Federal Drone Registry Declared Unlawful

A three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously declared the Federal Aviation Administration’s recreational drone-owners’ registry to be “unlawful as applied to model aircraft” on Friday. As a result, hobby drone fliers across the nation no longer face the specter of $277,500 in civil and criminal fines, as well as jail time, merely for failing to identify themselves to the FAA.
In late 2015, the FAA for the first time made the decision to subject recreational drone fliers to mandatory registration. Beginning on Dec. 21—just days before Christmas—anyone who owned a drone weighing more than 0.55 pounds at takeoff (helpfully, the FAA indicated this was the equivalent of two sticks of butter) would be required to register themselves pursuant to a statute authorizing the registration of aircraft. To comply, hobbyists had to provide regulators with detailed personal information and pay a $5 registration fee.
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