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Appeals Court Overturns FAA Registration Rule on Recreational Drones

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has revoked a Federal Aviation Administration regulation that required owners of recreational unmanned aerial systems to register their model drones with the government, The Hill reported Friday.

The court ruled in favor of John Taylor, a recreational UAS operator who argued that FAA lacks authority to regulate model aircraft based on a 2012 law passed by Congress.

The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 includes a provision that exempts model aircraft from any FAA rule or regulation.

“The FAA’s 2015 registration rule, which applies to model aircraft, directly violates that clear statutory prohibition,” the court said in a statement.

“We therefore grant Taylor’s petition and vacate the registration rule to the extent it applies to model aircraft.”

FAA launched a web-based system in December 2015 and initially required owners of model drones to register using the online tool.

Under the rule, owners will pay a registration fee of $5 and get a certificate with a validity period of three years for each registered UAS.

FAA said in a Friday statement it has begun to consider its options and response to the court’s decision.

“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 statement added.

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