New Drone Regulations In Effect


Jeff Chiu/AP

A 'Parrot Bebop' drone, used to take images, flies during a demo in San Francisco.

Do you own a drone?

If you do, you better be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration.

New federal regulations went into effect Monday that requires owners of recreational drones be registered, or you could face fines and even jail time.  If you already own a drone, you have until February 19 to register it.

Richard Jost, general counsel for the Nevada Institute of Autonomous Systems, and the chair of Fennemore Craig's Aviation, Aerospace and Autonomous Systems Practice, talked to KNPR’s State of Nevada about the new regulations.

Jost said the regulations were needed because of the number of drones that were expected to be given as gifts during the holiday season. 

The Consumer Electronics Association estimates 700,000 drones are going to be shipped in 2015, which is up 63 percent from the year before. 

"It became a concern that many of those vehicles would be sold to people who perceive them as toys, at least not perceive them as aircraft and might very well fly them into the national airspace in a way that is not consistent with the safety of responsible flight expected of other airmen," Jost said.

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Jost said the registration process allows the FAA to know who owns the drones and let them know about proper flight regulations.

Under the rules, all aircraft weighing more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds, including payloads such as on-board cameras, must be registered.

Registration fees are free for the first 30 days with a rebate and $5 after that. The FAA also reminds people that they do not need to use a so-called registration company. The website should be easy enough for everyone to follow. 

The FAA has posted the following rules on its website:

Remember these rules when you fly:

• Fly below 400 feet altitude.
• Keep your unmanned aircraft in sight at all times.
• Never fly near manned aircraft, especially near airports.
• Never fly over groups of people, stadiums or sporting events.
• Never fly near emergency response efforts.


Richard Jost, general counsel, Nevada Institute of Autonomous Systems, chair, Fennemore Craig's Aviation, Aerospace and Autonomous Systems Practice 

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