Have a drone? You better get it registered Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, center, accompanied industry stakeholder representatives, speaks at a news conference at the Department of Transportation in Washington, Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, where he announced the creation of a task force to develop recommendations for a registration process for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik/Francois Mori)
Have a drone? You better get it registered
Lexile

Spurred by numerous reports of drones flying near jets and airports, the federal government will require that the aircraft be registered to make it easier to identify owners and educate amateur aviators.
 
The move, announced by the Federal Aviation Administration, comes at a time when the agency is receiving more than 100 reports per month about drones flying near manned aircraft. The FAA prohibits drones and model airplanes from flying higher than 400 feet or within 5 miles of an airport.
 
Drones have become increasingly popular with hobbyists. The FAA estimates that 1.6 million small, unmanned aircraft will be sold in 2015, with half during the last three months of the year.
 
The drones must be marked with the owner's unique registration number. The FAA said that would let authorities track down owners if they violate the rules. But registration also gives the agency a vehicle to educate owners just as thousands get drones as presents for Christmas and other holidays.
 
The requirement covers aircraft weighing from more than a half pound up to 55 pounds, including any payload such as a camera. Drone owners who are 13 and older will have to register on an FAA website that becomes available Dec. 21. The FAA expects parents to register for younger children.
 
Registration will cost $5 and must be renewed every three years, but the fee will be waived for the first 30 days, until Jan. 20. Owners will have to mark aircraft with an identification number. Recreational fliers can register as many aircraft as they want on one registration number.
 
Most people who fly drones and model aircraft have little aviation experience, but they become pilots as soon as they start to fly, said Deputy FAA Administrator Michael Whitaker. "They have the responsibility to fly safely, and there are rules and regulations that apply to them," he said.
 
Those who got drones before Dec. 21 must register by Feb. 19. People who buy them later must register before their first outdoor flight.
 
Owners will have to provide their name, home address and email, and their identity will be verified and payments made by credit card, the agency said.
 
The FAA said it used some of the recommendations from a task force appointed by Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, but the move disappointed a large group representing model airplane users.
 
The Muncie, Indiana-based Academy of Model Aeronautics said registration is an "unnecessary burden for our more than 185,000 members who have been operating safely for decades."
 
The group maintains that Congress in 2012 prohibited the FAA from new rules for recreational model aircraft users who are part of a community-based organization.
 
But Whitaker said while the law prohibits new rules, the FAA has the authority to register the aircraft.
 
Most model airplanes and even some flying toys weigh more than a half-pound and may need to be registered, the academy said.
 
The requirement won support from others, including the Air Line Pilots Association, which said it is a tool to help make sure drone owners share the skies safely with airplanes. The association would like to see registration required when unmanned aircraft are sold.
 
Government and industry officials have expressed concern that drones, like birds, could be sucked into an aircraft engine, smash a cockpit windshield or damage a critical aircraft surface area and cause a crash.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How will registration improve safety?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (82)
  • caseyw.-tay
    1/04/2016 - 09:18 a.m.

    To get the people to stop flying by planes.

  • meaganw.-tay
    1/04/2016 - 09:18 a.m.

    Drones have always freaked me out for some reason!

  • evakathrynj.1-tay
    1/04/2016 - 09:19 a.m.

    My cousin got a drone for Christmas. I think they're cool, and I'd like to have one.

  • mikaylaz.-tay
    1/04/2016 - 09:20 a.m.

    Registration will improve safety by having the owners information and assure that they follow the rules.

  • masons.-tay
    1/04/2016 - 09:23 a.m.

    So that the FAA can find whoever is responsible for the problem,strip them of their license and they will confiscate the drone.

  • tatumh.-tay
    1/04/2016 - 09:24 a.m.

    If some crazy person decides to go and crash and hurt stuff with there drone or do something even more serious the agency can track them down and take the drone so no one can get hurt

  • lawsonl.-tay
    1/04/2016 - 09:24 a.m.

    I think having a drone would be cool but if I have to go through all that for a drone I am not going to do it, mostly because I am lazy. I would most likely get confused and give up.

  • gagec.-tay
    1/04/2016 - 09:26 a.m.

    Registering a drone is a way for the airplanes to know where the drones are so they do not crash.

  • delainnab.-tay
    1/04/2016 - 09:26 a.m.

    Registering the drones is as great idea because if it flew out of eyesite and crashed then they could give us t nbsck to the rightful owner because it has a unique registration number marked on them.

  • isaact.-tay
    1/04/2016 - 09:28 a.m.

    I have a super tiny drone that's fun to fly around but hard so I see how people fly bigger drones into planes accidentally

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