FAA to require consumer drone registration from next week

New rule comes as drone sales are expected to soar

The U.S. government will start requiring owners of consumer drones to register their aircraft. The move, which has been expected, comes shortly before thousands of drones are expected to be given as holiday gifts.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which is responsible for aircraft registration, has rushed to bring in the rule as an increasing number of aircraft pilots report near-misses with consumer drones being flown illegally.

Under present rules, drones must remain under 400 feet in altitude, within line of sight of the operator, more than five miles from airports and away from groups of people, stadiums and major sporting events.

But that's not always happening.

Under the new rule, drones weighing between 0.55 lbs (250 grams) and 55 lbs (25kgs) will need to be registered. Upon competition, owners will receive a certificate and a registration number that needs to be marked on the drone.

In theory, law enforcement would be able to identify an illegally flown drone from the number, but the procedure appears to be more about bringing drone pilots into the aviation ecosystem.

The FAA said the rules are intended to encourage drone operators to realize that they are pilots and have the same safety responsibilities as pilots of manned aircraft.

The registration website will go live on Dec. 21 and anyone purchasing a drone from that date will be required to register before their first flight. People who have purchased drones prior to that date have until Feb. 19, 2016, to register.

Registration will require a name, home address and email address and will cost $5. It will be free during the first 30 days of the system to encourage early participation, the FAA said.

As for the teeth of the regulation, the FAA can apply civil penalties of up to $27,500 or criminal penalties of up to $250,000 and three years in prison for noncompliance.

When the FAA said in October that it was planning a registration process, it brought together a group representing drone users and manufacturers to come up with proposals for the system. The rules announced on Monday take on several of the group's recommendations.

The agency has also been criticized for coming up with new regulations after the 2012 FAA reauthorization act specifically prevented the FAA from imposing new rules on aviation hobbyists. The FAA said on Monday that the drone regulation proposal didn't constitute a new rule because its aircraft registration system has been in operation for a long time.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags drones

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?