The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given drone pilots a six-month extension to comply with the broadcast requirement of the rule on Remote ID. The deadline had been September 16, 2023, but now the FAA won’t take legal action before March 16, 2024.
What’s the Remote ID rule?
As drone usage increases, the FAA is working to ensure that they are operated safely as part of the National Airspace System. One aspect of this is the rule on Remote ID. A drone with Remote ID broadcasts a signal which provides identification and location information. This signal can be received by other air users via the broadcast signal. Remote ID also acts like a digital license plate so the FAA or law enforcement agencies can identify a drone flying in an unsafe manner or where it is not allowed to fly.
How do you comply?
Whether you operate a drone commercially or just recreationally, you need to comply with the rule. It’s been a requirement since September 2022 for manufacturers to build Remote ID broadcast capability into new drones. So, if you bought your drone since then, you’re good to go. However, for older drones, you need to buy a separate Remote ID broadcast module. You also need to always maintain a visual line of sight if you are using this type of module.
Are there any exemptions?
There are certain defined areas, known as FAA-recognized identification areas (FRIAs), where you can operate a drone without Remote ID. FRIAs must be approved by the FAA, however. In addition, it’s important to note that the requirement for Remote ID only applies to drones that need to be registered. This means that if your drone weighs less than 250 g, and you are only flying it recreationally, then the rule doesn’t apply.
What happens if you don’t comply?
If you fly a drone which needs Remote ID you need to ensure that it complies by March 16, 2024. If you don’t and continue to fly, then the FAA can take action against you and you could be fined. You could also have your pilot certificate suspended or even revoked. If you aren’t sure whether or not your drone already complies with the rule on Remote ID, you can check the FAA Declaration of Compliance.
What we think
The rule comes from the FAA wanting to ensure that drones are flown safely. However, there have been a number of problems for drone pilots who want to comply. The first is that manufacturers haven’t been able to make enough Remote ID broadcast modules for people who need to retrofit them to their drones. In addition, the FAA is behind schedule on approving FRIAs. The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) says that only 700 sites have been approved. There are also around 800 are still waiting to be considered. Hopefully, the 6-month extension will be enough for manufacturers and the FAA to catch up.