As Drones Take Off, FAA Hovers with New Regulations and Registration
We expect hundreds of thousands of model unmanned aircraft will be purchased this holiday season, said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.
Registration gives us the opportunity to educate these new airspace users before they fly so they know the airspace rules and understand they are accountable to the public for flying responsibly.
- You need to register your aircraft if it weighs between 0.55 lbs. (250 grams) and up to 55 lbs. (25 kg)
- You will be subject to civil and criminal penalties if you meet the criteria to register a drone and do not register.
If you're curious whether your drone requires registration and you don't want to go digging for the specs yourself, fear not: We did it for you. Or rather, we're doing it for you.
This handy chart tells you exactly whether you need to register your drone, and we'll be updating it continuously (it's an ongoing project, so bear with us!). Maybe you're thinking about getting one soon and you'd rather opt for something that doesn't require registration.
Either way, the chart has your answers. The FAA has its own chart with a few examples, but if you need more information or don't see your device there, hopefully we can help.
Drone Registration Rules
The registration rules are pretty simple and straight forward:
- Any UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) .55 pounds or over, must be registered (Yes, a Drone is a UAS).
- Registered owners must 13 years old or older. If less than 13, a parent or guardian must register.
- Only drones flown outdoors must be registered. If you fly indoors, there is no need register.
The good news is that you only need to register once, meaning, you have more than one drone, only one registration is required.
If you are using your drone commercially (other than hobby or recreation), if it weighs over 55lbs, or you plan to fly it outside the United States, you must register.
The biggest thing of concern over recreational drones has revolved around safety, particularly near airports. Pilots are seeing them in close proximity, and the FAA sees its charter as the safety of the national airspace, said Fry.
Kids are flying more advanced UAVs than have been on the market before. There is an issue in terms of control over the sheer number expected to be purchased in the upcoming months and year.
Want to learn more about recreational drone registration and regulations (before Timmy launches his new toy into trouble)?
Check out the Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) Registration Service at