Several thousand drone pilots registered their aircraft with the Federal Aviation Administration within the first 24 hours, but glitches in the system briefly shut it down after takeoff.
The FAA said the new mandatory online registration had to be shutdown for troubleshooting but would reopen Thursday.
More than 45,000 drone operators signed in during the first day of registration Monday, but after reports of “performance issues,” the FAA closed the site for maintenance. Best to iron out the wrinkles before Christmas, when the FAA expects a record number of quadcopters and other like unmanned aircraft to be under the tree.
The government did not elaborate on the problems, but the photography website PetaPixel cited reports from Oklahoma, where drone operators there reported “receiving certificates with other people’s complete name and addresses on them.”
The FAA is now requiring operators of unmanned craft weighing a half pound or more to register, hoping to raise awareness of flight rules and avoid unsafe flying. The FAA estimates more than 1.6 million drones will be purchased this year and with this rise in popularity, the FAA says reports of unsafe flying and near-disasters more than doubled since 2014.
Drones are especially popular with photographers and hobbyist because lightweight cameras, like GoPros, can be easily mounted on the craft for stunning HD photos and video.
How common are drone accidents? During wildfire season, drones made the airspace unsafe in two separate incidents. Tanker pilots were forced to avoid the hotspots and drop their water elsewhere in order to land.
Just Tuesday, Olympic skier Marcel Hirscher was nearly hit by drone on a slalom course in Italy.
To encourage signup, the FAA has waived the $5 through Jan. 20. The deadline for registration is Feb. 19.