Oh happy day! The DC Circuit Court of Appeals recently voided an FAA rule that impinged directly on Power Line’s Air Force—namely, my small drone fleet. The FAA required registration of drones starting several months back. Yet a recent statute governing the FAA, the “FAA Modernization and Reform Act” of 2012, explicitly states that the FAA “may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft.”
But this being the Administrative State in the age of Obama, the FAA ignored this clear statutory language and imposed the registration rule anyway, because deference, dude. But drone operator John Taylor decided to contest the bureaucratic drones behind the FAA drone rule. And in Taylor v. Huerta, the court agreed with Taylor’s straight-up statutory challenge:
In short, the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act provides that the FAA “may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft,” yet the FAA’s 2015 Registration Rule is a “rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft.” Statutory interpretation does not get much simpler. The Registration Rule is unlawful as applied to model aircraft.
So now my unregistered drone can sit easily on the shelf next to my unregistered firearms. I think I’ll go fly my Mavic Pro this afternoon. Sort of like this: