Do I need to Register My Replacement Drone with the FAA?

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So you fly your recreational drone into a tree and never see it again and being a drone enthusiast, you immediately purchase another one!  And of course you ask, “Do I need to register my new drone with the FAA or can I use my previous registration?”

It is easy to get confused in the process of answering this question. There are many “feeder” registration sites (such as federaldroneregistration.com or onlinedroneregistration.com ) which work to “simplify” the registration process but are not associated with the FAA.  These sites ask for the manufacturer, model, and serial number of the drone.

This would lead you to believe that you need to register your replacement drone as it may or may not be the same manufacturer and model of the lost drone. And it certainly doesn’t have the same serial number. This is misleading. These sites are collecting additional information which is not needed for the FAA registration.

When you go to the FAA registration site, you are not asked for a make, model, and serial number.

A short conversation with the FAA’s helpline provided the answer. You do not need to register your replacement drone. Registering once gives you a registration number that applies to your entire fleet of drones. It is good for three years. So those that have a fleet of recreational drones are covered by one registration. The registration belongs to the pilot.

Things to remember as you register your first drone:

  1. Registration is mandatory in the United States.
  2. You must register before your first flight.
  3. Users must be at least 13 to register online.
  4. The registration fee is $5. It’s good for three years.
  5. Register your drone directly through the FAA.
  6. All the information you need provide is your name, home address, e-mail address and the make and model of your drone. This generates a “proof of ownership,” including a Unique Number, which you must mark on your drone in a place you don’t need a tool to access. You’ll be able to use the serial number of your drone (found in Solo’s battery compartment) and avoid marking up your Solo.
  7. This registration process only applies to hobby and recreational use.

Although disappointed by the lost drone, you can smile at the fact that your next drone purchase does not require a visit to the FAA site. Register once and go fly safely (for three years).

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