Court Quashes Drone Registration

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A Washington court has quashed the FAA’s drone registration program. The court ruled Friday that the registration rule violates the FAA Modernization and Reform Act, passed by Congress in 2012, that specifically bars the FAA from creating “any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft.” Since December of 2015, the FAA has required drone owners to register drones weighing between .55 pounds and 55 pounds by filling out an online form and paying $5. 

The FAA is considering its next move. It could appeal the ruling but that could be a lengthy and expensive process since it was a panel of three judges that quashed the rule. A more direct route would be to have Congress include a registration requirement in the FAA reauthorization bill that must be passed by September. The registration program was enacted to provide some measure of control and legal leverage over an explosion of consumer drones on the market. So far 820,000 drones have been registered. The ruling came from a challenge by model aircraft buff and insurance lawyer John A. Taylor. The judges agreed that the program “directly violates [a] clear statutory prohibition."

Comments (5)

Wow! Even the FAA God has to answer to lawyers and judges! My question has always been - why pass any laws that cannot be enforced? Registrations only help to keep honest people that way.

Posted by: Don Lineback | May 22, 2017 6:26 AM    Report this comment

I agree with Don's comment - I always asked who was going to enforce this rule. Did they expect the local police departments to stop kids/adults and verify registration numbers? Also, what would prevent someone from just writing a long number on their drone to make it look like it is registered? Even if Congress passes a law to re-instate registration - how will it be enforced?

The whole registration program was a joke and i huge government overreach - which is why none of my son's toy radio controlled airplanes were ever registered.

Posted by: Dave B | May 22, 2017 7:54 AM    Report this comment

I agree with Don's comment - I always asked who was going to enforce this rule. Did they expect the local police departments to stop kids/adults and verify registration numbers? Also, what would prevent someone from just writing a long number on their drone to make it look like it is registered? Even if Congress passes a law to re-instate registration - how will it be enforced?

The whole registration program was a joke and i huge government overreach - which is why none of my son's toy radio controlled airplanes were ever registered.

Posted by: Dave B | May 22, 2017 7:55 AM    Report this comment

That was an easy 4 million they made. i wonder when some attorney will cause them to give it all back!

Posted by: Don Lineback | May 22, 2017 1:38 PM    Report this comment

Great news! Currently it takes FAA Registry 4 weeks to process an aircraft sale/registration request. If they have processed 830,000 drones over the last 18 month period of time, since the law was enacted, and now are no longer having to do so that should save them 43,000 registrations per month from their work load. Anyone want to bet that the processing time nor staffing levels will decline?

Posted by: Unknown | May 22, 2017 2:55 PM    Report this comment

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