New External Marking Requirement for Small Unmanned Aircraft
Effective February 25, 2019, a new FAA rule requires all small unmanned aircraft owners to display the unique drone/aircraft registration identifier number, assigned by the FAA, to be placed on the external surface of the small unmanned aircraft. No longer is it acceptable to affix the drone FAA registration number in a place inside the drone, such as in the battery compartment area. See Federal Ruling.
The FAA decided to take this action to address the concerns expressed by multiple law enforcement agencies over the past couple of years, regarding the potential risk to first responders for concealed explosive devices being hidden inside small unmanned aircraft.
Prior to this ruling, first responders were put at risk who had to open a compartment inside the small unmanned aircraft, e.g. the battery cavity area, to view the aircraft’s registration number and to subsequently then identify the owner of the drone / small unmanned aircraft.
So at this point, all small unmanned aircraft pilots should place their FAA drone registration identification markings on an exterior surface of the small unmanned aircraft. The drone registration markings should be made such that they are easily visible and discernible to first responders without having to handle the aircraft.
The drone registration markings should be affixed to the drone via either engraving, permanent marker, or some other form of attachment that will ensure the FAA registration identifier will not become separated from the small unmanned aircraft during flight.