FAA approves drone registration rules

Posted at 10:20 AM, Dec 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-15 10:20:14-05

Anyone getting a drone under the Christmas tree this year will have to register it before they take it for a flight. The FAA passed that rule on Monday requiring non-commercial drones of a certain size to be registered starting next Monday.

Under the FAA's new rules, drones weighing anywhere from a half pound up to 55 pounds will have to be registered. Owners who are 13 or older will sign up on the FAA's website, with parents registering for younger children. Owners will have to give their name, email and home address, then they'll be given an identification number which they'll have to put on their device.

That's leaving Ryan Latourette wondering where he's going to fit that number.

"It's a kids toy, it's made for flying inside," Latourette said.

Latourette bought his daughters drones that are so small they fit in the palm of your hand, but under the FAA's new rules they're big enough to get registered.

"My one daughter is now 14. She will have to be in the government database as being the owner operator of this drone," Latourette added.

It's a something Latourette isn't comfortable with yet, but he has few months to get used to it. Drones bought before December 21, 2015 must be registered by February 19, 2016. Drones bought after that will have to be registered by the first flight. Registration costs $5 and will have to be renewed every 3 years.

With a gift that's quickly selling out, stores like Best Buy want its customers to have all that information.

"That's our job as well, to make sure they're flying safely and that they're enjoying the product to the full extent without breaking the law," said Ian Baker, a sales consultant at the Okemos store.

Best Buy stocks multiple drone models and is running specials on some this holiday season. That's why employees like Baker get extra training in drone safety and the latest regulations. The store already hands out safety brochures from the Academy of Model Aeronautics, and now it's making sure customers know about the new registration rules.

"We tell people 'hey you know make sure you check out all the FAA regulations. There's links to those on our site. If you just search the model drone you bought you can find everything you need to know,' " Baker explained.