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 have questions about Remote I.D. and how to implement it to you organization then contact the Dunaway Law Group at 623-252-6884 or message us HERE.