Industry expert Yves Morier provides a summarized account of the top 5 most significant developments in rulemaking or related to rulemaking affecting the USA drone industry in the first half of the year, so you can take away the key highlights without having to go through hundreds of pages of regulations.
Yves Morier has 40+ years of experience working in the aviation industry and is a well-renowned expert in safety, airworthiness, UAS and regulations.
Top 5 USA Drone Regulation Updates: June 2021
1. The significant event was the publication by the FAA of their regulations on Remote Identification and Operations over People. The latter also includes requirements to operate by night.
Remote Identification is a key FAA regulation, requiring all new drones to be manufactured with technology allowing them to be remotely identified and located by the FAA and law enforcement agencies.
Operations over People creates requirements for drones to operate over people, including four categories of flight that are allowed based on the possibilities of injuries to bystanders on the ground. It also allows for operations at night, which requires updated training and lights, and opens the possibility of operations over moving vehicles, with added restrictions.
These rules became applicable on April 21.
2. The FAA has modified the requirements relative to Part 107 tests.
2021 PART 107 TEST CHANGES: NO MORE RECURRENT TEST, NIGHT FLYING AND MORE – Source the Drone Girl
Drone pilots will not need to take an in-person Part 107 recurrent test anymore. This test is replaced by online training.
3. The debate on the security risks posed by drones for foreign countries (e.g., China) is still ongoing. Here are two very good articles on the issue.
The article provides an excellent overview of the legal issues.
The article includes a detailed presentation of the new bill and explains what the covered foreign entities are (i.e., entities to which drones, or products must not be bought), the requirements put on Federal Agencies and the exceptions
Recent news on the issue:
4. Another major debate in the US is about who has ownership of the airspace at very low level. Several states are preparing legislation that would give that ownership to the owners of the land. Numerous articles have been published.
SEN. LEE INTRODUCES DRONE INTEGRATION AND ZONING ACT – Source sUAS News
YMO: the act aim at clarifying the responsibilities of local governments and Federal Government on airspace and giving the possibility to local state to regulate airspace provided it does not affect significantly the federal navigable airspace.
The rationale is that the Federal Government does not have the means to oversee all the zones and that local affairs are for local government.
Today FAA insist that they have power given by Congress to regulate the totality of the airspace.
It is a proposed law. Let’s see how it progresses.
AVIGATION EASEMENT LAWS COULD CREATE TOLL ROADS IN THE SKY FOR DRONES – Source UAV Coach
YMO: very thorough article on an important topic for drones as this could allow landowners to levy a fee for flying over their land. Legislation is in preparation in several US states. The article explain the concept of avigation easement, provide an historical background, outline the laws in preparations and mentions the reactions of AUVSI and CTA. This topic is creating a significant debate in the US. Please see the list of related articles
YMO: Meaning of avigation: science of navigation by aircraft.
CLASS G INC - AIR TRAFFIC TOLLING IS THE SOLUTION – Source sUAS News
YMO: A system has been developed and patented by SMG Consulting to allow landowners to set-up fees.
THIS MOVE WILL HAMPER DRONE OPERATIONS – Source iHLS
CTA and AUVSI are concerned that Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas West Virginia regulations on avigation is creating toll roads in the sky.
YMO: the fear is to have a patchwork of rules at State level.
5. FAA announced the creation of an Aviation Rulemaking Committee on BVLOS
YMO: The Aviation Rulemaking Committee will report to FAA within 6 months. When drafting its recommendations it will consider safety, security, environmental protection and societal benefits.