The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Remote ID rule for drones (Part 89) became effective on April 21, 2021. Part 89 will likely increase commercial drone operations while promoting safety and security. With the drone industry predicted to grow to $63.6 billion by 2025 (particularly in agriculture, construction and mining, insurance, telecommunications, and law enforcement), new regulations such as Part 89 are vital to maintaining that momentum.

As I previously wrote, Part 89 includes new operating requirements for drone operators, including a requirement to operate only unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) that meet the remote identification design and production standards set out in the rule, and contains three (3) remote identification classifications:

  • Standard Remote Identification: Requires the UAS to transmit identification and location information to an FAA-contracted UAS Service Supplier (USS) and locally broadcast that information in unrestricted, unprotected Bluetooth signals. The FAA plans to leverage the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) system that it is currently using to provide authorization for drones to fly in restricted airspace.
  • Limited Remote Identification: Requires the UAS to transmit identification and location to an FAA-contracted USS only, but is applicable only to visual-line-of-sight operations occurring within 400 feet of the operator.
  • No Remote Identification: Drones would not be required to transmit remote identification when operating within an FAA-Recognized Identification area (FRIA), the designation of which can be requested by community-based organizations, such as model aircraft clubs and associations.

The production and design rules are effective as of September 16, 2022 (with a few exceptions). The operational requirements are effective as of September 16, 2023.

While many of these new requirements will mainly affect drone operators, manufacturers will need to take the most action to comply with the production and design rules over the next year. We’ll watch the progress of these rules and the implementation closely over the next few months.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an $182,000 fine to a drone pilot for multiple (continued) violations of Part 107 -at least 26 violations to be more precise. Between December 2019 and August 2020, the drone pilot flew his drone around Philadelphia in violation of FAA regulations, sometimes violating more than one part of the regulations during a single flight. Before issuing the fine, the FAA sent a warning letter in October 2019. In November 2019, the FAA provided the drone pilot with counseling and education regarding requirements for safe drone operations.

The drone pilot put a number of videos on YouTube showing screenshots of the ground control station that has all sorts of things like altitude, the drone’s distance from the pilot, the drone’s location on a map, direction of flight, and other information. The FAA was able to use these videos to prosecute this individual.

Part 107 requires operators to obtain an authorization for Class B, C, D, or E2 controlled airspace. All authorizations are done through the FAA’s Drone Zone portal or through LAANC. If there are no authorizations through those means in Philadelphia at the time of the video footage, then the FAA knows that the drone pilot did not fly in accordance with Part 107. Additionally, accordingly to the FAA the drone pilot also committed the following violations:

  • Drone flights at night, “in heavy fog” and “while it was raining,” “while it was snowing,” and “during strong winds.” (Part 107 prohibits night flying and flying with visibility less than 3 statute miles).
  • Multiple drone flights that were very close to multiple buildings and structures. (Part 107 does not allow you to cause undue hazard to people’s property if a loss of control were to happen for any reason during the drone operation).
  • Some of the flights were over the Philadelphia downtown area over moving vehicles and people. (Part 107 prohibits flying over people and, as noted above, prohibits causing undue hazard to people on the ground).
  • The drone pilot did not have a remote pilot certification.

Overall, the FAA alleges that the pilot violated 12 Part 17 regulations over 26 different flights, with each subsection of Part 107 a separate violation. The lesson here -follow Part 107, know the rules and operate safely. Happy flying.