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FAA Prepares for Christmas Surge in Drone Registration

FILE - The DJI Phantom 3, a consumer drone, takes flight after it was unveiled at a launch event in Manhattan, New York, April 8, 2015.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has temporarily suspended its online drone registration to complete maintenance ahead of what is expected to be a busy Christmas Day with people registering unmanned aircraft systems received as gifts.

The FAA said Wednesday that more than 45,000 drone registrations had been completed by Tuesday, and some of those customers reported problems with the site. The FAA says it is working to resolve and address those issues ahead of increased Christmas demand.

It is estimated that as many as 400,000 drones could be sold during this year's holiday season. The FAA requires all aircraft weighing between 250 grams and 25 kilograms be registered. It says the registration will help make users aware of the rules about flying safely and enable the FAA to track drones in the event of an incident.

Owners who have been operating unmanned aircraft before December 21 of this year have until February 19, 2016 to register. Owners who have purchased devices since December 21 must register before their first flight.

Registration will cost $5 for all private and commercial unmanned aircraft. One registration number, available for purchase online, will cover multiple drones owned by the same person or entity and will be valid for three years.

The age limit for registration is 13 years. Younger owners will have to register their craft through their parents.