Nearly 300,000 drones have now been registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the first 30 days since the agency's online registration system went live.
On Friday, the regulators revealed that several unmanned aircraft owners who use the drones for recreational purposes have registered their UAVs in the federal database.
The database aims to reduce and address the increase in rogue UAVs in public areas and near airports. Debates over the registration of drones have been waging for a while now, owing to the nuisance they can cause. In October 2015, we reported that more than a million drones were expected to be given as holiday presents, which would spell trouble for the FAA.
The registry came into effect on Dec. 21, 2015, and according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, so far 295,306 owners have registered with the FAA. These UAV owners have received an identification number from the FAA, which will be displayed on the drone. Those registering within the first month will get the $5 application fee as a refund.
"I am pleased the public responded to our call to register. The National Airspace System is a great resource and all users of it, including UAS users, are responsible for keeping it safe," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx about the FAA's unmanned aircraft system registration.
The FAA registration is applicable for drones that weigh anywhere from 250 grams (0.55 pounds) to 25 kilograms (55 pounds). The owners of the eligible drones are required to register their aircraft prior to flying it outdoors. Owners who deployed their UAVs prior to the registration coming into effect on Dec. 21 are required to register the drone by Feb. 19, 2016 at the latest.
The registration process is pretty simple and is done online. It is available for owners of drones who use the aircraft for recreational use. To register, an owner has to key in their email address, full name, mailing address and physical address. Once registered with the FAA, the drone owner gets a certificate and registration number that can be printed.
The registration number on the certificate is required to be marked on the aircraft. It can either be written on the drone or placed in its battery compartment. The battery compartment, however, has to be accessible without having to use tools. Moreover, users are required to have the certificate handy when they take the UAV out on a flight.
The registration is valid for three years. Those who do not register their UAV could be subject to fines of $27,500, possible criminal penalties of $250,000, as well as three years in prison if the offense is serious.
Come March 21, the FAA also intends to make the online registration system accessible for commercial operators.