- The Washington Times - Friday, May 19, 2017

The federal government cannot require amateur drone pilots to register with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a federal judge ruled Friday, MarketWatch.com reported.

The ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit applies only to hobbyists, not those using drones for a commercial purpose, Market Watch noted, adding that the court grounded its reasoning in a 2012 law saying the federal government “may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft.”

The victory for hobbyist John Taylor, who filed the lawsuit, appears to have been more about principle than the financial cost of complying with the regulation: The FAA fee for hobbyists was $5, and drones were registered with the FAA over the internet, taking just a few minutes to complete.

“The entire registration process took an average of seven minutes,” Mr. Taylor told MarketWatch prior to the court’s ruling. “The FAA used that to show it wasn’t very burdensome, but how much education can really go on in seven minutes? It’s all bogus.”

Federal regulators are undecided yet on whether they will fight with an appeal or remain grounded.

“We are carefully reviewing the U.S. Court of Appeals decision as it relates to drone registrations,” the FAA said in a statement, Market Watch reported. “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. We are in the process of considering our options and response to the decision.”

• Ken Shepherd can be reached at kshepherd@washingtontimes.com.

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