US sets drone registration rules, deadline

US sets drone registration rules, deadline

That drone under the Christmas tree? If you are a US resident, you will need to register it by February 19 or face a possible fine.

Rules released Monday by the US Federal Aviation Administration require registration of small unmanned aircraft weighing more than 250 grams (0.55 pounds) and less than 25 kilograms (55 pounds) including payloads such as on-board cameras.

The registration fee is $5, but in an effort to encourage people to register quickly, the FAA will waive the fee through January 20.

“Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility,” said US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement.

“Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely. I’m excited to welcome these new aviators into the culture of safety and responsibility that defines American innovation.”

US authorities concerned about safety implications of drones announced plans earlier this year to require registration.

For recreational drone pilots in the United States, the flight rules are clear: no higher than 400 feet (120 meters), always within sight and nowhere near an airport without prior permission.

Owners will be able to use a streamlined online registration system, using a unique identification number for each drone. The registration is valid for three years.

Civil penalties for failing to register can go up to $27,500.