This holiday season, drone sales will reach never-before-seen heights. The rise in consumer purchases caused the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to take safety measures on behalf of those using public airspace. According to a new law put in place by the FAA, operators must participate in a drone registration system as of December 21st, 2015. This may seem a bit daunting for a lot of people interested in UAVs, therefore Murphy Company brings you all the information you need to know about the new legislation.
Drone Registration Facts
- Any unmanned aerial system (UAS) weighing between 9 ounces and 55 pounds must be registered.
- Operators must register their name, physical address, and email address.
- Registration applies to all UAS, new and existing.
- Each aircraft must be marked with a unique number, although not necessarily the serial number.
- Current owners have until February 19, 2016 to register, while new operators have until their first flight.
- $5 fee, but allows you to register an unlimited number of drones (To push for early registration, the FAA will refund the $5 fee to anyone who registers before January 19, 2016).
- Registrations are good for 3 years.
“Registration gives us the opportunity to educate these new airspace users before they fly, so they know the airspace rules and understand they are accountable to the public for flying responsibly,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta says. Those who do not register may see up to $27,500 in civil fines, as well as $250,000 and three years in prison for criminal penalties.
While those numbers seem extreme, Michael Whitaker, deputy administrator of the FAA, assures consumers that "initial efforts will be to get everyone signed up rather than to punish owners, unless it is an egregious incident... The goal is not to be punitive, but to get people into compliance with the regulations."
The new law comes with some scrutiny from the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), which represents 185,000 hobbyists nationwide. They believe education programs are the way to ensure safety rather than a registry that will create “an unnecessary burden” on the group’s members. They fear that the more excessive the laws become, the less people are going to want to get involved.
The FAA is working on furthering the standard for flight, and raised interest will only quicken the process.
This past August, Murphy Company hosted the inaugural Columbus UAV/Drone meetup. It was a great forum to discuss everything drone related. Murphy Company is excited to host another meeting in early 2016. Stay current on dates and information by going to Meetup.com/UAVDrone.