Drone owners must register their devices by February 19th

source: Flick

source: Flick

If you don’t have one already, there is a big chance that you will get it this Christmas… Yes, a drone. Analysts expects hundreds of thousands of new units to be purchased during the holidays.

In order to avoid chaos in the skies, the Federal Aviation Administration announced today that all US residents above 13 years old who own a drone, weighing between 0.55 pounds and 50 pounds, must register it by February 19, 2016. In order to do it you need to visit the dedicated website and provide your name, address and email. Once you complete the process, you’ll receive a Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership, as well as an ID number which you should place one your aircraft. The registration form will be opened on the December 21, 2015.

It is worth noting that the registration is per-user, so you can use the same ID on all your future drones. The new rule applies only to hobbyist drone pilots. The FAA did note however, that it is “developing enhancements that will allow such online registrations by spring of 2016” for commercial operators.

I wouldn’t wait to long to register. The FAA says civil penalties for not registering your device include a fine of up to $27,500. Criminal penalties include a fine of up to $250,000 and up to three years in jail. Also, if you register before January 20th, 2016 you will save $5 on the registration fee. This way FAA tries to encourage as many people as possible to register quickly.

Having a drone is a lot of fun but also quite a lot of responsibility. Hopefully this new rule will help people to realise it.

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