. The FAA does note aid workers, tourist, students or nonresident can resisters their drone to “get recognition of ownership.” The process seems like the FAA hasn’t thought out the registration fully, but they wanted something out the door to combat drones in restricted airspace like airports or Washington D.C.
The registration fee could be challenged in court, as the government has said the FAA cannot regulate civil drones. Many officials and drone experts have argued to make registration free, to promote anyone to register their drone.
Any drones registered before February 19, 2016 will be free, but after that it’s going to cost owners a steep $5. Registrants must be at least 13 years old, and the process gets you a registration number and a certificate. I think for first time drone owners it will be cool to have an official certificate for your drone, but for long time drone lovers it’s a hassle in the process of buying their drone.
Tell us what you think about drone owners needing to register their unmanned aircraft with the FAA in the comments below!