FAA, MnDOT Require All Drones Users To Register Their Aircrafts
Drones were among this year’s hottest gifts. Officially called unmanned aircraft systems, the Federal Aviation Administration expects roughly one million of them to enter the skies following the holidays, bringing the total number of drone purchases in 2015 to 1.6 million.
“(As) drones become more affordable and available, the skies will be buzzing with activity,” Minnesota Department of Commerce commissioner Mike Rothman said. In order to curb the number of liability and insurance issues—ranging from personal injury and property damage to trespassing and invasion of privacy—the FAA is requiring personal and commercial users to register their drones, effective as of December 21.
While personal users are only subject to a $5 FAA registration fee, those who use drones commercially (for professional photography, film and TV production and mapping or land surveying) must also register with the state of Minnesota.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has set a requirement that all commercial drone operators present proof of liability insurance and obtain a license before they advertise or conduct their service. (First-time applications cost $100.) According to the FAA, failure to register an aircraft can lead to civil penalties up to $27,500, or criminal penalties up to $250,000 or three years imprisonment.
Typically, most drones that cost $100 or less are not subject to registration as they weigh below the 250-gram benchmark. The FAA noted that recreational drone use is generally covered under a homeowners or renters insurance policy, in the case of house or vehicle damage, or the injury of a person.
State and federal registration requirements have come after pilots reporting drones flying near tarmacs or crashing during live sporting events. Nevertheless, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) expects the market for drones to soar from a current total of $11.3 globally to $82.1 billion in just the U.S. by 2025. In ten years time, AUVSI also anticipates Minnesota will see more than 1,000 new jobs created in the industry with an $853 million economic impact and roughly $10.1 million in tax benefits for the state.