FAA Announces Small UAS Registration Rule

For Immediate Release

December 14, 2015
Contact: Les Dorr or Alison Duquette
Phone: (202) 267-3883

Registration will be free for the first 30 days

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today 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.

The Registration Task Force delivered recommendations to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on November 21. The rule incorporates many of the task force recommendations.

“Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely. I’m excited to welcome these new aviators into the culture of safety and responsibility that defines American innovation.”

Registration is a statutory requirement that applies to all aircraft.  Under this rule, any owner of a small UAS who has previously operated an unmanned aircraft exclusively as a model aircraft prior to December 21, 2015, must register no later than February 19, 2016. Owners of any other 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.

Owners may register through a web-based system at

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.

Owners using the model aircraft for hobby or recreation will only have to register once and may use the same identification number for all of their model UAS. The registration is valid for three years.

The normal registration fee is $5, but in an effort to encourage as many people as possible to register quickly, the FAA is waiving this fee for the first 30 days (from Dec. 21, 2015 to Jan 20, 2016).

“We expect hundreds of thousands of model unmanned aircraft will be purchased this holiday season,” said FAA Administrator Huerta. “Registration gives us the opportunity to educate these new airspace users before they fly so they know the airspace rules and understand they are accountable to the public for flying responsibly.”

The online registration system does not yet support registration of small UAS used for any purpose other than hobby or recreation – for example, using an unmanned aircraft in connection with a business. The FAA is developing enhancements that will allow such online registrations by spring of 2016.

The full rule can be viewed

Source: FAA

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Unauthorized Drone Use by SkyPan International – Fined $1.9 Million Dollars!

For Immediate Release

October 7, 2015
Contact: Stephen Gowdy
Phone: (763) 496-9551; email:

NEW YORK – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announces the largest civil penalty the FAA has proposed against a UAS operator for endangering the safety of our airspace.

The FAA proposes a $1.9 million civil penalty against SkyPan International, Inc. of Chicago. Between March 21, 2012, and Dec. 15, 2014, SkyPan International conducted 65 unauthorized operations in some of our most congested airspace and heavily populated cities, violating airspace regulations and various operating rules, the FAA alleges. These operations were illegal and not without risk.

The FAA alleges that the company conducted 65 unauthorized commercial UAS flights over various locations in New York City and Chicago between March 21, 2012 and Dec. 15, 2014.  The flights involved aerial photography.  Of those, 43 flew in the highly restricted New York Class B airspace.

“Flying unmanned aircraft in violation of the Federal Aviation Regulations is illegal and can be dangerous,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.  “We have the safest airspace in the world, and everyone who uses it must understand and observe our comprehensive set of rules and regulations.”

SkyPan International operated the 43 flights in the New York Class B airspace without receiving an air traffic control clearance to access it, the FAA alleges.  Additionally, the agency alleges the aircraft was not equipped with a two-way radio, transponder, and altitude-reporting equipment.

The FAA further alleges that on all 65 flights, the aircraft lacked an airworthiness certificate and effective registration, and SkyPan did not have a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization for the operations.

SkyPan operated the aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger lives or property, the FAA alleges.

SkyPan has 30 days after receiving the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.

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Drone operators … prepare to be fined!

FAA is grounding all drone and sUAV activity used for commercial purposes, unless you have submitted and received the FAA Section 333 Exemption grant.


SHAKOPEE, Minn.June 16, 2015PRLog — “The FAA cease and desist letters and fines have begun!” says Stephen Gowdy, Chief Pilot at Gowdy Brothers Aerospace, LLC.

The FAA has stepped up their efforts and issued fines and notices to cease and desist Drone/sUAV (small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles)/Quad Copter operations.

FAA UAV enforcement officers are making direct phone calls daily to companies and individuals who pose a medium to serious threat to the NAS (National Airspace System).

FAA UAV officials have shared with Mr. Gowdy, “Drone operators who are providing commercial services with their personal Drones and operating in a reckless manner are the most likely to be fined. Drone operators who do not have an FAA Exemption certification grant or who are operating without a FAA Private Pilot’s license will be given cease and desist letters and phone calls at a minimum,and should prepare to be fined.”

“We figure the operator gets the message once we call them and share the facts and sometimes they just hang up on us … we never hear from them again, we figure they got the message,” says an FAA official who requested to remain anonymous.

FAA recently settled a $10,000 fine, after many months in court Mr. Pirker, a University of Virginia, Professor, settled for a reduced $1,100 fine. Mr. Pirker flew his drone over the University of Virginia campus for commercial purposes without an FAA Exemption.

Cease and Desist letters to immediate stop drone operations from the FAA have been handed out to aerial video photographers, flower delivery companies, Universities, real estate agents and beer companies trying to deliver beer to fish houses in the winter.

The FAA has even sent a letter to stop posting drone videos on YouTube because the user was “Commercially” receiving revenue from the ads Google placed before the video played.

Drone operators … Do not stay grounded!

Today, Gowdy Brothers Aerospace, LLC announces its Summary Grant Approval Process. Gowdy Brother’s helps companies gain FAA compliance and certification to operate their Drones/sUAV’s within the law with most approvals in less than 80 days.

Gowdy Brothers Aerospace has reviewed every FAA Section 333 submission and compiled all of the data into a retrievable database, providing the specific exemptions and listing all of the approved exemptions numbers who have cleared the way for a summary grant approval process. The summary grant streamlines their client’s approval process.

About us:

Gowdy Brothers Aerospace, LLC is a sUAV consulting firm assisting start-ups and existing businesses with Drone Business Development, FAA Certification, Drone Ground school and Practical Flight training with operations in Minnesota, Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin, Virginia and Washington, DC.


Stephen Gowdy, Chief Pilot
Gowdy Brothers Aerospace, LLC

Media Contact

Jason Christenson, Senior VP, Operations

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