While you’re writing that thank you note to the Santa who bought you the quadcopter you’ve always wanted, you will also want to take a moment to register your aircraft with the FAA.
The registration rule was signed into law last month by the Federal Aviation Administration and any drone weighing between .55 pounds and 50 pounds must be registered starting Dec. 21.
The application fee is $5, however, registration is free for the first 30 days as a way for the FAA to encourage hobby pilots to sign up.
“We expect hundred of thousands of model unmanned aircraft will be purchased this holiday season,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a written statement. “Registration gives us the opportunity to educate these news airspace users before they fly so they now the airspace rules and understand they are accountable to the pubic for flying responsibility.”
The FAA estimates more than 1.6 million drones will be sold this year and the number of reports of unsafe flying have more than doubled since 2014, according the FAA. The incidents include unmanned aircraft that are a risk to planes and helicopters.
In two separate wildfires this years, unmanned aircraft were responsible for aborting or grounding firefighting efforts from the skies, including flights turned back which then had to dump their fire retardant due to landing weight restrictions.
There were also cases where drones crashed into stadiums during sporting events and in one incident this past October, more than 640 California Edison customers lost their power in West Hollywood, Calf. when an unmanned aircraft brought down a span of power line.
Registration gives the FAA a chance to make drone pilots responsible flyers but also track down unsafe flyers when an incident occurs.
Drone pilots have until Feb. 19, 2016, to register. Read the full rule here.
Failure to register could include a fine of $27,500, according to the FAA. Criminal penalties for unregistered aircraft and reckless flying could lead to fines up to $250,000 and three years in jail.
Source: The Verge