The FAA cannot regulate model aircraft
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down the FAA rule that toy drones be registered with the federal government.
A D.C.-based appeals court struck down a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rule on Friday requiring recreational drone users to register their model aircraft with the federal government, in a major win for drone hobbyists.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit sided with plaintiff John A. Taylor, a recreational drone pilot, who argued that the FAA doesn’t have the power to make him register his toy drones because Congress already said the FAA can’t regulate model aircraft.
“The FAA’s 2015 registration rule, which applies to model aircraft, directly violates that clear statutory prohibition,” the opinion said. “We therefore grant Taylor’s petition and vacate the registration rule to the extent it applies to model aircraft.”
. . . . The rule — which had not been formally finalized — requires model aircraft owners to provide their name, email address and physical address; pay a $5 registration fee; and display a unique drone ID number at all times. Those who fail to comply could face civil and criminal penalties.
While Congress directed the FAA to safely integrate drones into the national airspace in a 2012 aviation law, they also included a special exemption for model aircraft.
The appeals court cited the 2012 law in its ruling, saying that recreational drones count as model aircraft and arguing that that the FAA registration requirement constitutes a rule or regulation.
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