Today’s the day! Time to register your drones with the FAA
posted Monday, December 21, 2015 at 1:21 PM EDT
Registration through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) begins today for all users of drones weighing between 0.55 and 55 pounds (250 grams to approximately 25 kilograms).
The federally-mandated registration program aims to make all unmanned aerial vehicles traceable in the event of security and privacy incidents. The "registration helps…ensure safety - for you, others on the ground, and manned aircraft." A $5 USD fee is required to register your aircraft, but you will be refunded your $5 if you register within the first 30 days, as an effort to expedite the registration process.
For any readers hesitant to register their drone, I'd recommend registering as soon as possible because failing to register your drone could result in "regulatory and criminal sanctions" with civil penalties up to $27,500. Harsher criminal penalties with fines up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years are also possible. Drone owners have up to 60 days to register their drones.
Once you have registered your drone, you will be legally required to have your proof of registration with you whenever you are operating your drone outdoors (drones used exclusively indoors do not have to be registered). Additionally, you must put your assigned unique registration number on your drone in a location that allows it to be readily seen.
To register your drone through the new registration website, you have to be an individual recreation or hobby user and meet U.S. citizenship requirements. According to FAA documents, the registration system will be available to other drone operators (presumably non-US citizens and commercial users) in the spring of 2016 according to the FAA's press release. Drone registration will have to be renewed once every three years for an additional $5 fee. Fortunately, you can register multiple drones under the same registration and unique registration number.
If you aren’t able to register your drone within the next 60 days you could always use it to blend food instead…