Web-based registration of drones is now in effect but only for hobby and recreational users. Commercial users such as farmers still have to register through a paper-based system. The Federal Aviation Administration plans to have a web-based system in place later this year for commercial users.
Farmers are increasingly becoming interested in using drones to scout crops, assess flood or drought damage, locate drainage problems, forecast weather patterns and locate livestock. American Farm Bureau estimates farmers who use drones could have a potential return-on-investment of $12 per acre for corn, $2.60 per acre for soybeans and $2.30 per acre for wheat.
Under FAA rules, all drones or “unmanned aircraft systems” (UAS) qualify as aircraft, and they must be registered before flown outdoors. Those who are using drones for hobby or recreational use have until Feb. 19 to register with the FAA. Those who don’t register could face civil and criminal penalties.
For more information about registering a drone for hobby/recreational or commercial use, visit the FAA’s drone FAQs.