The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) just announced a "streamlined and user-friendly web-based aircraft registration process" for drone-owning hobbyists with small unmanned aircraft (UAS) weighing more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds. The full details are available here.
The newly required registration, as stated by the FAA, is described as follows:
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. Owners of any other UAS purchased for use as a model aircraft after December 21, 2015 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.
Luckily, the normal registration fee of $5 is being waived for the first 30 days (from Dec. 21, 2015 to Jan 20, 2016) in an effort to encourage quick registration. Those looking to register can find the web-based registration page here.
It's likely this holiday season will usher in a new batch of drone owners eager to take their craft to the skies, and it looks like the FAA is hoping to avoid any turbulence this may cause.
“Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “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.”
Drone pilots, you've been warned. Now, go register while it's still free!