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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

US Drone Registration Now Open - Free For First 30 days

There has been a lot of interest expressed in the workers' compensation arena over drone use for both occupational work  and surveillance. Last year I took a hands-on course offered by the International Center of Photography (ICP) NYC on how to fly a drone. I can really understand the concerns over the safety, even with the most sophisticated models. It looks a lot easier than it is.

Workers' compensation investigators brag about the use of drone in questionable surveillance techniques. Realistically it is a difficult to achieve investigative goals at best.

On the other hand, employers and workers operate this equipment to achieve results that were previously difficult to achieve.

Case law on drone issues is shallow at this point in time. It will obviously expand. Local and Federal regulatory enforcement will increase over time. Vendor will increase sales for both hobbyists and professional.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) new web-based registration system for small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) is now active. Hobbyists and recreational users who fly UAS, which include remote controlled aircraft, may register at

Owners must register small UAS weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) if they are to be flown outdoors for hobby or recreation. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Deputy Administrator Mike Whitaker announced the rule requiring registration earlier this month.

Aircraft operated by the current owner before Dec. 21, 2015 must be registered no later than Feb. 19, 2016. For all others, registration is required prior to the first outdoor flight. Owners must provide their complete name, physical address, mailing address (if different), and a valid email address to register.

Federal law requires a $5 registration fee that will be collected at the time of registration via credit card. To encourage speedy compliance, the FAA is making the process free for the first 30 days. (The registration website will initially charge the owner’s credit card $5, but a refund credit will appear shortly afterward.)

After completing registration, owners will receive a personal registration number. If a person owns more than one small UAS, each aircraft must be marked with that number. Any method may be used to mark the UAS, as long as the number is legible. Registrants may put the number in the battery compartment if it is easily accessible.

The FAA will immediately email a certificate containing the holder’s name, registration number, and the dates of issuance and expiration. The operator must keep either a printed or electronic version of this certificate on hand for inspection as proof of registration. Registration must be renewed every three years. If assistance is needed with registration, email

The full rule can be viewed here:

A Registration FAQ with answers to most common questions is at: