FAA Drone Registration Faces Second Lawsuit

TechFreedom, a Washington, DC-based think tank, claims drone registration violates Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.

Photo Caption: This handout photo provided by the US Secret Service shows the DJI drone that crashed onto the White House grounds in January 2015. (Photo Credit: US Secret Service)

TechFreedom, a Washington, DC-based think tank that promotes “the progress of technology that improves the human condition,” has filed a petition for review in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals to overturn the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) mandatory consumer drone registration.

First reported by Forbes, TechFreedom is claiming the following:

  • The FAA’s action violates Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 that prohibits the FAA from promulgating ”any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft.”

  • The FAA exceeded its authority to regulate aircraft registration as the new rule requires the registration of “persons who own model aircraft,” not aircraft themselves.

  • The FAA’s failure to provide the public with notice of the new regulation and an opportunity for comment before it was implemented was “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion.”

This is the second lawsuit to challenge drone registration. On Christmas Eve 2015, just shortly after the system was launched, John Taylor, an insurance lawyer and drone hobbyist who lives in Maryland, sued the FAA over the legality of the registry. Taylor also alleged the FAA’s drone registration system violates Section 336.

The FAA is requiring registration for drones that weigh between 0.55 pounds and 55 pounds by Friday, Feb. 19, 2016. Registration costs $5 and is valid for three years, and you’ll need to provide your name, home address and e-mail address. Failure to register a drone can result in civil penalties up to $27,500, and criminal penalties for failure to register can include fines of up to $250,000. More than 342,000 people in the US have registered drones, according to the FAA, and that’s more than all of the country’s aircraft that carry people.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a commercial airline association that helps develop policy on critical aviation issues, recently expressed concerns about the “real and growing threat” consumer drones pose to commercial aviation. The IATA said at the Singapore Airshow that there needs to be a sensible approach to regulation and a pragmatic method of enforcement for those who disregard rules and regulations. The IATA’s main concern is drones flying at low altitudes near airports, but the group also wants to ensure the radio spectrum used to control the drones does not interfere with air traffic control systems.

Do you know the basics of how to safely fly drones? Take this quiz below to test your knowledge of drone safety rules, including maximum altitudes, distances from airports, and restricted flight areas.




About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
Contact Steve Crowe: scrowe@ehpub.com  ·  View More by Steve Crowe.




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