Drones

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit invalidated a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rule that required non-commercial drone owners to register with the agency. 

The court held that the drone registration rule, known as the 2015 Registration Rule, violated the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which prohibits the FAA from issuing any rule or regulation of “model aircraft.”

The invalidated registration rule required all small drone operators to register each of their drones with the FAA before operating them outdoors. To complete the registration process, owners were required to provide the FAA with their contact information, pay a $5 registration fee, and mark a unique identifier number issued by the FAA on their drone.

Unmanned aircraft systems—commonly known as drones—have changed the landscape of public and private life. The many uses for drones include law enforcement surveillance, wildlife tracking, disaster response and recreation. For this reason, state governments have considered a diverse spread of policies aimed at defining, regulating and, in some cases, prohibiting the use of unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, since 20131. Bills defining drones and establishing rules for their use are highly variable at the state level.