Drone License Requirements - What Are They? 

Techies, photographers, real estate agents, gamers, and families alike are all turning to drones (also known as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)) to propel their technologyinterests and business demands.  Both the recreational and commercial drone industry is becoming more and more accessible as drone manufacturers work to make affordable, scalable products for small businesses and the general public. The FAA anticipates that there will be 10 times as many commercial drones in the air by 2021 and recreational drone owners will more than triple their fleets to 3.5 million hobby drones by 2021. [1]

 The use of drones has rapidly expanded beyond recreational use, becoming an economically viable commercial industry.  Ariel photography has been transformed due to the versatility and accessibility drones can offer to capture the   perfect shot.  Drones are also being tested to transform commercial package delivery systems and to promote enhancements to cellular communication. 

 As the drone market rapidly elevates, the industry is under the watchful eye of regulators at both the federal and state level.  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) now requires qualifying drones to be registered.  You will need to   register your drone if it weighs between 0.55 lbs. to 55 lbs. and you are not flying under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft .   This registration is now available online for most users.  Since the federal online registration system went live   on April 1, 2016, more than 44,000 commercial UAS have been registered. [1]  Failure to register a qualified drone can expose users to civil and criminal penalties.

Drone regulation continues to increase as more and more states carve out user requirements and permitting or registration measures.  The National Conference of State Legislators reports that at least 38 states began considering legislation related to drones during the 2017 legislative session. [2]  The New York Times has recognized that the emergence of state and local laws governing drones may also conflict with federal law. [3]  Navigating the regulations hovering around this emerging industry is no easy task. 

Let LicenseLogix pilot your drone enterprise licensure needs.  We have the knowledge and tools to get your drone operation licensed or registered in all requisite states.  Learn more about how our Research & Compliance Team keeps track of licensure of emerging technology.  We also help our clients stay licensed through our ongoing license compliance solutions.  Visit us online and request a quote

[1] FAA Aerospace Forecast Fiscal Years 2017-2037

[2] Current Unmanned Aircraft State Law Landscape

[3] A Field Guide to Civilian Drones