March 18, 2016

More than 400,000 unmanned aircraft system (UAS) owners have registered their small UAS since the FAA’s registration rule took effect on Dec. 21, 2015.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) and FAA issued an interim final rule in December governing the registration of small UAS operated in the national airspace system (NAS), and used for hobby or recreational purposes. The rule is one result of the Registration Task Force, a joint industry/government initiative to develop regulations for UAS owners.

“Since the earliest discussions about UAS, NBAA has advocated the FAA to include UAS in the NAS in a watchful manner, ensuring safety for manned aircraft and the public,” said Sarah Wolf, NBAA’s director of security and the association’s representative on the Registration Task Force. “Registration of UAS is one step in securing safe airspace, and the registration rule reflects most of the Registration Task Force’s recommendations.”

The interim final rule requires non-commercial operators of small UAS weighing between 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approximately 25 kilograms) to pay a $5 triennial fee to register their aircraft. Registration of any small UAS purchased before Dec. 21, 2015 was required by Feb. 19, 2016, and UAS purchased after Dec. 21, 2015 must be registered prior to its first flight outdoors.

Commercial UAS operators are not eligible for this registration process and instead must continue to utilize the Section 333 exemption process. Review the NBAA Resource: Petitioning for an FAA Commercial UAS Exemption.

NBAA encourages UAS owners to comply with the registration requirements. The FAA may assess penalties of up to $27,500 in instances of noncompliance. Possible criminal penalties include fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to three years.

Review NBAA’s UAS resources.