The current landscape of drone registration has become pretty confusing and a lot of pilots have been left with no understanding of how to register their drone with the FAA. If, for example, you’ve heard or read that registering one drone gives you the permission to fly any drone you’d like just by writing your registration number on each machine, this information isn’t entirely wrong. But wouldn’t it also, for legal reasons, make sense to register each drone separately? Yes, in certain circumstances. Understanding how and why these laws are regulated has to do with understanding the difference between Part 47 and Part 48 registrations. Unfortunately, these laws can be a bit difficult to differentiate. Particularly in the case of people who want to register multiple drones, distinguishing the difference between Part 47 and Part 48 registrations can see quite confusing.
Here’s a breakdown:
Part 48 is the segment of the FAA’s Drone Registry that requires (or formerly required) all hobbyist drone pilots to register their UAVs in order to fly. Under Part 48, each pilot was given a number that they’re required to write on every drone they purchase and put into the sky. Basically, this meant that you registered yourself as a person and did not register your individual drones. These numbers were assigned at random and you could use them on as many machines as you like.
As we’ve outlined in this post, however, it looks like the Part 48 is on its way out of existence. John A. Taylor took the FAA to court in order to prove that the Part 48 was in effect at odds with laws saying the FAA had no right to govern model aircraft. If you’re a hobbyist, you’re considered to be using drones as model aircrafts and don’t necessarily have to register them.
That being said, we’re still in a time of transition and the general public believes that you need to register your drone. We’d recommend, if you’re a hobbyist, you register yourself under Part 48 until the rulings are solidified.
You must register your drone under Part 47 if you are using your drone for commercial purposes. Those of you looking to get your drone business off the ground should have this one already. Under Part 47, each individual UAV must be be assigned and labeled with a unique registration number.
Unlike the Part 48, when you register your drone under Part 47 you are registering the actual machine itself, so each UAV needs to be assigned and labeled with its own number. This bill has been in effect for a while and will most likely remain so for as long as we’re flying. The cool thing about the Part 47, if there is one, is that it allows you to choose your own customized registration so you can have a cool, branded number if you decide that’s something you want to do.
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