FAA drone registration gets off to rocky start

Posted at 6:33 PM, Dec 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-22 09:46:51-05

SAN DIEGO -- If you bought a drone for the holidays, expect that big red bow to come with some big red tape. The FAA's requirement for all drone owners to register their aircraft got off to a rocky start Monday. 

Ian McKinlay's Z-M-R racing drone is built to be nimble.

"It's just a lot more fast paced, low to the ground," he said.

But sometimes, drones can be a little too nimble.

"If it flies away from us, which is known to happen every once in a while and maybe it lands in someone's backyard or goes through somebody's window, or goes through somebody's car, we should have our personal information in it anyway," McKinlay said. 

And that's what's behind the FAA’s new requirement for owners to register their drones. Hundreds of thousands will be gifted this Christmas, as commercial pilots are reporting more sightings near airports. That's illegal. The new registration requirements have created some frustration. 

"Everyone out here this morning, when I was talking to them, were having trouble," McKinlay said. 

Many of the newer drones come with GPS inside, so they can't fly too close to an airport, but other ones, like McKninlay's racing drone, don't have that. 

"If I know that my name is on it, I'm not going to fly over a crowd where I shouldn't be."

Not registering a drone can lead to a fine of more than $27,000. In criminal instances, a maximum of up to three years in jail. 

To register your drone, visit FAA drone registration.