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Drone Law


The market for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles grew to 2.5 million units in 2015 and drones make the hottest Christmas gift each year. The ease of use and capabilities of a modern multicopter are so far beyond what radio control hobbyists enjoyed ten years ago that drones are projected to be a $5 billion industry in four years.

The popularity of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) give rise to safety concerns. Commercial airliners report incidents of drones flying dangerously close to airports in New York and actually striking an airliner in London.

The City of Poway temporarily banned the launch or landing of all drones after interference with fire fighting aircraft. The current Poway law only bans launch or landing of UAV's during a declared emergency.

FAA profligates rules to encourage safe use of Unmanned Aircraft. The rules are very different for pilots who fly for fun and those who fly as part of their job.

Recreational UAV Flight

The FAA requires recreational drone pilots to register for a FA-number. Registration is online at 

  • Registration is required for all UAV pilots age 13 or over who are  U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents
  • All UAV's weighing more than 0.55 pounds (8.8 ounces or 250 grams) and less than 55 pounds should register 
  • One registration covers all of a pilot’s UAV 
  • Each UAV must display the registration number
  • Cost is $5 for a three year registration.

Pilots aged 12 years old and under should not register. However a person older than 13 years old (like a parent or guardian) should instead register the UAV.

Registration is only required for UAV’s that weigh more than 0.55 pounds (8.8 ounces or 250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) including payloads such as cameras. Most “toy” multicopters weigh only two or four ounces and do not require registration.

Hobby or recreation are strongly encouraged to follow safety guidelines, which include:

  • Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles
  • Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times
  • Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations
  • Don't fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying
  • Don't fly near people or stadiums
  • Don't fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 pounds
  • Don't be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft – you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft

Subpages (1): Commercial Drone Pilots