US FAA Registration

BigAl07

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US FAA sUAS Registration
I'm going to speak in "general" terms as much as I can and hope to help shed some light on a strangely confusing topic.

It seems like there is a LOT of misinformation about what is required in terms of registration in the US. For this thread we are ONLY talking about Federal/FAA registration as some states and even local entities can and do require "additional" registration/permitting. Keep in mind this is in ADDITION to what the FAA requires not in lieu of the FAA registration.

If you are the proud owner of a new sUAS and it weighs between 0.55lb and 55lb it must be "Registered" through the FAA before the first flight. This goes for Hobby or Commercial operations. The FAA has sent an "information memo" to all Law Enforcement across our great land with details on what to look for and how to proceed with investigating the sUAS registration. Don't think your local Law Enforcement doesn't know about FAA sUAS registration because they DO and they are likely to ask to see yours if they come on scene where you're flying or attempting to fly. You MUST show them if asked and by all means please be respectful.

Hobby vs Commercial:
Where/How - Although they have different details they are obtained via the same web portal (a paper option is available but I highly suggest the web portal). Be careful though... there are a couple of companies capitalizing off of the unknown and their rush to register their sUAS. They are doing this "as a service" and charging you 500% more than it actually costs. FAA sUAS registration costs only $5 and it's good for THREE years so don't fall for the gimmick websites (they will pop up at the TOP of google searches). Here's a direct link to the FAA Registration website:
Welcome to the Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) Registration Service

This site will allow you to register your small UAS with the FAA and update your registration.



To register you have to be at least 13 years of age. If younger an adult will have to register on your behalf (honestly I'd like to see this be 16 but they didn't consult with me LOL).
Once you're logged in you'll answer the questions but you need to decide up front which registration you want to use as there are some differences.

What type of Registration?
Hobby - The aircraft is only used for recreational/hobby use. The operator is registered and issued an FAA #. The same FAA# is used on all sUAS aircraft that you operate strictly for HOBBY purposes. Whether you have 1 sUAS or 101 sUAS, if they are hobby use only they have the same FAA# (which is tied to you the operator only). This really freaks people out when they think they are registering themselves with the Federal Government. Under Hobby registration, you are still registering your sUA…it’s just that you are getting one registration number (issued to you) for all the sUA you will be flying as a hobbyist.

Commercial
- If you use your sUAS in any commercial capacity (regardless if money actually changes hands or not) it MUST be registered COMMERCIALLY with the FAA. In this instance the aircraft itself (serial # etc specific) is registered and has a unique FAA registration #. If you have 5 commercial aircraft each of them will have a different FAA registration #.

What if I fly the same aircraft for hobby and commercial?
If the aircraft is flown in ANY commercial capacity if must be registered Commercially. A Commercial aircraft can be flown recreationally but a hobby aircraft can NOT be flown commercially until it has Commercial Registration. So if you fly the same aircraft for both purposes it must be Commercially registered.

The FAA Registration # must be physically on/in the aircraft at all times. There is not a size requirement but IMHO it's better to have the # as large and prominent as is possible. The FAA Registration # can even be inside the aircraft but it has to be easily accessible with standard tools (not a special wrench etc). An instance where this is acceptable would be inside a battery compartment etc.

I've registered as a hobbyist but now need/want to fly my aircraft as a Commercial sUAS. What do I do?
It's very simple. Whichever aircraft you want to deem as Commercial you simply go to the web portal linked above and follow the directions to register that aircraft as a Commercial Aircraft ($5). Once your Commercial Registration # has been issued you remove the hobby# and replace it with the commercial #. You can only have ONE FAA Registration # on the aircraft.

What if I am flying for hobby and a commercial opportunity arises?
For those who fly commercially and hobby with the same aircraft: The "purpose/scope" of the flight must be established before take-off. You take off using one set of rules or the other and the flight must be completed under the specific set of rules/regulations you launched under. You can not change/mix once the aircraft is in the air.

Below are some key points of interest about the above write-up:

  • sUAS registered before first flight
  • Must be at least 13 years old
  • more than 0.55lb but less than 55lbs
  • Cost $5
  • Good for 3 years
  • Must chose either Hobby or Commercial
  • Hobby Registration is registering the operator NOT the aircraft
  • Hobby Registration # is the same for all HOBBY aircraft you own and operate
  • Commercial Registration is registering the AIRCRAFT
  • Commercial Registration # is specific to a single aircraft
  • Commercially Registered aircraft can fly for hobby or commercial
  • Hobby aircraft can NOT fly commercial operations
  • Only (1) FAA registration # can be on the aircraft
  • The "purpose/scope" of the flight must be established before take-off and the flight must be completed under the specific set of rules/regulations for that type of flight.

I hope this helps remove some of the "mystery" surrounding FAA's sUAS registration in the United States.

* As a side note... I've ran this by our sUAS specialist at the FAA to make sure it's accurate and consistent with the FAA's stance on this topic. I made one addition/clarification which is listed in red italics under the Hobby registration section.
 
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One correction. Commercial registration must be on the outside (think of the tail number on manned aircraft). The FAA waived the minimum letter height for us, it just has to be as large as possible. My N number is about 1.5 inches tall.
 

BigAl07

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Wasn't there a provision early on that you didn't need to have the aircraft marked as long as you have a copy on your person? Did that go away when the part 107 rules went into effect?

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No the aircraft has to be marked in case of a fly away etc. always been this way since registration was required.


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BigAl07

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I got official word back this morning and the information is correct they just asked I add one small comment to the Hobby registration portion. I added it in ITALICS and soft red text for clarification and total transparency.
 
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One more point for clarification:
You must use the paper (N-number) registration process if
  • Your unmanned aircraft is 55 pounds or greater
  • You want to qualify a small unmanned aircraft for operation outside the United States
  • You hold title to an aircraft in trust
  • The small unmanned aircraft owner uses a voting trust to meet U.S. Citizenship requirements
Otherwise, use the web portal. You will get an FA registration number.
 
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US FAA sUAS Registration
I'm going to speak in "general" terms as much as I can and hope to help shed some light on a strangely confusing topic.

It seems like there is a LOT of misinformation about what is required in terms of registration in the US. For this thread we are ONLY talking about Federal/FAA registration as some states and even local entities can and do require "additional" registration/permitting. Keep in mind this is in ADDITION to what the FAA requires not in lieu of the FAA registration.

If you are the proud owner of a new sUAS and it weighs between 0.55lb and 55lb it must be "Registered" through the FAA before the first flight. This goes for Hobby or Commercial operations. The FAA has sent an "information memo" to all Law Enforcement across our great land with details on what to look for and how to proceed with investigating the sUAS registration. Don't think your local Law Enforcement doesn't know about FAA sUAS registration because they DO and they are likely to ask to see yours if they come on scene where you're flying or attempting to fly. You MUST show them if asked and by all means please be respectful.

Hobby vs Commercial:
Where/How - Although they have different details they are obtained via the same web portal (a paper option is available but I highly suggest the web portal). Be careful though... there are a couple of companies capitalizing off of the unknown and their rush to register their sUAS. They are doing this "as a service" and charging you 500% more than it actually costs. FAA sUAS registration costs only $5 and it's good for THREE years so don't fall for the gimmick websites (they will pop up at the TOP of google searches). Here's a direct link to the FAA Registration website:
Welcome to the Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) Registration Service

This site will allow you to register your small UAS with the FAA and update your registration.



To register you have to be at least 13 years of age. If younger an adult will have to register on your behalf (honestly I'd like to see this be 16 but they didn't consult with me LOL).
Once you're logged in you'll answer the questions but you need to decide up front which registration you want to use as there are some differences.

What type of Registration?
Hobby - The aircraft is only used for recreational/hobby use. The operator is registered and issued an FAA #. The same FAA# is used on all sUAS aircraft that you operate strictly for HOBBY purposes. Whether you have 1 sUAS or 101 sUAS, if they are hobby use only they have the same FAA# (which is tied to you the operator only). This really freaks people out when they think they are registering themselves with the Federal Government. Under Hobby registration, you are still registering your sUA…it’s just that you are getting one registration number (issued to you) for all the sUA you will be flying as a hobbyist.

Commercial
- If you use your sUAS in any commercial capacity (regardless if money actually changes hands or not) it MUST be registered COMMERCIALLY with the FAA. In this instance the aircraft itself (serial # etc specific) is registered and has a unique FAA registration #. If you have 5 commercial aircraft each of them will have a different FAA registration #.

What if I fly the same aircraft for hobby and commercial?
If the aircraft is flown in ANY commercial capacity if must be registered Commercially. A Commercial aircraft can be flown recreationally but a hobby aircraft can NOT be flown commercially until it has Commercial Registration. So if you fly the same aircraft for both purposes it must be Commercially registered.

The FAA Registration # must be physically on/in the aircraft at all times. There is not a size requirement but IMHO it's better to have the # as large and prominent as is possible. The FAA Registration # can even be inside the aircraft but it has to be easily accessible with standard tools (not a special wrench etc). An instance where this is acceptable would be inside a battery compartment etc.

I've registered as a hobbyist but now need/want to fly my aircraft as a Commercial sUAS. What do I do?
It's very simple. Whichever aircraft you want to deem as Commercial you simply go to the web portal linked above and follow the directions to register that aircraft as a Commercial Aircraft ($5). Once your Commercial Registration # has been issued you remove the hobby# and replace it with the commercial #. You can only have ONE FAA Registration # on the aircraft.

What if I am flying for hobby and a commercial opportunity arises?
For those who fly commercially and hobby with the same aircraft: The "purpose/scope" of the flight must be established before take-off. You take off using one set of rules or the other and the flight must be completed under the specific set of rules/regulations you launched under. You can not change/mix once the aircraft is in the air.

Below are some key points of interest about the above write-up:

  • sUAS registered before first flight
  • Must be at least 13 years old
  • more than 0.55lb but less than 55lbs
  • Cost $5
  • Good for 3 years
  • Must chose either Hobby or Commercial
  • Hobby Registration is registering the operator NOT the aircraft
  • Hobby Registration # is the same for all HOBBY aircraft you own and operate
  • Commercial Registration is registering the AIRCRAFT
  • Commercial Registration # is specific to a single aircraft
  • Commercially Registered aircraft can fly for hobby or commercial
  • Hobby aircraft can NOT fly commercial operations
  • Only (1) FAA registration # can be on the aircraft
  • The "purpose/scope" of the flight must be established before take-off and the flight must be completed under the specific set of rules/regulations for that type of flight.

I hope this helps remove some of the "mystery" surrounding FAA's sUAS registration in the United States.

* As a side note... I've ran this by our sUAS specialist at the FAA to make sure it's accurate and consistent with the FAA's stance on this topic. I made one addition/clarification which is listed in red italics under the Hobby registration section.
Thank you so much. After killing my first drone I was having a heck of a time trying to figure out how to register my second one. Since I'm a hobbyist I now know just to slap the same number on it as the last one.

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BigAl07

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Thank you so much. After killing my first drone I was having a heck of a time trying to figure out how to register my second one. Since I'm a hobbyist I now know just to slap the same number on it as the last one.

It doesn't get much easier than that.

Good luck with this one and safe flights :)
 
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BigA107, I know you are on top of these items. I don't know how I missed this topic...so I guess I go to the FAA site for registration? And I can't seem to find specific information for those of us that are Commercial. Multicoptertec says that the serial # is optional? Anything specifics (links) would help me as I just got a call to go out of state on a SHOOT....I hate claiming ignorance.

UPDATE:

BigA107...I'm the bozo...you made it too simple, just had to click on the sentence above. Is there any way to verify the "craft s/n listed on the original box it came in" with the actual quad?
 
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Go to the registration website: sUAS Registration
During the registration process you will be asked for the serial number. It is required.
I took my s/n: off the original box it came in....I can't seem to find that number anywhere on the quad.
 

BigAl07

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The serial number is not required.

It's only optional if and ONLY if the aircraft doesn't have a serial #.

If you select "Serial # Not applicable" you are stating the aircraft does not have one (as in DIY aircraft) which is not true if your flying a Phantom3 (or later). If the aircraft has a factory assigned serial # you're supposed to register it as such. At least that's how it was a few months ago with we registered our Public Service aircraft. It could have changed but at the time you have to either enter a serial # or select the "serial # not applicable" to move to the next screen.
 
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It's only optional if and ONLY if the aircraft doesn't have a serial #.

If you select "Serial # Not applicable" you are stating the aircraft does not have one (as in DIY aircraft) which is not true if your flying a Phantom3 (or later). If the aircraft has a factory assigned serial # you're supposed to register it as such. At least that's how it was a few months ago with we registered our Public Service aircraft. It could have changed but at the time you have to either enter a serial # or select the "serial # not applicable" to move to the next screen.
What if you have changed out the shell?
 

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What if you have changed out the shell?
Hmmmm good point but I think the Serial # is still linked to the Flight Controller because it comes up in the software.
 
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Hmmmm good point but I think the Serial # is still linked to the Flight Controller because it comes up in the software.

True. The gimbal also has a serial number. I did not enter a serial number during registration, due to the fact that if I have to replace parts one day, the serial number might be invalid.


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Commercial registration must be on the outside ...

I don't think so. Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Frequently Asked Questions/Help

How do I mark my unmanned aircraft with my unique registration number?
If you complete registration using the web-based registration process and satisfy the registration requirements, you may use a permanent marker, label, or engraving, as long as the number remains affixed to the aircraft during routine handling and all operating conditions and is readily accessible and legible upon close visual inspection. The number may also be enclosed in a compartment that is readily accessible, such as a battery compartment.

Now if you have an N number, then I think like a full size A/C, to be on the outside in as large as can be. I know the Inspires & Phantom's I pilot for a company under a 333 are like that. But they were paper registered to get that N number vs an FA number that I got for my own P3S that I registered on-line.
 

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