This week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)  announced its Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Support Center Case Management System (CMS), designed to streamline how industry stakeholders’ questions are answered and provide responses in a more timely manner. This new process will use a Contact Customer Support form that allows the public as well as stakeholders to submit their questions to the FAA and more easily obtain the appropriate answer or information necessary to operate drones safely and in accordance with FAA regulations. Inquiries must include the stakeholder’s name, preferred method of communications, email address, phone number, zip code, and type of UAS so that the Support Center Analysts can more efficiently answer the specific question or concern. This is yet another step towards more widespread integration of drones into the national airspace. For the FAA and stakeholders, ease (and speed) of communication is key to success.

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 final rules for unmanned aircrafts (or drones) for remote identification and the operation of drones at night and above people.

The Remote Identification Rule (Remote ID Rule)  will allow operators of small drones to fly over people and at night under certain conditions. The FAA hopes that these rules will support technological and operational innovation and advancement.

Remote ID provides identification of drones in flight as well as the location of their local control stations, which will provide important information for national security agencies and law enforcement. The Remote ID Rule will apply to all operators of drones that require FAA registration. There are three ways that an operator can comply with the Remote ID Rule:

  1. Operate a standard Remote ID drone that broadcasts identification and location information of the drone and control station;
  2. Operate a drone with a Remote ID broadcast module (may be a separate device attached to the drone), which broadcasts identification, location, and take-off information; or
  3. Operate a drone without Remote ID but at specific FAA-recognized identification areas.

The Operations Over People and at Night Rule will apply to Part 107 drone operators. Under Part 107, flights over people and at night are prohibited unless the operator seeks a waiver from the FAA. With this new Rule, the ability to fly over people and moving vehicles will be based on the level of risk that the operation poses on people below. There are four categories of risk, which can be found in the FAA’s execute summary here.

Both Rules will become effective within 60 days of their publication in the Federal Register. The Remote ID Rule has two important deadlines: drone manufacturers will have 18 months to begin producing drones with Remote ID and operators will have an additional year to start using drones with Remote ID.

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

With over 1.7 million drone registrations and 203,000 FAA-certified remote pilots, this industry’s growth is only on the way up.

Easy Aerial, a provider of autonomous drone-based monitoring solutions, deployed its first autonomous drone security system at the Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California this week. This system will provide better surveillance and situational awareness from the skies. The system was developed in conjunction with the U.S. Air Force and consists of two drones – one that flies freely and a tethered drone. The launch of this new security system points towards the need for more effective surveillance in large spaces such as an air base, and the fact that drones can easily (and effectively) fill this need.

The system, the Smart Air Force Monitoring System (SAFMS), is a “drone-in-a-box solution,” which allows the drone to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In its box, the drone can charge in about 35 minutes and is protected from the elements. The tethered drone (SAFMS-T) is similar to the tether-less drone, but has a longer flight time and does not require a wireless connection. The lack of a wireless connection makes it easier to protect against middle-man attacks on the connection.

This system will increase efficiency, provide exceptional security, and increase safety for airmen and other critical assets, all while lessening the effort and resources needed to monitor and secure the base.

Ivan Stamatovski, CTO of Easy Aerial said, “This was a joint effort as we worked closely together from start to finish resulting in a customized solution for the USAF that meets all of their operational desires and requirements, all while providing operational safety to the airmen and assets.” More drone security systems are sure to hit the airspace soon to alleviate the need for on-the-ground security and extension camera-based security systems.