FAA: unmaned aircraft

It is now official, beginning December 21, 2015 the Federal Aviation Administration will now require registration of all Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) on their registration website: http://www.faa.gov/uas/registration/

Q: What is the definition of a UAS? Is it different from a drone?

A: A UAS is an unmanned aircraft system. For registration purposes, a UAS includes, but is not limited to the following: quadcopters, drones, helicopters and planes.

Q: Does the FAA have the authority to require registration of UAS used by modelers and hobbyists?

A: Yes. By statute all aircraft are required to register. Congress has defined "aircraft" to include UAS, regardless of whether they are operated by modelers and hobbyists.

Q: What is the penalty for failing to register?

A: Failure to register an aircraft may result in regulatory and criminal sanctions. The FAA may assess civil penalties up to $27,500. Criminal penalties include fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years.

Q: Will an operator be required to have proof of registration while operating the UAS?

A: Yes. You will be required to have your FAA registration certificate in your possession when operating your unmanned aircraft.

Q: Why do I need to register?

A: Federal law requires aircraft registration. Registration helps us ensure safety – for you, others on the ground, and manned aircraft. UAS pose new security and privacy challenges and must be traceable in the event of an incident. It will also help enable the return of your UAS should it be lost.

Q: Where can I find information about operating my UAS safely?

A: You can find safety and operating guidance on the internet at www.faa.gov/uas/model_aircraft. The unmanned aircraft systems website contains important safety guidance as well as other facts and information.

Q: Who is required to register on the new online UAS registration website?

A: Only individual recreational or hobby users who meet U.S. citizenship requirements are able to register their unmanned aircraft using this new streamlined web-based process. This new, faster and easier system will be available for other UAS owners soon.

Q: Which unmanned aircraft may register under the new registration requirements?

A: Unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds and more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) on takeoff, including everything that is on board or otherwise attached to the aircraft and operated outdoors in the national airspace system must register. These aircraft may register under the new web-based registration system.

Q: Is there a weight limit on what requires registration?

A: All owners of small UAS weighing more than 250 grams (0.55 lbs.) and less than 55 lbs. must register using this new system

Q: Do children's toys need to be registered?

A: Not if they weigh below 250 gm/0.55 lb. or less. Most "toys" the FAA has identified at a purchase price of $100 or less have been determined to weigh less than 250g.

Q: If I'm just flying it for fun in my yard, do I have to register it?

A: Yes, if the UAS weight is within the stated weights for registration.

Q: If I only fly it indoors, do I have to register it?

A: No, the FAA does not regulate indoor UAS use.

Q: Do homemade drones need to be registered?

A: Yes, if they fall within the weight criteria.

Q: Will the requirement apply to UAS that I owned and operated before the registration process existed?

A: Yes. Owners who purchased their UAS prior to Dec. 21, 2015 will have 60 days to register.

Q: Can I register a UAS under the new system using a paper form?

A: No. The new registration system is an online web-based system only, but you may use the older paper-based system if you prefer.

Q: Is there a minimum age requirement?

A: Yes. You must be 13 years of age or older before you are permitted to register an unmanned aircraft. If the owner is less than 13 years of age, then a person who is at least 13 years of age must register the unmanned aircraft.

Q: If I get a drone as a gift do I need to register?

A: Yes, unless the drone already has been registered in your name and you have the unique identification number. If the name or address registered is different from yours, you should update the registration to your name and address to aid in the return of your UAS if it is lost.

Q: What happens if I sell my drone?

A: You should log on to the registration website and update your registration information. We also strongly encourage you to remove your registration number from the drone before the transfer of ownership.

How to use the new registration process

Q: Where do I go to register my drone?

A: You can register your drone on FAA.gov beginning on December 21, 2015.

Q: When must I register?

A: You must register prior to operating the UAS outdoors.

Q: When will I be able to register on the UAS website?

A: The FAA UAS Registration website will be available starting December 21, 2015.

Q: What information will I be required to provide on the FAA UAS Registration website?

A: You must provide your complete name, physical address, mailing address, and an email address. The email address will be used as your login ID when you set up your account.

Q: Do I have to provide any information on my UAS?

A: Individual recreational users do not have to enter the make, model, and serial number. All others will be required to provide the make, model, and serial number when the website is available to all other users.

Q: If I own multiple drones, do I have to register them all?

A: No. You may register once and apply the same registration number to all your UAS.

Q: Does it cost anything to register?

A: Federal law requires owners to pay $5 to register their aircraft. However, registration is free for the first 30 days to encourage speedy registration of UAS. During the first 30 days, you must pay $5 with a credit card and a $5 credit will appear shortly afterwards.

Q: When must UAS owners who purchased their aircraft before December 21, 2015 register?

A: UAS operated by the current owner prior to December 21, 2015, must be registered no later than February 19, 2016. For all other UAS, registration is required prior to operation.

Q: Is there a registration renewal requirement for UAS, like there is for manned aircraft?

A: Yes. You will be required to renew every three years and you must pay a $5 renewal fee.

Q: What should I expect once I complete my registration on the UAS website?

A: You will receive a unique registration number that applies to any and all UAS that you own. You must mark all of your UAS with the unique registration number before operating. A registration certificate that contains the unique FAA registration number, the issue and expiration dates, and the name of the certificate holder will be sent to your email address immediately.

FOR FURTHER FAQ AND INFORMATION, VISIT: http://www.faa.gov/uas/registration/faqs/