July 12, 2017

The FAA, in order to comply with a recent appellate court ruling, is offering a refund of the $5 registration fee collected from users of small, recreational unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

A U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently determined that the requirement for certain recreational UAS users to register with the FAA is unlawful and conflicts with Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act. Section 336 of that law prohibits the FAA from regulating certain UAS used by hobbyists, so long as the aircraft are flown safely.

Along with the refund of the registration fee, the FAA will delete the UAS owner’s name and address from the FAA’s public registry.

“It’s important to note this only applies to small UAS used exclusively for recreational purposes,” said Heidi Williams, NBAA’s director of air traffic services and infrastructure. “If your drone is operated for business purposes, you still must register the UAS with the FAA.”

More than 760,000 recreational UAS users have registered with the FAA, and may be eligible for the refund and to have their names, addresses and other information deleted from the registry.

The FAA is working on a final rule with respect to registration that will fully implement the court’s decision. In the meantime, the refund and deletion of the registry information can be accomplished by filling out a form.

View the FAA’s form for requesting a refund. [no longer available]