Registering your drone will be like buying online

Image: Drone registration
Drone operators will encounter this FAA registration page starting Monday. (Credit: FAA)

The Federal Aviation Administration’s drone registration process will be as easy as making an online purchase. In fact, it is an online purchase, with a few extra rules and conditions.

The FAA’s online system won’t go live until Monday – but Chris Foster, an IT manager for the agency, demonstrated how it’ll work for journalists today.

Drone operators will be required to sign up if their remote-controlled aerial vehicles weigh more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams). If the drone is heavier than 55 pounds (25 kilograms), or if it’s going to be used for commercial purposes, you’ll have to register through the FAA’s more complicated paper-based process.

At the end of the online process, you’ll get a registration certificate via email, and you can also print out the certificate from your online account. You’ll have to mark the registration number on all the drones you own, and carry the certificate (on paper or electronically on your smartphone) when you’re flying the drone.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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