Just in time for the holidays, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) earlier this week donned their Grinch costume and announced that individuals with drones that weigh more than half a pound (.55 pounds or 250 grams, to be exact) will have to register it with the FAA. On top of that, the registration process requires drone owners to fork over $5.
It may sound like your everyday email scam at first glance, but rest assured that the FAA’s new guidelines are legit and are set to go into effect on December 21. To encourage drone registration, the FAA is willing to waive the aforementioned $5 fee if users register by January 20, 2016.
“Registering unmanned aircraft will help build a culture of accountability and responsibility, especially with new users who have no experience operating in the U.S. aviation system,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said this week. “It will help protect public safety in the air and on the ground.”
And lest you think this is some registration you can gleefully ignore, the penalties for not registering eligible drones are stiff, and include civil fines in the $27,000 range, criminal fines as high as $250,000, and up to three years in prison.
All that said, if you’re at all curious if you need to register a drone you might have in your possession, Wired has come out with an exhaustive list detailing which drones from which manufacturers need to be accounted for. Suffice it to say, if you have a drone that can take video footage, you’re going to have to register. On the flipside, most drones that can fit inside your hand will likely pass muster.
Drones that must be registered include the following :
3DR Solo (with gimbal)
3DR Solo (without gimbal)
DJI Inspire 1
DJI Inspire Pro
DJI Phantom 3 Advanced
DJI Phantom 3 Professional
DJI Phantom 3 Standard
Helimax Voltage 500
Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 (Elite Edition)
Yuneec Typhoon G Yes
Yuneec Typhoon 4K
Yuneec Typhoon Q500+
Hubsan x4 FPV
Hubsan x4 Pro
UDI U818A-1 Discovery HD
UDI U842 Falcon
Drones that do not need to be registered include the following:
- Parrot Rolling Spider minidrone from Parrot
- Sky Viper s670 Stunt Drone
- Syma X5
- Syma X5C
- Hubsan x4 camera
- Hubsan x4 Nano
- Hubsan x4 (H107L
- Extreme Fliers Micro Drone 2.0
- Air Hogs Millenium Falco
- Helimax 1SQ No Helimax RC $100 0.07
- Helimax 1SQ V-cam No Helimax RC $130 0.07
- Helimax 1Si (with camera
- Helimax 230Si (with camera)
- Parrot Airborne Cargo minidrone
- Parrot Airborne Night minidrone
For more context, the FAA has a page up with a few illustrative examples indicating which type of drones are likely to need registration and which ones don’t. Of course, if you just google the weight of any drones you own, you should be good to go.