FAA, responding to heightened concerns about rogue drone flights near airports, unveiled a pre-Christmas rule on Monday requiring drone hobbyists as young as 13 years old to register their unmanned aircraft, reports David Morgan via Reuters.com.
The new online registry will require current drone owners to register by Feb. 19, while anyone who acquires aircraft after Dec. 21 would need to register before their first outdoor flight. After registering, drone owners will receive an FAA identification number that they must display on aircraft weighing between 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and 55 pounds (25 kgs).
The FAA’s online registration site, which will be launched next Monday, will charge drone owners a $5 fee, which officials said is the same charge required for manned aircraft, including Boeing 747 jetliners. To encourage participation, the FAA will waive the fee for the first 30 days that the registry is open.
Federal officials see online registration as one way to address a surge of rogue drone flights near airports and crowded public venues that has raised safety concerns among authorities across the United States.
Two months ago, U.S. officials vowed to have a drone registry in place before Christmas, when unmanned aircraft are expected to be a popular gift, including for teenagers.
Drone experts have warned that registration could face legal challenges.