New Drone Registration Requirement for Drone Hobbyists
The FAA recently announced that all drone owners will have to register their drones, regardless of whether they are using the drone for commercial or just personal purposes. Previously, the registration requirement only applied to those flying drones for commercial operations. In other words, hobbyists weren't required to register their drones. However, that is all changing, largely in part due to several high profile accidents involving hobbyist-operated drones. The FAA is going to be requiring all drone operators to register their drones with the FAA so that the government can easily identify drone owners when something goes awry.
At this point, it is not completely clear what the new registry requirement will entail and whether it will apply retroactively (i.e., whether individuals who already own drones will need to register those drones). The new registration process is supposed to be implemented soon. Whether you own a drone now or you are anticipating getting one in the future (maybe for Christmas), be sure to keep up with the latest developments in drone law. If you fail to register a drone once the registration requirement is officially put in place, you may be subject to a fine.
Note that this drone registration requirement is just one small part of the overarching regulatory changes that are supposed to be coming about soon. Congress has charged the FAA with creating a drone regulatory scheme. Currently the FAA applies manned aircraft regulations to drones, which is like trying to fit a 10 foot diameter round peg into a 1 inch wide square hole. The regulatory changes were supposed to be implemented this month, but the FAA has missed that deadline and is now shooting for spring 2016 (but don't be surprised if the debut of the new regulations is later than that).
If you own a drone or looking to get one, it's not a bad idea to consult with a competent drone law attorney.
Posted by Alec Cannon