What to know before buying a drone this holiday season

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, December 15, 2015

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Before you buy a drone for someone special this holiday season, there are some things you need to know.

You must register any unmanned aircraft weighing more than .55 pounds and less than 55 pounds, and that is including your on-board cameras.

You can actually register for free for the next month (from Dec. 21, 2015 to Jan 20, 2016)

But, even if you miss that window, the registration will not break the bank, it's just $5.

Owners may register through a web-based system at www.faa.gov/uas/registration. Owners must be at least 13 years old to register. If a child is younger than 13, then their parents can register for them.

Those who got drones before Dec. 21 must register by Feb. 19. People who buy them later must register before their first outdoor flight.

"We expect hundreds of thousands of model unmanned aircraft will be purchased this holiday season," said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. "Registration gives us the opportunity to educate these new airspace users before they fly so they know the airspace rules and understand they are accountable to the public for flying responsibly."

The online registration system does not yet support registration of small UAS used for any purpose other than hobby or recreation - for example, using an unmanned aircraft in connection with a business. The FAA is developing enhancements that will allow such online registrations by spring of 2016.

The full rule can be viewed here: www.faa.gov/news/updates/media/20151213_IFR.pdf