Did You Register Your Drone? You Could Get Your Money Back.

It turns out the FAA isn't actually allowed to have a drone registry, so the agency is offering to refund your money and expunge your data from the record.
Did You Register Your Drone? You Could Get Your Money Back.
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Remember that $5 you paid to register your drone with the Federal Aviation Administration? It turns out the FAA isn't actually allowed to have a drone registry, so the agency is offering to refund your money and expunge your data from the record.

The FAA won't automatically mail you a check, however. You'll have to download a form and mail it to the agency, Recode reports. The FAA will then delete your drone and other personal information from its record and electronically deposit $5 into your bank account.

The FAA previously required that commercial and private drone operators register their craft, pay the fee and affix a unique identification code to their drone. But a court ruled in May that the agency was unlawfully applying its registration requirement to private drone operators, citing a federal statute that prohibits the agency from making any rules or regulations that apply to model aircraft.

The decision does not apply to commercial craft, which must still be registered. Nor does it exempt personal drones from prohibited flying, including flying within 5 miles of an airport without first obtaining permission.

As of early May, more than 820,000 drone operators had registered, according to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. While it's unclear if all of those are private owners, the agency could still be on the hook for refunding millions of dollars in fees.

The FAA said it is working on updating its drone regulations to comply with the court's order. It encouraged new private drone owners to continue to register even though they are no longer required to do so. This might all be an exercise in futility since, as Recode also notes, the FAA is also working on a remote drone identification system.


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