This time last year, the Federal Aviation Administration implemented its web-based drone registration system.
Existing drone owners were required to register by Feb. 19, 2016 or face up to a $250,000 fine. Owners of drones weighing more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds are legally required to register their drones. (Which means that yes, 1.1 pound Barbie drone needs to be registered.)
During the last year, the system has registered more than 616,000 owners and individual drones. It has now been more than a year since the drone registration site has been launched.
To register, hobbyists pay a $5.00 fee and receive a single identification number for all the drones they own. They must place that identification number in a place that is visible on every drone they operate. (Register your drone here!)
Registration was intended to force some education upon pilots who may not have malicious intent, but also may not have read the “Know Before You Fly” guidelines included with most drone purchases in the U.S. It also means that government and law enforcement officials will be able to track down reckless drone operators — something that, until now, they haven’t been able to do.
Drones had been spotted flying too close to airports as airplanes are taking off, a drone crashed near the White House in early January, and an 18-month-old boy’s eye was sliced in half after he was hit in the head by a crashing drone.