How Not to Be 'Naughty' With Your Drone This Christmas

PHOTO: A Phantom drone buzzes above Gaviota State Beach at sunset in Santa Barbara, Calif., on Nov. 26.Getty Images
A Phantom drone buzzes above Gaviota State Beach at sunset in Santa Barbara, Calif., on Nov. 26.

Just in time for Christmas, we learned today that the Federal Aviation Administration apparently has its own "naughty-or-nice" list.

The FAA, which regulates civil drone use, released a holiday-themed video advising unmanned aircraft operators to stay off the agency’s “naughty list” by flying drones lighter than “the world’s largest bunny rabbit.”

(Traditionally reserved for Easter, bunnies deserve a little love at Christmas, too!)

The video, complete with animated ornaments and gift boxes, really hits its stride around 0:57.

“Don’t fly anything that weighs more than 55 pounds,” a narrator says. “What weighs 55 pounds? Ralph, the world’s largest bunny rabbit.”

Here’s a snapshot of Ralph, who used to be the world’s largest bunny until he was reportedly dethroned by a continental giant rabbit named Darius in April 2014.

Another helpful hint, courtesy of the #KnowB4UFly campaign: Don’t fly your drone higher than 400 feet, which happens to be 55 feet lower than the Great Pyramids of Giza. The FAA’s video helpfully includes a visual.

But lurking behind the animated wonders of the world -- both ancient and animal -- is a serious warning: Drones, which are widely available for as little as $20, are easy to operate, but can pose serious risks if not flown properly, experts say. Among the video’s other tips:

  • Don’t fly near airports, stadiums, or other people.

  • Don’t fly your drone beyond your line of sight.

  • Examine your drone before you fly it.

  • Don’t fly for payment unless you’ve been authorized by the FAA.

  • Don’t be careless or reckless -- or you could face a fine for endangering others.