FAA Releases Rules Governing Unmanned Aerial Systems

The US Department of Transportation and the FAA have just released their guidelines that require registration of Unmanned Aerial Systems. This is the regulation that covers model aircraft, drones, quadcopters, and flying toys of all kinds. These rules have been anticipated since last month to be in place for the holiday season.

As expected, the FAA is requiring registration for all aircraft, regardless of being ‘model’ aircraft or not, weighing more than 250 grams (0.55 pounds) and less than 55 pounds. The maximum weight is a holdover from previous regulations; model aircraft weighing more than 55 pounds were never really legal without a permit. It should be noted that anyone can build a quadcopter with cameras and video transmitters weighing less than 250 grams. These quadcopters are not ‘toys’ by any means, but are not required to be marked with a registration number and the pilot is not required to actually register. As expected, most rules governing the actual flight of these aircraft remain in place – don’t fly above 400 feet, don’t fly within five miles of an airport.

Registration is by pilot, not aircraft, and costs $5. A registration number must be put on every aircraft the pilot owns, and penalties for not registering can include up to $27,500 in civil penalties and up to $250,000/3 years imprisonment in criminal penalties. The full rules are available in this 200-page PDF. As with most government regulations, there will be a 30-day RFQ period beginning December 21st on regulations.gov. The docket number is FAA-2015-7396.

127 thoughts on “FAA Releases Rules Governing Unmanned Aerial Systems

    1. So you have to register if you simply own a drone, but regulation is not applicable if you fly indoors??? So you have to register even if you only fly indoors though clearly FAA doesn’t have any authority over your living room?

    2. i agree unless maybe the registration number will be on an rfid sticker so if small radars like the jlens blimps detect a small flying machine that does not respond to rfid signal then assume it is unregistered or is missing the registration number.

    3. Well, now if your drown hits someone or crashes on property, they have an ID# to find the violator. It also allows them to terminate a drone in flight (via whatever means) and then track down the owners via registration.

      Not sure how it’ll pan out with a “it was stolen, I didn’t deregister it” defense.

    4. Well, I’m betting it’ll be like a lot of other hard-to-enforce laws: If you never cause any damage or accident, they’ll never catch you. If you do cause an accident, they can hit you with a lot of penalties once they find out you didn;t register.

      1. Which is good really… The idea is that you’re punishing people who do stupid things like flying next to high rises with a camera or near an airport. Not Jerry flying his quadcopter in the park taking a stupid selfie….

  1. So now they can find people who misbehave and were foolish enough to actually register.. what is the percentage of all hobby owners? 0.001%? Sounds like a fundraiser to me so they can enact even more “rules” and registration. Now the FAA has a database to find people who have been reported by the grumpy neighbor.

    1. the percentage of hobby owners is crazy high way more than people who actually use them for business. when you can get a dji2 for under 500 they are toys now days. I disagree with most of your statement especially the fundraiser part for an expensive toy $5 is not anything really and if they wanted to they could have stuck the flyers easily with an annual payment of much more to get cashflow.

    1. It is $5 per pilot if you are a recreational flyer. This covers ALL your recreational aircraft.

      It is $5 per aircraft used for other civil purposes. Like if you use it to take commercial photos. You also need a different waiver to fly commercially.

      These all seem to last 3 years.

  2. While not unexpected, this is going to put a burden on the non-commercial class of UAV’s used for amateur photography and cinematography. Picking 250 grams ( 0.55 pounds ) was clever, because that’s the weight class for most UAV FPV racing drones… and that’s a competition class weight for racing. However, most 2200-3500MAh lithium cells already hit that weight without even trying. 500 grams would have been a more “fair” weight ( and I’ll put that in on the RFQ )

    Now, registration is by PILOT, not aircraft. $5 is a fair price. However, the article above is incorrect:

    Persons intending to use the small unmanned aircraft other than as model aircraft. $5 to register each aircraft.

    Individuals intending to use the small unmanned aircraft exclusively as model aircraft. $5 to register an individual’s fleet of small unmanned aircraft.

    AND YOU MUST RENEW EVERY THREE YEARS — they can change the price at will

    ( A Certificate of Aircraft Registration issued in accordance with part 48 is effective once the registration process is complete and must be renewed every three years. )

    ALSO THERE IS NO ONLINE REGISTRATION — MAKING THIS A BUREAUCRATIC QUAGMIRE

    This process is entirely paper-based and begins when a person who wishes to register an
    aircraft in the United States submits an Aircraft Registration Application (AC Form 8050-1) to
    the Registry.

    Read on through the 200 page report — there is a lot Wrong(tm) with what they want to do. It’s a land-grab for the right to regulate UAVs.

    1. Do they have people out actively policing “model plain” owners? I know some people that fly these things and they say they’ve never encountered anyone enforcing any sort of regulations in all their years of flying. Seems to me like you don’t need to worry unless you’re doing something questionable. However, I obviously am only speaking from the little I know. I’d be curious to hear from other people who know the situation to be any different.

      1. Is there actually anything in the rules saying that this does not apply to model planes/helis and only to “drones” (aka multirotor helis)? I would be really surprised if this didn’t apply to all RC flying.

        The focus on “drones” is obvious – they are easy to fly and there are waaay too many assholes with more money than brains causing mayhem with them. Regular RC planes weren’t an issue before, because the hobby wasn’t as accessible and neither so easy cause trouble with (RC plane or heli capable of carrying a camera and flying high enough to be a concern for manned aviation costs a lot of money, much more than a $500 Chinese multirotor …).

      2. Be certain that your beat cops are going to be briefed on this and actively stop people flying model Aircraft now because they have an excuse. They did it anyway without any reason or jurisdiction, and now they will be even more apt to do so because the good ole Fed has a law now which they will be more than happy to enforce. This is the bureaucracies knee-jerk reaction to the drone-phobia the drive-by media has been promulgating. Make no mistake, the bureaucrats are scared shitless of what the ‘people’ could do with ‘drones’ to undermine them. They also see a huge opportunity to pad their pockets! It should be no surprise to anybody that this has happened.

        I fly for fun, and in a safe manner, and really regret that this has become the situation. However, I am not surprised about this because of the few idiots who felt it is necessary to cause unsafe situations and violate others privacy, giving the media the fodder it needed to feed the bureaucratic pig. What did people expect with situations like that becoming more and more frequent? I do think there needs to be some rules, but this will not end well for the RC community. The regulation will only get worse..

        It will be interesting to see how this stuff holds up as things progress… I don’t expect it will ever go away. Once you give them an inch, they take a mile.

        1. Drone regulation is just like gun regulation or car regulation. All are products that are fine in the hands of trained, responsible users but can do a ton of damage in the hands of an idiot. We have drivers’ licenses and firearm licenses, it makes a lot of sense to have drone licenses.

          1. If scalping doesn’t seem a good reason, how about a mid-air collision with a large aircraft? Or a speeding car/motorbike/boat/skydoo/whatever… ?

            License yes, but only if it’s like a drivers license, meaning it declares that you know how to operate the thing in traffic…
            To me just registration seems as a prequel to “feature creep” for more new and interesting regulations and bans.

        2. You might be able to use this to your advantage. When the police start to hassle you, just pull out your registration and tell them that you have an FAA license that gives you the right to fly. If they have a problem, you can tell them to take it up with the feds (and the feds usually win a dispute with the locals).

        3. I’ve never personally had an issue with law enforcement [LE] telling me I can’t fly.

          I have been stopped and questioned (mostly ABOUT the aircraft, not my right to fly it). Each time I was courteous and explained how and why I flew safely. I have never been asked to stop by any authority. I have even been approached multiple times by [LE] with questions about how they can learn more about the hobby, and where to point people who may not know how to learn proper safety.

          That said, I have seen aircraft confiscated on more than one occasion. But in both cases, the operator was actively trying to hit people with their quadcopter, and had continued to do so even after the police were called, and were STILL doing it when they arrived. (On one occasion the little brat’s parents were just sitting there doing nothing. That is, until the officer took away their brat’s shiny new toy as evidence.)

          Not all Law Enforcement are out to steal your tinfoil hats.

    2. The fact is, they need to do SOMETHING about drones and unmanned aircraft. There are too many incidences of unmanned aircraft being flown in places they shouldn’t be (like the white house or the airspace where fire and rescue airplanes are operating) for the FAA to not act.

      1. Responsible consumer UAV makers like DJI already implemented no fly zones and a maximum altitude lock of 400ft (the latter only happening on phantom 3+). This happened as a result of assholes flying their UAV’s near airports, landing on the white house lawn and other places they shouldn’t be (like 10,000 ft up). I’ll be honest, I’ve flown my UAV up to 1600 ft up and I even did a mission that took it over two miles away. I couldn’t see it, and I clearly was in violation of the AMA rules. The difference is I practiced safety. I didn’t fly over anyone’s house and I flew far away from small aircraft or airports, and I even checked the sky for aircraft using flightaware. Even though it was still wrong, I did so in a safe manner. There are still a lot of grey areas.

        I strongly feel that the current rules are too restrictive. The maximum of 400 ft was defined long before GPS and a variety of other stabilization methods became available for RC craft. I can most assuredly go up beyond 2000ft reliably. The biggest challenge is sharing the sky with private pilots. That was established a very long time ago and many private pilots use visual for spotting other aircraft. My question is, why don’t private pilots have to share the sky with UAV’s,
        especially considering we have reliable and accurate sensors onboard. Perhaps someone should design a beacon for us that transmits our GPS location and registration tag up to two miles so pilots flying at low altitudes can be aware of OUR traffic, or vice-versa. Just face it, UAVs are going to be a common thing in the next few years. Might as well start integrating things.

        Tl;dr: despite drone makers starting to lock down firmware to force people following the rules, the FAA needs to start considering requiring a method for drones and private aircraft to communicate their presence to avoid collisions.

        1. The license users of RF spectrum have legal recourse in the case of interference from unlicenseed user of that spectrum. there are instances where Amateur radio operators are able to share some spectrum where licensed operation isn’t allowed at all. licensing is one difference between Private passenger aircraft an RC model air craft. The major difference is that private aircraft do carry human life and pose a risk to human life on the ground, that why the licensing of privte pilots is reasonable. RC air craft are much smaller than the other air craft private pilots share air space have been sharing air space with. Any RC pilot that wants to share air space with general aviation, should have license requirement. I’m sure general aviation pilot have to have a license to share air space with commercial aircraft. The use of GPS beacon is a good idea, but it puts an extra requirement on general aviation to staify another group. General aviation can share airspace safely with existing frastructure they file flight plans and are in communication with air traffic control. Thos aircraft not required to carry a transponder have radar visibility. You would require general aviation to install equipment to see you, they should also be required to use GPS beans, and RC pilots should be require to have beacon receivers/displays to be able to fly in the manner you wish. Along with a RC pilot licensing requirement. A license doesn’t make for a better RC pilot, but makes them more culpable if they screw up, because they can’t claim ignorance. Want to share air space with general aviation you should be happy to meet the terms they have to meet or find another hobby and livelihood if you use RC aircraft in a business interest.

        2. You’re the problem. If people like you were in power when we were all driving the horse and buggy, the automobile would have been banned from all roads. And you know what? If cars were banned maybe fewer people would die every year, but there’s no denying that cars were a hugely important invention that changed society for the better despite the risk they incur. And the same is true of drones. In a few years, if the FAA doesn’t completely shut them down you may be able to order something on amazon and have it delivered within the hour by drone. And pizzas could be delivered by drone as well. While this might very slightly increase the risk to pilots, getting all those delivery drivers off the road is likely to greatly offset that increased risk. Fewer accidents, less pollution. And in a few more years it’s safe to assume that drones will be fully capable of autonomously avoiding obstacles in the air and on the ground, which will make all this legislation completely pointless.

      2. Registration alone won’t solve anything, but it does give the police the authority to take the drone away from the idiot who is flying dangerously. This would make the idiots stop (no drone == no flying). Regulation is important because it forces a level of responsibility on the user, and protects bystanders. If it were only a money grab, the cost would be much higher than $5.00.

        Also, using profanity in an argument only serves to weaken your own position. If you have an argument, you can state it calmly, and without name calling.

    3. If I’m reading your comment correctly then I believe you are mistaken.

      Quote “ALSO THERE IS NO ONLINE REGISTRATION — MAKING THIS A BUREAUCRATIC QUAGMIRE”

      Registration of hobby/model UAS’ between 250g and 55lbs MUST be done online.

      Q. Who is required to register on the new online UAS registration website?
      A. Only individual recreational or hobby users who meet U.S. citizenship requirements are able to register their unmanned aircraft using this new streamlined web-based process. This new, faster and easier system will be available for other UAS owners soon.

    1. I’m sure the density of UAVs in Belarus isn’t approaching the same as some affluent suburbs in large US cities. Otherwise, I imagine the Belarusian government would be considering similar actions.

        1. Actually i have a close friend from Belarus (Minsk) and she says it’s all nice unless you are one of those “let’s save the world! human rights! feminism! LGBT!” type of people. GDP of Belarus is approaching GDP of Poland and it’s more than twice that of “free” Ukraine. If you saw Belarus only through BBC or The Sun then sure, it’ll look like North Korea of Europe. Try living in Grodno, Lida, Minsk, Witebsk for a year or two and you’ll change your opinion completly.

  3. Like any government licenses, using threats or force to compel registration is illegal, since for their regulations to apply, registration must be voluntary, you have to consent…also as a federal agency it has jurisdiction only over federal territory which by definition is the District of Columbia and small territories within the states of the union…i’ve only recently heard about this but the documentation can be found here- sedm.org

    Some of it seems far out, but all claims have some serious case law citations backing up the claiims…think and be free.

    1. Sorry, controlled airspace (nearly all of it, despite most of it being class E or G) is federal – try flying over 250 kts IAS below 10,000 ft MSL (or buzzing a football game despite the TFR) and you’ll see.

    2. Even if this was true, which other commenters have done a fine job debunking, the U.S. federal government doesn’t own “small territories within the states of the union”: ~30% of land in the US is federal territory. Not so much in the East, but you’re looking at 85% of NV, 45% of CA, etc being federal land.

    3. Sorry, you don’t know what you’re talking about, and neither do the idiots at that website. Federal law most assuredly applies in every state, for an example look at all the medical marijuana dispensaries the feds were busting in California, where they were legal by state law. The feds will also make your life hell for failing to pay federal income tax, regardless of where you may reside. Need any more examples?

  4. So… looks like un-registered hobby use is supported up to 55lbs.

    “Registration is *not required* for model aircraft operated solely for hobby or recreational purposes. Guidelines for responsible hobby and recreational operations are available at http://www.faa.gov/uas/model_aircraft/.”

    Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles
    Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times
    Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations
    Don’t fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying
    Don’t fly near people or stadiums
    *Don’t fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 lbs*
    Don’t be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft – you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft

        1. This sure seems like a done deal–the AMA will likely weigh in, but I can’t imagine that there will be any major changes in this legislation. It is kind of amazing that the FAA is “getting away” with this without congressional approval, as congress specifically has exempted model aircraft from FAA authority in the past. I will be watching with interest when the first court cases begin.

          1. My impression it was Cngress that pushed for a ruling. Except for vanity calls there is no charge for rhe actual FCC Amateur radio license. However there’s fee for the license exams. The FCC gets not of the exam fee the exam fees go to the volunteer examiner system. So there’s the rub An amateur radio license is both an operators licens and Station license. Wi an aircraft license along with an operators license for RC modeling is certainly possible but without an exams it’s not really the same. Not sure what kind of stroke the AMA has it could be possible that they could get the fee elimnate, but hat ain’t gonna happen those effected spend their time bitching on web forums; that’s wasn’t directed to you Paul . I’m told the volunteer examiners for amateur radio is based on volunteer examiners for private pilot licenses.

      1. Exactly right Martin. I have been flying “R/C Model Aircraft,” not drones for 29 years and now this comes out. I think it is utterly ludicrous that R/C model aircraft’s have been around since the 1950s and now all of a sudden since the media brands anything without a pilot as a “drone,” scaring the public and therefore the government into creating a set of regulations that they will be hard to enforce.

        Like someone else said here, it is not going to stop people from doing illegal things with them. It is just going to stop people from registering them if they want to do something illegal.

        1. Automobiles have been around since the early 1900’s. They are required to be registered and the driver requires a license. These requirements don’t stop people from doing illegal things with them. What they do is allow the law to identify vehicle owners involved in a crime and throw the book at people who ignore the rules.

          With model aircraft they are much more restricted physically where you can fly them (out of sight isn’t going to end well for example) so don’t require this level of regulation. Drones can be purchased easily and cheaply by any idiot, and this is an attempt to hold them liable if they do stupid things with their toy.

        2. The term drone should only apply to unmanned, air, land and water vehicles capable of operating in public space autonomously.

          If it requires human direction in order to move and maintain movement, it’s remote controlled or an ROV.

          1. Many of these aircraft can fly unaided to a pre-determined point, hold station without operator input or return to the point of launch if comms fail. You still don’t want to admit that they are drones?

    1. I think that Model Aircraft page just hasn’t been updated yet. What they seem to have done is re-interpret that special rule that says “the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model
      aircraft, or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft” to mean that A) congress has now agreed that a “model aircraft” is an aircraft under their jurisdiction; and B) they may regulate model aircraft all they want, as long as the regulation is about the umbrella groups of “unmanned aircraft” or “aircraft” in general, just so long as those regulations don’t apply to only model aircraft and nothing else.

      So now they’ve decided that all aircraft, including model aircraft, are required (and have probably always been required) to register with the FAA. All they’re doing now is making it easier for some smaller aircraft (which happens to include hobbyist/recreational drones/model aircraft) to register with a streamlined process, for $5.

    2. I don’t see the “registration is not required” part on that page. It states “FAA authorization” is not required. These are two different things. Today (pre new registration requirement) any violation of the parameters you listed requires FAA authorization.
      Registration for aircraft is separate from authorization to operate an aircraft. As an example, car registration vs drivers license.

      “The statutory parameters of a model aircraft operation are outlined in Section 336 of Public Law 112-95 (the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012) (PDF). Individuals who fly within the scope of these parameters do not require permission to operate their UAS; any flight outside these parameters (including any non-hobby, non-recreational operation) requires FAA authorization.”

  5. I think that the whole idea of registering aircraft is BS. I fortunately only own indoor/outdoor aircraft that weigh 1 oz. But as I get more experienced in flying I will upgrade to bigger and heavier aircraft. If this doesn’t change, I will put that register number on the top of my aircraft in very small writing. Maybe even on the propeller shaft it’s self. I can understand if you had this done to people who live close to a popular airport like the Atlanta international airport but for EVERY one? Good luck enforcing that.

    1. They mention writing the registration number inside the battery compartment (as long as you don’t need tools to open it) as a possibility, there’s no requirement it be visible in-flight. The very act of registration itself is apparently enough to encourage “a culture of accountability and responsibility”.

      1. damn.. looks like the battery rubbed the number right off… you can kinda see some of the marking there, but hey, this thing gets a lot of hours, you know. sorry about that.

        I’m still reading into everything on this, so my question may be answered elsewhere, but what of flying pre-owned, borrowed or stolen unmanned aircraft marked with someone else’s registration?

        1. you know what though? I’m big on security and privacy, so I’m going to encrypt my registration number before applying it to all of my kits.

          2048bits is kinda long, so I’ll build an LCD to show it when I swipe an RFID key over it, that I keep attached to my transmitter. that’ll be handy. let’s just hope the key doesn’t get corrupted in an unfortunate crash when forced down for inspection.

          1. Thanks I’d probably need the luck, assuming charges are ever pressed and with over 130,000 drones already registered I feel the FAA already being undermanned isn’t going to have much lick proving I illegally flew a drone that’s not part ofnsort of smart network (what I’ve heard version is working on). I’m an american, and sometimes that means breaking unjust laws and there is no way to justify me not being allowed to fly a drone up to 300 feet even if I’m within a mile of an air port. I’d rather “risk it” then be told I can’t use my property over my home as long as I manage to not make it someone else’s problem. But I’m just bej g stubborn in all honestly I might one day register considering how reasonable the FAA rules are except for the 5 mile BS for air ports.

  6. What problem is this trying to solve? Model aviation in the US has a great track record. No major problems, ever. How is having my name is a yet another database going to do anything?

  7. Do I understand it correctly,
    You will be rquired to register a small flying remote controlled 4 propeller helicopter,
    But you are able to have an assult rifle or large calibre gun at home without registration?

    if that is correct US of A is not like my country :-)

    1. Clearly you have never purchased a gun before or are very unfamiliar about the laws an rule governing Guns, even in the US of A. You are required to submit to a federal background check to purchase ANY gun, even a small rifle or shot-gun. There is no compulsory registration depending on what state you live in, but anybody who thinks their name, or the names of those who purchase guns, does not end up in a database somewhere for future reference by the authorities is a fool!

      Your point however, is well taken; The Fed wants to track Drone and RC pilots, but they don’t seem to care about things that might really matter; other things that can potentially be abused, or misused.

      1. x3n0x said: “You are required to submit to a federal background check to purchase ANY gun”

        True when buying from a dealer. NOT TRUE when buying from an individual. Private sales are a HUGE loophole, that is likely to be closed soon.

        ” they don’t seem to care about things that might really matter; other things that can potentially be abused, or misused.”

        Uhhh, they seem to care about *all* of them. Just about anything that can be abused or misused is regulated. Drugs, explosives, vehicles, you get the idea.

    2. Yes. I think you’ve got it right, although I hope someone can clarify to me if this registration is necessary for indoor-only UAS.

      In response to x3n0x, background checks are not required in many states for private party sales or transfers. Meaning sales where neither party is a manufacturer or a licensed dealer. Such as when one hunter sells his rifle to another hunter, or when an old man dies and his firearm(s) transfer to his heirs (wife, son, daughter, etc). To the best of my knowledge, neither of these examples requires a background check.

      Background checks are also not required when people make their own gun (not intended to be sold), such as this:
      http://hackaday.com/2012/11/25/beating-a-plowshare-into-an-ak-47/
      in this case he bought a parts kit – which is a box of loose parts, or a gun that was rendered “permanently legally inoperative” by cutting through the receiver of the gun. The receiver of the gun, for most guns, is the part where manufacturers are required to put the serial number, and often the caliber. This guy made a “new” receiver out of a shovel.

      If the court has determined a person ineligible to own a gun (usually due to a criminal past) then they are still breaking the law if they obtain a gun through the above methods. If the courts have never deemed a person ineligible, then the above methods are completely legal in many states.

      1. You are correct for private transactions, in which case the onus falls on the person making the transfer to confirm they are not doing something against the law or stupid. Most guys I have dealt with will only do a private sale/transfer if you have a concealed permit, which requires a pretty thorough background check to obtain, in order to cover their butt. The person who makes the transfer is also required by law to retain documentation of the transfer, so that if a question should ever come up, they can have proof where the weapon went, and who got it.

        Like any law, regulation or rule though, there exist individuals who simply do not care, so no amount of regulation or rule can stop bad things from happening. This only ruins it for the rest of us who are law abiding though.

        Sadly, this will remain the case for drones, and I am disappointed that we have come to this point.

    3. In the US assult rifl is most accurately used when a full automatic rifle is the topic, for that a Federal license is require, but not for semi automatic in assault rifle dress. fashion..

  8. This regulation seems… entirely reasonable. The minimum weight exemption is a bit low now, but it is a reasonable target for next generation “drones.” (who’s going to do the first race across the USA for <250gram "drones?") I do wish the FAA would talk about and work on making the registration system work FOR current "drone" pilots. I.e. I'd expect recovery of lost or stolen "drones" to be much more reliable when they're registered with the FAA. (though lost "drones" many return with a littering fine…)

    1. Dunno, but the new gold standard for quadcopter ads may just be: “WEIGHT: ONLY 248g*! (FEDERAL REGISTRATION THRESHOLD IS 250G)”, followed somewhere at the bottom of the page in 3-pixel font by ” *excluding the battery. please make sure to register with the FAA if your aircraft exceeds the registration threshold fully assembled!”

    1. I would presume the weight they go by is what the package says. In the sense that if you are found to have one unregistered and is checked (unlikely) and found too heavy that you can easily defend yourself with the official weight of the device as reported by the manufacturer and you are not liable for errors in such.

      1. Nice. But any modifications or use of third party parts and accessories might void the package statements.

        Now what if you build a minimal heli/quad/plane or whatever, but couple it with a battery with both electrical and mechanical enhancements that happen to work it’s preexisting flight capabilities? You can keep the main unit well under the weight imit, if you use the camera mounted smart-batteries with built in motors, servos and control systems.

    1. I’m a bit surprised about the weight, because I hear they did test with things hitting planes and plane engines and it’s really not affected much up to a much higher weight than a measly 250 grams,
      I think they decided to ignore reason and science and just went with arbitrary as a guideline.

  9. To the utter morons, who’re blaming/grilling the FAA: You should be pointing your fingers at the other morons who’re doing stupid things with their “drones” in the first place.

    Those dudebros that think it’s cool to fly them over cars on the motorway. The cluster of dumb-ass kids that try to dive-bomb neighborhood cats. The “hobbyist” who flies way above the height limit even though they know they’re not allowed to. The American who straps a damned pistol to the thing, “just because”.

    The FAA is just doing it’s job, even if in an overly bureaucratic fashion.

    1. Why are you singling out Americans like this? It is an unfair and rude generalization. I have seen some people who are not Americans on youtube who do far stupider and irresponsible things than strap a pistol to a UAV, just because. I would suspect that a terrorist somewhere has already tried it before any ‘American’ or otherwise has even considered it. Most people I know who own guns are very responsible, if not overly cautious and very careful, and would never do such a thing. You will always have the idiot who dfoes something unsafe. There are loads of idoitds driving cars around right now who think it is a good idea to text their BFF while driving, and for some reason, that never gets the same context or framing a a gun! Dumb people will do dumb things, and no amount of rules or regulations will ever change that. This goes for the drone too. There will always be some idiot who does something dumb or irrational or unsafe, gets in the news, and ruins it all for those who do have the wherewithal to make logical rational decisions.

  10. $5 is not a bit deal. Just wait for the second step in which they decide every airborne device is obliged to carry an ADS-B responder worth good $20k ;) And I believe this time WILL come.

      1. Frankly if there was demand, some shady chinese factory would start churning out an ASIC for a few $ at most…

        Buuuut, can you make it for $150 WITH all the certification? :P
        It’s not the hardware that’s expensive ;-)

    1. Since a person is a corporation, yes…Hi EDDIE corporation we need Eddie to register with our corporation UNITED STATES as defined per Title 28 § 3002 (15) “United States” means—(A) a Federal corporation…

  11. I don’t really see it as a problem; $5 is easily affordable for anyone who can afford to fly, and IDing the drones seems sensible; If nothing else, I presume it makes it easier for them to get back to you if they do go missing. Yes, it’ll be hard to enforce, and there’ll be people who’ll fly without a licence, but there’s people who drive without a licence. That’s life.
    One thing I suspect they could bring in to help with the enforcability of the law would be to encourage the manufacturer’s to include on the protocol an ID signal, transmitting the ID number of the pilot.
    I’ll be honest; I haven’t had that much of a look through the small print on this, as it doesn’t affect me (UK resident), but I wouldn’t be bothered about it if they brought something like this in over here. The $5 fee seems a bit un-neccecary, but it’s not obstructive.

  12. UUghh. What a crock of bureaucratic BS.
    As usual, they’ve gone off the deep end. It’s obvious that idiots have kept on doing stupid things with their copters and recorded it to be cool YouTube stars with baggy clothes, sideways baseball caps and a total vocabulary of 25 words. The rest of us saw this and thought “please don’t keep doing this stuff or the rest of us will be hassled”. But being morons, they don’t give a crap and just kept being stupid, over and over and over. Ding!
    So rather than be sane and SOLVE the problem, the fat bureaucrats pass new idiotic regulations which absolutely will be ignored by the ones creating all the fuss in the first place. I can’t help but come to a new revelation that idiocy trickles upstream, right? This will solve ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

    Yea eventually a handful of jokers will be caught and prosecuted and the word will get around, but as a statistic it will be monumentally insignificant. Certainly all this pomp and circumstance (or is it flotsam and jetsam?) is a whole lotta whining and crying and knee-jerk reaction that will not make things for anybody safer whatsoever. Utterly stupid. As stated a million times before, this affects ABSOLUTELY NOBODY except people who wouldn’t fly dangerously in the first place. So yea great, let’s hassle THEM for no reason at all.

    If you endanger others or invade privacy, there were ALREADY long-standing laws against that. Anybody NOT get that ??? Just enforce what’s already on the books and there wouldn’t be a big hubbub in the first place. Oh, you don’t have the resources to enforce those more meaningful laws so nothing could be done? Really? Well good luck enforcing this new crap then. At least it will be much more convenient to hassle the nearest sane RC pilot now rather than find and stop idiots from creating actual victims. Good plan.

    One more last thought. The AMA collects dues from members and included in your benefits is a decent bit of liability and other insurances in case of an incident. Plus you get a halfway decent magazine and a long list of other odds and ends. It’s a darned good arrangement really. This $5 registration gets you what? You won’t even offer to help return my lost or stolen property with my “registration number” drawn in big text on it? Well that’s just mighty just-as-I-expected of you then.

    PLEASE just piss off and go solve a problem. Just one problem. No? Oh that’s right. Just as I expected.
    Absolute idiots.

    1. “As usual, they’ve gone off the deep end. It’s obvious that idiots have kept on doing stupid things with their copters and recorded it to be cool YouTube stars with baggy clothes, sideways baseball caps and a total vocabulary of 25 words. The rest of us saw this and thought “please don’t keep doing this stuff or the rest of us will be hassled”. But being morons, they don’t give a crap and just kept being stupid, over and over and over. Ding!
      So rather than be sane and SOLVE the problem, the fat bureaucrats pass new idiotic regulations which absolutely will be ignored by the ones creating all the fuss in the first place. I can’t help but come to a new revelation that idiocy trickles upstream, right? This will solve ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.”

      how exactly would you solve this problem? i don’t like this any more then you do(i fly heli’s), but i don’t have any better idea’s either…

      1. I didn’t imply that I could. But since there are adequate laws already on the books against endangering people or invading privacy, they have license to enforce it. The gubrmint isn’t good at enforcing laws other than collecting money really. They can campaign in a way that would make P.T. Barnum proud too.
        All I’m saying is that this won’t do anything either, also, too, other than give an excuse for authorities to stop and ask you for your papers when you weren’t doing anything wrong to begin with I guess. $5 is a small price to pay so when that time comes you can tell them to go piss off. Hussah! But you know… bite me, bureaucrat (not you). It will buy a hamburger for a kid too. It’s a useless fee for a useless puppet show. Making a big noise over a useless act is what these bureaus do best. Heck, at least a fart can be used as fuel.
        And will it stop idiots from doing what they do?? no. Not one little bit.
        It’s throwing nothing after nothing and have the marching band crank it up.
        Woop-tee-doo.

        1. “It’s throwing nothing after nothing”
          OK I take that back just a little.
          What they’ve accomplished with this is simple. It’s a patent threat:
          “Pay yer fee (which will no doubt increase dramatically in the upcoming years) or be fined thousands of dollars”.
          Thank you Guido.
          The fine didn’t exist before the registration fee, so with one flail swoop they’ve created both the problem and the solution, neither of which has ANYTHING to do with the problem they claim it applies to.

          They could have arbitrarily picked any human activity to apply this slap to the faces of citizens. Own an extension cord or bicycle, buy a dev board, connect a webcam, repair your own lawnmower. I’m guessing that they have decided to pick on RC fliers because they have been sufficiently demonized and made into an “other” so are a convenient, tidy target.

        2. But isn’t that what Congress wanted something to show angry constituents something is being done? Until is Jr. who runs afoul of regulation and see a letter with huge potential fine.

  13. A backlash against iresposible people isn’t generall though out. Another thing I’m not see brought up therae are farm State legislators scrambling for “drone ” regulation to use against activists that would use them to spot ligel or unethical agriculture , and industrial activity.. Addressing therir concerns could even curtail lower elevation flights. Regulation is inevitable because non hobbyist will grow tired of the asshole hobbyists. Who will still be asshole after registration, but they wouldn’t be allowed to claim ignorance if they harm some one $5 isn’t that onerous, but bithing about it on web forums isn’t going to change or eliminate the cost, but don’t expect to git rid of the high dollar forfeiture rates. Besides only the ignorant,but stupid people will charged those. No doubt the modeling industry if they are going to happen would prefer Federal regulation as apposed to a mash of state and local regulation.. When Congress authorize local government to enforcee FCC CB regulations local LE generally didn’t was a part of that. I doubt they will want a part of enforcing these regulations, unless an real annoying idiot dhows up. Hands cuffed behind your back sucker.

  14. I remember when Citizens Band radio operators were required to register and get callsigns assigned and expected to follow a bunch of rules similar to ham radio.

    Well, pretty much nobody did any of that and eventually the FCC gave up and let CB go back to the free for all it started as, just don’t use channel 9 except for emergencies – but do police still monitor 9 on CB?

    Instead of registration just bust the people doing stupid/dangerous things with their ROV aircraft, same as is done when idiots run overpowered CB radios or tweak their ham systems to run in commercial frequencies.

    Never give an order (or make a regulation or law) you know will not be obeyed. The result can be anything from no change in the status quo to a full blown revolution.

  15. The guvment done did it again.
    Passed a law that no one needed, to address a problem that didn’t
    Exist, in the name of “thy own good” , for a bunch of their asshole
    friends to make a buck on.
    So AMA offers insurance as part of the package? That’s convenient
    Lots of $$ there.
    They (LE and other gov authorities) also get a grip on a major threat
    to their interest, namely the ability of citizens to monitor (and record) THEIR behavior.
    Oh and I am TOTALLY for mounting a firearm on a RC aircraft.
    They can have my guns when they pry them from my cold dead quad

  16. So here goes the info for sending your ‘comments’ to the FAA::

    DATES: This rule is effective December 21, 2015. Comments must be received on or before
    [INSERT DATE 30 DAYS AFTER DATE OF PUBLICATION IN THE FEDERAL
    REGISTER].
    ADDRESSES: Send comments identified by docket number FAA-2015-7396 using any of the
    following methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions
    for sending your comments electronically.
    Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30; U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT),
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Room W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC
    20590-0001.
    Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of the West
    Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5
    p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202-493-2251

    Privacy: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments from the public to better
    inform its rulemaking process. DOT posts these comments, without edit, including any personal
    information the commenter provides, to http://www.regulations.gov, as described in the system
    of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at http://www.dot.gov/privacy.

  17. Nice to see some people talking reasonably.

    On the other hand look at all the tinfoil hats.

    Guys, air traffic is a big deal. And drones are getting better range, higher altitudes, easier to access, and easier to fly. It is well within the FAA’s right and interest to protect Controlled Airspace.

    Chill out guys.

    1. Joey, I don’t think you realize how complex the US airspace system actually is. Just take a look at an aeronautical chart. https://skyvector.com/ Spending millions making changes to the well established airspace system so people can fly their toys isn’t really in their interest. Or those of the commercial system which is a large industry.

      I hate the idea that we have to register, and face regulations, etc. and would love to be able to share the skies with full sized aircraft safely. But ‘drones’ aren’t anywhere near where they will need to be as far as safety. So, careful what you ask for, private pilots aren’t allowed to do much beyond put oil in the engine and air up the tires in their own aircraft. How would you like to have to keep a very detailed logbook on maintenance for your drone, pay someone else to perform the maintenance, etc. There’s a lot more to owning a real airplane than you seem to think.
      And, as an owner of ‘drones’ and full sized aircraft…..please let me know where you are intending to fly..

      Also, please check http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=3efaad1b0a259d4e48f1150a34d1aa77&rgn=div5&view=text&node=14:2.0.1.3.10&idno=14 and notice that you actually do need training, a license and are subject to regulations in order to fly a ‘real aircraft’ in the US…..brains may still be optional… We have student, private, recreational and sport licenses. http://www.aopa.org/letsgoflying/ready/certs/categories.html

      Anyone who’s gone through flight instruction knows most of the training is what to do when things go wrong, be happy they aren’t requiring 40 hours of training yet.

  18. I read all the comments and perused the PDF put out by the FAA but I am still wondering about my fleet of Model Rockets. Does anyone know if I have to put my number on those. I could just as easily surveil with those and I even have on that launches a glider does that count? It’s not radio controlled but is a hobby model aircraft. FYI I am working on a rocket I can steer. where does that fit? I’m sort of playing devil’s advocate because I know I would lose any court case and should just do it to be covered I just always wonder if they ever think of all the angles when they make these media driven laws that no one needs or wants.

  19. It looks like the N.J. Senate is out to do the FAA one better bills are advancing to regulate model aircraft. S3183 makes it illegal to photograph “critical infrastructure” from a model aircraft. http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2014/Bills/S3500/3183_I1.HTM S3175 makes it illegal to fly a model aircraft unless it has a magic box preventing it from flying in a variety of places such as over an active or post-season NFL game. http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2014/Bills/S3500/3175_I1.HTM

    1. How about “Don’t bother, fly responsibly, and never have anybody check whether your responsibly-operated drone is registered or not, and avoid ever paying the fee in the first place!”

      Why, yes, I am advocating civil disobedience. These rules are nuts.

  20. I love the fact that I will be required to call the tower when I fly my drone around the backyard at heights lower then the surrounding buildings and trees…actually, may make me take it out more often, just to have and excuse to call the tower every day. Or does that take me squarely into being one of “those” people?

  21. I want four 240g drones which can link together in mid flight (not creating a single drone, mind you, but four completely independent and mechanically linked drones). They will each carry separate equipment, such as a larger battery, camera, what have you, which, when linked together, have all of the features of a heavy drone.

  22. Lemme know when any thing worth flying out doors weighs less than .5 pounds. If any thing the FAA should PAY ME to register. Since I would have to go through the trouble at all to let any dip have an ID to complain about when they get flustered by a basketball size Whirligig in my own dooryard. I wont bother Regardless. I’ll fly what the hell ever I like in my yard 400 feet or less. If there is a plane buzzing my yard I’ll flip em the bird for being a numbnutz.

  23. Lol, nah I’m ignoring that stupid law. Now if I fly my drone 50ft+ able ground you could say its reasonable maybe. But what I do in my air space in my home, or the like is my business. I’ll consider playing ball I they can demonstrate the ability to enforce this law. Good luck.

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