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FAA announces final rules for drone remote ID, overflights

The FAA announced two final rules affecting unmanned aircraft operations, one that will require remote identification of drones and another permitting drone overflights of people and at night without waivers under certain conditions.

A DJI Phantom 4. Photo by Jim Moore.

“These rules come at a time when drones represent the fastest-growing segment in the entire transportation sector—with currently over 1.7 million drone registrations and 203,000 FAA-certificated remote pilots,” the FAA said in a December 28 news release.

“AOPA will report on additional details of the rule in the coming days,” said Christopher Cooper, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs.

AOPA has long participated in a government-industry collaboration to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into the national airspace, serving as an original member of the FAA Drone Advisory Committee, on the FAA Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team, and in numerous organizations developing standards for the industry. We have consistently advocated for developing the benefits that unmanned aircraft systems can provide without increasing risks to manned aviation.

Remote ID identifies drones in flight and the location of their control stations, “providing crucial information to our national security agencies and law enforcement partners, and other officials charged with ensuring public safety,” the FAA announcement said.

The regulations governing overflights increase flexibility for drone operations by allowing certain small UAS operations to proceed without obtaining a waiver, as has been required under Part 107 regulations.

These reforms "get us closer to the day when we will more routinely see drone operations such as the delivery of packages,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson.

Both rules will take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, expected in January. The remote ID rule gives drone manufacturers 18 months to initiate production of remote ID-capable drones. Operators will have an additional year to begin using the equipped drones.

AOPA ePublishing staff

AOPA ePublishing Staff editors are experienced pilots, flight instructors, and aircraft owners who have a passion for bringing you the latest news and AOPA announcements.
Topics: Advocacy, Aircraft Regulation, Unmanned Aircraft

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