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?
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COMMENTS (224)
  • rachelr-dic
    1/04/2016 - 05:09 p.m.

    Having helicopters, quadacopters, and model airplanes regristrated will allow the FAA to better track down the owners of the drones, and inforce the laws of keeping the toys out of range with airplanes. The toy aircrafts could get sucked up into the fans of the airplanes and 'cause damage to engine part.

  • andrew-1-bar
    1/04/2016 - 08:22 p.m.

    Registration will improve safety by allowing the authorities to see who is flying the drone and if they are flying responsibly. It could not be flown five miles from an airport. They also can't fly above 400 feet. I did not enjoy this article because amateur drone pilot and they are taking away some of my freedom.

  • natalier-4-bar
    1/04/2016 - 11:23 p.m.

    Registration for drones will improve safety because, "That will make it easier to identify owners and educate amateur aviators,"(paragraph one). Also according to paragraph four drones will be marked with their own unique registration number, so if they violate the rules the FAA can find them and educate them. Having registration makes drones much more safe because if someone does something wrong with a drone that could have been majorly dangerous or damage something they can find the person who did it and hold the accountable. So, since people obviously don't want to be tracked down my the FAA and get in trouble, they will be extra careful when flying their drone, improving safety. Registration of drones doesn't help majorly with the problems that drones cause considering they are still very dangerous to airplanes, but its a good start. I enjoyed this article because I think its important that the FAA protects people from the dangers of drones flying everywhere, especially because they are becoming popular.

  • brandons-wes
    1/05/2016 - 09:10 a.m.

    Registration will imrpove safety by the FAA being able to track the owners back and educate them

  • hunterd8-tho
    1/05/2016 - 09:28 a.m.

    Little helicopters and drones are very dangerous i don't like them i don't want one then can go in a gas engine or a planes there dangerous and can kill someone so people should register it and get lessons so they know how to fly it and not make it be dangerous so they will need to make it safer and make them no higher then 100ft in the air so they should make it go 55ft high to make it safe.

  • averyd-ver
    1/05/2016 - 01:29 p.m.

    Registering your drone will help improve safety for your drone and any manned vehicles along with anyone you are flying by.

  • christianc-ver
    1/05/2016 - 01:30 p.m.

    I found that this article was very interesting and think that action needs to be taken against this concerning reality.

  • cameronv-ver
    1/05/2016 - 01:36 p.m.

    I Agree that drones can be dangerous but it really only depends on who is flying the drone. The flyer should have to pass a test to get there license and should be good to go but get a fine if the drone falls into the wrong hands.

  • tialden-1-bar
    1/05/2016 - 06:54 p.m.

    Registration will improve safety because the government will be able to track it, the government can shut down the drone, and registration will educate the aviators as stated in the article. The article informed the reader about the FAA is passing laws for drone registration and about the benefits. I found this article useful because I can now inform my friend who has a drone.

  • summerc-1-bar
    1/05/2016 - 10:43 p.m.

    Registration will improve safety because then authorities can track the drone if the rules have been violated, just as paragraph 4 states: "The FAA said that would let authorities track down owners if they violate the rules." Also, paragraph 1 says, "That will make it easier to identify owners and educate amateur aviators."
    It's amazing how people are getting drones for Christmas and for their birthdays. Personally, I think that drones can be dangerous... If they fly into the engine of an airplane, there would be a huge crash.

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