FAA Has Issued New Small UAS Registration Rule

December 14, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced a new rule today requiring registration of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) weighing more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds.. The official weight of the UAS includes any payloads, such as cameras.

Under the new rule (which is effective December 21, 2015), any owner of a small UAS who has exclusively operated the UAS as a model aircraft before December 21, 2015, must register no later than February 19, 2016. Those who purchase their UAS for use as a model aircraft after December 21, 2015, must register before their first outdoor flight. A paper-based option is available, but owners of model UAS can complete a streamlined online registration process. An owner must be at least 13 years of age to complete the registration process. The normal registration fee will be $5; however, that fee will be waived from Dec. 21, 2015 to Jan 20, 2016, to encourage new registrations. Owners may use the same registration identification numbers for all of their hobby aircraft. The registration will be valid for a three-year period. The owner must mark all aircraft with the  FAA-issued number generated during the registration process. The new online system is not yet available for owners of UAS that are used for purposes other than hobby or recreation. FAA is working toward allowing online registrations for those aircraft by Spring of 2016.

The full text of the new rule can be accessed here.