In 2015, the FAA issued the Registration Rule mandating that small drones used for recreational purposes had to be registered with the Administration. This was the law of the land until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the FAA’s Registration Rule for these small drones (called ‘model aircraft’) in May of this year, saying the requirement ‘directly violates’ Section 336(a) of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act signed by President Obama in 2012.
Thanks to that ruling, small drone owners who registered their aircraft are now eligible for a refund.
Earlier this week, the FAA announced that small drone owners who operate their unmanned aircraft for recreational purposes can choose to have their FAA registration deleted and to receive a refund for the registration fee—a whopping $5.
This deletion and refund, however, only applies to drones that are ‘exclusively in compliance’ with Section 336: that is, for small aircraft that are solely operated for recreational purposes. And, for what it’s worth, the FAA says it still encourages these model aircraft owners to voluntarily register their drones, so if you already registered your drone you might want to remain $5 poorer and leave your registration intact.
If, on the other hand, you do want a refund, you’ll need to print, fill out and mail in this form to the FAA—the mailing address is located on the bottom of the second page.