Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog

Did You Register Your Drone With the FAA? Want Your $5 Back?

The Federal Aviation Administration is now offering to refund all drone and model aircraft hobbyists that had to register their flying machines and pay the FAA's $5 fee. Over 800,000 people have registered drones since 2015, however, not all drone owners will qualify for a refund.

A recent decision for the Court of Appeals for the Federal District invalidated the drone-hobbyist registration requirement.The decision explained that under a prior law, the FAA was prohibited from making new rules covering model aircrafts, and the registration requirement qualified as a new rule.

Droning On

Fortunately, the recent ruling only applied to drones and model aircrafts that are meant for use by hobbyists for recreational purposes only. If a drone will be used commercially, it still falls under the FAA's purview, and the FAA's recently implemented rules still apply.

How to Get Your $5 Back

To get your $5 back, it's going to cost you. First you have to go to the FAA's website, next you have to print out a form, fill out that form, then mail that form in, and wait. And if you're surprised by the fact that this must be done on paper, you'll be shocked to learn that the only way to get your $5 back is via an electronic funds transfer. Curiously, you may recall that registering and paying the $5 was all done online.

In addition to being able to almost get your $5 back (after postage and costs of paper, ink and envelope, you'll be lucky to get over $4), you can request that the FAA delete your name and registration from their database. However, in order to be deleted from the database, you must confirm and certify that your drone truly fits within the hobbyist class, and that you are only flying recreationally.

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