AUSTIN (KXAN) — The FAA predicts that hundreds of thousands of people asked Santa for new drones this year. Days before folks could see if their wish came true, on December 21st, the federal government changed it’s new rule for drone pilots.
If you bought a drone before December 21st, you have until February 19th,2016, to register as a pilot. If you purchased a drone after the 21st, you cannot fly it without registering first.
This rule only applies to hobbyists who fly drones for leisure. For commercial users also known as ‘for profit users’, nothing has changed. Commercial users have to have a 3-3-3 exemption where an aircraft is certificated and registered, a licensed pilot is registered, and operation is approved.
Also, all current rules apply in Austin pertaining to drone flying:
- You cannot fly drones at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA)
- No flying drones during fires for it can impede on aerial firefighting
- No flights allowed over Capitol grounds
- During a UT games or stadium events, FAA restricts flight within 3 nautical miles of the stadium
- Always maintain a line of sight with your aircraft
- Stay under 400 feet
- Don’t fly over crowds
- Don’t fly within 5 nautical miles of large airports
On Saturday, the Austin Drone Pilots gathered at Zilker park to share the new federal law with owners. They will also host another informational session Sunday, December 27th in Round Rock at Old Settlers Park, at 2 p.m..