In the 1983 movie A Christmas Story, Ralphie desperately wants a Red Ryder BB Gun, declaring it the “Holy Grail of Christmas gifts.” Ralphie’s mother warns him about the dangers of BB guns with what Ralphie deems “the classic mother/BB gun block”: “You’ll shoot your eye out”.
One of this year’s most sought-after gifts comes with its own set of warnings…and FAA regulations. Chances are, if you strolled (or scrolled) through a store this holiday season, you probably saw drones or UAVs on the shelves.
And if you were the lucky recipient of a drone this Christmas, you must be aware of the rules and regulations that come along with your new gift.
- You may only use your UAV for recreation or hobby and cannot use it commercially, unless you have a Section 333 exemption from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration).
- As of December 21, the FAA requires every UAV between 0.55 lbs. and 55 lbs. to be registered. If you already own a UAV, you’ll need to register it by February 19, 2016. If you purchased or received your UAV after December 21, it must be registered before its first flight. There is a small registration fee of $5, but if you register by January 20, 2016, your fee will be refunded. Upon registration, you will receive a registration number that must be affixed to your drone as well as a registration certificate, which you must carry with you whenever you fly your UAV. Register your UAV here.
It is so important to be aware of the new registration process, as failure to register your UAV could result in up to $27,500 in fines from the FAA.
As I’ve written previously, these aerial vehicles are not only fun, but also have benefits in agriculture. Small quadcopter UAVs are great tools for scouting fields to get aerial imagery and video.
If you found a UAV under the tree or in your Christmas stocking, we remind you to be aware of the rules and regulations that come with the fun of owning your very own UAV. Abiding by these rules helps ensure that farmers continue to have access to UAV technology.