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Sun, Mar 20, 2022

Washington State Opens Commercial Drone Registration

Paid UAS Operations Funding Will go to Support Drone Proliferation Throughout State Economy

Washington state has released its commercial drone registration system ahead of the April 1st program due date. 

Those drone operators flying under 14 CFR Part 107 for compensation or hire are now required by law to register their UAVs with the Washington State Department of Transportation, the proceeds of which will go to support their work advancing the uncrewed industry in the region.  Specifically, the state hopes make itself an attractive location, a hub for the uncrewed industry as a whole, whether used as a home base, development area, or manufacturing center. Other states have looked to establish the same as they court the exciting new industry ahead of the projected proliferation of autonomous and uncrewed aircraft. Whether that is consolation to those operators weary of yet another government cost is another matter. 

The state notes a number of use cases that are not subject to the registration requirement, like "drones used exclusively for hobby or recreation"; aircraft "owned by and used only in the service of any government or local government"; "an academic institution or its representative"; and those of foreign governments are all exempt from the registration requirement. Other exemptions for commercial drones also apply, but must procure an exemption request form. Those cases include drones that are in Washington state for less than 90 days or those operated for testing, exchange, experimentation, sale, or training purposes. Those commercial drones in unairworthy condition that are not operated during their registered calendar year due to an unsafe or unserviceable condition can be exempt, though the state is careful to delineate that stored or shipped configurations do not count towards an exempt status. 

Washington has created a position, the State Unpiloted Systems Coordinator, in order to assist with establishing and running UAS programs in Washington for interested parties. More specifically, the coordinator "supports activities to integrate drones into our future transportation system and works with stakeholders in Washington and national level organizations to help shape and introduce emerging aviation technology such as drone package delivery to include medical supplies, Advanced Air Mobility, and Urban Air Mobility."

FMI: www.wsdot.wa.gov

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