If you enjoy setting your drone to flight for fun, it's likely you'll soon have to register your robotic aircraft with the federal government.
Government regulators still don’t know how the registration will be set up, according to The Washington Post. Their concerns are that the 1 million or so drones in operation are threats to the safety of manned aircraft or can be used by criminals.
The Consumer Electronics Association says that 700,000 recreational drones will be bought this year, up 63 percent from 2014.
The Federal Aviation Administration doesn't have the authority to license recreational drones but has rules that drone owners aren't supposed to fly them above 400 feet -- when even simple models can exceed a 1,000-foot altitude. They also aren't supposed to fly within five miles of an airport without permission.
The Post has reported that airliners have had numerous near-misses with drones, which often are too small to show up on radar screens and have no transponders to report their location as manned airplanes do.
Drones have invaded the security airspace around the White House and have been used to smuggle contraband into prison yards. Some have been shot at by angry homeowners. Indeed, drones have raised concerns about the invasion of personal privacy. In 2013, Charlottesville became the first city in the country to ban flying drones within city limits for this reason.
In the Richmond area, drones are used to take aerial photos and detect leaks from natural gas pipelines. There’s a website that can connect recreational users.