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Sign up your drone, or else: FAA issues rules

Image: Parrot Bebop drone
The Parrot Bebop drone, weighing in at 14.6 ounces, would have to be registered under the FAA’s newly issued rules. (Credit: Parrot)

The Federal Aviation Administration has laid out the rules for registering recreational drones, starting Dec. 21, plus the penalties for those who don’t.

It’s not likely that drone police will be watching the skies, but if your unregistered drone gets into trouble, you could get into trouble as well: You’ll be required to have a registration certificate when you fly your drone outdoors, and the drone will have to be marked with a registration number.

Failure to do so could leave you open to civil penalties of up to $27,500, or criminal penalties including fines of up to $250,000 and three years in prison.

“Make no mistake: Unmanned aircraft enthusiasts are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a news release. “Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely. I’m excited to welcome these new aviators into the culture of safety and responsibility that defines American innovation.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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