Let's talk about the FAA Drone Registration FAQ's


The FAA has posted common questions and answers. Let's go over them together.

General sUAS (small Unmanned Aircraft System) Drone FAQ's


What is an unmanned aircraft system (UAS)?
An unmanned aircraft system is an unmanned aircraft and the equipment necessary for the safe and efficient operation of that aircraft. An unmanned aircraft is a component of a UAS. It is defined by statute as an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft (Public Law 112-95, Section 331(8)).

What is the definition of a UAS for registration purposes? Is it different from a drone? Is an R/C aircraft a UAS?
A UAS is an unmanned aircraft system. A drone and a UAS are the same for registration purposes. All aircraft, Drone, R/C plane must be registered and labeled.

Is a UAS the same as a model aircraft?
Congress defined a "model aircraft" as a UAS that meets all of the following:

  • Is capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere
  • Is flown within visual line-of-sight of the person operating it
  • Is flown for hobby or recreational purposes

Does the FAA have the authority to require registration of UAS used by modelers and hobbyists
Yes. By statute all aircraft are required to register. Congress has defined "aircraft" to include UAS, regardless of whether they are operated by modelers and hobbyists.

What is the penalty for failing to register?
The FAA states that failure to register an aircraft may result in regulatory and criminal sanctions. The FAA may assess civil penalties up to $27,500. Criminal penalties include fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years.

Will an operator be required to have proof of registration while operating the UAS?
Yes. You will be required to have your FAA registration certificate in your possession when operating your unmanned aircraft. The Flight ID Card will fulfill this requirement.

Why do I need to register?
Federal law requires aircraft registration. Registration helps the FAA ensure safety – for you, others on the ground, and manned aircraft. UAS pose new security and privacy challenges and must be traceable in the event of an incident. It will also help enable the return of your UAS should it be lost.

If I’m just flying it for fun in my yard, do I have to register it?
Yes, if the UAS weight is within the stated weights for registration.

Is there a minimum age requirement?
Yes. You must be 13 years of age or older before you are permitted to register an unmanned aircraft. If the owner is less than 13 years of age, then a person who is at least 13 years of age must register the unmanned aircraft.

Is there a citizenship requirement?
Only United States citizens can register their small UAS. The certificate serves as a certificate of ownership for non-citizens, not a registration certificate.

If I get a drone as a gift do I need to register?
Yes, unless the drone already has been registered in your name and you have the unique identification number. If the name or address registered is different from yours, you should update the registration to your name and address to aid in the return of your UAS if it is lost.

What happens if I sell my drone?
You should log on to the registration website and update your registration information. We also strongly encourage you to remove your registration number from the drone before the transfer of ownership.

When must I register?
You must register prior to operating the UAS outdoors.

If I own multiple drones, do I have to register them all?
No. You may register once and apply the same registration number to all your UAS with the appropriate label for recreational use. Commercial drones must have unique registration numbers.

What should I expect once I complete my registration on the UAS website?
You will receive a unique registration number that applies to any and all UAS that you own. You must mark all of your UAS with the unique registration number before operating. A registration certificate that contains the unique FAA registration number, the issue and expiration dates, and the name of the certificate holder will be sent to your email address immediately.

How do I prove I am registered?
A certificate of registration will be available to download and will be sent to your email address at the time of registration. When operating your UAS you must be able to present the certificate in either print or electronic format if asked for proof of registration.

Will my drone require an N-number or label?
All drones will require some form of identification. You will receive a unique registration number, not an N-number, if you are registering as a hobbyist and you must mark the registration number on your UAS by means that is legible and allows the number to be readily seen. Our drone labels are compliant with these FAA regulations. The registration number may be placed in a battery compartment as long as it can be accessed without the use of tools.

Is putting my AMA number on my drone enough?
No. The registration system will generate a unique FAA registration number, which you must mark on your aircraft. We do however allow for you to have your AMA number included on your drone labels and will ask you for your number in the order process.

If a drone crashes in my yard what do I do?
You may fill out the Found Drone Form and we will attempt to arrange for the drone to be returned. You may also call local law enforcement.

Is there a limit to how many drones I can own?

If I register and then give the drone as a gift am I liable for its use?
Laws governing liability for damage caused by drones vary by state. If the gift recipient is a minor, in some states you might have some liability if the drone causes damage. For federal civil aviation law purposes, the operator of the drone is liable for its use.

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Flying for Work or Business (non-recreational)

How do I fly a UAS for work or business purposes?
There are three ways to fly a UAS for work, business, or non-recreational reasons:

Following the requirements in the Small UAS rule (Part 107)

Following the rules in your Section 333 grant of exemption

Obtain an airworthiness certificate for the aircraft

I am part of a Federal/State/local government office – how can I fly a UAS to support a specific mission e.g. search and rescue?
You may either operate under the Part 107 rule, or you may be eligible to conduct public aircraft operations for which you would need to apply for a public Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) for certain operations.

Can news media fly a UAS to shoot stories or cover breaking news?
Media companies may use a UAS, but must adhere to the requirements of their Section 333 grant of exemption or the Small UAS Rule (Part 107). Organizations may request a waiver under Part 107 to fly over people, and will need to provide sufficient mitigations to ensure public safety.

What options do I have if my operation is not permitted under these rules (Part 107)?
If you are operating an unmanned aircraft that weighs less than 55 pounds, generally you may apply for a Part 107 waiver (special permission) to conduct your operation. Your waiver application must outline how you intend to safely conduct your proposed operation, including any additional risk mitigation strategies you may use. We may assist you in filing and aquiring your 333 Exemption or Part 107 Waiver.

Is package delivery allowed under the small UAS rule (Part 107)?
Part 107 permits the transportation of property for compensation or hire, provided the operator complies with all the provisions of the rule, including that the operator must keep the UAS within his/her sight, the flight is conducted within visual line-of-sight and not from a moving vehicle, external loads must be securely attached and cannot adversely affect the flight characteristics or controllability of the aircraft, and the aircraft with payload must weigh less than 55 lbs. at takeoff. The transportation must also occur wholly within the bounds of a state and may not involve transportation of property between: (1) Hawaii and another place in Hawaii through airspace outside of Hawaii; (2) the District of Columbia and another place in the District of Columbia; or (3) a territory or possession of the United States and another place in the same territory or possession.

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Flying for Fun (recreational or hobby)

What is the definition of recreational or hobby use of a UAS?
Recreational or hobby UAS use is flying for enjoyment and not for work, business purposes, or for compensation or hire. In the FAA's Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, the FAA relied on the ordinary, dictionary definition of these terms. UAS use for hobby is a "pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation." UAS use for recreation is "refreshment of strength and spirits after work; a means of refreshment or division."

Do I need permission from the FAA to fly a UAS for recreation or as a hobby?
There are two ways for recreational or hobby UAS fliers to operate in the National Airspace System in accordance with the law and/or FAA regulations. Each of the two options has specific requirements that the UAS operator must follow. The decision as to which option to follow is up to the individual operator.Option #1. Fly in accordance with the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (Public Law 112-95 Section 336). Under this rule, operators must:

Fly for hobby or recreational purposes only

Follow a community-based set of safety guidelines

Fly the UAS within visual line-of-sight

Give way to manned aircraft

Provide prior notification to the airport and air traffic control tower, if one is present, when flying within 5 miles of an airport

Fly UAS that weigh no more than 55 lbs. unless certified by a community-based organization

Register the aircraft (UAS over 0.55 lbs. and less than 55 lbs. can be registered online. UAS 55 lbs. or greater must be registered through the FAA's paper-based process)

For more information Visit "Fly for Fun" FAA webpage for safety rules and guidelines that apply to recreational or hobby UAS operations under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft.

Option #2. Fly in accordance with the FAA's Small UAS Rule (Part 107). This requires operators to:

Obtain a remote pilot certificate or be under the direct supervision of someone who holds such a certificate.

Follow all the operating rules in accordance with the regulation

For more information visit our "Fly for Work" webpage for rules that apply to UAS operations under Part 107.

Does the new Small UAS Rule (part 107) apply to recreational UAS operations?
Part 107 does not apply to UAS flown strictly for fun (hobby or recreational purposes) as long as these unmanned aircraft are flown in accordance with the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (Section 336 of P.L. 112-95). The small UAS rule codifies the provisions of section 336 in part 101 of the FAA's regulations, which will prohibit operating a UAS in manner that endangers the safety of the National Airspace System.

How do I know where it is OK to fly and where it is not OK to fly?
The FAA has developed a mobile app called B4UFLY to help recreational UAS operators know whether there are any restrictions or requirements where they want to fly.

Can I fly a model aircraft or UAS over a stadium or sporting events for hobby or recreation?
No. Federal law restricts UAS from flying at or below 3,000 AGL within a 3 nautical mile radius of any stadium with a seating capacity of 30,000 or more people during a Major League Baseball (MLB), regular or post-season National Football League (NFL), or NCAA Division I football game, or major motor speedway event. This temporary flight restriction applies to the entire U.S. domestic National Airspace System, and takes effect starting one hour before the scheduled event time until one hour after the event concludes. The FAA gives further detail in a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM.)

Do I have to notify all airports within five miles of where I want to fly recreationally?
Yes, you must contact any airports (including heliports and sea-based airports) and air traffic control towers within five miles of your proposed area of operations if flying under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (Public Law 112-95, Section 336).

Can an airport operator object to model aircraft flights near an airport?
Yes, an airport operator can object to the proposed use of a model aircraft within five miles of an airport if the proposed activity would endanger the safety of the airspace. However, the airport operator cannot prohibit or prevent the model aircraft operator from operating within five miles of the airport. Unsafe flying in spite of the objection of an airport operator may be evidence that the operator was endangering the safety of the National Airspace System. Additionally, the UAS operator must comply with any applicable airspace requirements.

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Aeronautical Knowledge Testing/Remote Pilot Certification

I already have a pilot certificate issued under part 61. Do I need to obtain a remote pilot certificate to fly a UAS under the Small UAS Rule (Part 107)?
Yes. To act as a remote pilot in command under Part 107, a person must have a remote pilot certificate. However, part 61 pilot certificate holders who have completed a flight review within the past 24 months may elect to take an online training course focusing on UAS-specific areas of knowledge instead of the aeronautical knowledge test. All other members of the public must take and pass the initial aeronautical knowledge test to obtain a remote pilot certificate. It is recommended that you take the Part 107 Knowledge Pre-Test Study Course.

How can I find the closest FAA-approved Knowledge Testing Center to me?
We have provided an interactive map and listing of Knowledge Testing Centers. You may contact the Knowledge Test Service Providers directly to schedule your test.

Where can I find study materials for the Part 107 aeronautical knowledge test?
Study materials are available online.

How much does it cost to get a remote pilot certificate?
Knowledge Testing Centers charge approximately $150 to people seeking to take the initial aeronautical knowledge test.

Will the FAA recognize any previous UAS training I've taken?
No. However, prior military or civil aviation-related training may be helpful to new applicants preparing for the aeronautical knowledge test. There is no required practical training to fly under the Part 107 rule or to get a remote pilot certificate.

Once I complete the aeronautical knowledge test at one of the approved centers, what is the process for obtaining my pilot certificate from the FAA?
After you have passed the initial aeronautical knowledge test, you will then complete the FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application (known as IACRA) to receive a remote pilot certificate. IACRA is a web-based certification/rating application that ensures you meet the requirements and electronically submits the application to the FAA's Airman Registry. Applications should be validated within 10 days. Applicants will then receive instructions for printing their temporary airman certificate, which is good for 120 days. The FAA will then mail you your permanent Remote Pilot Certificate within that 120 days.

What happens if I fail the aeronautical knowledge test? How soon can I retake the test?
You may retake the test after 14 days.

What do I need to bring with me to take the aeronautical knowledge test?
All applicants must bring a valid and current form of identification that includes their photo, date of birth, signature, and physical residential address. Acceptable forms of identification include:

What to bring in order to take the knowledge test
U.S. Citizen and Resident Aliens Non-U.S. Citizens
  • Driver permit or license issued by a U.S. state or territory
  • U.S. Government identification card
  • U.S. Military identification card
  • Passport
  • Alien residency card
  • Passport
  • Driver permit or license issued by a U.S. state or territory
  • Identification card issued by any government entity

More information is available in the FAA Airman Knowledge Testing

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How can I tell what class of airspace I'm in?
Under the Small UAS Rule (part 107) (PDF), operators must pass an aeronautical knowledge test to obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate. This test will quiz prospective operators on how to use aeronautical charts to determine airspace classifications.For reference, aeronautical charts and a Chart User's Guide are also available on the FAA's website. These charts are the FAA's official source of airspace classifications.

Additionally, the FAA's B4UFLY app, which is designed to help recreational UAS flyers know where it's safe to fly, shows users if they are in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, or E airspaces) in a given or planned location. If the app's status indicator is yellow ("Use Caution – Check Restrictions"), a user is in uncontrolled (Class G) airspace.

How do I request permission from Air Traffic Control to operate in Class B, C, D, or E airspace? Is there a way to request permission electronically?
You can request airspace authorization through an online web portal available at www.faa.gov/uas/request_waiver.

Can I contact my local air traffic control tower or facility directly to request airspace permission?
No. All airspace permission requests must be made through the online portal.

I'm an airport operator and have questions about recreational UAS flying near my airport.
Read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Use of Model Aircraft near an Airport for more information.

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Permissions, Authorizations, Waivers, and Exemptions

Do I need a Section 333 exemption, or any other kind of special permission, to fly now that the Small UAS Rule is effective?
If you are operating a small UAS, once you have obtained your remote pilot certificate, and registered your aircraft, you can fly in Class G airspace as long as you follow all the operating requirements in the small UAS Rule (Part 107).However, you will need special permission if you want to fly in any controlled airspace (PDF) (Classes B, C, D, or E), or if you want to deviate from any of the operational requirements contained in the Small UAS Rule (Part 107), including flying at night, or over people). Additionally, Part 107 does not apply to operations using UAS that weigh 55 lbs. or more. These operations will still require authorization through the Section 333 exemption process.

What happens to my Section 333 exemption now that the Small UAS Rule is effective?
Your Section 333 exemption remains valid until it expires. You may continue to fly following the conditions and limitations in your exemption. If your operation can be conducted under the requirements in the Part 107, you may elect to operate under Part 107. However, if you wish to operate under part 107, you must obtain a remote pilot certificate and follow all the operating rules of Part 107.

Can my blanket Section 333 Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) transfer to my UAS operation under part 107?
No. If you fly following the requirements of Part 107, you must comply with the operating provisions specified in part 107. Part 107 limits your altitude to 400 feet unless your unmanned aircraft is flying within 400 feet of a structure (in which case you may not fly higher than 400 feet above the top of that structure). Part 107 also limits your operation to Class G airspace unless you obtain FAA permission prior to the operation to fly in controlled airspace. The blanket COA issued with your Section 333 exemption is only valid if you continue flying using the conditions and limitations in your exemption.

Am I better off flying under the Part 107 rule or my Section 333 exemption?
It depends on what you want to do. UAS operators need to compare the conditions and limitations in their individual Section 333 exemption to the operating requirements in the Part 107 rule to determine which operating rules best address their needs.

Can I use the new airmen certification to fulfill the pilot-in-command requirement of my Section 333 exemption?
No. You cannot "mix and match" the conditions and limitations in your Section 333 exemption with the Part 107 rule operating requirements. Section 333 exemption holders have two choices:

Continue to fly using their Section 333 exemption, following the conditions and limitations in the exemption

Get a remote pilot certificate and start flying under the Part 107 rule, following all operating rules and requirements.

Is the new Small UAS Rule retroactively applied to 333 exemption holders?
No. Current Section 333 exemption holders have two choices:

Continue to fly using their Section 333 exemption, following the conditions and limitations in the exemption

Get a remote pilot certificate and start flying under the Part 107 rule, following all operating rules and requirements of Part 107.

I already applied for a Section 333 exemption or have a pending request for amendment. What do I do?
The FAA has posted a letter to your docket folder on www.regulations.gov. If your operation can be conducted under the Small UAS Rule (Part 107), your petition will be closed out. If your operation requires a waiver to Part 107 or cannot be conducted under the Rule, the FAA will contact you with specific information about the status of your Section 333 petition.

Will the FAA be issuing renewals for current Section 333 exemptions?
For the most part, no. If your operation can be flown under the Part 107 rule, the FAA will not renew your exemption once it expires. If you cannot operate under the requirements of the Small UAS Rule, you will need to renew your Section 333 petition once it expires.

How do I apply for a waiver to the requirements of the Part 107 rule?
Waivers are special permissions the FAA issues to authorize certain types of UAS operations not covered under the Part 107 rule. An online portal will be available through www.faa.gov/uas for people to apply for these waivers.

Once I submit my waiver request, how long before the FAA makes a decision? And how will I be notified?
Waiver processing times will vary depending on the complexity of the request. We encourage applicants to submit waiver requests well in advance of when they need a waiver – 90 days is strongly encouraged. Applicants will be notified via email about the outcome of their waiver processing.

Will I still need a COA to fly under the Part 107 rule?
If you already have a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA), you can continue to fly under those COA requirements until it expires. Section 333 exemption holders may operate under the terms of their exemptions and COAs until they expire. Public aircraft operators such as law enforcement agencies, state or local governments, or public universities may continue to operate under the terms of their COAs.If you don't already have a Section 333 exemption and associated COA, and you are not conducting a public aircraft operation, you probably don't need one now that Part 107 is out. Civil UAS operations flown under the new rules do not require the UAS operator to get a COA.

Please contact the FAA's Air Traffic Organization for more information.

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Why do I need to register my UAS?
Federal law requires that all aircraft (which includes UAS and radio/remote controlled aircraft) flown outdoors must be registered with the FAA and marked with a registration number. UAS weighing more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds may register online at https://drone-registration.net/drone-registration-form/ or by using the legacy paper based registration process. The weight limit includes everything that is on board or otherwise attached to the aircraft at the time of takeoff.

What is the difference between registering a UAS flown for fun vs. UAS flown for work or business?
If you fly your UAS for hobby or recreational purposes and you use the web-based registration process to register your aircraft, you only need to register once and then apply your registration number to as many UAS as you want. Recreational registrants only need to provide their name, address, and email address.

Do I always have to have my Certificate of Aircraft Registration with me while flying my UAS?
Yes. You must have the FAA registration certificate in your possession when operating an unmanned aircraft. The certificate can be available either on paper or electronically.If another person operates your UAS, they must have the UAS registration certificate in their possession. You can give them a paper copy or email a copy to them.

Federal law requires UAS operators to show the certificate of registration to any Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer if asked. You can show it electronically or show the printed certificate.

If I'm just flying my UAS inside a building, or in my own yard, do I have to register it?
If you're flying indoors, you do not need to register your unmanned aircraft as the FAA does not regulate indoor UAS use. However, when flying in your own yard or over your own property, you will need to register your UAS if the UAS weighs more than 0.55 pounds.

If my UAS weighs more than 55 lbs., what are the registration requirements?
It must be registered using the FAA's paper-based registration process.

I'm a foreign national and want to fly my UAS in the U.S. on vacation. Do I have to register before flying?
If you are a foreign national and you are not eligible to register your sUAS in the United States there are two ways for you to operate. If you want to operate your UAS exclusively as model aircraft you must complete the steps in the web-based registration process and obtain a "recognition of ownership." This recognition of ownership is required by the Department of Transportation to operate a model aircraft in the United States. Alternatively, if you want to operate your UAS as a non-model aircraft you must register your UAS in the country in which you are eligible to register and obtain operating authority from the Department of Transportation.NOTE: at this time, the FAA's online registration website can only be accessed from a computer located in the United States or its territories or possessions.

If my UAS is destroyed or is sold, lost, or transferred, do I need to do anything?
You should cancel your registration.

How do I mark my unmanned aircraft with my unique registration number?
If you complete registration using the web-based registration process and satisfy the registration requirements, you may use a permanent marker, label, or engraving, as long as the number remains affixed to the aircraft during routine handling and all operating conditions and is readily accessible and legible upon close visual inspection. The number may also be enclosed in a compartment that is readily accessible, such as a battery compartment.Requirements for marking unmanned aircraft registered in accordance with the legacy registration system can be found in 14 CFR Part 45, subpart C. Guidance material on aircraft marking requirements in Part 45 can be found in Advisory Circular No. 45-2E Identification and Registration Marking.

When I provide my registration information, is it publicly available?
The web-based UAS registration database is not searchable at this time. The FAA and the FAA contractor who maintain the website and database will be able to see the data that you enter. Like the FAA, the contractor is required to comply with strict legal requirements to protect the confidentiality of the personal data you provide. Under certain circumstances, law enforcement officers might also be able to see the data.As described in the applicable Privacy Act System of Records Notice for aircraft registration information, the public may search for aircraft information in the legacy, paper-based aircraft registration system by the aircraft registration number, aircraft owner name, and aircraft owner state/county or territory/county.

I don't have access to a computer to register. Is there a form?
There are two registration systems available to sUAS owners – the web-based system designed exclusively for small unmanned aircraft and the legacy paper-based registration system. If you don't have access to a computer to register, you may use the paper registration process.

Can I transfer my model registration to non-model registration?
Only the web-based registration system distinguishes model sUAS registration requirements from non-model sUAS registration requirements.At this time, the web-based registration system does not permit this type of transfer. You must complete registration as a non-modeler and provide specific aircraft information such as manufacturer name, model number and serial number, if applicable.

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Accident and Incident Reporting

How do I submit an accident report under the Small UAS Rule (Part 107) to the FAA?
An online portal is available through www.faa.gov/uas for the remote pilot to report accidents in accordance with reporting requirements in the Part 107 rule. Accident reports may also be made by contacting your nearest FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO).

When do I need to report an accident?
The remote pilot in command of the small UAS is required to report an accident to the FAA within 10 days if it results in at least serious injury to any person or any loss of consciousness, or if it causes damage to any property (other than the UAS) in excess of $500 to repair or replace the property (whichever is lower).

If someone's UAS crashes in my yard, hurts someone, or damages my property, what do I do?
Call local law enforcement. Law enforcement personnel will contact the FAA if the crash investigation requires FAA participation.

What should I do if I see someone flying a drone in a reckless or irresponsible manner?
Flying a drone in a reckless manner is a violation of Federal law and FAA regulations and could result in civil fines or criminal action. If you see something that could endanger other aircraft or people on the ground, call local law enforcement.

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Source: FAA.gov

The FAA asks you to remember these rules when you fly:

• Always fly below 400 feet altitude.
• Always keep your unmanned aircraft in sight at all times.
• Never fly near manned aircraft, especially near airports.
• Never fly within 5 miles of an airport.
• Never fly over groups of people, stadiums or sporting events.
• Never fly near emergency response efforts.
• Never fly under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
• Always be aware of FAA airspace  Temporary Flight Restrictions.

Did you know?
Effective December 21, 2015, anyone who owns a small unmanned aircraft of a certain weight must register with the Federal Aviation Administration's Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) registry before they fly outdoors. People who previously operated their UAS must register by February 19, 2016. People who do not register could face civil and criminal penalties.
Which unmanned aircraft do I have to register?
Owners must register their UAS online if it meets the following guidelines: Weighs more than 0.55 lbs. (250 g) and less than 55 lbs. (25 kg). Unmanned Aircraft weighing more than 55 lbs. cannot use this registration process and must register using the Aircraft Registry process or file for a 333 exemption. drone-registration.net can assist you with this filing.
Flying Near Airports
Recreational operators are required to give notice for flights within five miles of an airport to BOTH the airport operator and air traffic control tower, if the airport has a tower. However, recreational operations are not permitted in Class B airspace around most major airports without specific air traffic permission and coordination. This does not apply to Washington Dulles International, Ronald Reagan Washington National, and Baltimore Washington International Airport because they are part of the restricted airspace over the greater Washington DC area. Any recreational use of drones in this area is illegal.