- The Washington Times - Friday, January 22, 2016

In one month’s time, close to 300,000 drone owners have registered their unmanned aircraft with a federal database meant to keep tabs on the devices, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Current drone owners who intend to use the devices for recreation or as a hobby are required to register them with the federal database by Feb. 19 before taking them for a first flight. The registration database launched on Dec. 21, ahead of the holiday season when drones were expected to be a popular gift.

The latest data on registrations was released Friday by the FAA. In the last update the agency provided on Jan. 6, 181,000 drones had been registered.

“The registration numbers we’re seeing so far are very encouraging,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “We’re working hard to build on this early momentum and ensure everyone understands the registration requirement.”

All owners of unmanned aircraft weighing more than 250 grams are required to pay a $5 registration fee — though all of those who registered before Jan. 20 will be refunded.

The registration ensures a owners will be given a number unique to their device that must be displayed on the drone. The registration number will ensure that authorities can track down the owner if the drone gets lost or gets into trouble and users are required to have registration papers on them when flying the devices.

The registration can be complete online and is good for three years.

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