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UAS & Drone Registration Overview


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Learn why you need to resister your drone with the FAA in order to fly in the United States. This covers policies that affect hobbyist and commercial flyers.

Published in: Technology

UAS & Drone Registration Overview

  1. 1. Registering a Drone or Quadcopter 
 Unmanned Aircraft Systems Registration Richard Harrington
  2. 2. Agenda • Review the new requirements for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Registration • Evaluate which devices are affected by the new rules • Review the Registration and Marking Requirements for Small Unmanned Aircraft Interim Final Rule • Walk through the registration process
  3. 3. Who Am I? • Publisher of • Author 40+ Books for Photographers and 
 Video Pros • Author 100+ Video Courses • Program Manager for the National Association of Broadcaster’s Post|Production World Conference • Photographer • Quadcopter hobbyist
  4. 4. Who I Am Not… • A lawyer • A pilot • An employee of the Federal Aviation Administration
  5. 5. Small UAS 
 Registration Rule New rules affecting those flying in 
 the United States
  6. 6. “Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiasts are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility.” – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx
  7. 7. “Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely.” – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx
  8. 8. “I’m excited to welcome these new aviators into the culture of safety and responsibility that defines American innovation.” – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx
  9. 9. Why the New Rules? • The estimate for 2015 sales indicates that 1.6 million small unmanned aircraft intended to be used as model aircraft are expected to be sold. • The rapid proliferation of new small UAS will bring owners and operators who are new to aviation and have no understanding of the National Air Space or the safety requirements for operating.
  10. 10. Why the New Rules? • Registration will provide a means by which to quickly identify these small unmanned aircraft in the event of an incident or accident involving the small UAS. • Registration of small unmanned aircraft also provides an immediate and direct opportunity for the FAA to educate small UAS owners on safety requirements before they begin operating.
  11. 11. 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 Hobbyist 
 (model aircraft) 1.6 1.9 2.3 2.9 3.5 4.3 Commercial 
 (non-model aircraft) 0.0 0.6 2.5 2.6 2.6 2.7 Total 1.6 2.5 4.8 5.4 6.1 7.1 Note: numbers may not add due to rounding Sales Forecast 
 Summary Million sUAS units
  12. 12. Who’s Affected by the New Rules • Owners of small unmanned aircraft (UAS) weighing more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds • This includes any payloads such as on-board cameras • Registration is a statutory requirement that applies to all aircraft • A permit or license required by law to allow you to engage in a certain activity
  13. 13. Who’s Affected by the New Rules • Any owner of a small UAS who has previously operated an unmanned aircraft exclusively as a model aircraft prior to December 21, 2015, must register no later than February 19, 2016. • Owners of any other UAS purchased for use as a model aircraft after December 21, 2015 must register before the first flight outdoors. • Owners may use either the paper-based process or the new streamlined, web-based system.  • Owners using the new streamlined web-based system must be at least 13 years old to register.
  14. 14. Who’s Affected by the New Rules • Owners using the model aircraft for hobby or recreation will only have to register once and may use the same identification number for all of their model UAS. • The registration is valid for three years. • The online registration system does not yet support registration of small UAS used for any purpose other than hobby or recreation – for example, using an unmanned aircraft in connection with a business. • The FAA is developing enhancements that will allow such online registrations by spring of 2016.
  15. 15. General Question and Answers Making sense of the rules
  16. 16. QUESTION: What is the definition of a UAS? 
 Is it different from a drone?
  17. 17. ANSWER: A UAS is an unmanned aircraft system. 
 A drone and a UAS are the same for registration purposes.
  18. 18. QUESTION: Does the FAA have the authority to require registration of UAS used by modelers and hobbyists?
  19. 19. ANSWER: Yes. By statute all aircraft are required to register. Congress has defined “aircraft” to include UAS, regardless of whether they are operated by modelers and hobbyists.
  20. 20. QUESTION: What is the penalty for failing to register?
  21. 21. ANSWER: Failure to register an aircraft may result in regulatory and criminal sanctions. 
 The FAA may assess civil penalties up to $27,500. Criminal penalties include fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years.
  22. 22. QUESTION: Will an operator be required to have proof of registration while operating 
 the UAS?
  23. 23. ANSWER: Yes. You will be required to have your FAA registration certificate in your possession when operating your unmanned aircraft.
  24. 24. QUESTION: Why do I need to register?
  25. 25. ANSWER: Federal law requires aircraft registration. Registration helps us ensure safety – 
 for you, others on the ground, and manned aircraft. UAS pose new security and privacy challenges and must be traceable in the event of an incident. It will also help enable the return of your UAS should it be lost.
  26. 26. QUESTION: Where can I find information about operating my UAS safely?
  27. 27. ANSWER: You can find safety and operating guidance on the internet at The unmanned aircraft systems website contains important safety guidance as well as other facts and information.
  28. 28. Which Devices Need to Register? Does your device need to register?
  29. 29. Two Classes of Devices
  30. 30. Most Toy Devices are Not Affected • Do not need to register if they weigh below 250 gm/0.55 pounds • Most "toys" the FAA has identified at a purchase price of $100 or less have been determined to weigh less than 250g • You can find more information in this Recreational UAS Weights document —
  31. 31. Most Toy Devices Are Not Affected Name Weight Register Air Hogs Helix X4 Stunt 0.11 No Air Hogs Millenium Falcon 0.29 No Extreme Fliers Micro Drone 2.0 0.08 No Helimax 1SQ 0.07 No Helimax 1SQ V-cam 0.07 No Helimax 1Si (with camera) 0.10 No Helimax 230Si (with camera) 0.30 No Hubsan x4 (H107L) 0.50 No Hubsan x4 Nano 0.03 No Hubsan x4 camera 0.10 No Research by Wired Magazine
  32. 32. Most Toy Devices Are Not Affected Name Weight Register Parrot Airborne Cargo minidrone 0.10 No Parrot Airborne Night minidrone 0.10 No Parrot Rolling Spider minidrone 0.10 No Sky Viper 0.29 No Syma X5 0.20 No Syma X5C 0.20 No UDI Discovery 0.29 No Research by Wired Magazine
  33. 33. All Other UAS Must Register • Unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds and more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) on takeoff, including everything that is on board or otherwise attached to the aircraft and operated outdoors in the national airspace system must register. • These aircraft may register under the new web-based registration system. • An "unmanned aircraft system" includes the communication links and components that control the small unmanned aircraft along with all of the other elements needed to safely operate the drone.
  34. 34. All Other UAS Must Register • Paper airplanes, toy balloons, Frisbees, and similar items are not connected to such control system. • Both tethered and untethered UAS must be registered. • If you fly in your backyard, you still need to register. • If you only fly a UAS indoors, you do not have to register. • Homemade drones need to be registered if they fall within the weight criteria.
  35. 35. Other UAS Are Affected Name Weight Register 3DR Iris+ 2.8 Yes 3DR Solo (with gimbal) 3.9 Yes 3DR Solo (without gimbal) 3.3 Yes DJI Inspire 1 6.5 Yes DJI Inspire Pro 6.3 Yes DJI Phantom 3 Advanced 2.8 Yes DJI Phantom 3 Professional 2.8 Yes DJI Phantom 3 Standard 2.7 Yes Helimax FORM500 3.1 Yes Helimax Voltage 500 - 3D 2 Yes Research by Wired Magazine
  36. 36. Other UAS Are Affected Name Weight Register Hubsan x4 FPV 0.8 Yes Hubsan x4 Pro 2.3 Yes Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 (Elite Edition) 0.9 Yes Parrot Bebop 0.9 Yes Parrot Bebop 2 1.1 Yes UDI U818A HD 0.8 Yes UDI U818A-1 Discovery (HD model) 0.8 Yes UDI U842 Falcon 0.8 Yes Yuneec Typhoon G 3.7 Yes Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4K 3.7 Yes Yuneec Typhoon Q500+ 3.7 Yes Research by Wired Magazine
  37. 37. All Other UAS Must Register • If you own a drone before December 21, 2015 you must register 
 it by February 19, 2016 • If you buy it after December 21, 2015 you must register it before your first flight
  38. 38. What About the Rest? • UAS that are 55 pounds or more must be registered using the current paper-based system at: • The new system does not yet support registration of small UAS used in connection with a business. It will in the future. • For now you need to register using the paper-based process at
  39. 39. The Registration Process What does it take to register?
  40. 40. The Registration Process • The new registration system is an online web-based system only, but you may use the older paper-based system if you prefer. • You must be 13 years of age or older before you are permitted to register an unmanned aircraft. If the owner is less than 13 years of age, then a person who is at least 13 years of age must register the unmanned aircraft. • Only United States citizens can register their small UAS. 
 The certificate serves as a certificate of ownership for non-citizens, not a registration certificate.
  41. 41. The Registration Process • You can register your drone on beginning on 
 December 21, 2015. • Owners who purchased their UAS prior to December 21, 2015 will have 60 days to register. • All UAS operated prior to December 21, 2015, must be registered no later than February 19, 2016. • New purchasers must register prior to operating the UAS outdoors.
  42. 42. The Registration Process • You must provide your complete name, physical address, mailing address, and an email address. • The email address will be used as your login ID when you set up your account. • Individual recreational users do not have to enter the make, model, and serial number. • Recreational users may register once and apply the same registration number to all of your UAS.
  43. 43. How Long Will it Take? • To register an aircraft via the paper-based system is 30 minutes. • For a model aircraft owner to establish an online account and register an aircraft is estimated to take 5 minutes. The bulk of this time includes reading and acknowledging basic safety information presented during the registration process. • For a non-modeler registrant to establish an online account and register two small unmanned aircraft is 7 minutes; 5 minutes to establish an account plus 1 minute per small unmanned aircraft. • For a non-modeler registrant to de-register each aircraft is three minutes.
  44. 44. Model Aircraft Operations • Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles • Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times • Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations • Don't fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying • Don't fly near people or stadiums • Don't fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 lbs • Don't be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft – you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft
  45. 45. The Registration Process • All non-recreational users will be required to provide the make, model, and serial number when the website is available to all other users. • You must register each and apply a unique registration number to all your UAS.
  46. 46. Civil Operations (Non-Governmental) • Section 333 Exemption – a grant of exemption in accordance with Section 333 AND a civil Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA); this process may be used to perform commercial operations in low- risk, controlled environments. • Special Airworthiness Certificate (SAC) – applicants must be able to describe how their system is designed, constructed, and manufactured, including engineering processes, software development and control, configuration management, and quality assurance procedures used, along with how and where they intend to fly.
  47. 47. The Cost of Registration • Federal law requires owners to pay $5 to register their aircraft. • The FAA is legally required to charge a registration fee. • The credit card transaction helps authenticate the user. • The fee pays for the costs of creating the streamlined web-based registry system, and to maintain and improve this system. • Hobbyists pay $5 for all aircraft. • Non-Hobbyists pay $5 per aircraft.
  48. 48. Free Registration • Registration is free for the first 30 days to encourage speedy registration (until January 20, 2016). • You must pay $5 with a credit card and a credit will appear shortly afterwards.
  49. 49. DRAFT
  50. 50. After Registering What do you need to do now?
  51. 51. The Certificate of Registration • A certificate of registration will be available to download and will be sent to your email address at the time of registration. • When operating your UAS you must be able to present the certificate in either print or electronic format if asked for proof of registration. • Anyone who operates your drone must have the Certificate of Aircraft Registration in their possession. • You can give them a paper copy, email it to them, or they can show it electronically from the registration website.
  52. 52. The Certificate of Registration • All users can submit information to the UAS registry; however, the law only permits the FAA to register aircraft belonging to United States citizens and permanent residents. • For all others, the certificate received from the registry comprises a recognition of ownership, rather than a registration. • Foreign nationals who have completed the recognition of ownership process and wish to receive a rebate for the $5 registration fee may contact the FAA.
  53. 53. The Certificate of Registration • Registrants will need to provide their name, home address and 
 e-mail address. • Upon completion of the registration process, the web application will generate a Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership that will include a unique identification number for the UAS owner, which must be marked on the aircraft.
  54. 54. Labeling Your Drone • You will receive a unique FAA registration number, and you must mark the registration number on your UAS by some means that is legible and allows the number to be readily seen. • The registration number may be placed in a battery compartment as long as it can be accessed without the use of tools. • You may use any method to affix the number, such as permanent marker, label, engraving, or other means, as long as the number is readily accessible and maintained in a condition that is readable and legible upon close visual inspection.
  55. 55. Operation Procedure • Completion of the registration process does not provide authorization to operate your UAS. • Please refer to for requirements pertaining to operating authorization. • Typical buildings have floors that are 12-14 feet high. • A 30-40 story building would be about 400 feet high. If you lose sight of your unmanned aircraft, it is probably above 400 feet.
  56. 56. Model Aircraft Operations • Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles • Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times • Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations • Don't fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying • Don't fly near people or stadiums • Don't fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 lbs • Don't be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft – you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft
  57. 57. Resources • • • • •