I encourage all drone owners to determine the flying weight of their unmanned aircraft system “UAS”, many of the very small ones are below the 250 gram minimum weight requirement. However, the responsibility for knowing if your UAS should be registered lies with the drone owner and there are steep fines associated with not registering. According the the FAA’s FAQ page: Failure to register an aircraft may result in regulatory and criminal sanctions. The FAA may assess civil penalties up to $27,500. Criminal penalties include fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years.
Drone owners will have to register through a website expected to be unveiled Dec. 21. The registration fee will be $5 per drone owner, in line with current FAA requirements for registering an aircraft. To encourage registration, the FAA says it will waive the $5 fee for drones registered in the first 30 days of the site’s availability, through Jan. 20. Registration will cover all of an owner’s drones weighing between 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and 55 pounds and operated outdoors in the national airspace system.
The FAA said the rules are meant to educate drone operators who don’t necessarily realize it may be unsafe to fly a certain way, such as near an airport, while allowing enforcement and easier identification of operators behind reckless drone flights.