Recently Congress restored the registration requirement for model aircraft operators. New owners must register before operating the drone for the first time.
Drones are regulated by the FAA and must be registered under either Part 107 or Section 336 of FAA regulations. To fly under Section 336, the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, it must meet the following criteria:
- It must be registered with the FAA as a “modeler.”
- To register a person must be 13 or older.
- The aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use.
- The aircraft operates in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization.
- The aircraft cannot weigh more than 55 pounds.
- The aircraft operates in a manner that does not interfere with, and gives way to, any manned aircraft.
- When flown within five miles of an airport, the operator must notify the airport with prior notice.
- Model aircraft operators flying from a permanent location (such as their home) that is within five miles of an airport should establish a mutual agreement on operating procedures with the airport operator.
If the operator or the aircraft fails to meet all of the Section 336 criteria, they must be flown under Part 107 and meet the following criteria:
- Register the UAS as a “non-modeler.”
- Get a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA
- Follow all Part 107 rules. Under Part 107, drones must weigh less than 55 pounds, including payload; they must be flown in Class G airspace; they must be flown during daylight, below 400 feet and at speeds less than 100 mph; can’t be flown directly over people, must be flown within visual line-of-sight of the operator and must yield right-of-way to manned aircraft.
- Be at least 16 years old.
- Pass an aeronautical knowledge test at the FAA-approved testing center.
- Undergo Transportation Safety Administration security screening.