Today the FAA outlined guidelines for registration and marking unmanned aircraft systems in an email to current government, university and organization operators of unmanned aircraft, reports AUVSI’s Scott Kesselman.

The email states, “UAS, other than those owned by the armed forces, intended to operate under a new COA [certificate of authorization] must be registered and marked prior to COA application.” Applicants must now enter the aircraft registration number, or N number, in COA online.

Additionally, commercial UAS currently operating under a COA must be registered and marked within 90 days or risk suspension. Users must update their monthly operational reports with the registration number. The registration numbers must be confirmed with FAA via the agency’s online aircraft registry.

“We have received 13 COA since 2008 and have never been required an N number previously,” says Benjamin Miller, unmanned aircraft program director at Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, in an email with AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems. “We are currently exploring just where this N number will fit on our airframes.”

Markings must be painted on the aircraft or affixed with a similar degree of permanence. Any UAS with size or shape limitations for marking may seek approval for alternative marking and must attach an approval letter for any such marking to the application in the “Aircraft Registration” field.

“The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office has engaged the FAA from the onset of our program in 2008 as we fully support the safe integration of all UAS into the national airspace,” says Miller. “We will continue to stay engaged with the FAA and the approval process they’ve prescribed so long as that process remains in the best interest of the public we serve.”

Complete details for registration can be found at