FAA says recreational drones will have to be registered


The federal government issued new rules Monday for drones, saying all of the devices being used for recreational purposes that meet certain weight restrictions, must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration.

The announcement comes as hundreds of thousands of drones are expected to be purchased this holiday season, and the Federal Aviation Administration continues to be concerned over their potential to interfere with larger airplanes.

“Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in an FAA news release. “Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely."

It also gives the agency the chance to track down the owners of drones that might be involved in an accident of some sort.

The main points:

  • Registration is required for individual recreational or hobby users, for drones that weigh between .55 pound and 55 pounds, including payloads like cameras.
  • It costs $5 and is good for three years. But the fee is being waived for the first month, from Dec. 21, 2015 to Jan 20, 2016.
  • Registration can be done online on the FAA's website.
  • People who purchased their drone before Dec. 21, 2015 will have 60 days - until Feb. 19 - to register.
  • People who get drones after Dec. 21, 2015 have to register their device before they fly it outdoors for the first time. 
  • Penalties for failing to register include civil fines up to $27,500. Criminal penalties include fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years.

More details are available from this FAQ from the FAA.

What drone owners think

Reaction among drone owners is mixed. Some say it's an overreach by the federal government.

News Cut blogger Bob Collins at MPR News says many drone hobbyists won't bother to register, since it's not likely the FAA is going to be able to enforce the rule.

But others say the rules are necessary to promote safety, especially as the number of drones continues to grow.

Safety concerns

One concern of the FAA is that drones could be sucked into an aircraft engine or damage an aircraft in flight, as sometimes happens with birds, and cause a crash, the Associated Press reports.

It’s also worried about instances where the operator loses control over the drone and it flies away, collides with something or crashes to the ground.

In January, for example, an out-of-control drone crashed on the White House lawn, illustrating the risk.

A report issued just last week said there were 241 near collisions between drones and commercial aircraft in a two-year period that ended in September 2015, FOX News reports, including 28 incidents in which pilots had to veer out of the way.

Next Up

radio station, microphone

Christian music broadcaster revealed as buyers of Go Radio

Educational Media Foundation. operates the K-Love brand, which has a presence already in the Twin Cities.

Screen Shot 2020-12-01 at 5.04.39 PM

St. Paul police chief reportedly fires officer who shot naked, unarmed man

Chief Todd Axtell said the officer's use of force was not reasonable.

Trevor May

Report: Trevor May leaving Twins to sign with Mets

The right-hander will sign a two-year deal to head to New York

Car crash

'Grim' milestone: Minnesota's traffic deaths reach 364, tying 2019 total

“With fewer vehicles on the road during the 2020 pandemic, the loss of life on Minnesota roads is beyond disappointing."

Devin Weiland

Charges: Albert Lea man, 21, fired around 90 shots at police, residents

Weiland was arrested after a standoff that lasted more than eight hours.

Body storage warehouse

Body storage warehouse 'ready if needed for COVID-19 fatality management'

The warehouse is currently storing PPE and testing supplies.


Signs come down at Giordano's restaurant in Uptown

It appears the restaurant has closed for good.

State Capitol.

Walz eyes COVID-19 relief package totaling $300-$600 million amid budget surplus

The state forecasted a budget surplus for the remainder of the biennium.

Bar beer

Walz non-committal on extension of restaurant, gym closures

He has suggested that the ban on mixing with people outside your household could continue over Christmas.

scratch lottery ticket

State lottery: Don't give scratch-offs as gifts to minors

The Minnesota Lottery participates in an annual responsible gambling campaign focusing on underage lottery play during the holidays.

Marijuana, cannabis

Minnesota adds 2 more qualifying conditions for medical marijuana

There will be 17 conditions that qualify people to obtain medical marijuana in Minnesota.