What you should know before you buy a drone - KCTV5

What you should know before you buy a drone

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Everyone is finding a use for drones. (KCTV5) Everyone is finding a use for drones. (KCTV5)

Everyone is finding a use for drones.

With Black Friday now just eight days away, a lot of people are putting together their holiday wish lists. One of the hottest gift ideas of the season is expected to "fly" off the shelves, literally. But before you buy, you should know that the federal government has some homework for you.

Drones range from $30 to $1,300.

"They're not really that hard to learn how to fly. I got one for my dad for Father's Day ... one of the small little mini drones, and he absolutely loves it and has a lot of fun with it," said Taylor Druvenga with Nebraska Furniture Mart.

But depending on the size of the drone you buy, it could be subject to rules and regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration.

"Most people don't think to ask about the rules, they just want to buy it," Druvenga said.

If the drone you buy weighs more than half a pound, and many do, you must register it with the FAA. Most drones have the weight printed on the outside of the box.

"These things can fly 2 or 3 miles. They can go 5,000 feet, and they have a flight time of 40 to 50 minutes. So those are the ones the FAA gets concerned about and is making us register," said Scott Jackman with KC Drone Company.  

Jackman says toy or not, anything that has the capability to fly in the same airspace as airplanes or helicopters is going to get the attention of the FAA.

Jeff Roberts, a freelance KCTV5 News photojournalist, says registering your drone with the FAA is easy to do and cheap, costing just $5. He uses his drones primarily for photography.

Just last week, he used a drone to capture an image of the Bond Bridge. It's since been shared more than 100,000 times on social media.

If you get a drone for Christmas, the FAA wants you to remember three basic rules.

First, you cannot fly them over groups of people.

The second rule is line of sight. You always have to keep the drone in an area where you can see it, so you can't let it go behind trees and you can't let it go behind a house.

And the third rule is you cannot go above 400 feet. There are other rules such as not flying your drone within 5 miles of an airport.

For a complete list of the rules and regulations, the FAA wants all drone pilots to log on to http://knowbeforeyoufly.org/.

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