Publication of a new federal aviation regulation, Part 89, and the concurrent, closely related overhaul of Part 107 on January 15 started the clock on major changes to the limits placed on nearly all unmanned aircraft.
Years in the making, this first major overhaul of regulations governing unmanned aircraft will apply those rules to virtually every such aircraft, including drones flown for recreation rather than profit, and traditional radio-controlled model aircraft. By the autumn of 2023, drones unable to broadcast what the FAA often describes as a “digital license plate” will be restricted to flying only in approved areas.The advent of remote identification has long been a prerequisite for scaling up package delivery and other drone missions that have fascinated media and the public, as well as less glamorous missions such as infrastructure inspection. Law enforcement has been pressing for this requirement for years, seeking a tool that can help identify bad actors.
Thousands of AOPA members hold remote pilot certificates (for many, it is their only pilot certificate), and they will now be allowed to conduct night operations without a waiver within weeks, after completing updated training that the FAA will provide online at no charge.
The FAA, in a December 28 news release announcing the final language of two closely related rulemaking efforts, called these much-anticipated rules a “major step toward the full integration of drones into the national airspace system.”
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AOPA was among more than 50,000 organizations and individuals who submitted comments about the proposed rules in 2020, and among many who urged the FAA to reduce the cost of compliance. AOPA strongly supports remote ID of unmanned aircraft, and particularly the FAA’s approach in achieving its safety and security goals without requiring incumbent aviators (manned aircraft) to participate. AOPA welcomed the specific prohibition that bars the vast majority of drones from using ADS-B for remote identification, a feature of the proposed remote identification rule that remains in the final version.
Welcome changes were made, including most of those sought by AOPA, and others. The FAA made it somewhat less cumbersome for organizations to establish FAA-recognized identification areas, or FRIAs, where unmanned aircraft will be allowed to fly without broadcasting identification information after September 16, 2023, when the final provisions of Part 89 take effect.
AOPA Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs Christopher Cooper said AOPA appreciates and supports the hard work by the FAA to develop final rules that reflect many of the changes sought during a public comment period.
“Many of AOPA’s concerns were appropriately addressed, which will provide flexibility and reduced cost to the recreational and Part 107 communities while ensuring the FAA and law enforcement are able to identify noncompliant operators,” Cooper said. “AOPA also strongly supports the explicit prohibition of ADS-B Out for most UAS operations because it may lead to a potential reduction in ADS-B performance for air traffic management and manned aircraft users.”
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Source: Jim Moore
Photo credit: Press