Drones may be on the top of many techie gift lists this holiday season. Even if you’re thinking of getting a small, simple UAV that you only plan to use for fun, the Federal Aviation Administration  still wants to be involved.


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To prepare for an anticipated increase in recreational drones, that may number in the hundreds of thousands, the FAA is releasing a series of recommendations specifically for the ownership and use, including guidelines to register any UAV that weights more than half a pound.

Registering Your Recreational Drone
Most of the FAA recreational drone recommendations are still in the process of being approved, but that list is expected to be finalized and published well ahead of Christmas.

However, some registration requirements have already been reported. When it comes to recreational drones, the FAA is less interested in the registration of the individual hardware than the pilots themselves.

Credit: Jacek Halicki

Any U.S. drone operator over the age of thirteen is expected to register. This doesn’t mean that anyone younger is exempt, but that thirteen is the minimum age requirement for a drone pilot—so you may want to hold off on putting drones under the tree for anyone twelve or younger.

It’s also possible that the FAA may add some type of training or testing component to the registration process in an effort to ensure that all drone pilots know the safety and operational basics of UAV flight.

Many Specifics To Be Determined
The FAA has said that drone registration will be completed online, at no cost to the pilot, and that all submitted information will be kept secure and confidential, but it’s not yet clear when the website to do so will be available or when drone owners will be required to complete their registration.

Unregistered drone owners may be subject to fines and penalties, and while they will probably be lower than the $25,000 fine that’s currently in place for unlawful drone operation, those specifics have yet to be determined as well.

A Busy Season For The FAA
With many details to be ironed out and the drone registration system to be established in time for the anticipated holiday drone influx, the FAA appears to have an especially busy December ahead of them.

Even if the process is extremely thorough and pilots are able to register their drones without issue, will this fully address the many safety concerns that remain for recreational drone operation? Further, does this move by the FAA show that the agency is finally adapting to a drone filled world? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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