249 Grams—the Magic Number? Nov12

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249 Grams—the Magic Number?

DJI’s newest drone, the Mavic Mini, weighs in at 249 grams. It fits in the palm of your hand and is not much bigger than a cell phone.  Despite its size, it is no toy, but has remarkably high-quality video capability.  DJI is marketing its weight prominently, even featuring the number on the drone body itself.  So what’s the big deal with 249 grams?

Well, it turns out that the FAA only requires users to register drones that weigh more than 250 grams—see 14 CFR 48.15.  So technically, a recreational user of a Mavic Mini does not need to comply with the FAA’s drone registration requirements.  Of course, any commercial use needs to comply with Part 107 regardless of drone weight.  But if drone technology develops such that sophisticated drones like the Mavic Mini are marketed as ways to avoid regulatory compliance, that would not be a helpful development.