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In December 2015 The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced a streamlined and user-friendly web-based aircraft registration process for owners of small unmanned aircraft (UAS) weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) including payloads such as on-board cameras.
As a result, anyone planning on carrying out a UAV flight should make sure to adhere to the following first steps:
- Determine eligibility requirements
You must register if you are 13 yrs of age or older and A U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. This final rule includes the statutory eligibility requirements for aircraft registration as required by 49 U.S.C. 44102.
Owners of any UAS purchased for use as a model aircraft after December 21, 2015 must register before the first flight outdoors. Owners may use either the paper-based process or the new streamlined, web-based system. Owners using the new streamlined web-based system must be at least 13 years old to register.
- Mark drone with ID Number
Registrants 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.
- Commercial and Large UAVs
Unmanned Aircraft weighing more than 55 lbs. cannot use this registration process and must register using the Aircraft Registry process.
- Be Familiar with No Fly Zones
There’s much confusion and or ignorance about where a drone can be legally flown The airmap resource provides information on identifying no fly zones and restricted airspace. Be sure to also consult local regulations, particularly concerning local events and fly-over rules. Note, a non-profit called NoFlyZone.org is attempting to address privacy concerns. It allows the public to dub the airspace above their homes as restricted, but depends on the voluntary participation of drone makers.
See also the UAS Registration FAQs to learn more about the program