This article explains the process of registering a drone with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Learn about the registration requirements, the costs, and other guidelines.
FAA Requires Registration for all Drones
The use of personal and commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) is growing rapidly. The proliferation of un-monitored and untracked objects flying in the skies makes it challenging for the FAA to ensure the safety of commercial planes. The potential exists for people to use drones for illegal purposes and even terrorist acts.
As of December 21, 2015, anyone who wishes to fly their drone outside must register the vehicle with the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). Those who don’t complete the official registration process may face civil and even criminal penalties.
If you’re a private investigator who uses drones for surveillance or aerial photography, I highly recommend that you understand clearly how to register a drone to protect yourself, your business, and your clients. The registration process is simple and the fees are minimal.
Who is required to register?
Anyone who owns a drone and wishes to fly the vehicle outdoors must register the device with the FAA. Individuals who are 13 years of age or older must register their own devices. If an individual is younger than 13, a parent or legal guardian must sign up for them. This applies to all United States citizens and legal residents.
Which devices must be registered?
This applies to all drone devices that weigh more than .55 pounds (or 250 grams) and less than 55 pounds. Those who own unmanned aircraft that weigh more than 55 pounds must be registered via the aircraft registry process.
Owners are required to register by paper if they plan to use the equipment for certain purposes, such as for commercial use, or if they plan to use it outside of the United States.
How to Register a Drone with the FAA
First, you need to decide how you plan to use the drone. If you plan to use it for recreational use, then you’ll register to fly under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, Section 336. Flying under this rule has specific requirements that you should clearly understand before registering and using the device.
Examples of requirements include that you must a device that is under 55 pounds. Also, you must fly within your line of sight (meaning, you can lose sight of your drone). Read the full list of requirements on the FAA Special Rule for Model Aircraft page.
If you plan to use the drone for commercial use, you need to register under the FAA’s Small UAS Rule, Section 107. The registration process is more thorough and requires that you are at least 16 years old, take FAA training, and pass an exam. Learn more about the FAA’s Small UAS Rule.
How much does it cost to register a drone?
The cost to register a drone depends on which rule you plan to fly under. If you fly under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, there is no registration fee.
If you plan to fly under the FAA Small UAS Rule, the registration fee is $5.00 and is good for three years.
Where to get Help with Registration
If you need assistance with the registration process, send an email to UAShelp@faa.gov. Live phone support is available seven days a week from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM Eastern time. Phone assistance is also available at 844-244-3565.
If you have any questions about how to register a drone, please leave a comment below.
Where to Buy a Drone
If you’re interested in buying a drone, you can purchase one from Amazon.com. The model I suggest is the Cheerwing Syma Quadcopter Drone UFO with an HD Wifi Camera. It is lightweight, fast, and easy to learn to use. It comes equipped with an HD camera that allows you to take photos and videos while flying.
Learn more about the product, read reviews and place an order at Cheerwing Syma X5SW-V3 FPV Explorers2 Cheerwing Syma Headless Quadcopter Drone UFO with HD Wifi Camera.
Related: Learn how drones are used by Law Enforcement and Private Investigators to conduct surveillance and search-and-rescue missions.