FAA Makes Major Drone ID Marking Change

The FAA has announced a major change in how to mark your registered drones. Everyone operating a drone weighing more than 0.55 pounds has to register the drone with the FAA and place the registration number on the aircraft. It doesn’t matter if you are flying for recreational use or you are a professional operator and make money with your drones.

Since 2015, when the FAA first required registration and marking of small drones, the rules of placing your registration number allowed some flexibility in where to place it. Under the old rule, you were required to place the registration number readily accessible and maintain it in a readable condition. This allowed placing the registration number inside closed compartments, like the battery compartment, as long as it was accessible without the use of tools. They actually give you the option to place the registration I.D. inside the battery compartment once you registered your drone. Below a screenshot of my successful drone registration.

Succesful Registration

This will change starting on February 25, 2019. From that date on the registration number has to be placed on the exterior of the small unmanned aircraft. The number has to be visible while visible inspecting the outside of the drone.

Be prepared and move your sticker to the exterior of your aircraft. There are no rules where to place it exactly on the outside of the aircraft, as long as it can be found easily and maintained in a readable condition.

Reason for the change

According to the email, the FAA sent out, this interim final rule was put in place because of concerns raised by law enforcement officials and the FAA’s interagency security partners. They are worried about concealed explosive device while first responders open compartments of a drone to find the registration number. With this new rule, the FAA hopes to enhance safety and security for persons to view the registration number without handling the drone.

This new rule got put in place without a prior public comment period. More about here directly quoted from the email:

The FAA has issued this requirement as an Interim Final Rule—a rule that takes effect while also inviting public comment. The FAA issues interim final rules when delaying implementation of the rule would be impractical, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest. In this case, the agency has determined the importance of mitigating the risk to first responders outweighs the minimal inconvenience this change may impose on small drone owners, and justifies implementation without a prior public comment period.

The FAA will consider comments from the public on this Interim Final Rule, and will then review any submissions to determine if the provisions of the ultimate Final Rule should be changed. The 30-day comment period will end on March 15, 2019. To submit comments, go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for “RIN 2120-AL32.”

My two cents

Newsflash FAA!!! I don’t know what you guys are thinking! The idea itself sounds reasonable at first and it really is no big deal to move the registration number to the outside of the aircraft.

Here the big “But”:

Do you (FAA) really think if someone tries to do something illegal, like flying explosives around with a drone, they would actually register the drone with the FAA? Seriously?! I am a little overwhelmed with this thinking process. Also, the new regulation should give first responders the opportunity to inspect the drone and find it’s registration number without handling the drone itself. What if you put the sticker on the belly of the drone and it lands on that rather than upside down? So how would you be able to view the number without handling? It also works the other way around. You could place the number on the top or side and the drone could land exactly on that side after a crash. Makes it again impossible to view the number without handling.

Stupid people make it harder for the honest and law-abiding citizen to enjoy the newest tech. I also wonder why everyone is so focused to regulate drones or even forbid them? Just because they are new, that’s why they are scary? How often to you hear bad people used cars or vans for attacks of all kinds of sorts? Is there any discussion about forbidding cars throughout the nation? People do stupid things with all kind of pieces.

So for every law-abiding citizen out there, remember to put the registration number on the exterior of your drone by February 25, 2019.