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Drones Among Hottest Holiday Gift Item, FAA Urges Caution

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After Thanksgiving comes another annual observance - the holiday shopping frenzy.  And among the top items on wish lists this year are unmanned aerial systems, or drones.

Forbes says the commercial drone market will generate more than a billion dollars in the U.S. this year, while the FAA predicts a million Americans will find the remotely operated machines under their Christmas tree next month, fueling fears that inexperienced or careless hobbyists will fly them into active airspace, and into possible collisions with jets and helicopters.

Jerry Ivancic owns Strongsville Hobby.  His shop stocks 50 different drones, costing from 20 to 15-hundred dollars.  He says they educate customers before they leave with a drone.

“Using common sense. And staying in safe areas. Staying away from highways.  Flying within certain distances of schools, and hospitals and prisons. Because you do not want these to interfere with anybody’s well-being or health. Not harming or disrupting anything, is exactly what we stress when we’re talking to our customers.”

Ivancic says drone operators need a permit if using them for business purposes, while hobbyists need to be aware of laws and restrictions outlined by the FAA and local municipalities.