With the newly announced drone registration regulations now in full effect the FAA will officially start accepting applications from drone users wanting to be in compliance with the law. The registration website has been launched and includes frequently asked questions about the process. Actual online registrations won't begin until next Monday, December 21.
Registration will be legally required by February 19, 2016 for anyone age 13 and older who owns or operates a small UAS (drone) weighing more than 250 grams (0.55 lbs.) and less than 55 lbs. The rule applies retroactively, so even someone who operated an unmanned aircraft prior to December 21 must register by the deadline. Anyone purchasing a drone after December 21 must register before the first outdoor flight.
You'll need to provide your name, home address, and email address. After you complete the registration, you'll get a Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership that will include a unique ID number, which you must affix to your drone or drones.
Registration will be free for the first 30 days, until Jan. 20. After that, you'll need to pay $5 to register, or risk civil and criminal penalties if you're caught flying an unregistered drone after Feb. 19. 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.
"Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility," said US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a press release explaining the process. "Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely. I’m excited to welcome these new aviators into the culture of safety and responsibility that defines American innovation."
The full set of regulations covering drones and drone registration can be viewed here: www.faa.gov/news/updates/media/20151213_IFR.pdf