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FAA: 45,000 drones registered in first two days but site suffers outage

Own a drone? If you didn’t already know, you’ll need to register it by February 19, 2016.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) launched the online process on Monday, and in less than two days 45,000 people have taken the time to register their unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

However, the FAA said this week that “strong initial demand” from those wishing to register their drones had caused the site to crash for a “small number” of users.

As a result, the agency has taken the site offline until Thursday morning to fix the problems and ready it for the registration rush expected on Christmas Day and the days immediately following.

The FAA will certainly want the service to be working smoothly come Friday, as it believes some 400,000 drones have been sold in recent weeks. Earlier estimates put the figure even higher, at around a million.

With new owners required to register before taking their UAV out for the first time, there’ll be some serious pressure on the FAA’s online service at the end of this week. However, owners who operated their UAV prior to December 21 needn’t rush as they have until February 19 to get their details on the database.

Registration is required for all aircraft weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms), including payloads such as on-board cameras.

Related: Watch Japanese cops use a net-equipped drone to catch a ‘rogue’ quadcopter

The FAA said the new registry should serve “to foster a greater awareness on the part of users to learn the rules about flying safely” in U.S. airspace, and will also enable the authorities to quickly trace ownership of a remotely controlled flying machine in the event of an incident.

It only costs $5 to register, though if you do it before midnight on January 20 it won’t cost a dime.

If you’re a new owner looking for some helpful pointers on how to safely enjoy your recently acquired flying toy, then take a moment to check out this helpful Know Before You Fly guide.