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Drone registration deadline is near

Drone owners, take note: The Federal Aviation Administration says Friday marks a key drone registration deadline.

Friday, Feb. 19 is the day the FAA says federal law requires owners of drones weighing between 0.55 lbs and 55 lbs that are flown outdoors to register them. Registration costs $5 and is valid for three years.

One caveat: Those who bought their drones after Dec. 21, 2015 have a deadline that simply requires they register before they operate outdoors.

The FAA says more than 342,000 people have registered their drones. That's more drones registered than the number of registered manned aircraft.

What happens if you don't register your drone? If you are caught, the FAA says you could face a civil penalty of up to $27,500, a criminal fine of up to $250,000 and imprisonment for up to three years.

“Besides being required by law, registration provides an excellent opportunity to educate yourself if you are new to aviation, and it will help you become part of the safety culture that has been the hallmark of traditional aviation for more than a century,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in a written statement.

Meanwhile, the FAA has faced challenges to its drone registration requirement.


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About the Author

Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.