A person operating a civil small unmanned aircraft system for purposes of flight must comply with the provisions of § 91.203(a)(2) of this chapter.
§ 91.203 Civil aircraft: Certifications required.
(a) Except as provided in § 91.715 [Special flight authorizations for foreign civil aircraft], no person may operate a civil aircraft unless it has within it the following: …….. (2) An effective U.S. registration certificate issued to its owner or, for operation within the United States, the second copy of the Aircraft registration Application as provided for in §47.31(c), a Certificate of Aircraft registration as provided in part 48, or a registration certification issued under the laws of a foreign country.
§ 47.31 Application.
(c) After compliance with paragraph (a) of this section, the applicant for registration of an aircraft last previously registered in the United States must carry the second copy of the Aircraft Registration Application in the aircraft as temporary authority to operate without registration.
Aircraft Registration. A small UA must be registered, as provided for in 14 CFR part 47 or part 48 prior to operating under part 107. Part 48 is the regulation that establishes the streamlined online registration option for sUAS that will be operated only within the territorial limits of the United States. The online registration Web address is http://www.faa.gov/uas/registration/. Guidance regarding sUAS registration and marking may be found at http://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/aircraft_certification/ aircraft_registry/. Alternatively, sUAS can elect to register under part 47 in the same manner as manned aircraft.
Registration of Foreign-Owned and Operated sUAS. If sUAS operations involve the use of foreign civil aircraft, the operator would need to obtain a Foreign Aircraft Permit pursuant to 14 CFR part 375, § 375.41 before conducting any commercial air operations under this authority. Foreign civil aircraft means, a) an aircraft of foreign registry that is not part of the armed forces of a foreign nation, or b) a U.S.-registered aircraft owned, controlled, or operated by persons who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Application instructions are specified in § 375.43. Applications should be submitted by electronic mail to the Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of International Aviation, Foreign Air Carrier Licensing Division. Additional information can be obtained at https://cms.dot.gov/policy/aviation-policy/licensing/foreign-carriers.
The NPRM proposed applying to small UAS the then-existing registration requirements that applied to all aircraft. The NPRM also proposed requiring that all small UAS have their registration and nationality marks displayed in accordance with Subpart C of part 45.
Approximately 125 commenters provided input on the proposed registration requirement or the associated process, with most commenters stating that it was a reasonable or necessary requirement. Of the roughly 110 commenters that addressed the proposed marking requirements, most supported requiring identification markings on small UAS.
On December 16, 2015, subsequent to the issuance of the NPRM for this rule, the FAA published the Registration and Marking Requirements for Small Unmanned Aircraft interim final rule (Registration Rule). In the Registration Rule, the FAA considered and addressed the comments it received in response to the registration and marking proposals in the NPRM for this rule. As a result, the Registration Rule provided a streamlined and simple web-based aircraft registration process for the registration of small unmanned aircraft, as well as a simpler method for marking small unmanned aircraft. The Registration Rule invited further comment on its contents and the FAA will consider any significant issues that are raised by the commenters.
Because the registration and marking components that were originally part of the NPRM for this rule are now being addressed in a different rulemaking (the Registration Rule), these components are no longer a part of this rule. Thus, instead of imposing any new registration or marking requirements, this rule will simply require that any person operating a civil small UAS for purposes of flight comply with the existing requirements of § 91.203(a)(2). Section 91.203(a)(2) requires a person operating a civil small unmanned aircraft to have an effective U.S. registration certificate that is readily available to the owner or operator, as applicable.