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FAA Announces Rule for Small UAS Registration

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has released its Web-based registration process for owners of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) weighing more than .55 lbs. and less than 55 lbs.

On November 21, the Registration Task Force made recommendations to Michael Fuerta, FAA administrator, and Anthony Foxx, transportation secretary. A number of the task force recommendations are included in the final rule.

“Make no mistake: Unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators. With that title, comes a great deal of responsibility,” says Foxx. “Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely. I’m excited to welcome these new aviators into the culture of safety and responsibility that defines American innovation.”

Registration is a statutory requirement for all aircraft. Under the rule, 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. If you purchase a UAS for use as a model aircraft after December 21, 2015, you must register before your first flight outdoors. Owners may use either the paper-based process or the Web-based system ( If the Web-based system is used, owners must be at least 13 years old to register.

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.

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 normal registration fee is $5, but in an effort to encourage as many people as possible to register quickly, the FAA is waiving this fee for the first 30 days (from December 21, 2015 to January 20, 2016).

“We expect hundreds of thousands of model unmanned aircraft will be purchased this holiday season,” says 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.”

If you use a small UAS for business purposes, the online registration system does not support this type of registration yet. The FAA is developing enhancements that will allow this type of registration by spring of 2016.

View the rule in its entirety at

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