How to register your drone with the FAA: It’s now required before you fly your drone
WASHINGTON, D.C. – If you’re among the 400,000 people who found a new drone under their Christmas tree last week, the federal government has a message for you: Don’t fly until you register with the FAA. Under the new rule, the Federal Aviation Administration requires all recreational and hobby drone operators to register their new tech toy before flying outdoors. Owners must register at the FAA’s website any small drone weighing between 0.55 and 55 pounds, and place a registration number on their drone before it takes to the skies. More than 45,000 drones were registered in the first two days after the FAA launched the new system Dec. 21, an FAA spokesman said Wednesday. Updated figures were not available. The FAA will refund the $5 registration fee for the first 30 days after Dec. 21. Drone owners must provide the FAA with their name, place of residence and a valid email address in order to register. Those who operated small drones prior to Dec. 21 will have until Feb. 19 of next year to register with the FAA. After registration, the FAA will email a certificate containing the holder’s name, registration number, and dates of issuance and expiration. The registration will have to be renewed every three years. Drone operators are expected to carry a printed or electronic version of the registration certificate, like a driver’s license, when operating their unmanned aircraft. The FAA decided to require the registration process after a record number of close encounters between recreational drones and commercial aircraft this year. The FAA will answer questions about the registration process by email at UAShelp@faa.gov or by phone from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern, seven days a week.