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December 24, 2015

FAA Gearing Up for Mass Drone Registration

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) online drone registration is again up and running.

The FAA had to temporarily suspend online drone registration to shore up its website to deal with the anticipated rush of customers on Christmas Day.

The site was taken offline Tuesday and Wednesday night so contractor CSRA could address performance issues and to complete other maintenance in advance of “the post-holiday demand.”

“The agency has seen strong initial demand, with more than 45,000 registrations completed since the site opened for business Monday afternoon. According to industry estimates, as many as 400,000 small UAS could be sold during the holidays,” the FAA said in a statement.

“Registration will foster a greater awareness on the part of users to learn the rules about flying safely in the National Airspace System. Registration will also enable the FAA to trace the ownership of an aircraft in the event of an incident.”

The FAA requires registration of all aircraft weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms), including payloads such as on-board cameras.

Drones are becoming a more common element in the skies — and the FAA is cracking down on the operation of small, unmanned vehicles near large aircraft. It require registration for all drones.

Earlier this year, Amazon criticized the FAA for taking too long to give its authorization for commercial drone regulations, saying the U.S. is at risk of falling behind other countries when it comes to the testing of unmanned aircrafts.

The FAA has since attempted to speed up the process.