FAA Loophole Lets You Fly a Tiny Drone Registration-Free

September 13, 2016

7:00 pm

Care to buck authority and stick it to the man? Get a flock of .54-pound drones. Any drones that weigh under .55 pounds are free to fly, according to the official drone-regulating legislature from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). You have the right to bare arms in the air with no paperwork, as long as those arms are tiny and useless for anything beyond taking some sweet photographs.

The Loophole

As Wired reports, the latest registration requirements have some issues: They state that an operator must keep their drone within their eyesight at all times, even though newer drone models can fly two miles away. From the article:

“Whether you agree or disagree with the FAA registration, it does put something of damper on flying a drone. There is, however, a loophole in those FAA regulations: weight. The FAA does not regulate drones that weigh less than 0.55 pounds, or a little over eight ounces. Cue the rise of the mini drone.”

The Tiny Drone

Tiny drones are great for two reasons: First, they offer an easy, cheap way to test out your abilities. You can graduate to the 1,000-dollar-plus models once you’re fairly sure you won’t immediately crash it into the pond behind your house. Second, some drones in the “tiny drone” category can shoot 1080p video. Wired gives a shout out to the Xtreem Gravity Pursuit in particular.

If you want to start cruising around the sky as soon as possible, there are still options that will let you avoid those pesky bureaucrats at the FAA.

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Adam is a writer with an interest in a variety of mediums, from podcasts to comic books to video essays to novels to blogging — too many, basically. He's based out of Seattle, and remains a staunch defender of his state's slogan: "sayWA." In his spare time, he recommends articles about science fiction on Twitter, @AdamRRowe

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