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
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Spurred by numerous reports of drones flying near jets and airports, the federal government will require that the aircraft be registered.  That will make it easier to identify owners and educate amateur aviators.
 
The move was announced by the Federal Aviation Administration.  It 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. They also cannot fly 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. Half will be bought 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.  And it comes 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. It also includes any payload such as a camera. Drone owners who are 13 and older will have to register on an FAA website.  It will become available Dec. 21. The FAA expects parents to register for younger children.
 
Registration will cost $5.  It 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.  That's according to 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.  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."  The organization pointed out that most have been operating safely for decades.
 
The group maintains that in 2012 Congress 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. So they may need to be registered, the academy said.
 
The requirement won support from others.  It included the Air Line Pilots Association. The organization 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. It could cause a crash, the industry officials said.

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


COMMENTS (224)
  • EH-Fuh
    12/22/2015 - 10:33 a.m.

    It will improve safety because they will only be able to go 400 or less feet or you could get your drone taken away.

  • shaylonna-war
    12/22/2015 - 01:11 p.m.

    I think this a good idea for drones to be registered. I have a drone that is less than a half of a pound so it doesn't have to be registered. The registration of drones will make sure that laws about flying drones will be enforced. Also, with people knowing the laws airplanes will be protected.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    12/23/2015 - 12:35 p.m.

    This kind of safety will be able to help the FAA to see if anybody had broken the rule which the owner will be fined if they see the owner that broke the drone rules. The drones had already made airplanes be in danger because a lot of the drones are flying near airplanes which would make the airplane crash from the drones that fly near the airport or near the airplane. The safety rules might have to be added to the drones which registration might make drone safety rules improve a lot because if the drone rules improved then the owner would fly better by not flying in restricted areas. The drone rules will be able to make drones go on better without having the owners fly it to restricted areas or they would get a fine.
    Critical Thinking Question: How will registration improve safety?
    Answer: Registration will be able to improve safety because if the owners fly the drones to a restricted area, the FAA will be able to find out who it is and fined them and the owner wouldn't do it again.

  • william1108-yyca
    12/23/2015 - 04:00 p.m.

    I have only seen a drone in real life once but I also wish that I can get a drone. But I am also sure that I will not fly it that high because I will lose it or break it. But if I had a drone with a camera then I will be able to look at two places at once. So maybe when it is Christmas then I will get a drone.

    Critical thinking question: How will registration improve safety?

    Answer: They will tell people to put their name, phone number, address, and other stuff I think.

  • annabel1226-yyca
    12/23/2015 - 04:02 p.m.

    Wow, drones are really scary. I hope that we don't get bomb. I really don't want to get bomb by a drone. We all should get registered to know whose the owner of the drone. I hope that we could play with drone not make accident by killing someone. I hope this world won't be scary. I wish that the bomb won't even fit in the drone.

  • John0724-YYCA
    12/30/2015 - 01:51 p.m.

    I think that this is a good idea because drones are basically flying everywhere these days and the drones get mixed up so the people could have gotten someone's droid. Now you could identify your droid and other people's because now you need to register your droids. I think that now people who have droids will be happy if they lost there droid because they won't lose it because it was registered. I think that the droids should be registered and that they should not stop this from happening.

  • smithgav0-dil
    1/04/2016 - 02:59 p.m.

    i agree that you don't "need a driver's license." I am wondering how many drivers there will be in Indiana?

  • gallimya0-dil
    1/04/2016 - 03:01 p.m.

    I agree that you shouldn't be close to the airport while flying a drone. I wonder why anyone would fly it near an airport anyway?

  • phillmir0-dil
    1/04/2016 - 03:12 p.m.

    I think that you don't need to have a signed paper to drive a drone because you sould not have to put your name, adress, phone number, zip code and all of your personal information. I know they don't need that much personal imformation. Do you agree?

    • maksymc-ree
      1/08/2016 - 11:33 a.m.

      I think it is an extra security measure that needs to be monitored to some extent.

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