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23 January 2020
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FAA proposal of UAS regulation changes
FAA plans Remote IDs for all flying models

FAA has published the notice of proposal rulemaking (NPRM) for UAS - drones, model aircrafts - as a Christmas gift, on 26th December last year. AMA calls all affected people to have their voices and to send a formal comment against these changes.

FAA proposal of UAS regulation changes

FAA plans to introduce three implementations of future model and drone flying in order to the new Remote ID.

  1. Standard Remote ID requires the aircraft broadcasting its position and ID continuously, and the data has to be submitted on Internet as well.
  2. Limited Remote ID requires aircrafts not flying more than 400 feet from the control station and remaining in visual line of sight the sending of the position and ID on Internet only.
  3. FAA recognised identification areas and activities there will be exempt of sending or broadcasting positions. FAA approval to be valid for four years.

In addition the current regulation will change, and all aircrafts have to be registered individually. For both the Standard and Limited categories even the serial number of the aircraft has to be registered. The whole proposal is available here in PDF format.

AMA calls everyone to submit a formal comment on the proposal by 2nd of March.

Our understanding

This act could hit the entire modelling badly in the United States. The only way to continue the recreational model flying activity and even the sport flying will be the FAA recognised identification areas - alias model airfields, all other variations are way more difficult and impossible in many circumstances.

Although the the U.S. pilots can manage to fit these requirements, but all international events (like IRCHA) can damage, falling back from an international level to a states level without a vice versa recognition with other states. Which international pilot will go through a difficult registration process for flying 5 times in a year during one weekend?

However, this route is clear, intentions behind these changes are obvious: FAA is clearing the airspace up for commercial model flying. The airspace under 400' AGL will be provided primarily for industrial done activities, there's no room for playing anymore. Amazon, UPS were among the first companies trying to push drone delivery services through these legal frameworks, this is happening now. These industrial drones have to know the exact, momentary locations of all models and other drones for delivering parcels safe. These changes will go through even though the resistance is huge from the model flyers, because the community faces big businesses rather than FAA. And no doubt which one will win. The only question, how much they will win. 

Manned aircraft not affected apparently, but even the sport and hobby manned aircraft pilot communities can see the next level, affecting them badly as well. There are many form of manned flying in the United States, which don't require even license not mentioning transponders or other technical requirements yet. But this status quo can change quickly, when the drone operation become more popular in industrial format and the airspace above 500' will be required as well.