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Model Aircraft Hobbyists Sue FAA Administrator Over Fees, Data Storage

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) head Michael P. Huerta is, in his official capacity, the defendant in a proposed class action lawsuit alleging the FAA, despite a directive ordering the contrary, has been “exacting money and personal data illegally” from model aircraft hobbyists expressly exempted by Congress from FAA regulatory oversight.

The alleged violations of the federal Little Tucker Act stem from the FAA’s requirement for hobbyists to register certain model aircrafts used for recreational purposes with the agency. The 10-page case seeks to require the FAA to:

  • Refund the $5 registration fee paid by every proposed class member
  • Destroy all records pertaining to each proposed class member
  • Remove any reference to each proposed class member’s registration
  • Cover all litigation costs and attorneys’ fees

The complaint cites a May 19, 2017 ruling from the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia vacating the FAA’s 2015 registration rule. Despite this, that same day the FAA issued a press release saying it would continue its model aircraft registration program. 

Those covered by the lawsuit include all model aircraft owners who registered their device(s) with the FAA.

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