Media has generated a lot of discussion and hype over the FAA’s recent requirement to “Register Your Drone”.  The ironic thing is that they are not having you register your drones.  They have begun a process for registering you as a “Drone Operator”– I put those words in quotes because the actual term is “Small Unmanned Aerial System Certificate Holder”.  I recently completed the process and I have to say that the process was simple and straight forward.  I expected to have to have to have the serial number of the “Drones” that I purchased, but none of that was required.   I filled out the forms online, verified my email, paid my $5 and presto, I now have a Small UAS Certificate of Registration.  The website is even well designed and very intuitive.

FAARegistration

The FAA is clearly trying to raise awareness about how to safely operate these aircraft.  They also have a link to rules that you are required to follow and the highlights are as follows:

“Dos”

  • Do register your aircraft if it weighs more than 0.55 lbs.
  • Do fly a model aircraft/UAS at the local model aircraft club
  • Do take lessons and learn to fly safely
  • Do contact the airport or control tower when flying within 5 miles of the airport
  • Do fly a model aircraft for personal enjoyment

“Don’ts”

  • Don’t fly near manned aircraft
  • Don’t fly beyond line of sight of the operator
  • Don’t fly an aircraft weighing more than 55 lbs unless it’s certified by an aeromodeling community-based organization
  • Don’t fly contrary to your aeromodeling community-based safety guidelines
  • Don’t fly model aircraft for payment or commercial purposes

If you do operate a drone, make sure you use common sense and please read all the instructions BEFORE YOU FLY!  I have many a few friends that just tried to take off without fully knowing the aircraft just to see it fly away because a switch was in the wrong position.   We all heard about the guy who flew the drone on the White House Lawn– be smart and don’t be that guy.  I highly encourage you to try and fly one of these small aircraft.  They are a lot of fun if done correctly.

Many people don’t realize that you can either build your own drone or buy one ready to fly.  If you decide to build your own I would suggest that you look at DIY Drones. It is an awesome resource with open source control software and all the things that you will need to get your aircraft built and flying.  If your going to purchase one then my favorite drone company is DJI.  Their equipment is fantastic and their aircraft just work well.  They are a 10 year old Chinese company that has some really amazing products.  I like that Phantom 3 Professional, reasonably priced and it takes fantastic photos.

So, if you do decide to fly your own drone, make sure you get yourself registered.  It is very easy to do and it will keep you out of trouble.  Here is the link to register yourself with the FAA and make your flying legal.   https://registermyuas.faa.gov/