Hey friends, we have a really important announcement, and we also need your help in a really big way to avoid Remote ID. We've been working very hard behind the scenes with congressional staffers for the Aviation Subcommittee for the FAA Reauthorization that's going on in 2023.
Avoid Remote ID by raising the weight limit
The reason we need your help and the timing of this is so critical is because both the Flite Test Community Association and the FPV Freedom Coalition have been working hard to raise the limit of regulations from around 250 grams all the way up to one kilogram.
What that means is basically if we can get this through to Congress, we'll be able to fly planes up to one kilogram without any requirements for registration, or more importantly, Remote ID.
This is a huge topic with a lot of benefits if we can do this right. Dave Messina and I are going to be unpacking this for you right now.
Josh: All right, Dave, thank you so much for making time today. That means a lot.
Dave: I'm happy to be here.
Josh: My friends. We've been working really hard behind the scenes, and this is probably the most important thing right now for our industry. And we need your help in a big way.
This is basically about the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act. It's coming up in 2023. It'll be ending around July. And the one biggest thing that we are working on, that we need your help with, is to move the benchmark of sub-250-grams [drones and model aircraft] having no registration requirements and moving that benchmark up to one kilogram.
Dave, why don't you just explain, just on a high level what that means for the hobby and really the reason behind it.
Dave: So what this means for the hobby is that if your unmanned aircraft system (UAS) or your model airplane weighs between 0.55 and 55 pounds, you have to register it. So our asking to raise this to one kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, means that a lot of smaller airplanes, so in the RC world, like 40-inch airplanes or smaller, and a lot of five-inch drones, would not require registration, and that means they would not have to go through Remote ID.
Josh: In recent meetings we've had with the FAA, it was pretty apparent that we've been trying to do FAA-Recognized Identification Areas (FRIAs) at first. We've been trying to basically find ways for people to comply, if they choose to comply, without having the cost, without having the burden of putting technology on their airplanes.
And FRIAs seemed to be a good solution where we could help people fly the same place they were yesterday, tomorrow. But it became really evident when we were meeting with the FAA that they really only have the intention of approving about 4,000 FRIAs. And while I'm telling you this, please do not stop applying for FRIAs.
We need to give them a reality check on how many people actively fly in their backyards outside of controlled club fields. But this is the damaging thing. Especially when you consider, how that's going to have a ripple effect of people being able to enjoy the hobby. And also how it's going to have a tremendous impact negatively on what we're doing currently with kids in schools.
It's not a very good thing at all, and with that coming, basically when people get into the hobby. When they enjoy the hobby. Especially with flight test planes where they're flying a five inch quad. Those are all under a kilogram, and safety and science will prove every single time with an amazing record that this really poses no risk to what they're trying to regulate.
Dave: So historically, we're talking about 250 grams up to one kilogram. Very quickly, Blunti did a great piece of research and figured that the 250 grams came up in 1896 with French infantry. When a number is accepted and then used again and again, people refer to it and don't try to question it. It gets used and made into something formal. And that's what happened with 250 grams.
So, we are now at a place where we can do something better. And we now have something that we've recommended in a Drone Advisory Committee Number Tasking Group 11. It's called the target level of safety. And it includes things like an impacted person on the ground, population density, impact fragmentation, as well as something that we can mathematically model, which is the potential of fatal injury of the structure. So that's important.
For example, if you have a foam fuselage, you're going to do less damage than if the fuselage is made of aluminum and is not going to deform or break up. So you'll hear the word “frenchability” a lot, so we can do better. And what we're what we're about.
We're asking you to please go to our website, FPVFC.org. Josh's team and my team have been working together. We have two sets of memos, and so if you're coming to our website from FTCA, we want you to use your memo. And do a copy and paste. And that's okay with sending notes to Congress, not with an NPRM or Notice to Public Rule Making. But do a copy and paste to your congressional representative, so it's federal, and your two senators. And if either of your representatives is on one of the two congressional aviation subcommittees, all the better.
But we ask you to please copy and paste. And what we're doing is we're getting in front of the 2023 FAA Reauthorization Act that is trying to be cleared from the house in July.
And then it needs to be voted on before the end of 2023 to fund, and to mandate, and to tell the FAA what it is, that Congress is telling them to do.
Josh: We don't want to overlook what Dave just said here. There's a big difference between NPRMs and stuff we had to do for things like Remote ID, where we were asking people to submit their comments, and reaching out to Congress for this FAA Reauthorization Act.
And the main reason is because Congress mandates what the FAA needs to do. And as we've all seen of what's happened over the last five years, we do not want this to take another five years to get this ironed out. It'll absolutely destroy the hobby, destroy our STEM programs and all the good things that the hobby has to offer.
If we can talk to Congress and plead this case to them and get them to make these changes, it circumvents the FAA putting out NPRMs and things like that. It can happen so much quicker. And it's also incredibly important because now that we have a reality check on what FRIAs are, and what Remote ID is going to be, this, in my opinion, is the biggest battle.
We should be educating. And also uniting around. That will have benefits for us now and also for schools and careers in the future.
So, Dave, like you mentioned here, this is a united front between FPV FC and FTCA. But also, we did not just keep this between ourselves. On Friday, we reached out to STEM Plus C and the AMA to ask them to be involved with this.
And as of so far, we have not received any call back from the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), but the door is definitely open. We do not want this just to be two Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) unite together. We want to unite all the CBOs. All the communities should get behind us, because it'll definitely benefit us in the long run. In a way that I think is bigger than even establishing FRIAs, which we already know has been stifled by the FAA.
Dave: Right, after a recent conversation that Josh and I had with two congressional staffers. After the call, we had a debrief, and we were like, “Wow, what's the most important thing we could work on?”
If there was one thing that we had to focus on that we could ask Congress to take up and tell the FAA, what is it that they could do for recreational UAS. And we both agree. Yeah, 250 grams, move it up to a kilogram. That's it. That's why we're asking for your help now.
Josh: We have the science. We definitely know the needs, and we definitely need your help here. Doing this is not only going to protect our hobby, but, as we mentioned before, will also allow kids to experience this hobby for the first time in school. Schools don't have the option to choose not to comply. They have to comply and currently the burden, whether it's FRIAs as or Remote ID, is just going to eliminate and destroy that program that's been worked so hard for so many years to bring it to reality. Not to mention, there are so many amazing career paths for these young students to be able to enjoy in the future.
We want our communities to be able to benefit from that. But we definitely need your help. So please consider clicking that link down below and getting involved. This is not done. We're going to have more updates.
Also, share this with your friends and your family and let them know how important this is and get them involved as well.
Dave, we're going to be doing another video kind of sharing the history that Blunti worked so hard on about the history of 250 grams. And I think you guys are going to really quickly realize, there's no foundation for it. There's no basis for it.
But we do have the science. We do have the information now. That we can educate you with and we can share with you that you can then share with others and hopefully we can redefine this argument to be much more beneficial for the hobby in general.
Friends, thank you so much for taking time to listen to this video, to get involved, and for more updates in the future.
Dave, thank you for your time, brother, and all the hard work you've done behind the scenes and in front of the scenes.
Dave: Thank you.
Josh: See you next time, guys.
Link for FTCA and FPVFC Memo's: https://fpvfc.org/congressional-outreach
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