By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
Set to go into effect today, the FAA requires drone users to register any drone from 1/2 pound to 55 pounds. This is a bit confusing though, because the weight limit includes some toy model RC copters. But now we’ve got a list of the drones that are required for registration that should clear things up… Or does it?
Here’s a quick list of the drones which the FAA are most interested in having registered:
Drones that must be registered include the following :
- DJI Inspire 1
- DJI Inspire Pro
- DJI Phantom 3 Advanced
- DJI Phantom 3 Professional
- DJI Phantom 3 Standard
- Helimax FORM500
- Helimax Voltage 500
- Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 (Elite Edition)
- Parrot Bebop
- Hubsan x4 FPV
- Hubsan x4 Pro
- UDI U818A-1 Discovery HD
- UDI U842 Falcon
By contrast, smaller, more toy like drones will currently not have to be registered, according to the Boy Genius Report. They include:
- Parrot Rolling Spider minidrone from Parrot
- Sky Viper s670 Stunt Drone
- Syma X5
- Syma X5C
- Hubsan x4 camera
- Hubsan x4 Nano
- Hubsan x4 (H107L
- Extreme Fliers Micro Drone 2.0
- Air Hogs Millenium Falcon
- Helimax 1SQ No Helimax RC $100 0.07
- Helimax 1SQ V-cam No Helimax RC $130 0.07
- Helimax 1Si (with camera
- Helimax 230Si (with camera)
- Parrot Airborne Cargo minidrone
- Parrot Airborne Night minidrone
I can see why the FAA isn’t requiring the smaller “toy” drones from being registered, but I would argue that the Parrot Bebop drone fits into this category. Then again, it does have a built in HD video camera, and that may be part of the requirement for registration. I was a little surprised here that the FAA didn’t require the lower level training Phantoms, or the older Phantom 1 or Phantom 2 Vision to be registered. I have a hunch that this is either a typo or accidental omission.
Also note that kit build drones are also not included in the list. I would also suggest that users who do not see their model on this list to contact the FAA to confirm whether their particular models are required for registration. For instance, the heavier lift Pro systems drones, like the DJI Spreading Wings S1000 and S900, and the Freefly Alta and Cinestar are not included in the main list. This could be due to their commercial grade professional applications, which fall under a separate set of commercial rules.
But I think that it’s important to err on the side of caution and when in doubt, go ahead and lay out the $5 registration fee anyway, just in case. And as an incentive, the FAA says that anyone who registers between December 21, 2015 and January 20, 2016 will get their $5 registration fee will be refunded. !The consequences for failing to register are severe with fines of up to $250,000 per infraction and up to 3 years in jail. And this is where special interest groups like the Academy of Model Aeronautics are all up in arms.
In addition to the belief that the fines are overtly punitive, the AMA is practically advising open civil disobedience since the FAA has admitted that the database of drone registrants would be public and searchable. That means that all someone has to do to find out personal information is to search by drone registration number.
This is a two way street though, and I think that the AMA is being a bit over-reactionary here. Last year, I had a fly away with my Phantom 2 Vision. I still haven’t found it. If I had a drone registration number on it, then if someone found the drone, they could search the database and then contact me directly. That’s a benefit of a publicly searchable database.
But I also appreciate the need for privacy here as well, and the AMA has a point when it comes to that. This is why it’s a good idea to have a mailing address like a PO Box to act as a buffer should privacy be an issue for you. But the bottom line is, I believe that privacy issues aside, drone registration is a necessary step to not only maintaining the safety of the skies, but showing the FAA that we can be responsible with this emerging category of aerial cinema.
To register your drone, visit https://registermyuas.faa.gov/. But it’s being deluged with requests today, so you may want to be patient. There’s also an FAQ here.