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Technology

Drone for Christmas? Register, obey the rules, agencies say

The fastest way to become a pilot is to fly a drone, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, which this week put the finishing touches on new legislation for unmanned aircraft – even the ones some might consider toys.

Now the Illinois Department of Transportation is asking recreational and commercial operators to become familiar with a few common-sense rules.

“While drones can be a lot of fun and make a great gift, they also come with a responsibility,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said in a news release today. “Safety always should be the top priority."

A flight ceiling of 400 feet should be observed, and line of sight with the drone. Flying within 5 miles of an airport is prohibited without first contacting the airport. Flying over large groups, including sporting events and during emergency situations, is not recommended.

Do not fly under the influence.

Gov. Bruce Rauner this year created a task force to assess state rules for operating unmanned drones in Illinois, and the deadline for recommendations is July 1.

The FAA mandates registration for drones purchased on or after Monday. The fee is $5, but can be refunded if done before Jan. 20.

The agency is forecasting sales of up to 1 million drones this holiday season, making it one of the most popular gifts this year.

Go to KnowBeforeYouFly.Org for more information on the guidelines, and http://shawurl.com/2b3e for registration details.

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