Holidays bring new crop of UAV operators

Holidays bring new crop of UAV operators

Federal Aviation Administration offers safety checklist, new details on UAV registration

The Federal Aviation Administration on Nov. 27 – also known as "black Friday" – offered up a new safety checklist for the next crop of drone operators who are likely to find a UAV under the Christmas tree this season.

Related: FAA approves more than 1,000 exemptions for UAV use

When you open a new UAV over the holidays, "you can’t wait to get into the sky and let loose your inner high-flying aerial photographer, right?," an FAA drone safety page asks.

"Did you know you’re also going to become a pilot?"

Federal Aviation Administration offers safety checklist, new details on UAV registration (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Under the law, FAA says, a drone is an aircraft. The new "I fly safe" fact sheet corresponds with materials previously released online at the webpage. Introduced during the 2014 holiday season, the page includes facts and resources for new pilots.

This season, however, a new change is in place – pilots will have eventually have to register their aircraft over .55 pounds with the FAA. Preliminary recommendations and a fee schedule were proposed in a Nov. 23 report from FAA's UAV registration task force.

In the report, task force members suggested mandatory information collected from drone operators should include name and street address, which will be entered into an FAA database. Optional information would include mailing address, email address, telephone number, and serial number of the aircraft.

Because the members have finalized the report, FAA and the Department of Transportation can now add the report's recommendations with those received via public comment to develop a draft rule. A timeframe has not been released, however.

Related: What's your recourse for trespassing UAVs?

Dave Vos of Google X said the recommendations in the report represent compromise. "Nobody gets exactly what they want, but everyone got mostly what they want," he said. "I think the deliberations ended up in a set of recommendations that enable the industry to not be constrained by technological growth in the future by a set of rules that are technology-specific."

"We kept things simple and generic," Vos said.

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