Which Hobby Drones Need To Be Registered With The FAA? Why?


hobby drones that need to be registered with the faa

With the increasing rate in the purchase of drones for commercial and recreational purposes, the Federal Aviation Administration had to develop rules to regulate drones’ flight. One of the important rules you need to know as a drone pilot is registering your drone with the FAA.

Every type of hobby drone you fly must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Some of the hobby drones that must be registered are DJI Mavic Air 2, DJI Mavic 2 Pro, Ryze Tello, Parrot Anafi, and Syma X20 Mini Drone. This is to regulate the number of drones in the airspace.

While you are now aware that you need to register your drones regardless of the purpose before flying, you also need to understand how the Federal Aviation Administration regulates drones’ flight.

FAA in street diamond sign

How To Register Your Hobby Drones With The Federal Aviation Administration

You must register your drone with the FAA before flying it; by failing to register it, you are at risk of paying a fine of twenty-seven thousand dollars. However, there are some requirements you must meet before you can register your drone with the FAA. These requirements are:

  • You must be 13 years of age or older. Nevertheless, in cases where the drone owner is below 13 years of age, an older person must register it.
  • You must be a United States citizen or a legal permanent resident.
  • You need an email address.
  • You need a physical address and a mailing address if it is different from the physical address.
  • It would be best if you had a debit or credit card.
  • You need to know the make and model of your drone.

The cost of registering a hobby drone with the Federal Aviation Administration is five dollars, and the registration is valid for three years. You will receive an FAA registration certificate after registering your drone.

You must always be with your registration certificate with you every time you fly your drone. You can keep either the digital copy or paper copy with you every time. Federal law requires all hobby drone pilots to show their registration certificates to law enforcement officers when requested.

You are also expected to mark your drones with your registration number before you fly them. Here is how you are expected to mark your drones.

After three years, your registration expires, and you are expected to renew your registration. Flying a drone with an expired registration attracts the same penalty as flying an unregistered drone.

Do All Drones Need To Be Registered With FAA?

Yes, all drones need to be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration before you can fly them. Regardless of your drone’s purpose, either for recreation or commercial purpose, you are required to register it with the FAA.

After registering your drone with the FAA, you will be assigned a Federal Aviation Administration identification number or FAA ID Number. Moreover, as stated earlier, it costs only five dollars to register a drone with the FAA.

The interesting thing about registering your drone with the FAA is that you can own and fly as many drones as you want as long as you have your Federal Aviation Administration identification number.

Nevertheless, the FAA ID Number must be placed on the exterior of your drones. You can use either a printable sticker or a label maker to put your identification number on your unmanned aircraft system (UAS) or drones.

The rule about placing your FAA ID Number on your drone’s exterior is new; when the rules for flying a drone were first developed, you needed to place the identification number in the battery compartment.

Which Drones Do Not Need To Be Registered?

We stated earlier that every drone needs to be registered before flying it. However, any drone that weighs less than 250 grams does not need to be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Drones with a weight below 250 grams can be flown for hobby or recreation without first registering with the FAA.

Many drones weigh less than 250 grams, like the DJI Mavic Mini, which weighs 249 grams, a flight time of 30 minutes. It also has a 4km HD video transmission, a vision sensor, GPS precise hover, and a 3-axis gimba 2.7K camera.

These drones do not need to be registered with the FAA because they are far less likely to cause damages or injury.

drone hovers in place with pink lights

Other drones that weigh less than 250 grams and do not need to be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration are.

  • Parrot Air-Borne Night – This drone’s weight is 54 grams; it has a 3-axis accelerometer and gyroscope, a flight speed of up to 11 mph, and a flight distance of 65 feet. You can control this drone using Bluetooth and the application Freeflight 3.
  • DJI Mini 2 – has a weight of 249 grams, a maximum speed of 16 m/s, a maximum flight time of 31 minutes, a GPS+GLONASS+GALILEO, and a 12MP photo resolution.
  • Holy Stone HS110D FPV Drone – It has a 1080P FPV Wi-Fi Camera, a weight of 145 grams, a remote control distance of 100 meters, gravity sensor mode, and a GPS-assisted intelligent flight.
  • JJRC H6D FPV – This drone has a flight time of 4 minutes, weighs about 50 grams, and has a remote control distance of about 200 meters, a full-scale remote control with an in-built 6 axis gyro system, a 2.0MP HD camera, and a 2.4G Transmitter.
  • The Holy Stone F181 – It has a weight of 138 grams, a total flight time of 10 minutes, a transmission range of 100 meters, an FPV range of 30-50 meters, a 720P HD Camera, and a 4-speed control mode.
  • Hover Camera Passport – this drone weighs 242 grams, a maximum speed of 17 mph, a maximum hovering time of 10 minutes, a control distance of 65 feet, and a lens of FOV 78.4°.
  • Zero-Tech Dobby – it has a weight of 199 grams, a maximum operating distance of 328 feet, a 13-megapixel sensor resolution,
  • Dobby Blade Nano – it has a weight of 16.4 grams, a flight time of 7-10 minutes. The drone also has a SAFE system that prevents it from crashing.
  • Eachine E10C Nano – this drone weighs 15 grams, a flight time of 5-6 minutes, and a maximum flight distance of 20 meters. It also has a 2MP 720P camera and a 3.7V 150mah battery.

Does requiring a license mean the drone should be registered?

Yes, to get a drone pilot license, you need to register your drone, but only if you intend to fly your drone for commercial purposes. The license commercial drone pilots get is called the Part 107 certificate.

A person who is piloting a drone on behalf of an organization using UAVs as a business solution must obtain a drone license. Since you cannot fly an unregistered drone though you have a drone license, you must register the drone.

There are some qualifications a person must pass to obtain a drone license; the person must be vetted by the TSA and pass a 60-item Part 107 test of knowledge.

The knowledge test is to ensure all commercial drone pilots are aware of the procedures and requirements required by Part 107. It also makes the Federal Aviation Administration document the commercial drone pilots and gathers information about them.

Below are some of the qualifications required by the Federal Aviation Administration to apply for a drone license.

  • You must be at least 16 years of age.
  • You must be able to understand, speak, read, and write in the English language.
  • It would be best if you were fit mentally and physically to pilot a drone.
  • You must submit your application to the FAA after passing the 60 questions multiple-choice examination.

Every commercial drone pilot is required to have an FAA Tracking Number (FTN), a unique code that is assigned to all airmen before they can be allowed to take the knowledge test.

There are over 700 FAA-certified testing centers in the United States where you can sign-up for the knowledge test. The Computer Assisted Testing Service (CATS) is in charge of administering the test. However, you must pay a non-refundable testing fee of one hundred and sixty dollars.

You need to get at least 70% of the questions correctly before you can pass the knowledge test. The questions are selected automatically from a larger pool of questions, so each person answers unique questions. You have 120 minutes to complete the test.

After passing the test, you are required to pass a TSA background check before your application for the drone pilot license can be processed and completed. This process takes about a week to be done, but it could also take as long as two months.

You will receive an email that contains your temporary certificate after passing the background check. You can print the temporary certificate out and start flying your drone for commercial purposes. Until you receive an email containing your permanent certificate, your temporary certificate remains valid.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Rules For Drone Pilots

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) or drones are small aircraft. Over a million drone pilots were registered in the United States as of January 2021, and over two hundred thousand drone pilot certificates have been awarded.

To contain and regulate this ever-increasing number of drones and drone pilots in the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration created some rules to regulate drone pilots, including people flying drones as a hobby and those who fly commercially.

The FAA is in charge of the regulation of flight in the airspace, and it was instituted for that purpose. Airplanes, helicopters, jets, and drones are all active in the airspace, although drones fly at lower airspace, known as the uncontrolled airspace, and it is 400 feet from the ground. While airplanes, jets, and helicopters fly in the controlled space, the air above 400 feet from the ground.

There are regulations that control how you can fly your drones, regardless of the purpose, hobby, or commercial. The FAA controls the flight in the controlled airspace, and drones cannot fly into the controlled airspace.

We will look at some of the FAA regulations that guide the flying of drones as a hobby.

  • Your drone must be registered with the FAA before you can fly it.
  • You must always maintain a visual line of sight with your drone.
  • You cannot fly a drone that weighs more than 55 pounds for recreational activities.
  • Your drone can only be used for recreation and not for any commercial purpose.
  • You must not fly your drone at night, except it has adequate lighting.
  • It would be best if you did not fly your drone over people or moving vehicles near manned aircraft, emergency response activities, or critical infrastructures.

These are the FAA laws that regulate the flight of drones for hobbies. The laws for the commercial use of drones are very similar to the laws for drones’ recreational use. The only different rules are.

  • Your drone flight speed must not exceed 100 mph.
  • You need to acquire an FAA-issued Remote Pilot Certificate before you can fly your drone for commercial purposes.
  • You must not fly your drone from a moving vehicle, except you are in a sporadically populated location.
  • You can only fly your drone in the Class G airspace.

These are the federal laws that regulate the flight of drones across the country, and each state has its respective laws that regulate the flying of drones within its boundaries. States like Texas have laws that are stricter than federal laws. Some of the laws are:

  • You cannot fly a drone over correctional and detention facilities.
  • You cannot fly a drone over a sports center except on special occasions.
  • You cannot use your drone to take pictures, and distributing pictures taken with your drone attracts a fine of two thousand dollars and 180 days in jail.
  • You cannot use a drone for hunting, capturing, taking, driving, or counting any wildlife.
  • It is a violation to fly drones in all Texas State Parks except San Angelo and Lake Whitney.

You can see that all the laws in Texas to regulate the flight of drones are very different from the federal laws, and other states have laws that may be different from Texas’.

Federal aviation administration screen shot of their site

Drone Laws That Have Grave Consequences When Violated

It is surprising to many people that breaking a drone law can make you end up in jail, and this is one of the reasons people who submit applications to acquire a drone pilot license have to answer a 60-question knowledge test.

Moreover, ignorance of the law is no excuse in the court of law, so you must know all the drone laws before flying. This is how everything is organized, you need to attend a driving school where you are taught all the rudiments of driving an automobile, but you are also taught the rules of the road as well as road signs.

We will look at some laws that could make you end up in jail when you break them.

Flying A Drone In The Controlled Airspace

The FAA has specified that a drone’s limit is 400 feet from the ground, the uncontrolled airspace. You could be arrested if your drone is identified as exceeding the limit set by the FAA. Flying your drone in the controlled airspace is endangering manned aircraft that are actively operating in the airspace.

Flying A Drone Close To Emergency Activities

Human life is valued above every other thing in this life. If you are found using your drone to distract, restrict, or interfere with emergency activities’ operations, you are at risk of getting a jail term. In some states, emergency workers can destroy a drone that appears to be interfering with their activities, and they will face no charge.

Flying A Drone That Is Not Registered

This is one of the laws with severe consequences when violated, flying a drone that is not registered or does not have its registration number pasted or has its registration expired. These are all actions with serious consequences, and the fine if caught is twenty-seven thousand dollars, and you could also get a three-month jail term.

Flying A Drone In a No-Fly Zone

There are areas where flying drones are restricted, and if you are caught flying a drone there, you are at risk of a jail sentence. Different states have different no-fly zones. Nevertheless, the country’s no-fly zones are all airports, all railroad facilities, White House, U.S. Capitol, all naval bases, all air defense identification zones, and all nuclear plants.

Final Thoughts

Everything in this life has a structure and rules and regulates it, so you know the right thing to do and what not to do. The same thing with drone flying; there are rules and regulations you must abide by for you to fly legally.

If you are wondering if you need to register your hobby drone with the Federal Aviation Administration, yes, you need to. Moreover, having a drone pilot license is no excuse not to register your drone. Taking time to register your drone will save you the trouble of paying a $27,000 fine for flying an unregistered drone.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher loves to play with new toys and dive into new hobbies. As a serial entrepreneur, work definitely comes first but there is always room for hobbies.

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