Have You Registered YOUR Drone?

We see them everywhere these days, pieces of machinery zipping by overhead, buzzing like a swarm of bees. Drones, referred to as Unmanned Aircraft Systems by the Federal Aviation Administration, are not only used recreationally, they are also used by an increasing number of businesses. Insurance companies are currently using drones during claim processing and undewriting.

But did you know that most drone operators are required by the FAA to register their drones? And that different rules apply to the recreational and commercial operation of drones?

No? Well, ere’s a quick lesson about what you need to know along with a link to the FAA’s UAS webpage that will answer all your questions.

Drones weighing more than .55 pounds, MUST be registered. You can fly your drone recreationally for hobby or recreation ONLY by flying under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (Section 336). If you don’t qualify as a modeler under Section 336, you can operation your drone recreationally or commercially under the Small UAS Rule (Part 107).

FAA rules and restrictions include flying at or below 400 feet, keeping your drone within your visual line of sight, not flying your drone in any airspace restricted by the FAA, not flying your drone over people or public events, and not flying your drone near emergencies.

If your drone weighs more than 55 pounds, you cannot fly it–either recreationally or commercially–unless you receive a waiver from the FAA. In addition, you need a waiver from the FAA if you want to fly your drone under Part 107 in any of the normally restricted ways if you believe you can do so safely … and for a good reason.

The cost to register each drone is $5 and registration lasts for 3 years. Drones must be labelled with their registration numbers.

Drones operated commercially require the operator to be at least 16-years-old, be issued a remote pilot certificate issued by the FAA, and undergo TSA security screening; other requirements also apply.

The FAA also offers a free downloadable smartphone app for Apple and Android devices, B4UFLY, that helps operators determine if restrictions or requirements apply in a location where they want to operate their drones.

Happy and safe droning!

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (aka Drones)

Drones are hot these days. You see them flying everywhere: at the beach, in parks, and sometimes over your back yard.

Did you know drones need to be registered with the FAA to be operated legally? The reason you fly, and the weight of the drone, dictates the registration process and the fee.

If your drone weighs between .55 and 55 pounds:

And you only fly recreationally, you need to register either under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (fee is $3 for a 3-year registration). If you fly for any other reason, you need to register under the UAS Special Rule (fee is $5 for a 3-year registration).

Under the UAS Special Rule Part 107, operators must obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate issued by the FAA and meet a few other requirements.

If your drone weighs 55 pounds or more, you need to register in accordance with a paper filing process.

Generally speaking, rules for flying require drones:

(a) To be flown no higher than 400′ above the ground

(b) To be kept in the visual line-of-sight of their operators

(c) To NOT fly in restricted airspace, such as:

-1- Within 5 miles of an airport

-2- Over groups of people, stadiums hosting certain events, and public events

-3- Near emergencies, natural disaster sites, and wildfires

Keep in mind that your personal and business insurance policies may not provide coverage for your drone, or its activities. If you violate any FAA, state, or local rules for drone operation–including where you fly your drone and how you operate it–you may be subject to fines, penalties, and paying out of pocket for any damage.

Right now, how drone operators invade the privacy of other individuals is almost as hot a topic as drones, themselves, are. If your insurance policies don’t provide liability coverage for your drone’s activities, they won’t defend you if you’re sued.

For all kinds of details specific information, the FAA has a user-friendly section of its website devoted to Unmanned Aircraft Systems. For insurance information about drones, either contact your insurance agent or us. Happy flying!