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The Federal Aviation Administration now requires that drones be registered with the agency. That includes many recreational drones that are expected to be a hot item for the holidays. Registration costs $5, although it gets refunded if you sign up in the first month. This is the same fee as for manned aircraft.

“[The process] is very similar in terms of what it’s requiring, with the only difference being that with the small drones they can use the same registration number for multiple aircraft,” said Melissa Rudinger, vice president of government affairs for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

But consumers might want to be cautious before collecting multiple drones. Because, points out lawyer Brant Hadaway, “Ostensibly, the person to whom the drone is registered is responsible for its safe operation.”

Hadaway specializes in drones law as a partner at the law firm Diaz, Reus & Targ, LLP in Miami, Florida. He said if parents plan on giving a drone as a gift, they will be responsible for what kids do with them.  You have to be 13 to register, so some parents will have to register on behalf of younger aspiring pilots.

“So I imagine a somewhat comical scene of the 12-year-old boy opening up his present and saying, ‘Oh wow, a drone! Let’s get it flying!’ And Mom saying  ‘Just a moment, hun, Dad’s still on the FAA website.’”

 

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