The federal government will announce a new plan requiring anyone buying a drone to register the device with the U.S. Department of Transportation, NBC news has learned.
The government has been concerned about the rise in close calls between unmanned drones and aircraft flying into and out of some of the nation’s biggest airports. The plan is expected to be announced within days.
In July, there was a dangerously close encounter between a drone and a passenger jet with 159 people aboard setting up to land at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The unmanned aerial vehicle was just 100 feet away from the passenger jet at an altitude of 1,700 feet; normal safe separation distance is between aircraft is at least 1,000 feet.
Private drones were also blamed with hampering aerial firefighting efforts over a California blaze in June.
Firefighting aircraft trying to attack the fast-moving blaze in the Cajon pass had to leave the area for around 20 minutes over safety concerns, officials said. The fire swept over a busy freeway and torched 20 vehicles.
Under the plan, the government would work with the drone industry to set up a structure for registering the drones, and the regulations could be in place by Christmas. Drones are expected to be a very popular gift this holiday season.