The Federal Aviation Administration released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on the remote identification of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or drones) in late December. The NPRM also concerns the ability of people on the ground to determine the identity of an unmanned aircraft in flight. The FAA seeks public input on the proposals.
The rulemaking is expected to be hugely consequential for the UAS industry, according to the Wiley Rein law firm.
In a client note, it says security concerns about the inability to identify UAS in flight have caused considerable delay of the FAA’s regulatory agenda to revise its Part 107 rules. Those rules enable expanded commercial UAS operations including flights over people, at night, and beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). The proposal impacts the tower industry, as more companies use drones to conduct initial tower climbs.
The NPRM proposes to subject drone operators and manufacturers to remote ID requirements. The proposal establishes two categories —“standard remote ID” and “limited remote ID.” Standard remote ID would publish information about the aircraft and control station using both RF broadcasting and via the internet to a Remote ID UAS Service Supplier (USS). UAS equipped with standard remote ID could operate BVLOS with FAA authorization. Part 107 prohibits BVLOS operations without an FAA waiver.
Limited remote ID would publish the remote ID message only to a USS, and the UAS would need to be operated within visual line of sight. The remote ID messages would contain: (1) the UAS ID (serial number of UAS or session ID); (2) latitude/longitude and altitude of the control station; and (3) time stamp. The standard remote ID systems would be required to provide the location of the aircraft. The NPRM also proposes to allow UAS that are not equipped with remote ID to operate in specially designated areas, according to Wiley Rein.
Manufacturers would need to equip UAS with remote ID using an FAA-approved means of compliance, issue each UAS a serial number, label the aircraft with the proper remote ID capability, and submit a declaration of compliance to the FAA.
Public comments (to docket # FAA-2019-1100) are due on or before March 2. Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions.
January 6, 2020