Las Vegas, NV—The U.S. government, specifically the FAA, is requiring owners of consumer drones to register their aircraft beginning December 21, 2015. On that date, the registration website goes live. The move comes shortly before thousands of drones will be given as holiday gifts.
With the dramatic increase in the number of consumer drones taking to the skies in the last few years, as well as complaints by aircraft pilots and privacy issues, it was no surprise the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) would act. The FAA is responsible for aircraft registration, would act.
The FAA said the new rules are intended to encourage drone operators to realize they are pilots and have the same safety responsibilities as pilots of manned aircraft.
FAA Registration Requirements
In the past, drones were required to remain under 400 feet in altitude, within line of sight of the operator, and more than five miles from airports as well as large groups of people and major sporting events. Under the new FAA rules, drones weighing between 0.55–55 pounds need to be registered.
Drone pilots need to receive a certificate and a registration number. That number needs to be marked on the drone. The registration number will help law enforcement to identify an illegally flown drone.
Anyone purchasing a drone after December 21, 2015 is required to register before flying it. People who purchased drones prior to December 21 have until February 19, 2016, to register. The cost of registration is $5, but it is free for the first 30 days to encourage early participation.
The FAA can apply civil penalties of up to $27,500. They can also apply criminal penalties of up to $250,000 and three years in prison for noncompliance with regulations. faa.gov