How Do I Unregister/Deregister My Drone?


For those who are yet to buy drones, one of the most important things you need to do with your drone is to make sure you register it with the FAA if your drone weighs 250 grams or more. But there will be times when drone owners might need to unregister their drones from their FAA accounts. So, how can you unregister your drone from your name?

You only need to unregister a drone that has been registered under a Part 107 account. Log in to your FAA account and click on Manage sUAS Inventory. This will show you all of the drones registered under your account. Look for the drone you want to unregister and click the Cancel option. 

While registration is an important part of owning a drone, making sure that you also unregister a drone can be essential when you are planning on changing the drone’s ownership or if you lost the drone and are unable to recover it. To make sure that you don’t end up on the hook when something happens involving a drone that is no longer yours, you need to unregister it from your account.

Reasons you might need to unregister your drone

One of the most important things that drone owners should know is that they are required to register drones that weigh 250 grams or more. You do this by going to the FAA DroneZone website and registering your drone. 

First, you need to create an account under your name and then you can register the drone under that account. If you are creating an account as a Recreational Flyer, you will NOT need to provide any serial number or model-specific information about your drone or drones. Instead, you as the drone pilot get an ID number, which applies to each of your drones.

If you are registering as a Part 107 pilot, you must provide information on each drone, and each drone you fly commercially will be specifically linked to your name.

This is important because the FAA wants to regulate drones in a way that will allow them to easily pinpoint the owner of a drone that may have been the cause of any kind of damage. However, if your drone is under 250 grams, there is no need for registration.

As important as it is for you to register your drone with the FAA, there are also some cases when you might want to unregister your drone.

The first reason why you may want to unregister a drone from your FAA account is that you are planning on selling it. Obviously, because of the impending sale of the drone, it will no longer be under your ownership and would therefore no longer be your responsibility moving forward after it has changed hands. 

That means that you are no longer obliged to keep it registered under your name and it should now be registered under the account of the new owner.

Another reason why you may want to unregister your drone from your FAA account is if you crashed the drone and it was damaged beyond repair. Because the drone will no longer function, there is no need for you to keep it registered under your name. After all, it would be pointless to keep it registered in your account if it can’t even fly anymore.

Lastly, if you lost your drone because it flew away or if someone stole it and you can no longer recover it no matter what you do, you can also unregister it from your account. While it can be useful to keep the drone registered so that anyone who found the drone can trace it back to you, registration will no longer serve a purpose if you have done everything you can to try to recover it. As such, to avoid being liable for any damage that the drone might do while under the possession of another person, it is best to unregister it from your account.

Cases when it’s not necessary to unregister your drone

If you have an FAA account as a Recreational Flyer, your drone (or drones) do not need to be uniquely reported. The FAA registration process does not ask for make, model or serial number of your drone. It stands to reason then, that the specific drone is not tied to your registration account. 

For this reason, if it comes time to sell your drone (registered under your recreational flyer account), you do not need to unregister your drone. The drone’s serial number is not tied to your name or account in any way. 

The only thing you would need to do to completely disconnect yourself from ownership of the drone is to remove the FAA ID number that you are required to display on your drone. Remember, when you registered the drone, you had to somehow display your registration number on the drone? This number is your registration number, not the drone’s.

If you’re selling the drone or changing ownership to someone else, simply make sure to remove the label, or erase the marker, or somehow remove the method you used to display your registration number.  

If, however, you’re a Part 107 drone pilot, one case where it might be unnecessary to unregister your drone is if the drone is inactive. No matter how long it has been since the last time you used the drone and even if you are no longer planning on using your drone, there is no need for you to unregister it. Just make sure that you keep it in sight or stored safely so that no one can try to fly it and possibly cause damage while flying it.

Of course, if your drone is under 250 grams, there is no need to register or unregister it because of the very fact that registration is not a requirement for smaller drones.

Procedure to follow to unregister your drone

If you want to unregister your drone (as a Part 107 drone pilot), here is what you need to do:

  • Log into your Part 107 account on the FAA DroneZone website.
  • Once you have logged into your account, look for the Manage sUAS Inventory option found on your dashboard.
  • After you have clicked on Manage sUAS Inventory, you will be able to see a complete inventory of all of the drones registered under your account.
  • Select the drone/s you want to unregister from your account. Once selected, look for the option where you can cancel your registration.
  • After you have canceled the registration, the drone is no longer registered under your account and can now be registered with a different account.

If you are transferring ownership of your drone as a Recreational Flyer, you do not need to unregister your drone before selling it. Simply remove your registration ID number from the outside of the drone. 

Elizabeth Ciobanu

Editor-in-Chief. Elizabeth is a full-time (homeschooling!) mom of four, and serial entrepreneur in a variety of enterprises, one of which is producing content for Droneblog. If free time existed, she would love to spend more time on hobbies such as flying a drone.

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