AuthorTimothy M. Ravich
C 
Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 44101(a), a person may not operate a civil aircraft that is not
reg iste red wi th th e Fede ral Av iat ion Ad mini stra tion ( FAA). An a ircr aft m ay be regis -
tered only by and in the legal na me of its owner by transmitting the following information
and documents to the Aircraf t Registration Branch: an Aircraft Regi stration Application;
an original AC Form 8050-1; evidence of ownership (such as a bill of sale); and a $5 reg-
istration fee made payable to the FAA.1
What is more, an aircraft is eligible for U.S. registration only if it is not registered in
another country and it is owned by:2
t a U.S. citizen as defined in 14 C.F.R. § 47.2;3
t a resident alien (foreign individual lawfully admitted for permanent U.S.
t a U.S. governmental unit or subdivision; or
t a noncitizen corporation lawfully orga nized and doing business under the laws of the
United States or one of the states as long as the aircraft is based and primarily used
in the United States (i.e., 60% of all flight hours must be from flights starting and
ending within the United States).
Whether and how drones fit into a registration and mark ing process originally designed
for manned aviation assets is the subject of this chapter. In fact, as detailed below, the
1 F. A  A, Aircraft Registry: Register an Aircraft, tificates/aircraft_certific ation/
2 Id. See generally, U.S. D .  T., Informat ion to Aid in the Registratio n of U.S. Civil Aircraft,
3 “United States Citiz en” means an individua l who is a citizen of the United St ates or one of its possessions, a p artnership
of which each ind ividual is a citizen of t he United States, or a corporation or a ssociation created or orga nized under the
laws of the United Stat es or a state, territory, or posses sion thereof, of which the president a nd two- thirds or more of the
board of direct ors and other managing o fficers are individual U.S . citizens, and at least 75 perc ent of the voting interest
is owned or controlle d by persons who are U.S. citiz ens.

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