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Appeals court strikes down FAA drone registr... 12:43 pm Fri

20 May 2017, 08:53 | Taylor George

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The FAA decided in 2015 to require hobbyists to register their drones, or model aircraft.

"We are carefully reviewing the US Court of Appeals decision as it relates to drone registrations", the FAA said in a prepared statement.

"The FAA put registration and operational regulations in place to ensure that drones are operated in a way that is safe and does not pose security and privacy threats", the agency said. 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.

Eventually, the FAA built a website for people to register their drones and created educational campaigns about flight safety.

"I'm not sure yet what the FAA's plan is for the $3 million to $4 million they've unlawfully collected from folks", he said.

Perhaps surprisingly, the drone industry isn't thrilled with the court's order to end registration. We are in the process of considering our options and response to the decision, " the agency said in a statement.

The FAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Drone enthusiasts have registered more 550,000 unmanned aircraft with the FAA. "The regulation was unlawful, and I suspect they've known that all along". "Kudos to John Taylor for fighting for the rights of drone hobbyists and holding FAA accountable for its lawless behavior", he said in a blog post.

Today's ruling does not mean, however, that drone operators have been given free rein to fly irresponsibly or dangerously-Rupprecht pointed out that the FAA Modernization and Reform Act also includes a section stating that the FAA can still "pursue enforcement action against persons operating model aircraft who endanger the safety of the national airspace system".

China-based DJI, now the world's biggest drone manufacturer, applauded the FAA's work to create the drone registration system. And congress could pass a new law authorizing the program. The measure expressly barred the FAA from issuing rules governing model aircraft use, according to the court ruling.

Despite its Big Brother-ish nature, the rule was ostensibly enacted to improve safety as more and more drones take to the air.

But drone owner John Taylor launched a legal challenge, arguing that the new demands infringed on his right to fly his drone at his home in the USA capital.

"The FAA contends it's illegal for me to fly model aircraft within 30 miles of Washington National Airport", Taylor complained.

Taylor's not stopping with today's court ruling. An appeals court has struck down a Federal Aviation Administration rule that required owners to register drones used for recreation.



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