What if you could track down everyone who owns a drone in the US? And I mean citizens and even foreign nationals!
Federal law requires aircraft registration including the registration of “drones” (AKA: Unmanned Aircraft Systems).
By statute all aircraft are required to be registered. Congress has defined “aircraft” to include UAS, regardless of whether they are operated by modelers and hobbyists.
Everyone, including foreign nationals and tourists, who operate a UAS for hobby or recreational purposes outdoors in the U.S. must register their aircraft with the Federal Aviation Administration.
The drone owner needs to provide their name, address, email and other information. Pretty handy stuff if you’re skip tracing the owner of a drone!
Right now the database is not searchable online, however…
Other federal databases are and I believe this one will be too!
In fact the FAA admits, “In the future, the registration database will be searchable by registration number only, but not by name or address.”
In the mean time, you could try a Freedom of Information Act Request (FOIA) to see if the subject of your investigation is listed in this database!
The 1% Tip on Tracing Some License Plates
I’ve talked in other videos about the importance of what I call “1% Tips”. These are solutions or hacks that help you a small amount of the time (maybe only 1% of the time), but added with a bunch of other 1% Tips gives you a pretty good chance of finding a piece of information you need for a case you’re working on!
This tip is about how to run a trace on a small but distinct class of specialty license plates.
Many states offer an option for amateur radio operators to have specialty license plates with their call sign on it. Like in the (edited) photo below.
To trace the license plate all you have to do is enter the call sign on the license plate into the Federal Communications Commission’s database of amateur radio operators found in this link to the FCC.
When you do you’ll get back a result like this…
Notice you get a name. Obviously you can turn that into a lot more information! Especially if you own my skip tracing course The Investigator’s Ultimate Guide to Missing Persons and Fugitives.
Many times you can tell from a great distance if a car or truck is owned by an amateur radio operator because of the big antenna on the vehicle.
In this photo you can see the base of the tall antenna mounted on the bumper.
And remember how the feds say you won’t be able to search the drone database by name? Well, check this out…
You can search the FCC database by state, zip code or even by name!
This is an excellent example of how to think like a private investigator!
By the way, if you want more tips like these, be sure to check out my special report
If You Want to be A Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do Theses 3 Things.
key word: license plate tip, license plate tips