By signing the National Defense Authorization Act for 2018, President Donald Trump reinstated the requirement for recreational drone operators to register with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The requirement was initially introduced in late 2015, but in May of this year, a D.C. Circuit Judge ruled that the FAA did not have proper authority to enforce the requirement. The Judge cited a 2012 aviation law which held that recreational drones are considered model aircraft, and that model aircraft cannot be regulated by the FAA.
Following the reinstatement, the FAA stated that it “welcome[s] the reinstatement of registration rules for all small unmanned aircraft. Ownership identification helps promote safe and responsible drone operation and is a key component to full integration.”
Recreational drone users will now have to register with the FAA if their drones weigh between .55 and 55 pounds. They will be required to provide their name, email and mailing addresses, and pay a $5 fee. A unique drone ID must also be displayed on the drone at all times. If a drone user fails to comply with the registration requirement, they may face civil and criminal penalties.