The task force formed by the Federal Aviation Administration to figure out how to register U.S. drone purchases in order to better keep track of the unmanned aircraft has issued its official recommendations.
The good news is that if the FAA adopts these recommendations as its final registration process, it should be fairly painless for drone owners.
As expected, the task force’s recommendation excludes smaller drones from registration, specifically those that weight less than 250 grams, or about half a pound. The task came to that figure using some very complicated math to figure out how much a drone could weigh without there being a high chance that it could hurt someone should it fall from the sky.
In order to register, drone owners will need only follow three steps:
1. Fill out an electronic registration form through the web or through an application (app).
2. Immediately receive an electronic certificate of registration and a personal universal registration number for use on all sUAS owned by that person.
3. Mark the registration number (or registered serial number) on all applicable sUAS prior to their operation in the NAS.
Basically, you’ll be able to complete the whole process online very quickly.
Carrying over from guidelines established decades ago for model aircraft, registration also has a weight limit and won’t apply to drones that weigh 55 pounds or more. At that point, the aircraft is not technically considered an unmanned aerial vehicle by FAA standards anyway. Pilots under the age of 13 won’t be required to register either.
News of the coming registration requirement broke in October and comes as the federal government tries to get a better handle on the exploding drone industry. Most worrisome is the increasing number of drones that have flown to close to aircraft flying into and out of airports.