Appeals court strikes down FAA drone registration rule

20 May, 2017, 08:54 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Andrew Miller of Hopkinton flies his drone at Hopkinton State Park on Saturday

"We are carefully reviewing the U.S. Court of Appeals decision as it relates to drone registrations", the FAA said in a statement, Market Watch reported.

The decision doesn't change the rules around flying drones for commercial reasons which were implemented last August and still require mandatory registration. The agency estimates that 2.3 million drones will be sold this year for recreational use, plus 2.5 million for commercial operations.

He asked the court to also strike down airspace rules regulating where drones could fly, particularly within the no-fly zone around Washington, D.C.

The Federal Aviation Administration had adopted the rule in 2015, no small, unmanned drones could take to the sky before their owners paid a $5 registration fee with disclosure of their names and any mailing and email addresses.

The FAA said the rule was part of its mission to improve aviation safety.

Kavanaugh turned aside the FAA's assertion that it was authorized by existing rules to register drones, essentially finding no distinction between a drone and Boeing 737 aircraft.

"Taylor is right", Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote in the court's decision, noting that the Registration Rule, issued in 2015, violates 2012's FAA Modernization and Reform Act, which states that the regulator "may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft".

The FAA also declined to say whether it plans to return the $5 that almost 700,000 people have paid to the administration to register their drones-that's roughly $3.5 million.

"Congress is of course always free to repeal or amend its 2012 prohibition on FAA rules regarding model aircraft", the judges said. It required owners to mark aircraft with an identification number and imposed civil and criminal penalties on those who did not comply. "Perhaps not. In any event, we must follow the statute as written".

Taylor represented himself in the fight against the FAA, and did not respond to a request for comment beyond a press release announcing the decision.

Not all in the drone community see the ruling as a victory, however.

They also said that exempting some drones from the registration log would "create a gaping hole in FAA's enforcement authority and threaten the safety of the national airspace system".

DJI is the world's largest drone manufacturer. "I expect the legal issue that impedes this program will be addressed by cooperative work between the industry and policy makers".

"The FAA contends it's illegal for me to fly model aircraft within 30 miles of Washington National Airport", Taylor complained. "We are in the process of considering our options and response to the decision".

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