A Must Consider Starting Point Checklist for Recreational (and Pro) UAV Users

UAV data capture is a booming technology, there’s no doubting that! Adding UAV data capture capabilities to our portfolio offering was a natural fit, as it is for many other geospatial technology solution providers. Not everyone has a professional in their corner, rather, many individuals and companies are tempted to jump in and tackle an aerial flight mission on their own. Tempting indeed, cheaper though? Well, perhaps, however, for those not prepared there are many considerations. This simple 5 point checklist is a starting point, although it can be added to considerably so be sure to plan accordingly!

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Recall, it was back in Dec 2015 when the  Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)  announced a streamlined and user-friendly web-based aircraft registration process for owners of small unmanned aircraft (UAS) weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) including payloads such as on-board cameras.

Anyone planning on carrying out a UAV flight should make sure to adhere to the following first steps:

  1. Determine eligibility requirements
    You must register if you are 13 yrs of age or older and A U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. This final rule includes the statutory eligibility requirements for aircraft registration as required by 49 U.S.C. 44102.
  2. Registration
    Owners of any UAS purchased for use as a model aircraft after December 21, 2015 must register before the first flight outdoors. Owners may use either the paper-based process or the new streamlined, web-based system.  Owners using the new streamlined web-based system must be at least 13 years old to register.
  3. Mark your UAV with ID Number
    Registrants will need to provide their name, home address and e-mail address. Upon completion of the registration process, the web application will generate a Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership that will include a unique identification number for the UAS owner, which must be marked on the aircraft.
  4. Commercial and Large UAVs
    Unmanned Aircraft weighing more than 55 lbs. cannot use this registration process and must register using the Aircraft Registry process.
  5. Be Familiar with No Fly Zone rules and regulations
    There’s much confusion and or ignorance about where a drone can be legally flown The airmap resource provides information on identifying no fly zones and restricted airspace. Be sure to also consult local regulations, particularly concerning local events and fly-over rules. Note, a non-profit called NoFlyZone.org is attempting to address privacy concerns. It allows the public to dub the airspace above their homes as restricted, but depends on the voluntary participation of drone makers.

See also the UAS Registration FAQs to learn more about the program.

Finally, if there’s any chance that you are unclear about what is involved, we suggest you always consider having an expert in your corner, particularly for that first mission or project. Contact us for more if this sounds like you or your company’s situation. We’re glad to provide a consult about our UAV services and expertise.

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GEOspatial Evangelist & CMO

Geographer, GIS professional, writer, and fan of all things mobile.

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