Did you get a drone as a present? What you should know before you fly

Violators could face fines

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Drones were one of the more popular high-tech gifts this Christmas, but the fun comes with responsibility. There are a lot of rules you need to follow if you own a drone, and it all depends on where you fly it, and what you’re flying it for.

If the drone weighs more than .55 pounds, you have to list it in the FAA’s drone registry before you fly it. Some other regulations you should know about: you cannot fly your drone beyond the line of sight. The drone must be flown five miles away from airports, or else you need to notify them you’ll be flying it nearby.

Northampton Airport flight instructor Vinny Melling told 22News that drones can be a safety concern for pilots. “Birds can be a real issue for an airplane, so you can imagine a mechanical object like a drone that could weigh up to 55 pounds; it could be catastrophic for a pilot.”

If you are flying a drone for commercial purposes, you need to be 16 or older, and have a Remote Pilot Airman Certificate. You can only fly it during the day, only fly it less than 400 feet above the ground, and at a speed of less than 100 miles per hour. You also cannot fly it over people.

Click here for more information from the FAA about drone regulations.

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