FLINT TOWNSHIP, Michigan (WJRT) - (05/23/17) - Drones have become a fun and popular past time for many. And now - owning one requires less oversight.
A court ruling has struck down a Federal Aviation Administration rule - that requires certain drone owners to register their model aircraft.
The FAA considers this a setback - as it cited safety concerns for the regulation.
We talked with the owner of Rider's Hobby Shop in Flint Township to see what he thinks of the ruling and what it means for his customers.
If this is your idea of a good time, big brother will no longer be able to keep tabs on you.
"Even though we are limited to 400 feet in elevation and 600 feet in distance, there are people violating that," noted drone operator Doug Austin during a demo in the parking lot of Rider's Hobby Shop Tuesday night.
Austin finds the appeals court decision to strike down the FAA registration rule for recreational drones concerning, especially in regards to the possible use of drones for terrorist activity:
"They're no longer going to be registered, anybody can go where ever they want and fly," he noted.
Drones are not supposed to be flown within five miles of an airport, but with the registration requirement thrown out, tracking down offenders may be more difficult.
Rider's Hobby Shop owner Michael Allen thinks the wording of the original registration regulation was too broad---including radio controlled model airplanes and helicopters.
"I have mixed feelings, " Allen told ABC 12 Tuesday night, "I think there is a need for some regulation - but the rule - as it was drawn - affected the people that it didn't really need to regulate - the radio control hobbyists."
Allen thinks there will eventually be an appeal filed or a new law written in regards to the use of larger drones, his advice? Stay tuned:
"My guess would be they would go back and write it in a little more targeted way, maybe come up with a method where serial numbers could be tracked," Allen added.
The FAA's official response at this time reads in part that its registration was put in place to ensure drones are operated in a way that is safe the doesn't pose security and privacy threats.
They are in the process of considering their options and response to the decision.
For the time being Allen says he is telling customers who come into his store to purchase a drone for recreational use if it weighs more than a half a pound they need to register it.