Appeals court strikes down FAA drone registration ruleMay 19, 2017 8:55pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — An appeals court on Friday struck down a Federal Aviation Administration rule that required owners of drones used for recreation to register their craft.

The ruling was a victory for hobbyists and a setback for the FAA, which cited safety concerns as it tried to tighten regulation of the fast-growing army of drone operators.

Some pilots of commercial airliners have reported close calls with drones flying near airports.

About 760,000 hobbyists have registered more than 1.6 million drones since 2015, and sales have skyrocketed. The FAA estimates that hobbyists will buy 2.3 million drones this year and 13 million by the end of 2020. Commercial operators from photographers to oil pipeline and cellphone tower owners were forecast to buy another 10 million through 2020.

The FAA decided in 2015 to require hobbyists to register their drones, or model aircraft. Violators could be sentenced to prison.

The registration requirement was challenged by John A. Taylor, a drone hobbyist in the Washington, D.C., area.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed with Taylor, saying that a law passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in 2012 barred the FAA from imposing new regulations on model aircraft.

The three-judge panel said that safety was obviously important and making hobbyists register "may well help further that goal to some degree," but it was up to Congress to repeal the ban on FAA rules for model aircraft.

A spokesman for the FAA said the agency was reviewing the decision.

The ruling demonstrated the schism in the drone world. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, whose members include big commercial drone operators and manufacturers, expressed disappointment with the court's ruling. The group's president, Brian Wynne, said registration "helps create a culture of safety that deters careless and reckless behavior." He vowed to seek a legislative fix in Congress.

A lawyer for China's DJI, the world's biggest drone maker, said registration was reasonable and fostered "accountability and education to drone pilots." Brendan Schulman said he expected more discussion between industry and governments over the program.

Some model aircraft enthusiasts had complained that the registration requirement was too burdensome.

"On balance this is probably a good thing," said Vic Moss, a commercial photographer and drone operator in Colorado. "The FAA definitely overstepped their boundaries with the registration, and the fact that they called it an emergency action didn't help them look good."

Moss was worried, however, that the issue was so contentious that the FAA might successfully lobby Congress for clear authority to regulate hobbyists.

Registration cost $5 and had to be renewed every three years. It required owners to mark aircraft with an identification number and imposed civil and criminal penalties on those who did not comply.

Taylor also challenged FAA restrictions on where drones can operate in the Washington area. The court said that appeal was filed too late.

___

Koenig reported from Dallas.

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

FILE - In this Aug. 20, 2014 file photo, a helicopter tales off in front of two other choppers at East Hampton Town Airport in East Hampton, N.Y. East Hampton officials enacted curfews and limits on the frequency of flights to quiet the skies, and complaints. But an appeals court struck down those laws last winter and now the town, with the support of New York City and others arguing for local control of airports, are asking he U.S. Supreme Court to intervene. (AP Photo/Frank Eltman, File)
Hamptons braces for sunshine, parties, and noisy aircraft
FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2016 file photo, 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, Chief Justice Roger Gregory, gestures during an interview in his office in Richmond, Va. The 4th U.S. Circuit of Appeals dealt another blow to President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban targeting six-Muslim majority countries on Thursday, May 25, 2017, siding with groups that say the policy illegally targets Muslims. “Congress granted the president broad power to deny entry to aliens, but that power is not absolute. It cannot go unchecked when, as here, the president wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across this nation,” Gregory wrote.  (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)
Travel ban to test Supreme Court view of presidential power
Government: Judge postpones trial of Chinese billionaireProsecutors say the trial of a Chinese billionaire charged in a United Nations bribery case will not begin Tuesday after all
FILE - In this Thursday, May 25, 2017, file photo, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly listens on Capitol Hill in Washington, while testifying before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on FY'18 budget. Kelly said he's considering banning laptops from the passenger cabins of all international flights to and from the United States. That would dramatically expand a ban announced in March that affects about 50 flights per day from 10 cities, mostly in the Middle East. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
US official mulling greatly expanded airplane laptop ban
British Prime Minister Theresa May, left, looks away from U.S. President Donald Trump after he spoke during a ceremony at the NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday, May 25, 2017. US President Donald Trump and other NATO heads of state and government on Thursday will inaugurate the new headquarters as well as participating in an official working dinner. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
AP FACT CHECK: A rash of Trump statements under scrutiny
Texas passes softened voter ID law after judge finds biasTexas lawmakers have approved a new voter ID law to replace one a federal judge struck down as intentionally discriminatory
AdChoices

Related Searches

Related Searches

AdChoices