The US Court of Appeals has upheld the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authority over consumer drones, leaving the door open for more flight laws and restrictions.
In 2012, Congress passed a law that gave the FAA the authority to regulate drones. However, the law specified that specific drone models were not subject to the FAA’s authority if they followed safety rules.
Despite those specific exemptions, this law didn’t sit well with drone hobbyist and activist John Taylor, so he sued the FAA. In his suit, he argued that all drones and hobbyists should be exempt from the FAA’s authority — not just specific drone models. The court ruled against Taylor and reaffirmed its position to give the FAA authority to regulate consumer drones.
According to a report from Bloomberg, the court Friday decided to uphold its ruling to allow the FAA to govern amateur drone use, even though they intended to allow casual drone users some exemptions.
“Because the rule is within the agency’s statutory authority and is neither arbitrary nor capricious, the petition for review is denied,” wrote Judge Merrick Garland, author of the opinion of the panel.
This could prompt more flight regulation for drones
The court’s ruling could — and likely will — result in more drone flight regulations. So be prepared if more do come in the near future and be sure to keep up to date on any new requirements.
The L.A. Times also believes that this decision is a win for Google and Amazon. Both have been lobbying for more regulations on consumer drones to make way for projects like Prime Air and Project Wing.