This morning, the FAA made good on its promise to have a national drone registry in place before Christmas, and people who register their drones within the next thirty days won’t even have to pay the registration fee. If that’s not enough to encourage you to register your drone, then maybe the February 19th deadline will, because failure to register your drone by that time will result in some potentially ridiculous fines, and even prison time. This only applies to people who already own a drone, and anyone who purchases a drone after December 21st will be required to register it before its first flight.
The Federal Aviation Administration, responding to heightened concerns about rogue drone flights near airports, unveiled a pre-Christmas rule on Monday requiring drone hobbyists as young as 13 to register their unmanned aircraft. The new online registry will require current drone owners to register by Feb. 19 while anyone who acquires aircraft after Dec. 21 would need to register before their first outdoor flight. After registering, drone owners will receive an FAA identification number that they must display on aircraft weighing between 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and 55 pounds (25 kgs). The FAA’s online registration site, which will be launched next Monday, will charge drone owners a $5 fee, which officials said is the same charge required for manned aircraft, including Boeing 747 jetliners. To encourage participation, the FAA will waive the fee for the first 30 days that the registry is open. Federal officials see online registration as one way to address a surge of rogue drone flights near airports and crowded public venues that has raised safety concerns among authorities across the United States.
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