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Court ruling nullifies US requirement that hobbyists register drones

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A federal appeals court on Friday struck down a regulation requiring the public to register drones. The US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found that the Federal Aviation Administration did not have the authority to regulate so-called "model aircraft." If it stands, the decision means that the public does not have to abide by the FAA requirement established in 2015. The ruling is not yet enforceable, however, as the court gave the FAA seven days (PDF) to consider… (arstechnica.com) Mehr...

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upchucked
C. WESLEY GRADY 14
The R's were all about smaller government and less regulation, right? So why would they make hobby flyers register their toys? Do a cost-benefit analysis test... millions of hours of wasted time in registering the toys, putting "Official" stickers on them so they can be tracked, an entirely new registration section in the FAA, to keep track of all the information. And the benefit is.......what? They have already registered more than 550,000 drones. The entire US aircraft registration is just slightly over 200,000, and that includes thousands of aircraft that will never again leave the ground or taxi under their own power. So when is enough, 1 Million drones? 5 Million?, 25 Million?

And, I will wager that if they required every aircraft owner to pay $5 to register their aircraft every few years, the outcry would be deafening. It's OK for the hobbyist, but how about you?

Air Force 1 having to change course violently to avoid a toy? That couldn't get near Andrews in any case let alone lined up in the approach path, 400 feet AGL. And, I would suspect that any terrorist worth his membership card in the International Brotherhood of Terrorists wouldn't register his lethal drone in any case.... and probably wouldn't use a DJI for that matter.

Maybe the FAA could do something that would be more useful... how about tattooing a registration number to the butt of all the birds near airports, making them register with the FAA, take a test on how to avoid aircraft and then testing them every year to make sure they haven't forgotten any of their instructions? Oh, and they definitely should have a vet's examination every year to make sure they are safe to fly and safe to be around airplanes, which they will need to carry with them every time they leave the ground.

I don't own a drone, have no real interest in owning one, so while I have no dog in this fight, the whole thing to me sounds stupid and a gigantic waste of time, effort and money.
NeoshoAirport
Billy Sallee 1
News flash The FAA already makes all aircraft owners register their aircraft every three years at $5.00
whubbs
Wayne Hubbs 1
When an aircraft ls purchased today, and registered, the FAA notifies the IRS to check on this person to see if they paid their sales tax on the purchase, I have paid all sales tax on each a/c I have purchased for past many years but I still get a call asking if the tax has been paid even after I have paid it and then send them proof it has been paid, when the FAA started this reregistration stuff I got another call, so I ask the caller, are you calling because you think I have bought another aircraft and she said yes, so I said no, but we now have to re-register our a/c every three years. So their system does not know if you are purchasing a new a/c or just re-registering.
Ray93J
Raymond Phillips 1
Every full scale aircraft owner must re-register every three year at a cost of $5, this has been the law for about 6 years or more.
sparkie624
sparkie624 0
You are talking about aircraft that people fly on... I am talking about a/c that are flown from the ground by radio and normally line of sight! Apples and Oranges here!
MBDiagMan
Larry Bible -3
Yes, people don't fly in these little things, but unleashed they can easily, accidentally take down aircraft that people ARE flying on. Have some consideration for someone besides yourself.
lynx318
lynx318 1
Tattooing birds is too cheep(pun intended), must use those nifty aluminium leg collars like they use on pigeons.
RECOR10
RECOR10 2
That is IT!!!! I am calling PETA!!!!!
mikeenderle
Michael Enderle 6
It's like the FDA requiring registration of Legos. Drones can fly and kids can consume plastic blocks. Thank God for government oversight to keep us safe!
renb
Ren Babcock 2
I would suggest Congress defines what is what. Line of sight, always in control, maximum height allowed above the ground, etc. You all can figure it out but with tens of thousands of these things being sold, would be a good idea to keep them from running rampant through neighborhood skies. Although they probably are more of a fad and down the road will be like RC's where you have clubs and places to fly them.

I'm not saying register the hobby ones, just a definition of what is commercial and what is not.
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
Personally I disagree.... We have enough liberal laws coming out of congress and so many only cost the tax payer money and do nothing except infringe on our rights... The FCC exceeded their authority and I do not want to see congress have the chance to do the same.
DHughesUPS
Daniel Hughes 1
I hate to burst your perfect world bubble there hoss, but they already do. And Ren has a point they are going to get there way. the best chance we have is to meet them somewhere where we have the upper hand.
raytoews
Ray Toews 2
This is the way it is supposed to work. Govt borocrates cant heavy hand their way to new regulations. We do have the third branch to protect us. Restores my faith jn the system. Just a little bit.
shootandfly
Bernhard Reimer 2
Now if all drones will be required to renew registration every 3 years, imagine how long it will take to get the process done then. It already takes 3 + months to renew a registration on a real aircraft.
mtpiper
mtpiper 2
Does a multi-rotor that has the ability to return to the departure point autonomously become an unmanned aircraft at the point that feature is activated, or would it be considered a model aircraft at all times? The product information page for the DJI Phantom 3 Standard states: "Built-in GPS records your Phantom's takeoff point and remembers as you fly. Then at your command, or if the control signal is ever lost, your Phantom comes back to you instantly."
f16fte
Greg Bice 1
Both the FAA and the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act, section 331(8), define unmanned aircraft as an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft. The FAA and FMRA section 336 also both define a model aircraft as an unmanned aircraft that is capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere, flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft, and flown only for hobby or recreational purposes. It clearly sounds like a distinction without a difference.

The FAA rule codified in 14 CFR Part 48, Registration and Marking Requirements for Small Unmanned Aircraft, was FAA’s answer to establish laws and regulations governing the use of unmanned aerial systems. However, section 336 of the FMRA forbid rules regulating model aircraft. The FAA tried to use tortuous logic to justify their rules, and ultimately lost the case.

In its written opinion, the court stated, “In short, the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act provides that the FAA ‘may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft,’ yet the FAA’s 2015 Registration Rule is a ‘rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft.’ Statutory interpretation does not get much simpler. The Registration Rule is unlawful as applied to model aircraft.”

Here are a few links so you can read the information for yourself and make an informed opinion of the ruling:

https://www.faa.gov/uas/faqs/
https://jrupprechtlaw.com/drone-registration-lawsuit
http://www.wolfenstock.com/ TaylorvFAA/TaylorFAAOpinion.pdf
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
That is the kind of thing that happen when the judge reads the law.
jedswift
Jared Smith 1
Seems that the FAA should work with the AMA in a similar manner they currently work with the USPA (U.S. Parachute Association).
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
The AMA tried to work with the FAA.... The FAA bluntly said NO!
lilipuha
Jim Walker 1
I'll be happy as long as I don't have add Mode-C & ADS-B!!
DHughesUPS
Daniel Hughes 1
Hey I know this is all about the regulations that are trying to be past but I wanted to show you guys this.

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/technology/article/Drone-class-puts-UH-students-in-remote-control-11186465.php?cmpid=gsa-chron-result
ssobol
Stefan Sobol 1
The point that all the media misses is that drones are not being registered, drone operators are. Also, that the registration applied to any person who intended to operate any sort of remotely operated model (including gliders) the met the weight requirement and not just to the multirotor devices that most people refer to as "drones".
sparkie624
sparkie624 2
Very true.... I have 2 Quadcopters... One will fit in my palm (Smaller than most of my props) and I fly it in doors. The other is a for out doors and only fly it in calm weather.... It is great for mounting my GOPRO in, but I rarely use it for video or pictures. For fix wing a/c I have over 25 others that I fly at Sanctioned fields and a few smaller ones that I fly at some parks. This thing with the Drones is getting way out of hand and has become a political tool.
AlanBDahl
Alan Dahl 1
I think the issue here is that like any technology drones can be put to good use (hobbyists doing hobby things) and bad use (spying though your bedroom window for example). So its up to the collective us, through our government, to decide where the edges are in this argument. IMHO any drone that’s capable of flying higher than 20 feet or further than say 50 feet from the operator should at least be required to be registered and carry markings of some sort. Now as to whether there should be a fee associated with the registration and whether this fee should be paid again after a period of time, these are valid items to discuss. But I think the collective benefit that comes from registration of medium-size drones outweighs the inconvenience of registration.
ctbadbilly
William Broumas 1
Be careful who you want to regulate what. Should the FAA regulate bullets and rifles? It can easily be proven than they are more of a threat to aircraft than a three ounce plastic toy. It.s a slippery slope. Should the Department of Motor Vehicles regulate rocks? They have done damage to thousands of cars with some resulting in fatalities. You say no? Tell that to the family of a child who was killed when a rock hit her mommy's car causing her to loose control.
f16fte
Greg Bice 1
Refer to 14 CFR Part 107. Autonomous operation is not covered, and the DJI Phantom series standard mode of operation is not autonomous. That's a safety backup mode.
mtpiper
mtpiper 1
Makes sense. Thanks!
jpcooper
Peter Cooper 1
Imagine what would happen if Air Force 1 had to change course violently to avoid a drone while on approach to Washington. I wonder if the Federal Court Judges would be asked to " reconsider ".
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 4
DC is a no drone zone. Registering doesn't mean protection from wrong-doing...
JayDeet
Jay Deet -1
True. But it makes catching the guilty easier.
RECOR10
RECOR10 4
Does not matter. The fact is a drone can NOT be tracked from WalMart to a terrorist. A cell phone can. So, some jamoke can go to WalMart, pick up a drone, pay cash (better, pay a homeless person to buy it). Then strap some C4 and BB's to it and have a blast. How would anyone ever find them?
sparkie624
sparkie624 2
Yeap.... It would hit it, bounce out, and the Drone would be destroyed... AF1 would not get a scratch, even if the "RC" drone went though the engine fan!
whubbs
Wayne Hubbs 2
It is to late our government has already hired an army of DRONE employees, written new regulations and the five dollar bills are flowing in. It will take eternity to remove the laws and if they ever do, we won't be here to see it.
MrTommy
MrTommy 1
I decided to bite the bullet and registered early on. They advertised if we registered before a certain date our money would be refunded. You KNOW how much I believed that! But low and behold, the fed DID refund my five bucks. I was speechless.

What makes NO sense to me is the requirement for those wanting to use their drones commercially (like a real estate agent wanting aerial shots of a house he/she is selling) to take a spendy course, pass a written test, and THEN they can do what I do all the time - for free. And since it's a hobby for me I'm willing to bet I can fly MY drone more skillfully and and safely than the once-in-a-while real estate agent who only flies when they 'need' to. He pays, I don't.
N5827P
N5827P 1
If a drone is sucked into a jetliner engine and downs the jetliner or takes down a small airplane with a family, some of the commenters below may have a change of heart. While registration does not guarantee safety, it does increase awareness of the responsibility to follow the laws.
DHughesUPS
Daniel Hughes 2
We had a pilot that came into the office here at bush airport he reported to ATC that he almost hit a drone on landing. I know that they give out reading material on where it is appropriate to fly and one of the biggest things they say is not near an airport. I have a little Parrott drone and I live under landing patterns so I can't even fly in my back yard. Now yes that sucks but have some uncommon sense. Drones are like firearms the more you regulate the more problems happen and the good people who want to use them for personal reasons have a harder time. I am not say don't have regulations but don't over regulate. There needs to be a balance a way to hold those responsible for their actions and a loose enough regulation where it doesn't loose the appeal of flying drones.
sparkie624
sparkie624 -4
That is crazy talk.... There is no way that a simple drone could destroy or damage a Jet Airliner or small plane...
JayDeet
Jay Deet 6
Crazy talk. There is no way that a simple goose flock could bring down a twin-engine 737.
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
Those GEESE weigh a lot and have a lot of mass... The little drones as people like to call them are very small and light weight.... One Goose weights as much as 20 Drones... So I guess if you have 150 Drones all in the confines to hit a plane on take off it may do some damage... I was saying one drone will not do any damage.
AlanBDahl
Alan Dahl 2
Lets try running one through a jet engine and find out then. I suspect that even a small drone could nick a turbine blade or cause other engine damage.
dragonflyt10
William Barrow 1
Many times large commercial aircraft have sucked birds (as well as other debris) into engines, most of the time losing the use of the engine. A single bird strike (or drone ingestion) might disable ONE engine, but the chances of it downing the entire aircraft are virtually nonexistent. A whole flock would be a serious hazard, but one bird/drone..., seriously?
sparkie624
sparkie624 2
I have been in the industry for well over 30 years and worked quite a few airlines... I have seen engines damaged by birds, but never both. They can do damage, but a Bird has more solid mass than a Drone... 99% of the time the bird bypasses then engine core and does no damage.... Hail or Compressor Stalls do a LOT more damage than Birds Do and there has never been a documented case of a drone hitting a plane... This subject is getting way out there into of the area of maybe if the engine was a full power and 1000 drones just happened to be all on one place (and btw, Drones don't travel in flocks like birds do) and get sucked into both engines... Give me a break... that would be a 1,000,000,000,000,000:1 Odds if that! Sure a Flock of geese can down an a/c, that has been proven... but by the same token you cannot have that many drones has was pointed out up here at one place... For one thing there are not enough frequencies to control them, 2 at that altitude you would not be able to see them, and 3 they cannot self navigate and think for themselves...
lynx318
lynx318 2
ISIS wouldn't bother strapping half a pound of C4 to a goose.
sparkie624
sparkie624 2
You aren't going to strap a 1/2 pound of Nothing to the Drones that I fly.. LOL... And the worst that I ever saw launched off an RC plane was Bottle Rockets and the plane that launched them didn't survive that... and No, I am not the one who pulled that stunt. The guy was trying to launch them as Rockets as they used to do in the later part of WWII.
lynx318
lynx318 1
If they get inventive enough and steal one of those Amazon prototypes that can carry 2 pounds.....
DHughesUPS
Daniel Hughes 1
Let me say this and I want to know what you think. Keep in mind I am not an expert at all and it seems to me that you know a lot from being in the industry.
Lets say a bird gest sucked into the engine. Little or nor damage will be done. A bird is made of soft tissue muscle and some feathers. All things that are shredded easily.
Drones are made for plastic, metal, wires, and some other things that may or may not play a big part in the overall effect.
So now instead of having easy material that can be shredded now you have small chunks of metal and plastic that can get stuck and could cause issue.
Metal grinding against metal causes wear and could break something.
Now at the end of the day as you stated what are the odds but too it isn't impossible and there would be damage more then that a bird could produce. Would I be wrong to say that?
Ray93J
Raymond Phillips 3
You are wrong about that. None of the general aviation airplane windshields are rated for any type of impact.
raytoews
Ray Toews 1
There must be a statistic on how many of the billions of birds out there have flown thru the prop and into the windshield.
Compare that to the three people who are careless enough to fly near an airport.
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
For one we have not been talking GA here... 2ndly at the speeds most fly, a drone hitting the windshield of a 172 would be much less damage than a hail storm while sitting on the ground. First it would be in splinters by the time it made it through the prop and no one would probably ever had known it was there.. Hail is a much more dangerous to a/c than an Model Aircraft. The GA planes that are not rated are because they don't need to be.... Unlike pressurized a/c that may hit a bird and cause severe damage. GA was never the topic of this!
jedswift
Jared Smith 2
Sorry Sparkie, the "pitch" of a typical GA prop is about 5 feet. This means that for a two blade prop, there is a blade passage every 2 feet or so. More than enough room for a bird or drone to pass through whole or in part.
DHughesUPS
Daniel Hughes 1
Are we not talking about drones hitting aircraft. So there fore isn't any type of aircraft relevant to the discussion. When you make a choice do you not consider all factors involved rather then just a few.
THRUSTT
THRUSTT -2
Are there any single engine jetliners in service???
JayDeet
Jay Deet 5
Care to lose one on takeoff?
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 1
I have on quite a few occasions. So???
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
No! Only single engine Turbo Jets are Fighters. There are single engine Turbo Prop's that could technically fall into category, but they are a very small part!
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 1
I was responding to the comment up above that a drone taking out an engine would bring an airliner down. No 121 single engine airliners...
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
People have a big Misconception about Drones vs Model Aircraft. For some reason the Government has put RC in the middle of what Drones really are.

Definition: A ship that can navigate autonomously, without human control or beyond line of sight!

RC A/C cannot do that. My RC A/C are not Drones, they are "Model Aircraft". I am a member of the AMA and I fly at Sanctioned fields and on a rare occasion at a part for a smaller one, or indoor gymnasium for my Very Small micro planes. I control them all and they never leave my sight.

The Big industry today advertising Drones is stupid and false advertising: They should appropriately be labeled as a Quadcopter, or Multi Rotor of which I have 2. several of my RC aircraft have camera's. They are flown safely in accordance to AMA Public Recommendations.

The Court is right no this. I have never registered with the FAA for my RC A/C and wont... Aircraft that are flown for very long distances and can navigate and accomplish it's mission without an operator staying on top of it's entire flight is a drone. If I sit my RC Transmitter down, go take a break and then come back, my plane would have already crashed by this time. I am glad to see that a court made the correct decision.
sunshyne
matt sunshyne 2
I too am an AMA pilot and I agree with you as well. My issue too was the blanket coverage the govt threw us under. 99% of commercial "drones" are not even real drones and don't have any real cargo capacity. This was fear mongering at its best.
patpylot
patrick baker -2
this is so logical, so well considered, so rational, because every gun totting person who believes in no regulations at all for their misinterpretation of the 2nd admendment, now can go all in with unregulated drone rights expression, flying in formation with airliners on approaches and departures, near heliports, and wherever their whimsy takes them. I think I may resume long walks instead of flights to nearby cities. How far does this appeals court have their heads up their asses to bring such stupidity into view?
bizprop
Roy Troughton 9
What does the 2nd amendment have to do with this subject? Poor choice of comparisons. While we are on the subject. Key word in the 2nd amendment is "infringed". Suggest you look at the definition of this word.
JayDeet
Jay Deet 1
I think Baker is referring to wish to create their own law, ad hoc, taking no responsibility.
Not sure what YOU think infringed means: From Merriam-Webster:
"to encroach upon in a way that violates law or the rights of another"
Seems like you think that "rights of another" is whatever you choose to be a "right".
JMARTINSON
JMARTINSON 4
1. Federal legislation from 2012 saud the FAA has no authority to regulate model aircraft. It's a law, so call your congressman about that heads up asses thing, not the appeals court.

2. Why would anyone use a $900 drone when they could use a 42 cent bullet instead? They might be nuts, but they aren't that nuts.

DHughesUPS
Daniel Hughes 1
Question. IF you managed to get a firearm attached to a drone as a civilian does it fall under firearm regulations or drone regulations.
MBDiagMan
Larry Bible 0
Five will get you ten that none of those justices fly GA.
f16fte
Greg Bice 1
Maybe they don't fly, but as a nation of laws, part of their job is to ensure other government agencies aren't violating laws made by Congress. Congress can change the law.
Locket3
Tom Lull -2
CAn I shoot the damn thing down if it's over my property???
MrTommy
MrTommy 1
I can't shoot at private planes that fly over my house as they approach the runway nearby, so I also can't shoot at a drone that flies by (though none have anyway).
joelwiley
joel wiley 0
Your ability to do so depends on your accuracy. Not sure if the legality has been resolved in the courts.
NF2G
David Stark 2
Legality is not resolved in the courts. It is properly resolved in the legislative process. Courts do not pass criminal laws. People have been prosecuted for shooting down drones in at least a couple of instances, and the drone owner always has the option of a civil suit for destruction of property.
joelwiley
joel wiley 0
We could split hairs, laws are legislated, and courts interpret them. This is probably be a tort.

http://www.lectlaw.com/def2/t032.htm
1rupert
michael cowan -1
SORRY THIS JUDGEMENT IS A HUGE MISTAKE WHICH WILL KILL PEOPLE ON THE GROUND AS WELL AS IN THE AIR!!!

I live in Kentucky. Yes I know all the hayseed, gun lover's etc. issues. I DEAL WITH THEM EVERYDAY!!

Having said that, I wish to point out A PRIVACY ISSUE THE COURTS STILL SEEM TO HAVE MISSED!!!!

Last summer, during sun bathing season, a home owner who has a 10' tall privacy fence around his property shot down a drone.

That drone had hovered above his in-ground pool and spent lots of time looking at, and obviously filming the homeowner's two teenage daughters who were working on their tans in very revealing outfits. The home owner hit that drone with a .12 gauge shotgun blast, which obviously took it out.

Had that been the end of the story, we'd all have said, "Yes that makes sense."

Sadly this homeowner had to confront two armed men who threatened his life and his house for shooting down their drone! Since the home owner was prepared to protect his home with a semi-automatic weapon of his own which out-gunned them, the drone owners left that day.

However, they filed a federal lawsuit against the homeowner for shooting down their drone above his in-ground pool!!

Based on what has happened here in Kentucky, the drone gunfights will continue and probably nearly as bad as the illegal drug gunfights very soon!!

This old Marine who has never owned a weapon after I killed hundreds of men with my military provided weapons is hugely concerned that DRONES ARE A LIFE OR DEATH THREAT TO EVERYONE WHO IS NEAR ENOUGH TO THOSE DRONES TO BE AT RISK!!!!

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