In a Federal Register notice (PDF), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officially notified owners of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) used for commercial, public and other non-model aircraft operations they may now use the FAA’s new, streamlined, web-based registration process to register their aircraft—this system became available to UAS owners on March 30.
All owners of small UAS used for purposes other than as model aircraft must currently obtain a Section 333 exemption grant, a certificate of waiver or authorization, or other FAA authorization to operate legally in U.S. airspace. Registration is one of the requirements associated with a Section 333 exemption.
Previously, these UAS owners had to fill out paper aircraft registration forms and physically mail them to the FAA Registry in Oklahoma City. The process often took weeks to accomplish because of the volume of requests the Registry was receiving.
Many exemptions, mostly issued before the web-based registration system was created, required aircraft to be registered using the paper process and to be marked with an “N-number.” The notice specifically advised exemption holders that aircraft operated under Section 333 exemptions can now be registered using the web-based system.
In contrast to paper registration, web-based registration significantly speeds up the process. It is easier to use and takes much less time to complete than the legacy system. Registration for operators is $5 per aircraft, the same low fee that manned aircraft owners pay.
UAS owners who already registered in the legacy paper-based system and received an N-number for their aircraft do not have to re-register. Owners who register under the new system can easily access the records for all of their aircraft by logging into their on-line account.