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Drone pilots, here’s how to get your refund from the FAA

Published Jul 8th, 2017 12:00PM EDT
FAA drone registration: how to get a refund
Image: DJI

The Federal Aviation Administration has suffered a rather embarrassing U-turn of late, but it’s good news for recreational drone pilots. In December 2015, the FAA forced recreational drone pilots to pay the high, high price of $5 to register all recreational drones.

But that didn’t sit will with some model aircraft enthusiasts, one of whom brought a case to court, claiming that the FAA had overstepped its bounds. The DC court of appeals agreed, and the FAA’s drone registration rules were struck down. Excitingly, that means that all 770,000 people who registered their drones and paid the fee are now due some money back.

In order to get your refund, you should head to the FAA’s website and fill out the necessary paperwork. There’s a three-page form you need to complete, including a bunch of payment information. The FAA will put cash straight back into your bank account, so there’s no messing with prepaid cards or the like.

You also have to promise really, really hard that your drone is only used for recreational purposes, not commercial, and that you follow the FAA’s rules for recreational drone flying.

All in all, this seems like good news for drone pilots who were really hurting for cash, and an embarrassing loss of face for the FAA. The administration’s only saving grace is that laws surrounding recreational drones are up for review in Congress at the end of the year, and changes could easily be made to reinstate the FAA’s drone registration program.