Back in 2015, the FAA set in place a registration system for drones that required their pilots to use a website, pay a $5 fee, and pass an exam to get their license to legally fly their drones in the US. A few days ago, however, that has just been blocked by an appeals court in DC.
According to the judges, a law from 2012 that limits the FAA’s power to regulate drones because they are classified as model aircraft in it.
“Congress is of course always free to repeal or amend its 2012 prohibition on FAA rules regarding model aircraft,” they said. “Perhaps Congress should do so. Perhaps not. In any event, we must follow the statute as written.”
Sounds to me like the judges themselves don’t necessarily agree with their own ruling, but the law is the law and as it’s written now, they have to follow it.
Now, this might sound like a good thing for drone pilots around the country, but I’m not so sure it is.
The FAA actually worked with companies like Google and Amazon to help come up with the drone registration service in an effort to keep drone pilots accountable and properly educated on how to operate drones as well as the regulations around flying. The $5 fee isn’t terribly limiting either for someone who just dropped money on a drone and the regulation only pertained to drones larger than .55 lbs and up to 55 lbs.
Drones are only becoming more popular, costs are going down, and that means we’ll see more and more as time goes on (including companies using them for all sorts of things). Accidents are bound to happen and a system that educates pilots on how to avoid those accidents as well as helps to hold abusive pilots accountable if, for example, their drone comes crashing into a power plant in Brooklyn is a good thing, I think.
The FAA as well as DJI, the largest drone manufacturer, disagreed with the court’s decision and there are now plans for the FAA to appeal to Congress to not solve this as soon as possible.
What do you guys think of all this? Yay or nay to drone registration?