Many people unwrapped new drones for Christmas, but before they are launched into the sky, owners must register their devices and find a way to track them when in flight.
This comes as the growing popularity of drones became a concern for the Federal Aviation Administration with hobbyists flying the devices with little to no aviation experience.
The new rule applies to all drones weighing more than half a pound and less than 55 pounds. The FAA says they must be registered, whether they are being used for a hobby or commercially.
The deadline to register is February 19 and free though January 20. After that, the FAA will charge $5 for registration. Owners can register their drone at the FAA's website by providing a name, physical address and email address. Each owner will then receive an identification number to attach it to their drone. That number can be used to prove to law enforcement that the device is registered.
Failure to register can result in civil penalties of up to $27,000 and criminal penalties that can include fines of up to $250,000.
In addition, there are other regulations set in place by the FAA, if you're using a drone as a hobby:
- You can't fly above 400 ft or anywhere near planes or helicopters.
- You are supposed to stay five miles from airports.
- Don't be peering over the fence at your neighbor.
Register your drones here.