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FAA – Drone Regulations

In case you hadn’t heard, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been setting regulations for the usage of drones by creating laws and rules which restrict drone usage. One of these restrictions would require all drone owners to register each of their drones with the FAA.  In December of 2015, the FAA sent out messages to owners requiring them to register their devices by Feb 2016 or be subject to expensive fines.  In May of 2017 however, the FAA’s mandated registration was rejected by a federal appeals court. Drone owners could choose to register if they wanted to, but were not required by any laws.

So What’s Changed?

On Dec 12th, 2017 the mandated registration was put back in place as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. The registration laws were only a very small section of the entire National Defense Authorization Act, but an important one for drone operators. These rules and regulations are actually supported by some of the biggest tech companies out there (Amazon, Google, and DJI to name just a few) who believe that regulations and laws will help the industry overall by creating safer environments and less prejudices over drones .

What Other FAA Regulations Are There?

For pilots who fly only “For Fun” and are not “Flying For Work”:

  • No flying within 5 miles of an airport.
  • No flying more than 400ft above the ground.
  • No flying after sunset.
  • Never fly over large crowds of people.
  • Never fly over stadiums or sporting events.
  • Never fly when under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Unmanned Vehicle must weigh less than 55lbs.
  • Always required to yeild right of way to manned aircraft.
  • Must keep aircraft within line of sight.
  • Must follow community-based safety rules (listen to park rangers, business owners, etc).
  • No flying for commercial use (you must obtain a license for that).
  • Must report accidents if serious injury is caused to another person or another person’s property (unless damage cost doesn’t exceed $500).


Do I have to register my drone?

If you’re drone weighs between 0.55lbs and 55lbs – you must register it.

Where can I register my drone?

Is there a fee to register?

There will be a $5.00 fee to register, but the fee will be waived in the beginning in an attempt to work with pilots.

Will I be penalized if I do not register my unmanned vehicle?

Absolutely. There will be civil and/or criminal penalties for pilots who fail to register.

Do I need a special License for my drone?

Not typically. If you are being paid for surveying, photography, inspections or anything like that will require passing a test and obtaining a license.

Do I need to report accidents?

Yes, if the accident seriously injures a person or causes more than $500 in damage, you will be required to report the incident within 10 days.  Reports can be filed here:

Should I be worried about a mandated registration?

In my opinion, no. I believe, like the big tech companies, that safe and sensible restrictions are the only ways to keep the public opinion on drones positive. There is already a large majority of non-pilots who believe drones to be much more dangerous than they are. It’s best to show the public that pilots have rules, and obey them, in order to ensure safe flying for everyone.

Where Can I Learn More About The FAA's Regulations?

The FAA website ( has loads of information out there to help you understand each restriction.

As always, I’d love to hear your opinion on the new update for the FAA’s regulations and mandatory drone registrations. Leave me a comment below with your thoughts or MESSAGE ME directly!

Hey! My name is Mike Miller. I'm a drone enthusiast, self-proclaimed adventurer and web developer. Recently, I moved from the Tampa Bay area of Florida to the beautiful state of Colorado. I love to share what I am filming, learning, or have learned with fellow drone pilots. Follow the adventures @SkylineAperture on instagram. If you ever have any questions or want to say hello, send me a message! Have fun and fly safe!

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