If you own a drone, you must register it with the Federal Aviation Administration's Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) registry. A federal law effective December 21, 2015 requires unmanned aircraft registration, and you are subject to civil and criminal penalties if you do not register.
Do I need to register my hobby RC airplanes or "toy" quadcopters?
Yes. "Registration is a statutory requirement that applies to all aircraft. Under this 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."
Any aircraft over 0.55 pounds and under 55 pounds qualifies and must be registered.
Do I have to register each of my RC aircraft separately?No. For those of you who have dozen's of aircraft, you register once as a pilot you will receive a registration number that must be displayed on all of your aircraft. As a pilot you will need to give your name, home address and email address.
Does it cost?
Yes and no. There will be a $5 fee for registering that is good for 3 years. However as a big 30 day push from (from Dec. 21, 2015 to Jan 20, 2016) to get as many people as possible registered they will be "refunding" the $5 to anyone who registers in this time frame.
Well what if I don't?
"Failure to register an aircraft may result in regulatory and criminal sanctions. The FAA may assess civil penalties up to $27,500. Criminal penalties include fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years."
Why is the FAA doing this now?
“We expect hundreds of thousands of model unmanned aircraft will be purchased this holiday season,” said FAA Administrator 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.”
There is obviously going to be some chaos with supposedly a million drones being sold this holiday season. However something that drone registration doesn't prevent is people doing really dumb things with their RC aircraft. All it does is mildly increases the chance of identifying and prosecuting someone who isn't aware of or doesn't care about the rules that keeps everyone safe.
I personally will be registering my aircraft when the registration site becomes available but like most other people who will be quick to register, I am one of the least likely offenders of established rules.
Though registration is one way to increase accountability, education is a better way to increase pilot competency. We hope to continue to educate the ever growing number of RC enthusiasts and hope we can keep counting on you guys to share the information.
REGISTRATION WEBSITE (Available Dec 21st)
Flite Test Team Member