How to Register a Drone with the FAA? Tips and Tricks!

This article will explain why it's important to register your drone and how to do it easily and get the most benefits.
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Last updatedLast updated: August 29, 2021

You’ve probably been dreaming of owning your drone for a while before you bought it. Now, you have it, and you’ve unboxed it and your hands itching you to fly it, and you think you should go for a test run; stop right there. I’m sorry to inform you, but there are rules to this flying business, just like when you fly aircraft as well, and you’d need to follow them. To satisfy the most important of them all, you’d need to learn how to register a drone with the FAA because the FAA requires it.

You might want to ask why but I’m sure you can figure it out; safety. It is your registration details that would be used in determining if you’re breaking any federal laws as regards how you fly, where you fly when you fly, and how high your drone can/should fly. Check out your local and state laws and how they could affect flight as well Trusted Source Press Release – FAA Statement–Federal vs. Local Drone Authority Congress has provided the FAA with exclusive authority to regulate aviation safety, the efficiency of the navigable airspace, and air traffic control, among other things. State and local governments are not permitted to regulate any type of aircraft operations, such as flight paths or altitudes, or the navigable airspace. www.faa.gov after reading this.

How to Register a Drone with the FAA? Tips and Tricks!

Do you need to register your drone?

The drone industry Trusted Source U.S. To Ease Restrictions On Flying Drones At Night, Over People : NPR Drones represent the fastest-growing segment in the entire transportation sector. Companies such as Amazon, Walmart, and UPS have started testing drones to deliver goods to customers. www.npr.org might be a relatively new one, but the FAA still classifies drone pilots to be aviators, and as such, they would like for every pilot to be registered. There’s a little exception, however, for pilots whose drones are less than 250g in weight. A highly recommended drone that falls within this weight exception is the Cheerwing CW4 RC Drone for kids, which has a 720P camera.

You might see your drone as a toy, but according to the FAA, they are not, and to avoid steep punishments, every pilot of drones that need to be registered should register them. The punishments that could be meted out to unregistered drone users include:

  • Al least $27,500 for civil cases
  • Maximum of $250,000 for criminal cases, and
  • The possibility of a three-year jail term

It should be noted, though, that even the weight exception stated above doesn’t hold for drones to be flown for commercial purposes. When it comes to drones for commercial purposes, such as stunt drones, they must all be registered. Having a camera, though, doesn’t necessarily imply commercialization.

How to register

Just in case I’d got you and made you feel that this was one super-duper difficult task, I’m sorry for my subtle misdirection. Registering your drone is anything but difficult; the FAA makes sure of this to encourage compliance. To prove my point, here are some facts to calm you down:

  • Registering only costs…$5
  • Except you are below thirteen, in which case you require a guardian, you can register the drone yourself
  • There is only one website for registration
While the first two of the points above are intended to keep you warm, that last one should be taken to heart as it is to protect you from fraudsters.
There are generally two avenues through which the registration process could be carried out depending on the weight of your drone. They are:

Online registration

As earlier stated, there’s only one website for this process. Drones weighing below 55 lbs could be registered this way, and the following would be needed to facilitate the registration:

  • An email address that would also serve as a login name for future purposes
  • Credit card or debit card info to complete the required $5 payment
  • A mailing address and physical address if both are not the same, and
  • The maker and model of the drone that you are registering

The registration is not for life, though, and would need to be renewed every three years from the original date but considering this isn’t very stressful, the renewal shouldn’t be much of a problem.

Mail-in registration

This is for drones that weigh more than 55 lbs and would require the mailing of all required documents to the FAA aircraft registration branch for the process to be complete. Beyond this, this form of registration would also be required for the following classes of people:

  • People that want to qualify their drones for use outside the country
  • People who hold the title to a drone in trust, and
  • Drone owners that use voting trusts to meet U.S. citizenship requirements

A special registration process for these drones is that their weight indicates that they are not being flown as a hobby or just for the basic image and video commercialization that many are used for.

Such models are usually quite expensive and advanced, especially how much weight the drones can carry. They might thus be used for carrying out industrial operations.  Generally, people using this caliber of drones are quite familiar with the registration procedure, but if you are a beginner, it will pay to start with the smaller models first. A good choice would be the HS170 Mini Drone from Holy Stone that possesses many intelligent functions to aid the transition of pilots from beginner to expert status.

Do you need a license to fly your drone?

Well, there’d be no need for registration if licenses were not needed. So, yes, licenses are needed to fly, even if you are only flying your drone for fun.

To fly a drone, you would be required to possess a TRUST license. This requirement doesn’t hold if you are to be flying for commercial reasons. People who are flying drones for compensation or a money-making venture must have a PART 107 license.

In summary, whether you’re flying a drone for the sake of a neighborhood prank you hope to monetize, or you are flying one of those drones for fishing to help your dad and his buddies out, you would need a license to do so.

What to do after you register your drone

Upon registering your drone with the FAA, you would be provided with a 10-digit registration number that is all yours. This registration number would mean that you have agreed to all of the FAAs safety guidelines and understand the rules associated with flying a drone.

At this point, you’re well on your way to flying, but the following must be done before you do so:

  • You must have a paper copy or digital copy of your FAA registration certificate on your person every time you fly. This is to ensure that if you are apprehended for whatever reason, you would be able to prove your status as a registered pilot.
  • Label your drone with your registration number before flying in a way that ensures that the number is legible and would remain on the drone throughout the flight. It would be best if the number were to be taped onto the body of the drone.

How to Register a Drone with the FAA? Tips and Tricks!

FAQs

  • If the drone is light enough to be exempt from registration, is it possible to make money with it?

Yes, you could make money with it, but you would also have to register it as a commercial drone before you start. Once commercialization is involved, the drone would need to be registered regardless of the prior exemption. In such a case, even if you previously had a TRUST license, you’d need the PART 107 license as well.

  • If the drone doesn’t need to be registered, should you follow the rules?

Definitely; Rules are there to guarantee safety and privacy. Even a hobbyist drone would be apprehended if found breaking rules, and this would most definitely result in a punishment. You should probably check out all rules that may apply to your use of a drone before flying.

  • How to know if you need airspace verification?

It’s quite simple. If you are going to be flying over certain private property or areas designated as requiring airspace authorization, you’d need airspace verification. Unfortunately, you’re not going to be getting that if you aren’t an FAA-certified pilot. FAAs B4UFly should help determine whether or not you meet the airspace requirements of an area.

Final thoughts

This has been quite a flight, right? There is no reason to panic about the registration of a drone, because except if your drone is heavier than 55 lbs, you’d probably breeze through the process and be done in no time. Regardless of the ease with which it can be carried out, do not underrate the importance it is accorded and the punishment that would be handed down if any of the rules guiding drone flight are broken. It’s a well-understood fact in any regulated industry that the breaking of rules and flaunting of privilege only leads to stricter rules and fewer privileges. So, rather than toeing the line, why don’t you keep to the rules and help all drone pilots enjoy relatively easy flying.

References

1.
Press Release – FAA Statement–Federal vs. Local Drone Authority
Congress has provided the FAA with exclusive authority to regulate aviation safety, the efficiency of the navigable airspace, and air traffic control, among other things. State and local governments are not permitted to regulate any type of aircraft operations, such as flight paths or altitudes, or the navigable airspace.
2.
U.S. To Ease Restrictions On Flying Drones At Night, Over People : NPR
Drones represent the fastest-growing segment in the entire transportation sector. Companies such as Amazon, Walmart, and UPS have started testing drones to deliver goods to customers.
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