FAA to Impose Drone Registration Rules by End of 2015
NEWS ANALYSIS: New rules would apply to current drone owners as well as any new drones and model aircraft sold in the United States.This registration number is a public record, and you can search for the owner of any aircraft just by searching the FAA database for that number. If you search for the number N493UA, for example, you'll find an Airbus A320 owned by United Airlines. However, all aircraft, including those owned by private individuals as well as civil aircraft owned by the government, display those registration numbers. Military aircraft also display identification numbers, usually called tail numbers. While it would be impossible to display registration numbers in the sizes required for manned aircraft, drones and model aircraft do have sufficient space on their exterior surfaces to display visible numbers. According to Foxx, the DOT is still deciding whether to make the contents of the unmanned aircraft database publically available. However, a public database seems likely, if only because other government registration and license identification data is already public. In addition to the aircraft database, the Federal Communication Commission requires radio station licensees to make their license numbers and registration information public, for example.
One reason that the registration requirement can be put into place so quickly is that the Department of Transportation already has the charter in place to regulate aircraft backed by federal law as well as a law-enforcement structure in place.