Today the FAA announced plans for a model aircraft registration process to begin next week. AMA was a member of the task force that helped develop recommendations for this registration rule and argued throughout the process that registration makes sense at some level but only for those operating outside the guidance of a community-based organization or flying for commercial purposes.
Unfortunately, the new FAA registration rule does not include our advice. The rule is counter to Congress’s intent in the Special Rule for Model Aircraft and makes the registration process an unnecessary burden for all of our members who have been operating safely for decades.
While we are disappointed with the new registration rule and still maintain that AMA members should be exempt from registration, the rule is being implemented over AMA objections. Therefore, we want to provide you with important information about the registration rule and how AMA members can comply with the new federal requirements:
• All aircraft that are flown using a ground control system, such as a transmitter, are required to participate. This includes fixed-wing aircraft, not just multirotors or drones.
• Any pilot flying models weighing between .55 pounds (or 250 grams) and 55 lbs is required to register.
• You will not be required to register every aircraft individually. You only need to register yourself and can affix one registration number to all your aircraft.
• You must mark all aircraft with your registration number. The number can be inside the aircraft, such as a battery hatch – but should not require tools to access.
• The FAA plans to launch the online registration website on Monday, December 21.
• There is a $5 fee to register, which is waived if you register within the first 30 days.
• You only need to register once every 3 years.
We are still working out the logistics for this process. Some details are still being discussed, including:
• We are seriously discussing with the FAA a system where your AMA number could be used as your federal registration number as well. At this point, this is only a proposal and details are not yet finalized.
• At this time, AMA members will not automatically be registered when the registration website launches next week. However, we are in conversations with the FAA about the best way to streamline the registration process for AMA members going forward.
This is an ongoing process and we will continue to provide updates on the registration rule. Stay tuned to modelaircraft.org/gov, social media and your email for the latest news on the registration process.
AMA Government Relations and Advocacy Team