US Drone Law
Cutting Edge Legal Analysis for
Cutting Edge Drone Technology
US Drone Law is not a law firm. The contents of this site do not represent legal advice and are for informational purposes only.
Wonders Never Cease!
The federal government actually created a simple, quick, convenient, and inexpensive drone registration process! Take five minutes and get your drone registered. Get Registered
Frequently Asked Questions
For all practical purposes, there is no difference between the terms UAS, sUAS, UAV, and drone. A UAS is an “unmanned aircraft system,” which is just the government’s fancy word for a drone and the components used to fly the drone (e.g. controller, etc). If we wanted to be sticklers, we would say that a drone is just an unmanned aircraft (UA). Federal law defines an unmanned aircraft as “an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft”. The FAA seems to prefer the term UAS of UA.nnAn sUAS is a subcategory of all UAS and stands for “small unmanned aircraft system.” sUAS are drones that weighs more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds. UAV stands for unmanned aerial vehicle and is yet another acronym for those drone enthusiasts who enjoy the more technical jargon. Unmanned aircraft, UAS, sUAS, and UAV are all often referred to simply as “drones.”
The US Congress passed a law that defines aircraft as “any contrivance invented, used, or designed to navigate, or fly in, the air.” Clearly, drones meet the definition of aircraft. The US Congress also passed a law that requires all aircraft be registered and has authorized the FAA to develop more detailed rules for drone registration.
Yes, federal law requires the registration of all aircraft. Drones are unmanned aircraft (if they are operated outdoors) and must be registered as well. Thankfully, the process is very simple and inexpensive. With $5 and five minutes of time you can have your drone registered through the FAA’s online registration system.
No one wants more burdensome regulations. At the same time, we want to make sure that drones are used in a responsible manner so that one idiot doesn’t ruin it for the responsible drone pilots. Drone registration helps us reassure the general public that drones are being used responsibly and with respect for public concerns of privacy and safety. Registration may also help enable the return of your drone should it be lost or stolen.
Any information submitted directly on the FAA registration website will be viewable only by the FAA and its contractors. The FAA and any of its contractors are bound by strict privacy requirements that protect the confidentiality of the personal data you provide. At some point, it is expected that the FAA will make the drone registration information available to law enforcement.
If you are a recreational drone operator, then you can register all of your drones for one payment of $5. That’s right; all your drones registered for less than the cost of a McDonald’s Big Mac meal. It’s hard to believe a mandatory registration program from the federal government could be so inexpensive. If you use your drone for commercial purposes, then the cost to register is $5 for each individual drone. Still pretty affordable.
We at US Drone Law would love to help if we can. Send us an email at *protected email*. You can also go directly to the FAA for help by sending an email to *protected email* or giving them a call at (877) 396-4636.
Part 107 Drone Rule
The FAA has created an online portal for reporting drone accidents. The portal will be available through the agency’s website. The FAA will also accept accident reports submitted through an FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). You can find the FSDO closest to you by following this link.