WASHINGTON -- These quirky robotic flying machines may be the gift of the season.
Manufacturers say they've sold 200,000 new unmanned aerial vehicles. While hobbyists are thrilled, the FAA is worried about a burgeoning fleet of personal drones flying into increasingly crowded skies.
So, the FAA and the drone industry have launched a safety campaign making sure novice remote-control pilots take precautions.
The video includes guidelines such as: "Do fly your unmanned aircraft below 400 feet" and "Don't fly your aircraft beyond your line of sight."
In addition, drone operators are warned not to fly their aircraft near crowds or within five miles of an airport without notifying air traffic controllers.
While there are no reports of collisions with planes, there have been some close calls. The FAA receives 25 reports each month from pilots encountering nearby drones.
"These aircraft are small, and they have very high performance characteristics, and so it's very difficult for another pilot to see so they need to not be in airspace around major airports," said Michael Huerta, the FAA's administrator.
But, there's no way regulators can keep track of the estimated half million robotic aircraft flying across America. So no new drone should be given as a gift without a note about personal responsibility, according to former FAA official Scott Brenner.
"It's like giving your 12-year-old the keys to your car and saying go drive on the beltway, you'll be fine, I hope everybody else is okay too," said Brenner.
The FAA is getting ready to propose regulations governing the use of drones for commercial purposes. A handful of Hollywood filmmakers are already flying drones with the FAA's permission.