The Federal Aviation Administration has officially launched the drone registration program first reported in October. Drone operators are required to register their UAVs with the Unmanned Aircraft System registry starting December 21. Failure to register could result in criminal and civil penalties.

Under the new system, all aircraft must be registered with the FAA including those 'operated by modelers and hobbyists.' Once registered, drone operators must carry the registration certificate during operation. This new system only applies to drones weighing more than 0.55lbs/250g and less than 55lbs/25kg. The only exception to the registration requirement is indoor drone flights.

Required registration information includes a mailing address and physical address, email address, and full names; however, no information on the drone's make, model, or serial number is required from recreational users. Non-recreational users will need to provide drone information, including serial number, when that particular registration system goes live. 

Failure to register could result in civil penalties up to $27,500, or criminal penalties up to 3 years in prison and $250,000. A $5 registration charge is applied, but will be refunded to those who register before January 20. The registration certificate is sent in an email to be printed at home.