New law reinstates small drone registration in the US

James Marshall
December 14, 2017

However, if this Christmas eve you are planning to gift a drone to your friends, cousins, relatives or colleagues in the U.S., you might have to reconsider or tell them to get the drones registered with the Federal Aviation Authority ( FAA). The registration revival is part of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which was signed by President Trump on Tuesday, according to CNET. By July 2017, the FAA started accepting refunds and gave drone owners the option to erase user information from their database.

So once again, drone owners are required to register their remotely controlled flying machines with the FAA.

Millions of Americans will be unwrapping a new drone this Christmas, but before they fly it, there's something that needs to be done.

And now enshrined in law, it would appear the FAA has the final word on the issue.

The new drone rule, an extremely tiny part of the hefty law, requires that drone and model aircraft (everything weighing between 0.55 and 55 pounds) owners pay a $5 registration fee and provide their name, email address, and physical address.

But the agency's registration process ran in to turbulence in May when the US Court of Appeals said the registration rule violated the FAA Modernization and Reform Act (PDF), which states the FAA "may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft". As a result, the more than 838,000 hobbyists who registered their drones were eligible for refunds. "With registration reinstated, the coalition looks forward to working with the FAA and Congress to implement remote identification and tracking standards that will be critical to ensuring safe integration and unleashing the potential for increased and expanded commercial UAS operations", the group said in a statement. The FAA predicted that 2.3 million consumer drones would be sold this year in the US alone, adding that it was going back to the drawing board with the regulation.

The FAA had originally introduced such a rule in December 2015, which was welcomed by the industry and by drone makers like DJI.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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