Just in time for holiday gift giving, the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Small Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) registry was expected to go live today, Dec. 21.
In preparation for registering online, each owner must provide his or her name, home address and email address. Upon completion of registration, 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. Registration is free for the first 30 days, then $5 after that.
By statute, all aircraft weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms), including payloads such as on-board cameras, must be registered.
Under this rule of the FAA, owners who previously operated an unmanned aircraft exclusively as a model aircraft prior to Dec. 21 must register no later than Feb. 19, 2016. Owners of any other UAS purchased for use as a model aircraft after Dec. 21 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.