How-To Register Your Drone (For Hobbyist Use)

3/04/2016

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There is a lot of information floating around right now regarding FAA regulations for drone or UAS use. We want to clear a few things up for you and give you some helpful tips! Because while drones are very exciting, we want to keep you legal!

The regulations released last December from the FAA require the registration of all Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). The FAA launched a very simple online drone registration process for hobbyist users of small UAS. There is a paper application currently available for commercial users, but it is important to note that commercial use is still only currently permitted for professional photographers who have been granted a Section 333 exemption and are licensed pilots or have exempt licensed pilots operating the UAS.

We expect the FAA to finalize new regulations for business-related use of small UAS literally any day now. We certainly expect the regulations to come by Summer 2016. The FAA has also said that the online UAS registration system will be expanded to include business-related use. If you are using UAS for hobbyist or recreational purposes while awaiting new regulations for business use, be sure to register your UAS with the FAA as soon as possible. Please see our recent coverage for more information on the most recent regulatory change.

At this point, you may be wondering why we keep using the word "hobbyist". Again, we have to stress that as it stands now, drone use is restricted to only "hobbyist" use and not "commercial" use without a pilot's license. Since you, our members, are professionals and are probably thinking about using drones in your photography work, we feel we have to keep you informed of the illegality of that situation. Think of these posts as "How to Use Your Drones ONLY FOR RECREATIONAL and HOBBYIST USE and NOT FOR PROFESSIONAL OR COMMERCIAL USE". The new regulations relaxing the rules for business use are expected any day now. But until then ... here are step-by-step instructions for how to register your UAS (FOR HOBBYIST USE ONLY) after the jump:

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