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Drone owners must register their aircraft beginning Dec. 21

For those that may be considering giving the gift of a drone this Christmas season, you may want to be aware of some changes to federal laws from the Federal Aviation Administration. A new law takes effect on Dec. 21 that requires all drone owners to now register their aircraft.

The FAA is now requiring all drone owners to register their aircraft and pay a registration fee of $5.  The certificate issued is good for three years. According to the new rules, if you are older than 13 years of age, you will be required to provide your name, address and email address when you register.

According to the FAA, if you register your drone between Dec. 21 and Jan 20, the $5 registration fee will be refunded.

The new rules do allow children under age 13 to fly a drone with the supervision of a registered drone owner. The registered owner must have their proper paperwork with them at all times when they are operating the drone, according to the new rules.

The FAA also requires that drones not be flown within five miles of an airport, the drone cannot be flown higher than 400 feet, and the drone must remain within your line of sight.

The registration requirements apply only to hobbyists and not to business owners operating the drones for business-related activities; however, the same safety precautions do still apply.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association took steps earlier this year to ban the use of drones to film football games. The ban did not apply to practice sessions.

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