Real ID Act

The FAA just issued new rules for small unmanned aircraft remote ID and flight over people.

New Rule on Remote ID of Unmanned Aircraft

There are three options for unmanned aircraft (UA): 1. Standard Remote ID with broadcast directly from the UA, 2. Remote ID Broadcast Module as a separate broadcast device on the UA, and 3. FAA-Recognized Identification Areas (FRIA) where UAs without Remote ID can fly.

Option 1: Standard Remote ID

  • Broadcasts remote ID messages directly from the UA via radio frequency broadcast (likely Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology)
  • The broadcast will be compatible with existing personal wireless devices.
  • Standard Remote ID message includes:
    • UA ID (serial number of UA or session ID);
    • Latitude/longitude, altitude, and velocity of UA;
    • Latitude/longitude and altitude of the Control Station; 
    • Emergency status; 
    • A time mark.
  • Remote ID message will be available to most personal wireless devices within range of the UA’s broadcast.
  • However, correlating the serial number or session ID with the registration database will be limited to the FAA and can be made available to authorized law enforcement and national security personnel upon request.
  • The range of the remote ID broadcast may vary, as each UA must be designed to maximize the range at which the broadcast can be received.

Option 2: UA with Remote ID Broadcast Module

  • Broadcast Module may be a separate device that is attached to an unmanned aircraft, or a feature built into the aircraft.
  • Enables retrofit for existing UA, and Broadcast Module serial number must be entered into the registration record for the unmanned aircraft.
  • Broadcast Module Remote ID message includes:
    • Serial number of the module;
    • Latitude/longitude, altitude, and velocity of UA;
    • Latitude/longitude and altitude of the take-off location, and time mark.
    • UA remotely identifying with a Broadcast Module must be operated within visual line of sight at all times.
  • Broadcast Module to broadcast via radio frequency (Wi-Fi or Bluetooth).
  • Compatibility with personal wireless devices and range of the Remote ID Broadcast Module message similar to Standard Remote ID UA.

Option 3: FAA-Recognized Identification Areas (FRIA)

  • Geographic areas recognized by the FAA where unmanned aircraft not equipped with Remote ID are allowed to fly.
  • Organizations eligible to apply for the establishment of a FRIA include community-based organizations recognized by the Administrator, for example the Academy of Model Aeronautics. Additionally, primary and secondary educational institutions, trade schools, colleges, and universities may apply to establish a FRIA.
  • Must operate within visual line of sight and only within the boundaries of an FRIA.
  • The FAA will begin accepting applications for FRIAs 18 months after the effective date of the rule, and applications may be submitted at any time after that.
  • FRIA authorizations will be valid for 48 months, may be renewed, and may be terminated by the FAA for safety or security reasons.  

Design and Production Rules for Manufacturers

  • Most unmanned aircraft must be produced as Standard Remote ID Unmanned Aircraft and meet the requirements of this rule beginning 18 months after the effective date of the rule.
  • Remote ID Broadcast modules must be produced to meet the requirements of the rule before they can be used.
  • The final rule establishes minimum performance requirements describing the desired outcomes, goals, and results for remote identification without establishing a specific means or process.
  • A person designing or producing a standard UA or broadcast module must show that the UA or broadcast module met the performance requirements of the rule by following an FAA-accepted means of compliance.
  • Under the rule, anyone can create a means of compliance. However, the FAA must accept that means of compliance before it can be used for the design or production of any standard remote identification UA or remote identification broadcast module.
  • FAA encourages consensus standards bodies to develop means of compliance and submit them to the FAA for acceptance.
  • Highlights of Standard Remote ID UA Performance Requirements:
    • UA must self-test so UA cannot takeoff if Remote ID is not functioning
    • Remote ID cannot be disabled by the operator
    • Remote ID Broadcast must be sent over unlicensed Radio Frequency spectrum (receivable by personal wireless devices, ex: Wi-Fi or Bluetooth)
    • Standard Remote ID UA and Remote ID Broadcast Modules must be designed to maximize the range at which the broadcast can be received.  

Other Provisions in the Remote ID Final Rule

  • No Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out or Air Traffic Control (ATC) Transponders
  • However, ADS-B Out & ATC transponder authorization is likely for large UAS operating in controlled airspace.
  • Operators can seek special authorization to operate UA without remote identification for the purpose of aeronautical research or to show compliance with regulations.
  • UA registered in a foreign country can be operated in the United States only if the operator files a notice of identification with the FAA.

Major Changes from Proposed Rule to Final Remote ID Rule

  • Network-based / Internet transmission requirements have been eliminated. The final rule contains Broadcast-only requirements. 
  • UAS operators under the Exception for Limited Recreational Operations may continue to register with the FAA once, rather than registering each aircraft. However, each Standard UA or Broadcast Module serial number must also be entered into the registration record for the unmanned aircraft.
  • “Limited Remote ID UAS” has been eliminated and replaced with Remote ID Broadcast Module requirements to enable existing UA to comply. 
  • Educational institutions may now apply for FRIAs as well as community-based organizations.

Final Rule on Operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Over People

The new rule allows routine operations over people and routine operations at night under certain circumstances! The rule will eliminate the need for those operations to receive individual Part 107 waivers from the FAA.

The final rule establishes four new categories of small unmanned aircraft for routine operations over people. It also allows for routine operations over moving vehicles.

Category 1

  • Eligible small unmanned aircraft must weigh less than 0.55 pounds and contain no exposed rotating parts that would lacerate human skin.
  • Operations over people:
    • No exposed rotating parts that would lacerate human skin.
    • Operation prohibited in sustained flight over open-air assemblies unless the operation meets the requirements for standard remote identification or remote identification broadcast modules established in the Remote ID Final Rule.

Category 2

  • Eligible small unmanned aircraft must not cause injury to a human being that is equivalent to or greater than the severity of injury caused by a transfer of 11 foot-pounds of kinetic energy upon impact from a rigid object, 
  • Does not contain any exposed rotating parts that could lacerate human skin upon impact with a human being, 
  • Does not contain any safety defects. 
  • Requires FAA-accepted means of compliance and FAA-accepted declaration of compliance.
  • Operations over people:
    • No operation in sustained flight over open-air assemblies unless the operation meets the requirements for standard remote identification or remote identification broadcast modules established in the Remote ID Final Rule.
    • Requires means of compliance and declaration of compliance by the applicant.

Category 3 

  • Eligible small unmanned aircraft must not cause injury to a human being that is equivalent to or greater than the severity of injury caused by a transfer of 25 foot-pounds of kinetic energy upon impact from a rigid object, 
  • Does not contain any exposed rotating parts that could lacerate human skin upon impact with a human being, 
  • Does not contain any safety defects. 
  • Requires FAA-accepted means of compliance and FAA-accepted declaration of compliance.
  • Operations over people:
    • No operation over open-air assemblies of human beings.
    • May only operate if one of the following conditions met:
      • The operation is within or over a closed- or restricted-access site and all human beings located within the site must be on notice that a small unmanned aircraft may fly over them
      • The UA does not maintain sustained flight over any human being unless that human being is directly participating in the operation of the small UA; or located under a covered structure or inside a stationary vehicle that can provide reasonable protection from a falling small unmanned aircraft.

Category 4 

  • Eligible small unmanned aircraft must have an airworthiness certificate issued under Part 21 of FAA regulations
  • Must be operated in accordance with the operating limitations specified in the approved Flight Manual or as otherwise specified by the Administrator. 
  • The operating limitations must not prohibit operations over human beings.
  • Must have maintenance, preventive maintenance, alterations, or inspections performed in accordance with specific requirements in the final rule.
  • Operations over people:
    • No sustained flight over open-air assemblies unless the operation meets the requirements of standard remote identification or remote identification broadcast modules established in the Remote ID Final Rule.

Operations at night 

  • Remote pilots in command must complete either the updated initial test or the updated recurrent online training.
  • The small UA must be equipped with operational anti-collision lights that can be seen for 3 statute miles and have a flash rate sufficient to avoid a collision. 

Operations over moving vehicles

  • Must be Category 1, Category 2, and Category 3, eligible to operate over people, may not maintain sustained flight over moving vehicles; transit operations only.
  • Throughout the operation, the small unmanned aircraft:
    • Must remain within or over a closed- or restricted-access site, and all human beings located inside a moving vehicle within the closed- or restricted-access site must be on notice that a small unmanned aircraft may fly over them; 
    • Or must not maintain sustained flight over moving vehicles.
  • For a Category 4 operation, the small UA must
    • Have an airworthiness certificate issued under part 21.
    • Be operated in accordance with the operating limitations specified in the approved Flight Manual or as otherwise specified by the Administrator. 
    • The operating limitations must not prohibit operations over human beings located inside moving vehicles.

Remote Pilot knowledge test changes

  • The final rule updates the initial Remote Pilot knowledge test to include night subject areas. 
  • The final rule replaces the requirement to complete an in-person recurrent test every 24 calendar months. The updated requirement is for remote pilots to complete online recurrent training which will include night subject areas. 
  • The online recurrent training will be offered free of charge to remote pilots.  

Inspection, testing, and demonstration of compliance

  • A remote pilot in command, owner, or person manipulating the flight controls of a small unmanned aircraft system must:
    • Have in that person’s physical possession the remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating and identification
    • Present his certificate and identification upon a request from the FAA, NTSB, TSA, or any Federal, state, or local law enforcement officer. Wow! It is very interesting that local police officers will now be able to ask a UA pilot for their credentials.
    • Make available, upon request, to the FAA any document, record, or report required to be kept under FAA regulations.
    • Upon request, must allow the FAA to test or inspect the small unmanned aircraft system, the remote pilot in command, the person manipulating the flight controls of a small unmanned aircraft system, and, if applicable, the visual observer to determine compliance with the rule.  

Design and Production Rules for Manufacturers

  • Some existing Category 1 small unmanned aircraft may meet the performance-based requirements to be eligible for Category 1 operations over people of this rule beginning the effective date of the rule (Those that have already been produced with propeller guards/shrouds that prevent the blades from causing laceration to human skin upon impact).
  • Manufacturers may bring to market retrofit propeller guards to install on existing small unmanned aircraft to make them eligible for Category 1 operations over people beginning after effective date of this rule.
  • Some existing small unmanned aircraft may meet the performance-based requirements to be eligible for Category 2 operations over people of this rule once FAA-accepted MOC and DOC are received.
  • Small unmanned aircraft may meet the performance-based requirements for Category 2 of this rule upon FAA-Accepted MOC/DOC 9-12 months after the effective date of this rule.
  • Small unmanned aircraft may meet the performance-based requirements for Category 3 of this rule upon FAA-Accepted MOC/DOC 9-12 months after the effective date of this rule.
  • Category 4 small unmanned aircraft for operations over people may receive an airworthiness certificate beginning 6-12 months after the effective date of this rule.  

Major Changes from Proposed Rule to Final Rule

  • Category 1 small unmanned aircraft cannot have any exposed rotating parts that would lacerate human skin.
  • Category 1, Category 2, and Category 4 [sic] remote pilots are prohibited from operating a small unmanned aircraft in sustained flight over open-air assemblies unless the operation meets the requirements of standard remote identification or remote identification broadcast modules established in the Remote ID Final Rule.
  • Added a Category 4 of small unmanned aircraft that may be eligible for operations over people and moving vehicles.
  • Allow operations over moving vehicles.
  • Remote pilot, owner, or person manipulating the controls must have in their physical possession and readily available their remote pilot certificate.

If you would like help obtaining waivers or have questions about the new FAA final rules then contact the UAS Law Center at 623-252-6884 or message us HERE.

FAA Waiver Statistics

The FAA has Granted more than 4000 Part 107 Waivers

INCREASED FAA APPROVAL OF UAS WAIVERS

Since the implementation of Part 107 of title 14 of the code of Federal Regulations, also known as the small unmanned aircraft systems UAS rule. It created a regulatory framework that enabled civilian and commercial operators of UAS. UAS weighing 55 lbs. or less.

Generally, Part 107 requires operators to fly under 400 feet above ground level, within visual line of sight (VLOS) and only during daylight hours. UAS operators who want to fly outside the requirements of Part 107, such as to conduct beyond line of sight or nighttime operations, may request a waiver from the FAA.

Almost four years later, the FAA has granted more than 4000 waivers to UAS pilots in all 50 states. The number of FAA waivers granted per quarter reached an initial peak in the beginning of 2017 as pilots vied to be the first to fly under these new regulations. However, as the FAA worked through the backlog, the approval rate rapidly declined by the end of the year since then, the number of waivers issued per quarter has steadily increased with a historic peak in the first quarter of 2020.

MAJORITY OF WAIVERS ALLOW UAS FLIGHTS AT NIGHT

Almost 95% of currently active waivers enable UAS flights at night. The other 5% allow more advanced flight profiles like those over people, in excess of 100 mph, higher than 400 feet above ground level, under limited flight visibility, or with decreased distance relative to clouds.

FAA waivers can also modify the ground control requirements, thus enabling an operator to concurrently control multiple UAS, to fly without the required visual observer support to control the aircraft from a moving vehicle. Waivers are granted to “responsible individuals” who may or may not be linked to an associated organization on the waiver permit. Nearly 57% of waivers are granted to an individual with an associated organization. Businesses that operate UAS for financial gain are categorized as service organizations and account for over 72% of waivers granted to individuals associated with an organization many of these businesses offer aerial imaging solutions for a range of applications including real estate, landscape photography, infrastructure inspections, and agriculture environmental surveys.

MAJORITY OF WAIVERS ARE FOR FIRST RESPONDERS OR SMALL COMPANIES

First responders comprise 19% of the organizations granted waivers most of which enable nighttime operations for search and rescue or firefighting. More than 87% of entities granted a Part 107 exemption generate less than $1,000,000 in annual revenue. As such, it is important that the waiver process be standardized and easy to navigate to ensure that small businesses with minimal resources are able to take advantage of the benefits enabled by advanced operations.

If your organization needs a Part 107 Waiver then contact the Unmanned Aviation Systems Law Center at 623-252-6884 or message us HERE.

Government Risk in Space

What is the American Government’s Risk Exposure to Private Space Launches?

Under the “Convention on the International liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects” (the “Convention”) the United States faces liability for damage caused by any “object” launched from American soil, even if launched by private entity.

The preamble to the Convention states:
Recognizing the need to elaborate effective international rules and procedures concerning liability for damage caused by space objects and to ensure, in particular, the prompt payment under the terms of this Convention of a full and equitable measure of compensation to victims of such damage,

Believing that the establishment of such rules and procedures will contribute to the strengthening of international co-operation in the field of the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.

space x rocket crashes
Space X SN9 exploded on impact during an attempted landing.

The pertinent Articles of the Convention state:
Article I. For the purposes of this Convention:
(c) The term “launching State” means: (ii) a state from whose territory or facility a space object is launched.

Article II.
A launching State shall be absolutely liable to pay compensation for damage caused by its space object on the surface of the earth or to aircraft in flight.

Article VIII.
A State which suffers damage, or whose natural or juridical persons suffer damage, may present to a launching State a claim for compensation for such damage.

The plain language of the Convention makes it clear that the U.S. government is liable for damage caused by any object launched into space from its soil—even if the object was launched by a private entity!

In 1978 a faulty Soviet Union satellite prematurely reentered the atmosphere causing radioactive debris to scatter over northern Canada. This accident was an environmental disaster and required extensive cleanup that became known as Operation Morning Light. Canada billed the Soviet Union a little more than C$6M of which they eventually paid C$3 million.

Unintended Consequences

As the cost of launching objects into space decreases, the number of launches by private entities will continue to increase. For instance, there are dozens of small, privately held companies that have launched hundreds of satellites into space. Additionally, companies are preparing to launch civilians into space. As the number of launches increase, so do the odds of an accident for which the U.S. government would be responsible. I do not believe that signatories to the Convention intended to be liable for the actions of individuals who launched objects from their soil and so a change needs to be made. Private Unmanned Aviation Systems insurance should be required by the FAA.

Conclusion

This issue is relevant to every country in the world, whether they are launching objects into space or not and either a change needs to be made or a conscientious decision to take on the risk must be made.

Contact the Dunaway Law Group for help with your UAS needs at 623-252-6884 or message us HERE.

ICAO and RPAS

ICAO is in a research and information gathering stage so they can better understand UAS, how it should be managed and ultimately integrated into international airspace. “The safe integration of UAS [RPAS] into non-segregated airspace is a long-term activity with many stakeholders adding their expertise on such diverse topics as licensing and medical qualification of remote pilots, technologies for detect and avoid systems, frequency spectrum, separation standards from other aircraft and development of a robust regulatory framework”. 

An example of ICAO’s intent to research Unmanned Aviation Systems came in 2013, during the 38th Session of the assembly, when the Republic of Korea presented working paper, which stated that there was a need for further legal research and examination of remotely piloted aircraft liability matters in light of the increasing use of UAS. Additionally, they proposed the organization of a study group similar to the Unmanned Aircraft System Study Group (UASSG), to examine and conduct legal research on liability issues related to UAS

While several delegations expressed their support for the Republic of Korea’s proposal there was one delegation who dissented, noting that A38-WP/262 did not adequately establish the need for new law relative to Unmanned Aviation Systems that two recent Conventions adopted by ICAO in 2009 already address the liability concerns raised in Republic of Korea’s paper. The concerns raised by the dissenting delegation were shared by a number of other delegations who then questions the creation of a study group as either unnecessary or premature. Another delegation then seconded this approach and decided that further preliminary research was needed to establish the need for and possible program of a prospective study group.

A brief recap of the situation with  the Republic of Korea’s working paper A38-WP/391, was they proposed the organization of a study group to conduct legal research on Unmanned Aircraft System’s liability, discussion was held regarding the proposal, various delegations expressed different levels of support, “further preliminary research was needed to establish the need for and possible program of a prospective study group”. The Commission further agreed that this topic should be added as a new item on the Work Program of the Legal Committee. In essence the “can was kicked down the road”. It was decided they need more time to decide if they should create a study group. These are the type of scenarios that will kill the international Unmanned Aviation Systems from reaching its potential.  

As noted in the recently published Manual on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (MRPAS), “remotely piloted aircraft systems are a new component of the civil aviation system… Which the International Civil Aviation Organization, States and the industry are working to understand, define and ultimately integrate.” The MRPAS also noted that, “civil aviation has, to this point, been based on the notion of a pilot operating the aircraft from within the aircraft itself and more often than not with passengers on board.” I agree with this statement 100% that the regulations put in place make sense for manned aircraft but not cutting edge technology that has never been considered before. The groundwork already provided by ICAO is a great platform for starting a new way of handling remotely piloted aircraft.

ICAO’S Mission and Unmanned Aircraft Systems–  

ICAO is aware of the coming changes to aircraft and has started preparing committees and have drafted a Manual to address the coming technology. The RPAS panel officially formalized its efforts in November 2014 and recently created a manual on remotely piloted aircraft systems but it has nevertheless struggled to keep pace with the technological advancements and demands of this extending sector of the aviation industry. The newly created manual states, “most importantly, introduction of RPAS into non-segregated airspace should in no way increase safety risks to manned aircraft.” Id.

Which leads the RPAS, reinforced this when he expressed the need for a new way of addressing development and cooperation, including the lessons learned from Civil Aviation. Mr. Creamer explained that “relatively simple standards” had taken the ICAO “25 years to develop and implement across the globe,” adding that “we don’t have that kind of time with RPAS because the technology simply has outpaced us.” In the 10-year period since the present and foreseen situations and potential were first broached and discussed at an international level, member states have continued to apply differing requirements and obligations on operators.

ICAO’s Modification to the Chicago Convention

Some of the Articles of the Chicago Convention when applied to traditional manned aircraft give us a standard of uniformity but some of those same requirements applied to RPA can lead to absurd results. For instance, Article 20 of the Chicago Convention, requires any aircraft engaged in international navigation to bear its appropriate nationality and registration marks. Acknowledging that remotely piloted aircraft sizes and designs can differ significantly from those of current manned aircraft, standards have been adopted in Annex 7 aircraft nationality and registration marks, to accommodate these differences. 

If aircraft do not possess the components mentioned in Annex 7, or the parts are not of sufficient size to accommodate the marks described in 5:1.1, 5:2.1 or 5:3.2, the state of registry shall determine the location and measurement of nationality or common marks and registration marks, taking account of the need for the aircraft to be identified readily. ICAO requires all civilian aircraft to have an identification plate near the main entrance to the fuselage. However, many remotely piloted aircraft may not have a main entrance to the fuselage. Therefore, Annex 7 mandates that the State of Registry determine the appropriate location to secure the identification plate: a) in a prominent position near the main entrance or compartment; or b) affixed conspicuously to the exterior of the aircraft if there is no main entrance or compartment.

The Dunaway Law Group, helps organizations maintain regulatory compliance with all FAA rules and regulations. We can be contacted at 623-252-6884 or message us HERE.

UAS Insurance Required

Currently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) doesn’t require insurance for drone operators in the United States. However, drone insurance is something you should seriously consider limiting your risk exposure.

Two basic Type of Commercial Drone Insurance– There are two basic forms of drone insurance; 1) insurance that protects the actual drone, in case you crash it! 2) insurance that protects you if the drone you are piloting crashes into another person, or their property is damaged.

Hull Insurance– “Hull insurance” covers damage to the drone itself. Hull insurance becomes more and more important as the cost of UAV’s – Drones continues to skyrocket. For instance, a Cinema company, Brain Farm, spent nearly $250,000 developing its own drone! In other words, Hull Insurance provides protection for physical damage to your drone in the event that you crash it!

Liability Insurance– Liability insurance covers damage caused to a third-party by your drone, including bodily injury and property damage. Liability insurance is usually required by companies setting up an in-house operation. Many companies also require service providers to show proof of liability insurance before contracting drone outside services.

The first step: determine if the drone is either owned or not owned by your company.

For non-owned drone operations you should secure a Non-owned UAS liability policy. This type of policy provides contingent third-party liability coverage. UAS liability insurance offers coverage for a third-party bodily injury or property damage claim arising from the use of the drone on your behalf. The drone operator’s policy serves as the primary layer of insurance (the first layer to respond to the claim), while the drone pilot’s insurance will act as an excess layer, providing back-up insurance.

For example, let’s say you hire a drone operator to film for you and the drone crashes, causing a personal injury or property damage to a 3rd party (perhaps a bystander) that sues you for those damages. For drone pilots who own the drone they are piloting they should seek a Hull and liability policy. This policy provides third party liability coverage (like the non-owned policy), however, it will not be contingent. Your policy will be the first level of protection against a claim.

Aircraft Insurance Policies — claims or suits that arise out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of aircraft are generally excluded under the standard commercial general liability forms. Businesses that elect to use private aircraft in their operations must purchase specialty insurance to cover their aircraft liability loss exposure: aircraft liability coverage or stand-alone non-owned aircraft liability and perhaps excess aircraft liability coverage as well. Coverage for third-party aircraft liability is often provided, which also includes hull (physical damage) and medical payments coverages.

Confused by commercial UAS insurance and how it should be incorporated into your business? Contact the Dunaway Law Group by phone at 623-252-6884 or message us HERE.