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  • Charl Jooste

Exciting new developments from the FAA including Remote ID, night flying, and flying over people

Photo by Fahrul Azmi on Unsplash

The FAA has had a busy and productive year and they are ending with a bang. On 28 December 2020, they announced two groundbreaking developments in drone or UA (Unmanned Aircraft) regulations. The new rules have been in development for some time and cover remote identification (Remote ID) and will allow for night flights as well as flights over people.

The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), part of the U.S. Department of Transportation made the announcement from Washington and will improve drone freedom and innovation while increasing safety for all parties. It is a tough balancing act to ensure the safety of the air while allowing progress in this rapidly growing field.

To date, the FAA has registered more than 1.7 million drones as well as certifying more than 203, 000 remote pilots. Drones represent the fastest growing area of transportation and the FAA has made numerous significant advancements in the past year.

Remote ID has been in discussion and development for a while and will ensure maximum safety while still allowing development and increased freedom. This will further help to boost growth and expansion in this critical area.

The FAA drafted the use of the innovative technology earlier in 2020 and the final rules were only expected in 2021. It gives authorities a clear idea of who and what is active in a particular air space at any given time. It is set to become a standard for all drones. While many might feel that this inhibits freedom, the increased safety will promote growth and innovation while ensuring other aircraft, people, and property are safe.

Elaine L. Chao, U.S. Secretary of Transportation explains, “These final rules carefully address safety, security and privacy concerns while advancing opportunities for innovation and utilization of drone technology.”

Remote ID allows drones to integrate into the national airspace. They can now be part of the system and not “outsiders”. This is part of a plan the FAA has had in place for a while and adds to earlier progress by them and the drone industry in this regard.

Before this ruling, night flights and flights over people were prohibited under FFA regulations (part 107). One could only perform these operations with an FAA waiver. This technology will allow for more options and greater flexibility in drone flights.

Steve Dickson, FAA Administrator added, “The new rules make way for the further integration of drones into our airspace by addressing safety and security concerns. They get us closer to the day when we will more routinely see drone operations such as the delivery of packages.”

There are still restrictions that apply to night flights and flying over people and these are related to the risk involved. There are four categories and you can see more details here.

For now, you can still operate without Remote ID in FAA-recognized zones but this could well change in the future. It is best that all serious drone operators get on board as soon as possible to enjoy the benefits and ensure safety.

If you want to find out more about the regulations you can view details on the FAA website, mail them, or call 844-FLY-MY-UA.

Regulations are necessary for the safe and effective growth of the drone industry and hats off to the FAA for fast-tracking these important rules. We look forward to even more progress in 2021.



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