Is the FAA Killing the Hobby? — Remote ID Myths

Public Service Announcement for everyone in the drone community: If you're watching a video from someone who claims to have found a way to beat the system but isn't a lawyer, guess what? They won't be posting your bail, and they're not going to be helping you with your fines. So, buyer beware. And yes, we are talking about , and no, I'm not a big fan of Remote ID myself. However, I'm an even lesser fan of all the misinformation.

We've been seeing misinformation from so-called YouTubers over the last couple of weeks, even a couple of months. In reality, it's going to be a mess. If you watch this video from a year ago, we called it a “Shit Storm.” Back then, we were talking about the FAA, but some in the community now are creating a much larger mess.

That's not cool. In today's video, we are going to talk about six different myths that we've been seeing repeatedly. We're going to tell you if they're real or if they're not, based on actual data. As we go through this video, I want you to remember the following: Remote ID is about locating the drone that is flying right now.

Not tomorrow, not next week, not next month, but right here at this moment. Why is it in place? It's because three-letter agencies want to know where a good drone and a bad drone are going to be located. If something is coming into an area where there's not supposed to be a drone, that's really the bottom line.

If you think the FAA is after the hobby, is after pilots because they want drone deliveries to fly, I don't think that's the case. I will put my next paycheck on the line. It is not the reason why the FAA wanted to see Remote ID. Initially, the FAA wanted Remote ID because they wanted a way to separate traffic, just like they do with other devices.

It's since been somewhat hijacked by other agencies to do something that wasn't intended in the first place. So, keep that in mind as we go through all these different myths.

1. Remote ID is killing drone hobby

Alright, the first myth that we hear all the time is Remote ID is going to kill the hobby. It's going to kill racing, it's going to kill , and I don't think so.

And here's why. Look at the current existing enforcement actions that the DFA has taken against drone pilots. That's right, not a whole lot, even the most public one. We talked about this several years ago: a $182,000 fine that was proposed against one individual who was flying recklessly.

Guess what? He's still doing it. He's still flying beyond visual line of sight, still flying over areas where he's not supposed to, still flying over moving vehicles and people. Yet, nothing has happened to him. So, there will be these temporary or “event-free” areas recognized by the FAA where you can fly at an event without having a Remote ID.

We just came back from Flight Fest. Flight Fest will likely have a “free” area in place next year where educational flights will be able to happen, where racing flights will be able to occur as well, without the need for a Remote ID. As for the hobby, it's still growing. Even though, yes, the number of registrations has been down according to the FAA database, it doesn't mean that fewer people are actually buying drones.

So, is the hobby dying? It's absolutely not dying. We are seeing more and more people getting into this hobby. On our side, on other people's side, it shows us that this is nowhere near the death of the hobby. And guess what? People who don't want to comply are not going to comply and will keep on flying. They're not going to stop because of the Remote ID. So, the hobby isn't going anywhere. Be assured of that.

2. Remote ID makes flying unsafe

Myth number two: this is going to make flying unsafe. Quite frankly, this is the only complaint about Remote ID that I have to agree with. I do not like the location of the pilot being shared with the rest of the general public out there who have a phone or something to receive the Remote ID signal.

Now, as we get closer to September, I'm going to say this: the range of these modules is extremely limited. Not only that, but most of the devices that were designed in the first place to capture that device, such as your iPhone or Android phone, well, guess what? iPhones at the moment cannot pick up the signal from the Remote ID.

Why? Because the Wi-Fi signal that emanates from a Remote ID is simply not compatible with the way that the iPhone software is designed. This incompatibility affects roughly half of all the cell phones out there. If someone is trying to see if a drone is flying in their area because they want to complain about it, chances are, they won't be able to do it.

Now, let's consider this: how many of you watching this video know how to locate a drone that's broadcasting a Remote ID? Not many, I can tell you that. From all the people we've been talking to, not many know how to do this. Furthermore, how many people in the general community, who are not in any way, shape, or form involved with drones, do you think will know how to download an app and set it up to receive the signal? Again, not many.

So, I think the fear that a lot of people will be able to just pull out a cell phone and immediately detect a drone in their vicinity is unfounded. I don't think it's going to happen. I'm an optimist in general, but I just don't see this occurring. I simply don't think people who want to find out what a drone is doing will go to such lengths. They're likely to pull out their phone, realize they can't detect anything, and give up.

Additionally, the modules we have been testing so far show that the distance at which you can pick up the drone's signal with a cell phone is quite limited. We'll be posting some of these numbers very soon, but they're not particularly impressive. This means that if you see a drone in the distance and pull up your phone, even if it's compatible, you likely won't be able to receive the signal.

So, should we be concerned about this? Yes, absolutely. I don't like the idea of a pilot's location being shared. Will it actually be an issue in real life? I don't think so. We'll see when September comes and when we have more modules available, but at this stage, I wouldn't worry too much.

3. Remote ID is not happening for airplanes

Myth number three, another one we hear quite a bit: “This isn't happening with airplanes, you cannot track airplanes.” Well, guess what? You can actually track airplanes. Every airplane flying in certain airspace has what's called ADS-B, and ADS-B shares a signal that's available online.

You can go right now to a variety of different websites, type a tail number, and then find out where that aircraft is located. You might argue that this isn't available in all airspace, and I agree. But in most airspace, especially when aircraft are flying at low altitude, close to airports, or busy areas, they're going to have to transmit that information.

Guess what? When ADS-B first came out, it cost $10,000 to install on an airplane. How do I know this? Because I was managing a fleet of 55 aircraft and we had to equip these planes. So yes, this kind of tracking is available in other parts of the aviation industry.

4. Avoid Remote ID by declaring an emergency

Let's move to myth number four, one of my favorites, because this one can get you into a lot of trouble. It involves turning off the GPS on your transmitter, pretending that you're about to have an emergency. This idea originated from someone online who said, “Well, guess what? You can avoid complying with Remote ID by declaring an emergency, as someone may find you and cause trouble.”

So, according to this line of thought, by turning off the GPS on your transmitter, you're covered because the regulation states that in an emergency, you can break the regulation. I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but that's not how the FAA operates. If you're going to declare an emergency, why did you take off in the first place?

That's the first question the FAA will ask. If you're in an airplane and you declare an emergency, saying your engine just died or something is on fire, then say, “Well, I'm going to take off anyway because it's an emergency and I can do whatever I want,” that's not how it works. You can't declare an emergency and then take off.

Moreover, the person who proposed this, not knowing the regulation, was quoting Part 91, which does not apply to drone operations. What we're interested in here is Part 107 or USC 44809. So please, don't turn off your transmitter thinking that it's going to allow you to legally bypass the system.

5. Using foil to avoid Remote ID

Myth number five hails from the tinfoil hat brigade: wrapping your Remote ID module in foil. Well, guess what? That's going to interfere with the module's message, which violates 14 CFR, Part 89, 310F. We'll put a link in the description if you want to read the full text.

In this case, if you're going to go to the trouble of enclosing a module in foil and placing it atop your drone, you might as well fly without it. At least then, you can feign ignorance of the rules when you're confronted by the FAA inspector. “I'm sorry, Mr. Inspector, I didn't know there was a rule. I won't do it again.” However, if your module is swaddled in foil, you've not only wasted $60, but you're also not using your foil effectively. Based on some of the recommendations I've seen, some people are over-utilizing it.

The Yet-To-Be-Released Dji Air 3 Will Be Remote Id Compatible. Dji Air 3 Specs Leaked: 1/1.3-Inch-Cmos Sensor, 46 Min, O4, 4K Hdr Video
The rumored, and yet-to-be-released DJI Air 3 will surely comply with the FAA Remote ID requirements.

6. Spoofing Remote ID

Let's move on to myth number six. This one is rather contentious, and I'm not even sure I want to delve into it, but enough people have suggested it as a method to combat Remote ID. The method involves using spoofing devices, specifically near airports.

If someone wanted to be “that guy,” sure, go ahead. But let me remind you: spoofing drone messages near airports will interfere with operations in the National Airspace System. Guess what? The National Airspace System is considered part of our critical infrastructure. A deliberate act to disrupt infrastructure is called an act of terrorism. That's right – it's regarded as an act of terrorism. If you go around using spoofing devices that mimic drones near airports, you could be arrested on charges of terrorism.

Yet, the individuals recommending this often have Patreon accounts. They need views; they need money, as aviation isn't particularly lucrative in their . Be cautious about taking advice from people who won't bail you out of jail when you're arrested on terrorism charges.

That's all for today. We're going to wrap this up, and I'm sure you'll have comments. Please leave them down in the comment section. This encompasses all we've recently encountered about Remote ID. I'm certain there will be more, and we will be complying. There are aspects of Remote ID that I don't particularly care for, but the appropriate time to express these concerns was back in 2019 when the NPRM was released.

If you failed to act then, it's now too late. Expressing dissent three months before Remote ID becomes mandatory is probably futile. If you choose not to comply, then don't. That's really all I can tell you at this stage. However, if you have any other questions, please leave them in the comments, and we'll address them in the next video.

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Greg Reverdiau
Greg Reverdiau
Articles: 69

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