Federal court rejects FAA requirement to register drones

Posted: Updated:
An appeals court in Washington, D.C. struck down a Federal Aviation Administration rule that required hobbyists to register their drones. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) An appeals court in Washington, D.C. struck down a Federal Aviation Administration rule that required hobbyists to register their drones. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
If the FAA tries to challenge this ruling, it could be an uphill battle. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) If the FAA tries to challenge this ruling, it could be an uphill battle. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The ruling only affects hobbyist drone users. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The ruling only affects hobbyist drone users. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

An appeals court in Washington, D.C. struck down a Federal Aviation Administration rule that required hobbyists to register their drones.  

In 2015, the FAA responded to the booming drone business with a new regulation where users had to register the drone and pay a fee.

[READ MORE: Update: New rules in effect for drone owners (Dec. 15, 2015)]

An estimated 820,000 people registered since it went into effect.

However, the rule was challenged by John A. Taylor, a drone hobbyist living in the D.C. area saying it violated privacy laws. The U.S. Court of Appeals sided with Taylor on Friday.

The court cited the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act as the reason behind their ruling. The act defines that a drone is similar to a model aircraft.

"A lot of people thought that was really ridiculous to have it in the first place," said Dustin Pennington, who runs Flite Factory.

If the FAA tries to challenge this ruling, it could be an uphill battle. It would have to go through Congress to get the law changed.

The ruling only affects hobbyist drone users.

"It means a lot of people that are doing it just for a hobby can be free to do that without having to worry about the park rangers or police coming and taking their drone away," Pennington said.

Those using drones in a commercial setting still have to get clearance from the FAA.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.