If you are planning on giving that wonderful flying machine to someone for Christmas, make sure they know that there is a string attached. The owner – whether it’s a new purchase or a drone that’s been flying for years – will have to register a name, a physical address and an email address with the FAA. Existing owners will have to register by February 19, 2016, and new flyers will have to register before their first flight.
You are required to register a drone if it weighs more than 9 ounces. Registration opens December 21 and is free through January 20 (the credit card transaction will confirm the owner’s identity and the fee will be refunded). After that, the FAA will charge $5 for registration. You must be at least 13 years old to register, or someone older must register for you. The registration is good for 3 years.
Oh, and the registration rule excludes “paper airplanes that are not linked to a system”, so a paper airplane that weighs more than 9 ounces does not need to be registered unless it has a motor and remote attached!
And the FAA plans on enforcing their rule. “Failure to register an aircraft can result in civil penalties up to $27,500,” the rule states. “Criminal penalties for failure to register can include fines of up to $250,000”.
Merry Christmas kids!