Buying a drone for the holidays? Here are some things you should know

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Along with video game systems and iPads, one of the top tech toys this season: drones.

Parents, if your kid is asking for one, there are some things you need to think about — including a big rule that could change after you’ve bought one.

Up to half a million drones could be landing under Christmas trees this holiday season.

“We are seeing an increase in sales,” says co-owner of HobbyXtreme Bryan Roberts. “We are expecting a good holiday season.”

But parents need to know what the kids are getting into. These outdoor models aren’t an out-of-the-box, onto-the-driveway kind of toy.

“This would be a hobby you would want to take away from your location to a park or wherever its not populated with a lot of people.”

Here are the rules parents need to understand:

  • No flying within 5 miles of airports,
  • No flying higher than 400 feet and
  • Pilots must keep the drone within their line of site

Just this past weekend, a task force submitted a proposal to the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Transportation that would require fliers to register as drone operators with the government. It’s not been approved yet, but it could happen the week of Christmas — right around the time your child is set to unwrap one.

Roberts says even with the proposed regulations there’s never been a better time to get a drone. Prices are at their lowest ever.

“You can go form $49 on up past $1,000.”

Also, with GPS, ‘follow me’ software and ‘return home’ features, drones are getting easier to fly.

“The new quads have stabilization that make it much easier for the beginner flyer,” Roberts says. “They’ve become more durable over time.”

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