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Appeals court strikes down FAA drone registration rule

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Hobbyists who buy new drones no longer have to register the aircraft with the Federal Aviation Administration, according to an appeals court decision.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit cited a law passed by Congress in 2012 that states the FAA "may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft."

In 2015, the FAA issued the Registration Rule, requiring all drone owners to register their model aircrafts, defined by  the FAA Modernization and Reform Act as "an unmanned aircraft...flown for hobby or recreational purposes."

The court ruled in favor of John Taylor, a model aircraft hobbyist from the Washington, D.C.-area, who filed petitions challenging the FAA's rule.

"Aviation safety is obviously an important goal, and the Registration Rule may well help further that goal to some degree," according to the decision by the three-judge panel, adding that Congress is "always free to repeal or amend its 2012 prohibition on FAA rules regarding model aircraft."

In a statement, the FAA said it was "carefully reviewing" the decision.

"The FAA put registration and operational regulations in place to ensure that drones are operated in a way that is safe and does not pose security and privacy threats," the statement said. "We are in the process of considering our options and response to the decision."

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