New FAA rule on registration location

Your numbers now have to be externally displayed.

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" readable and legible upon close visual inspection". Anyone care to make a guess what “close visual inspection” might entail. Example from 6 inches, from 6 feet, what if the # is on top and the craft is upside down? First responder will have to turn over. I get it though would never think to weaponize my quad but there are those who would.

They likely mean it’s as easy to read as when holding something like a book in your hand. Perhaps they will clarify when the rule is finalized.

Seems backwards

This rule is effective February 25, 2019.

Comments must be received on or before March 15, 2019.

The FAA has issued this new requirement as an Interim Final Rule. That means the rule will take effect while also inviting the public to share their comments. The FAA issues interim final rules when delaying implementation of the rule would be impractical, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest. In this case, the FAA determined the importance of mitigating the risk to first responders outweighs the minimal inconvenience this change may impose on small drone owners, and justifies implementation without a prior public comment period.

Yes sir, totally understand their limited thinking on this. Essentially I can think of many scenarios where they would not be helped by this vague rule. Typical government thinking, I should recognize this, I worked for the government for 22 years. My big question is “close visual inspection” is way to vague I’m thinking 1/8 of an inch on my quads skin will be more than easy to see from “CVI”. I don’t believe anyone who should have to see the identifier numbers will ever be looking at my quad, but you never know. I wrote many instruction manuals for teaching Microsoft applications. Always be very specific, and to the lowest denominator, unfortunately my audience was at the 7th grade level adults.


When I go out to eat and try and read the menu I need to get my readers out for “close visual inspection” lol
I didn’t read that entire form but I didn’t notice any reference to size or location
The underside of the prop is still external
I don’t see the point in all this

The FAA referenced this document. Since the registration number must stay affixed for the duration of the flight, that means you cannot attach it to part of the drone that could fall off mid-flight (like a prop or battery).

Then it can be inside the battery compartment?
The other document said external

A unique identifier enclosed in a compartment is readily accessible if it can be accessed without the use of any tool.

Yes – until February 25th. At that point, it’ll need to be displayed on the exterior of the drone.

Anyone know if tourists traveling to the US can apply for the FAA registration before arriving in country? Or do FAA only accept applicants from US residents only?

You can if you’re able to access the FAA’s website from outside of the US. If you aren’t able to, you could use a VPN to connect to it from within the US.

Looks like I used up all my numbers on my old birds
Any ideas for putting on new numbers?

Vinyl decal? I’ll have these available in my store soon:


I decided to check my numbers and realized my registration expired 1/17/2019
Issued 1/18/2016
That’s when it all started and it was free to register. They credited back your $5 after giving cc info
I go to renew and now it says it expires 12/12/2020
I didn’t pay anything and nothing charged on my cc

Right – the FAA extended everyone’s registration. Nobody has reached the updated expiration yet, so I’m not sure what the process will be for renewing.