Things to know if giving a drone for Christmas - WPSD Local 6: Your news, weather, and sports authority

Things to know if giving a drone for Christmas

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Some 1 ­million drones are expected to be sold during the holidays, and the Federal Aviation Administration is trying to prepare for a more crowded sky.

If you are one of the million, there are certain things you should know. Drones do not necessarily have to be registered with the FAA before takeoff. The rules for hobbyists are different depending on the size of the aircraft. Drones under 55 pounds do not need to be registered, but those hobbyists are required to follow some rules.

Keep the quadcopter within eyesight and under 400 feet in the air, do not fly in restricted airspace or in areas that are heavily populated and do not operate a drone while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Popular drones are those made by DJI and Parrot. Prices for those drones start at around $200. Those drones either come equipped with a camera or can carry a GoPro or one of similar size.

To get smooth video even in windy conditions, a quad­copter should be equipped with a gimbal, which keeps the camera steady.

Follow the directions that come with a drone. Many have built­in GPS navigation and will return to the spot it took off if the operator sets up the drone correctly. An FAA Task Force has submitted recommendations for unmanned aircraft systems to be registered but agrees it should be enforced only for unmanned aircraft weighing 55 pounds or less.

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