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Drones are hot gifts but do you know the rules?

Posted at 10:45 AM, Nov 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-22 18:48:57-05

Drones continue to be a hot item for Black Friday with many merchants, including hardware stores, selling the high-tech devices.  With prices dropping, consumers have a wide selection of drones to choose from including many that have video streaming capabilities and automatic pilot.

However, many people still do not realize that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued new regulations concerning drones in August 2016.

The FAA rules require drones weighing more than .55lbs and less than 55lbs to be registered.  Failure to properly register a drone could lead to civil penalties up to $27,500.  Criminal penalties could include fines up to $250,000 and up to three years in jail.

FAA requirements also prohibit flying drones higher than 400 feet, near airports or any manned aircraft, flying around people or stadiums, and operators are not supposed to fly a drone beyond line of sight.

Only FAA licensed drone pilots can fly a drone commercially, hobbyists are prohibited by law from using their drone to sell video.

The FAA has provided a quick check list of drones to see if yours needs to be registered.

http://federaldroneregistration.com/requireddronestoberegistered

Another good source about drones and model aviation is the Academy of Model Aeronautics:

http://www.modelaircraft.org

There are so many questions about the drone issue that Niagara County Community College has started a new drone training program.  The 18-week course, which starts again in January, provides students with a drone, flight simulator software and training so an individual can take the FAA test for drone pilots.  The cost is $1499.

More information about the course can be found through the school's website:

http://www.niagaracc.suny.edu/pr/2015/NCCC-Workforce-Development-is-Offering-Course-in-Small-Unmanned-Aerial-Systems-Training.php

7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly headed out today to learn more about this hot Black Friday item.