BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It was arguably the hottest toy of the holidays, but as quick as drones were flying off the shelves, controversy over the FAA’s new registration was brewing.
Rick Ritter has more on concerns that have one Maryland man taking legal action.
Close to 200,000 people have already registered their drones, but one Maryland man says he feels the rules are illegal.
With the popularity of drones comes conerns.
Over the last year, some devices were caught hovering near the White House fence, putting 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on immediate lockdown.
In August — just one of many close calls at a New Jersey airport.
It’s part of why the FAA now regulates drones, requiring registration of all unmanned aircraft with certain specifications.
More than 180,000 people have registered since the site launched just weeks ago.
The registration requirement came into light when the FAA became concerned that a surge in drone buying around the holidays would create more problems in the sky.
It’s a move that left Silver Spring native John Taylor — an insurance lawyer for 11 years and a litigator for 20 years before that — outraged.
“I realized that it was a violation of federal statute,” Taylor said.
A model aircraft lover, Taylor is challenging the FAA’s new registry in court, citing a statute Congress passed in 2012.
“That told the FAA they shouldn’t pass rules or regulations regarding model aircraft that are being operated safely,” he said.
The registry forces flyers as young as 13-years-old to file their names and home addresses in a public database.
“It’s misguided. It’s going to do nothing to protect anyone,” said Taylor.
Taylor says the FAA has a great responsibility to protect American airspace, but feels the registry isn’t the solution.
WJZ reached out to the FAA for comment, but never heard back.
Taylor says after more filings are due on January 27, a record will be developed since it’s an appeal.
He says other attorneys are helping him behind the scenes but he’s hoping more people will reach out to him and show interest in the lawsuit, so that he doesn’t have to work on it alone.
He expected others to step up and file suit against the registration rules but said when no one else did, he decided to.
“It was clear to me the registry was not legal and I didn’t feel people should have to register their model airplanes with the federal government for them to fly them in their own backyard,” said Taylor.
Washington, D.C. is a no drone zone, but the ban on flying has now extended into parts of Maryland, including College Park and Silver Spring.