Got a drone? It’s registration time, says the FAA

(credit: Microdrones Gmbh)

The US Department of Transportation has launched a "streamlined and user-friendly" online registration process for aerial drones, starting today. New regulations announced in October require all drone owners to register.

In the view of the Federal Aviation Administration, drones or "unmanned aircraft systems" (UAS) qualify as aircraft, even if operated by hobbyists, and will be regulated as such. The registration website has been launched and includes frequently asked questions about the process. Actual online registrations won't begin until next Monday, December 21. For anyone registering in the first month, the $5 aircraft registration fee will be refunded.

Registration is legally required by February 19, 2016. The rule applies retroactively, so even someone who operated an unmanned aircraft prior to December 21 must register by the deadline. Anyone purchasing a drone after December 21 must register before the first outdoor flight.

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