What you need to know before getting a drone this holiday season
PORTAGE, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) -- This holiday season lots of families in West Michigan could be finding a drone under their Christmas tree.
It's the hottest tech toy of the season, but drones also come with a lot of responsibility.
You must learn the rules of the airways, and depending how big your drone is, register it with the feds.
They're literally flying off the shelves of Hobby Sports in Portage.
"The price point has fallen so much on them, they're affordable to the everyday person now," said John Rosselott, the store's manager.
At their location on Portage Road they sell everything from stocking stuffers to full sized drones.
With each sale, employees educate shoppers on the rules of the sky.
First, be careful where you fly it.
When on private property, make sure you have permission.
Also stay five miles away from airports and military bases.
"Nothing over 400 feet, you always have to have it in view, even if there's a camera on it," Rosselott said.
Starting Monday Dec. 21, the Federal Aviation Administration wants all drones weighing over 8 oz. to be registered online.
"It's $5 to register. It's going to ask you to put a registration number on the inside of your drone as well," Rosselott said.
Current drone owners have two months to register with the government.
New drones need to be registered before taking flight.
This is so the government can keep tabs on drone owners that violate air space.
A new report shows that in the past two years, there have more than 300 close encounters between drones and airplanes.
The FAA says drone registration will be free for the first two weeks.
As drones become more popular, expect to see more laws flying in with them.
Michigan lawmakers have already banned drones in the use of hunting.
They're currently considering proposals that would make it illegal to fly drones near the Mackinaw Bridge, prisons, the state capitol building, and police investigations.
"I think it's just the allure of it, you can get a new vantage point. It's just a new hobby out there that people are enjoying," Rosselott said.
Most smaller drones are under 8 oz., so you won't need to register them.
But if you need to register your drone, visit this link: http://www.faa.gov/uas/registration/
For more information on Hobby Sports, here's their website: http://hobby-sports.com/