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New Drone for Christmas? Know the Rules Before You Fly

Jessie Decker with the Illinois Department of Transportation says the first thing you need to do is register your drone at FAA.gov.

December 28, 2018 - 10:16 am
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KMOX/AP) - The Illinois Department of Transportation wants people who found brand new drones under the tree on Christmas morning that their new toys come with state and federal regulations that have to be followed.

The transportation department started reaching out the day after Christmas to potential pilots through its social media channels to get the word out about some of the things they can and can't do, starting with how close they can fly to airports.

Jessie Decker with the Illinois Department of Transportation says the first thing you need to do is register your drone at FAA.gov, even if it's just for recreational use. 

Decker says there are safety tips you should also follow, such as keeping the drone in sight, not flying it over people or cars, or in bad weather. You can't fly the drone within five miles of an airport without notifying air traffic control, and the drone must be under 55-pounds to be considered recreational.

New drone owners are urged to visit the transportation department's website: www.idot.illinois.gov. There's information in the site's transportation safety section as well as links to additional resources. And the department suggests learning about safety guidelines put by the Academy of Model Aeronautics and other organizations.