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Get a drone for Christmas? Here’s an overview of the rules for flying it

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Experts are predicting 400,000  drones will be solid this holiday season and 700,000  for the year.

With new federal and local drone rules in place, some newcomers are worried about what they have to do to avoid fines or arrest because federal and local governments are stepping in with new rules to keep people safe.

Before your first flight, you have to head online and register your drone with the FAA. The person registering the drone has to be more than 13-years-old and pay a $5 fee that will be reimbursed if you register by January 20th.  Your registration is then valid for three years.

You have to keep it under 400 feet and within your eyesight and you can’t fly it within five miles of an airport or over heavily traveled roadways and government facilities.

If you plan to fly your drone in Chicago, there are more rules thanks to a new drone ordinance passed last month.

You can’t operate a drone from dusk to dawn, over property you don’t own without the owner’s consent nor directly over  a person without their consent.

You also can’t fly over a school, school yard, hospital, place of worship or police station without consent.

And no first person view flights, which are flights with goggles.

According the the Chicago Park District, you can fly a recreational drone, one not intended for commercial or industrial use, in its park without a permit. Drone users are required to respect park's security guidelines and discontinue use if it is perceived to be a safety risk by park staff or security. CPD is in the process of drafting a specific policy on drone use in its parks.

If you break the rules, you could face fines up to $5,000 dollars or jail time.

The city says it isn’t out to get hobbyists, it just wants to keep people safe.

As for flying in the suburbs, there are some towns like Schaumburg that also have specific drone rules, so make sure you check those rules before you fly.

And if you plan to fly for commercial purposes, there are additional rules you have to follow.

The FAA is working on an app called “b4ufly” that will eventually show you exactly where you can and cannot fly so there are no questions.  There is no release date yet.

 

Helpful Links:

How to register a drone:   https://registermyuas.faa.gov/

What drones need to be registered: http://www.faa.gov/uas/registration/faqs/media/UAS_Weights_Registration.pdf

FAA drone flight regulations for recreational users: http://knowbeforeyoufly.org/for-recreational-users/

FAA drone flight regulations for commercial users: http://knowbeforeyoufly.org/for-business-users/

City of Chicago drone regulations: http://ward32.org/news/proposed-ordinance-regulating-small-unmanned-aircraftdrones-within-the-city-of-chicago/

Legal Questions About Drones: http://antonelli-law.com/Drone_UAS_Practice_Group.php