Did you ask Santa to bring you a drone for Christmas? Or perhaps you got up early on Black Friday to get a great deal on that shiny new camera-equipped model you’ve been yearning for. You can’t wait to get into the sky and let loose your inner high-flying aerial photographer, right?

Did you know you’re also going to become a pilot?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is reminding drone owners that when you fly your unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) anywhere in the nation’s airspace, you automatically become part of the U.S. aviation system. Under the law, your drone is an aircraft. So while the rules for drones may be different, you have the responsibility to operate safely, just as a Cessna or 747 pilot does. 

The FAA has developed information that can help you quickly get up to speed on your responsibilities.

Click here for a safety checklist (PDF) that you, as a pilot, should use whenever you send a drone aloft.