This past May, a federal court ruled that personal drone owners are not required to register their drones as part of the FAA's mandatory drone program. However, that is no longer the case. President Trump recently signed a defense policy bill restoring the previous requirement, which states that all recreational drone users must register their aircraft with the U.S. government. Fortunately, that's an easy thing to do.
The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act was signed into law earlier this month. It sets spending levels and policies for the Department of Defense.
For drone owners, this new rule requires that drones and model aircraft between 0.55 and 55 pounds must be registered. Along with a $5 fee, owners must provide their name, home address, and email address. The drone will then be given a drone ID number, which must be on the drone at all times, like a vehicle identification number (VIN) on your car.
Drone Rules and Regulations
Along with having to register your drone if it weighs over 0.55 pounds, there are other rules and regulations drone users should follow. While it may be tempting to take your new UAV out for a spin right away to find the best places to fly your drone, you should be aware of these guidelines:
Follow community-based guidelines
While there are some nationwide laws when it comes to drone flying, your city or town may have its own regulations as well. For instance, some tourist towns now ban the use of drones in certain areas. So before taking off, you should check with the local authority regarding drone use. If you don't abide these rules and regulations, you may face expensive fines.
Stay below maximum allowed altitude
Generally, aviation authorities recommend flying below 400 feet. This is to avoid possible conflict with other aircrafts like airplanes or helicopters. When looking for the best places to fly your drone, keep this altitude requirement in mind and always check with your local aviation authority regarding safety limits.
Keep your drone in sight
While it may be tempting to rely solely on your UAV's camera features for drone flying, it's important you maintain a visual line of sight at all times. If your drone goes out of sight, you could risk injuring someone, causing property damage, or damaging your drone. Fortunately, drone repair service is available for any damage that may come to your UAV.
Drones can be a fun recreational activity, but it's important to follow the law. By not following the rules, you not only risk facing having to pay fines, but you risk the safety of those around you.