Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Appeals court strikes down FAA drone registration rule

Appeals court strikes down FAA drone registration rule

Law360, Washington (May 19, 2017, 3:38 PM EDT) - The D.C. Circuit on Friday vacated the Federal Aviation Administration's drone registration rule to the extent it applies to model aircraft, finding the agency does not have the authority to regulate such aircraft under a 2012 law.

AUVSI is disappointed with the decision today by the U.S. Court of Appeals to reject the FAA's rule for registering recreational unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

If you have a model airplane or toy drones, you will not need to inform the federal government of your actions, says an appeals court. Failure to do so could result in fines of up to $27,500, as well as potential criminal penalties of up to three years in prison, and additional fines of up to $250,000.

He argued that the FAA did not have jurisdiction over the flights of model aircraft - a line the three judges of appeals court accepted, ordering the rule to be overturned.

"As of today, no American has been seriously injured by hobby drones", John Taylor said in an interview with MarketWatch.

The FAA put out a statement that said it's reviewing the U.S. Court of Appeals decision.

'We are in the process of considering our options and response to the decision, ' it said. More than 300,000 drones were registered within the first month. "The regulation was unlawful, and I suspect they've known that all along".

Marc Scribner, a transportation policy expert at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who has previously spoken against the rule, congratulated Taylor.

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

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a drone and robotics advocacy non-profit, disagreed with the Friday ruling, and said that it a federal registration system "is important to promote accountability and responsibility by users of the national airspace".

Lawyers for the FAA argued that the registration rule is not a new requirement, but merely a "decision to cease its exercise of enforcement discretion", which falls within its mission to improve aviation safety.

"Taylor does not think that the FAA had the statutory authority to issue the registration rule and require him to register", he wrote.

He noted that other regulations are still being contested. In the eyes of the court, it seems these are really just model aircraft. He said he has another petition in the works that focuses on a big question surrounding drones: Who has the right to the airspace in our own backyards?

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