Whether you are expecting to unwrap an unmanned aircraft (drone or UAS) this year, or to give this highly popular device as a gift, take heed of a new regulation enacted by the FAA on Dec. 14, 2015. In anticipation of nearly 400,000 drones expected to be sold over the holidays, and citing a surge in “close call” incidents involving drones flying too close to traditional aircraft or in prohibited spaces, the FAA announced it will require registration of small UAS devices which are used for hobby/recreation just in time for the 2015 holiday season. After Dec. 21, 2015, any owner of a small drone (more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (~25 kilograms) including payloads such as cameras) must register with the FAA. Owners of any UAS purchased after Dec. 21, 2015, must register before the first flight outdoors. Those owners who previously operated an unmanned aircraft prior to Dec. 21, 2015, must register the device no later than Feb. 19, 2016.

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