DISCLAIMER: DMZ Aerial, nor any of its representatives, are lawyers.  Furthermore, we are not representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration or the Department of Transportation.  We provide the following regulation updates for informational purposes to our customers and the information provided below should not be taken as fact and users should always consult the FAA website for the most up-to-date information on regulations surrounding unmanned systems.
Update 12/21/2015

Update 12/21/2015

On December 21st, 2015 the Federal Aviation Administration officially launched the Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) Registration Service. This service is the result of a coalition put together by the FAA to develop a framework for registering UAV systems. As was established in Huerta v. Pirker, "any device" that is "capable of flight" is an "aircraft." Due to this, rules governing aircraft also apply to UAVs, including rules related to registering aircraft. For this reason the FAA has developed the Registration Service in order to allow people the opportunity to register their UAVs online and become compliant with current registration rules. However, the current online portal is only available to those people who;

(1) Are individuals and not business entities
(2) Own an aircraft that weighs between 0.55 lbs-55 lbs
(3) Fly UAVs purely for Recreational or Hobbyist Use

This means that for all UAV owners that do not fall into the above categories, they must still register their aircraft but in a different manner. For these owners, a Paper-Registration Process is required. Look below to learn more about this process.

Aircraft Registration is Important

As was established in Huerta v. Pirker, an "aircraft" is "any device capable of flight." Due to this broad definition, UAVs are considered aircraft by the Federal Aviation Administration and are required to be registered. The FAA has deemed some micro-UAVs (below 0.55 lbs or 250 grams) as exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, all UAV-craft should be registered, whether they are part of a licensed commercial operation or a Christmas gift. Due to this, it is important to register your UAV system as the FAA has stated drone owners,

"Will be subject to civil and criminal penalties if they meet the criteria to register a drone and do not register."

Furthermore, if you are operating a UAV System and that system is not marked with your registration number and/or you do not possess a registration number, you could be fined. For this reason you should be registering you aircraft either online (if you are a hobbyist user) or through the paper-process (if you are a commercial user or you are a business entity that owns a UAV system for recreational use).
Aircraft Registration is Important
Online Registration

Online Registration

The FAA has developed the sUAS Registration Service in order to allow people the opportunity to register their UAVs online and become compliant with current registration rules. However, the current online portal is only available to those people who;

(1) Are individuals and not business entities
(2) Own an aircraft that weighs between 0.55 lbs. and 55 lbs.
(3) Fly UAVs purely for Recreational or Hobbyist Use

If you fall into one of these categories you should be registering your UAV through the Online web portal. Please click the picture or on the link below to be taken to the web portal to register your UAV System. You will provide your email address and a password and then verify your account via email. Then you will provide your name and address and proceed to a checkout page. There you will be charged $5 for registering. If you complete your registration prior to January 21st, 2016 this $5 fee will be reimbursed. Also, once you are registered you will be given a unique Registration Number with which you will mark all your UAVs. This Registration Number is connected to you and can be placed on all the aircraft you own (so long long as they fit the above criteria). Your Registration Number will cover your aircraft for a period of 3 years. After that point you will have to re-register. Additionally, you must mark all your aircraft prior to operating them. For systems that were purchased prior to December 21st, 2015 and used for recreational purposes, you have until February 19th, 2016 to register your aircraft.

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Paper-Based Registration

For those people or entities that do not fall under the conditions for online registration, there is a Paper-Based Registration Process. This process should be used in the following situations.

(1) Your aircraft is used for commercial operations
(2) Your aircraft is used for operations that are not recreational
(3) Your aircraft weighs more than 55 lbs.
(4) You intend to operate your aircraft outside the United States
(5) You are a business entity or other non-individual that owns a Recreational UAV

To complete the Paper-Based Process you can click on the picture or on the link below. Furthermore, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us. The Paper-Based Registration Process is a lot more detailed than the Online Process and requires a $5 fee.

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Paper-Based Registration
Section 333 Exemption Update 12/21/2015

Section 333 Exemption Update 12/21/2015

Section 333 Exemption Petitions are still being filed with the FAA. Currently there are about 3,000 applications awaiting or under review. The current turn around time for an application submitted today is about 135 days according to the most recent estimates. DMZ continues to provide Section 333 Writing Services if you are interested in submitting a Petition for Exemption. If you would like to learn more about Section 333 Exemptions and how they can help you legally operate a commercial UAV business, please click the picture or on the link below.

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Looking to the Future 12/21/2015

Above you will find information on UAV Regulations as they are today but it is always helpful to look into the future. The FAA has stated that an online process for the registration of new, Unmanned Aircraft used for commercial purposes or owned by business entities, should be available sometime this-coming Spring, hopefully by March 31st, 2016. This will be helpful in speeding up the registration processing time and will hopefully make it easier for business entities to register their craft.
Looking to the Future 12/21/2015
Update 5/12/2015

Update 5/12/2015

On May 12th, 2015 US Senators John Hoeven (R) of North Dakota and Cory Booker (D) of New Jersey, introduced the Commercial UAS Modernization Act. This act, if enacted, would provide interim rules for Commercial UAS operations in the United States prior to the finalized rules from the FAA and without a Section 333 Exemption. The Commercial UAS Modernization Act is supported by various Industry groups including the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the Small UAV Coalition, the National Association of Broadcasters, and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. The Act would essentially provide the opportunity to fly UAVs commercially so long as operators carry liability insurance, register their aircraft with the FAA, pass a knowledge test, and show proficiency with their aircraft. The bill is thought to have support from both sides of the aisle as Booker, a democrat and member of the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security, has been an outspoken critic of the FAA and the pace at which it has moved on the UAS integration into the national airspace. Likewise, Hoeven, a Republican and former Governor of North Dakota, has been a big supporter of the UAV industry, approving the testing of Defense Drones in his home state and lobbying for continued UAV testing and innovation in North Dakota.

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Regulations Update 5/12/2015

According to the FAA commercial UAS operations are currently banned. This is their official stance and they are also backed up by some case law resulting from the settlement in the Pirker case. Essentially, the settlement in the Pirker case, which is the most famous and important UAV case pitting a UAS operator against the FAA, provided a precedent that a UAV system is an aircraft and as such, it is within FAA jurisdiction. However, hobbyist use of UAV aircraft is still legal so long as those operating the aircraft are using it strictly for fun/hobbyist use. If you are a user who would like to fly commercially, there is a way to do this and it is covered below under the Section 333 Exemption title. A great resource for all the most up to date information pertaining to FAA regulations is KnowBeforeYouFly.org, which is an organization that was founded by the three leading organizations with a stake in UAS safety – the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) and the Small UAV Coalition. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is partnering with the founding members to spread the word about safe and responsible flying. Click on the picture to the left or the read more link and you will be taken to this site.

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Regulations Update 5/12/2015
Section 333 Exemption 5/12/2015

Section 333 Exemption 5/12/2015

A Section 333 Exemption is an exemption certificate your business can apply for with the FAA in order to exempt yourself from the FAA ban on commercial use of UAV systems. For more information on a Section 333 exemption as well as examples of previously granted exemptions, please click the picture or click the read more link below. You will be taken to the official FAA page regarding Section 333 exemptions and you can learn more about the application process.

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Looking to the Future 5/12/2015

A few months ago the FAA released their preliminary framework for commercial UAS operations in the National Airspace. This framework is a pre-legislation announcement that gives potential commercial UAS operators an idea of what they may see in terms of a regulatory structure over the next few years. This framework was open for public comment but that public comment period has since closed. Nonetheless, the framework provided a clearer view of what we may see in the future. However, it is important to remember that the finalized rules will likely not be in effect for potentially 2 years or more. For a complete overview of these preliminary regulations please click the picture or the read more link below.

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Looking to the Future 5/12/2015