FAA launches online registration system for commercial drones

An unmanned aircraft system (drone) | Courtesy of the Department of Transportation

The Federal Aviation Administration recently launched a new website to register unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, that are used for commercial purposes.

The FAA requires that every non-hobbyist UAS operating in the U.S. have a Section 333 exemption grant, a certificate of waiver or authorization, or other FAA authorization to operate legally in U.S. airspace. Before the website debuted, the only way to obtain this exemption was via snail mail to the FAA office in Oklahoma City, with registrations taking at least several weeks.

The FAA said the online form speeds up the process and boosts efficiency. Registration costs are set at $5 for both unmanned and manned aircrafts. UAS are any form of aircraft controlled remotely, with no one aboard the flying machine.

The Department of Transportation’s Office of the Assistant Secretary of Research and Technology indicates said these systems have been used in law enforcement, border patrol, search and rescue, disaster relief and firefighting operations. It also said the private sector has indicated growing interest in UAS technology to serve filmmaking, delivery, crop-dusting and land-surveying activity among other functions.

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