WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Owners of many small drones and model airplanes will have to register them with the government.
The Federal Aviation Administration announced the requirement Monday in response to increasing reports of drones flying near manned aircraft and airports. So far this year in North Texas there have been 11 close encounters between drones and manned aircrafts.
In a press release statement U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said, “Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility.”
The requirement covers aircraft weighing from a half pound to 55 pounds. Drone owners who are 13 and older will have to register on an FAA website that’s available starting December 21. The FAA expects parents to register for younger children.
Registration will cost $5, but the fee will be waived for the first 30 days. The registration is good for three years and paying one $5 fee allows an owner to register multiple drones. Once a certificate of aircraft registration/proof of ownership certificate is received owners will have to mark their aircraft with the included identification number.
Registering a hobby or recreational drone is the consumers responsibility. This holiday season Americans are expected to buy some 400,000 drones.
Under the new rules, current drone owners will have 60 days from Dec. 21 — until February 19 — to register their aircraft. Anyone purchasing a drone after Dec. 21 must have the aircraft registered before taking their first flight outdoors.
Failure to register an aircraft can result in fines up to $27,500, while criminal penalties for failure to register can include fines of up to $250,000 and/or three years in prison.
The new registration process is only for drones used for hobby or recreation. A system to register drones for other purposes – such as for use by businesses – is expected to launch by the spring of 2016
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