Welcome to the FAA Regulations about Drones
The FAA has announced that non-commercial consumer drones will be subjected to the same registration and regulations as commercially-operated drones run by companies such as Amazon. A new document published by the FAA talks about the need to register your drones and discusses in detail about how the registrations will be made.
A special task force set up by the FAA found that consumer drones that weighed 250 grams (or 0.55 pounds) or less did not pose a great threat to human life, even if they were to fall from the sky, and so it wasn’t necessary for such drones to be registered with the FAA. However, drones that weighed over 0.55 pounds were deemed to be dangerous and it has been decided to make it mandatory to have them registered using a 3-step registration process.
Here’s how the 3-step registration process for consumer drones weighing over 0.55 pounds works…
1) Fill the details in an electronic registration form on the internet or through an app.
2) Get an electronic certificate of registration and personal universal registration number which you can then use for all consumer drones owned by you.
3) Mark the registration number that you are given (or registered serial number) on all consumer drones that require such a license prior to using them.
The registration process can be done through an app or through the websites of the manufacturers of the drones. Retailers don’t have to worry about the registration. It is the responsibility of the drone users to register their drones (if they weigh over 0.55 pounds) on the website of the manufacturer.
The information collected through the registration will include your (the drone owner’s) name and address. This makes it easy for authorities to track the owner of a rogue drone, one that has been deemed to be in violation of drone rules. Thankfully, the FAA has decided against asking for more detailed personal information such as the Social Security Number and date of birth.
Do I Have to Pay Fees?
No fees will be charged for the registration and the goal is to encourage ALL drone owners to register their drones and make their data available to the FAA, so that the government can create a national database of all commercial and consumer drones weighing over 0.55 pounds in the country.
During the registration process, you will be given a basic education on drone safety and regulations, such as one operator per drone, no flying beyond the line of sight, no flying over a populated region and no flying at night. These are the important rules related to drone flying that the FAA has already set in place.
Also, the FAA has mandated that only those over the age of 13 can fly drones that weigh 55 pounds and above. Children are not allowed to fly drones such as the DJI Phantom. Indeed, companies such as DJI and Parrot sell their drones along with a warning that they should only be flown by customers that are at least 18 years of age.
If there is one observation I can make, it is that our laws haven’t yet caught up with the rapid technological advances seen in the consumer drone industry. The FAA has a lot of catching up to do, and the best way to do that is to work together with the drone manufacturers to create the better safety regulations for consumer drone operation.
The registration system put forth by the FAA may not be the perfect solution, but it is pretty much the best idea we’ve had from the FAA for a long time. It should discourage bad behavior on the part of some drone flying hobbyists and educate people on how to fly drones safely. Overall, the FAA regulations about drones are a step in the right direction.
I wish you all the best, and remember that if you have any questions or comments you can post them in the comments section at the bottom of any blog post. It’s great to hear from you.
Founder of All Best Drones