Under new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) UAS regulations, persons who operate UAS weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) for hobby and recreational purposes must register with FAA using either a paper application or web-based application.  The rule does not cover operators who either fly or plan to fly UAS in connection with a commercial activity and is limited to those persons who operate UAS as “model aircraft.”  The rule requires any owner of a small UAS who has previously operated an unmanned aircraft exclusively as a model aircraft prior to December 21, 2015 to register no later than February 19, 2016 while owners of any other UAS purchased for use as a model aircraft after December 21, 2015 must register before the first flight outdoors.  Upon submission of their name, home address, and email, UAS registrants will receive a Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership and unique identification number that is valid for three years and may be used in connection with each of the registrant’s UAS.  FAA is waiving the $5.00 registration fee from Dec. 21, 2015 to Jan 20, 2016 to encourage model aircraft/UAS operators to register with the agency.  According to FAA’s press release, an online registration system to support registration of UAS used for commercial purposes will be launched by spring of 2016.

If you have any questions, please contact Evelyn Sahr (esahr@eckertseamans.com, 202-659-6622), Drew Derco (dderco@eckertseamans.com, 202-659-6665), or Reese Davidson (rdavidson@eckertseamans.com, 202-659-6633).

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