The number of drone registrations with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has plummeted by tens of percent since the beginning of 2021. The number of registered drones used commercially by Part 107 operators fell by 27%, while the number of registered recreational drones fell by no less than 60%.
Number of drone registrations with FAA plummets
The mandatory registration of drones over 250 grams was introduced by the Trump administration in early 2018. Drone pilots have since been required to register their aircraft with the FAA, including their contact information. The registration number must be visibly affixed to the aircraft. The purpose of the registration requirement was to reduce the number of incidents involving drones, although many questions were raised about the effectiveness of the measure.
However, the number of registrations has plummeted since the beginning of 2021. One cause could be that drone pilots have simply forgotten to renew the registration, which is valid for three years. Another reason could be that there are far fewer (hobby) drones that weigh more than 250 grams in use.
Failure to register with the FAA is punishable
The FAA emphasizes that it is a criminal offense to fly a drone that is not registered. At the same time, FAA points out that registration can also help return drones that have accidentally flown off to their rightful owners. It is unclear whether the FAA is now actively communicating with drone pilots about renewing their registration.
Since December 31, 2020, there is also a registration requirement in the European Union. In contrast to the US, it is not the drone that is registered, but the pilot/operator.
How to register your drone with the FAA
Information needed to register:
- Email address
- Physical address and mailing address (if different from physical address)
- Make and model of your drone (if flying under Part 107)
- Credit or debit card
- Part 107 registration costs $5 per drone and is valid for three (3) years.
- The Exception for Recreational Flyers registration costs $5 and is valid for three (3) years. The registration number you receive is for use on all drones that you own and intend on using for recreational flying only.
- Once registered, drone registration cannot be transferred between the types (part 107 or the Exception for Recreational Flyers) without an additional $5 fee.
In order to register you must be:
- 13 years of age or older (if the owner is less than 13 years of age, a person 13 years of age or older must register the drone)
- A U.S. citizen or Legal permanent resident.
- For foreign operators, the FAA will consider the certificate issued to be a recognition of ownership rather than a certificate of U.S. aircraft registration.
FAA requires drones be re-registered every 3 years. It's 3 years since registrations started, and Feb saw a sharp decline in number of registered drones.
– # recreational -60%,
– # commercial -27%.
Raises the question: How many people know that re-registration is required? pic.twitter.com/9pw5Mmlf72
— Michael Winn (@mikewinn) April 10, 2021
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This article first appeared on Dronewatch.nl and is written by Wiebe de Jager who is also a DroneXL contributor.