Drone Regulation: Commercial v. Recreational Use?

Drone Regulation: Commercial v. Recreational Use?

Gregory S. McNeal, Associate Professor of Law and Public Policy at Pepperdine School of Law, explains the FAA’s distinction between the commercial and the recreational use of drones, questioning whether or not this distinction is important.

As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.

Related Links:

Professor McNeal’s website:


Press Release – FAA Announces Small UAS Registration Rule

How the popular use of drones in Philadelphia creates problems for users

Know before you Fly website:

Why You Should Fully Support the New FAA Drone Regulations: http://www.outsideonline.com/2038621/faa-task-force-releases-its-drone-registration-recommendations

New York Times article concerning drone registration:

Wall Street Journal Article, Regulators Weigh Satellite Tracking for Delivery Drones:

Washington Post Article:


  1. Random G on April 20, 2022 at 6:16 pm

    Why the downvotes? This guy is attempting to defend the drone flyers who want to make money and filter out the unskilled risks from the responsible pilots regardless of profit! Who is against that?!

  2. Alex J on April 20, 2022 at 6:51 pm

    You need to pass an FAA UAS remote pilots test. its $150. There is no requirement to be certified to fly a manned aerial vehicle to be able to fly drones commercially

  3. Thomas Jones on April 20, 2022 at 6:57 pm

    @TheFederalistSociety While the commercial/recreational distinction may not be logical, this video inaccurately states that the FAA requires commercial users to know how to "land a manned aircraft." That wasn’t the law when this video was published, and the Reauthorization Act of 2018 didn’t add any such requirement. Professor McNeal’s argument is well taken, but he risks losing credibility with inaccurate hyperbole. Sincerely, -Proud FedSoc Member

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