In the last few months, we have been hearing a lot of chatter: “Is my drone going to be compliant?” “DJI said they won't update my drone.” “My module is backordered and it won't be here in time.” “My client wants me to fly,” “Am I going to lose that job?” “Am I grounded?” “Will I be able to fly?”
The Remote ID commotion, as I'm sure you have noticed, has amplified in the last few weeks with the approaching September 16 deadline.
Some Remote ID News from the Commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas, coming straight from David Boulter, Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety: “We expect to address the question of relief for operators in the coming days.”Update from Greg Reverdiau on 9/6/23
At Pilot Institute, we pride ourselves on our thoroughness. It's one thing to not like the idea of Remote ID, but it's another to be forced into non-compliance.
Seeing this brewing storm, we felt compelled to investigate. We wanted to know: Is the industry ready for Remote ID?
With your help, we collected data. 2,084 of you responded swiftly, and we're confident that our survey results are statistically significant. For the statistics enthusiasts out there, there's a 99% chance that the real data matches our survey results within a margin of plus or minus 2.8%.
Now, let's delve into the numbers. 66% of respondents said they operated under Part 107, 53% under recreational rules, and 11% under Public Safety COA. Yes, that totals more than 100%, but that's because some people fly under multiple sets of rules.
Among everyone who responded, 49% said they own at least one Standard Remote ID drone, which means it's already compliant. However, 51% stated they own at least one drone that needs a module to comply. 10% mentioned they'll fly drones under 250 grams for recreational purposes, exempting them from compliance. Meanwhile, 5% would only fly at a FRIA (FAA Recognized Identification Area).
Here's where the data gets particularly intriguing. We felt the findings were so compelling that we penned an open letter to the FAA, urging them to delay the Remote ID enforcement until March 2024. Why, you ask?
Of those who said they needed a Remote ID module:
- 42% cited price as a concern and haven't ordered one.
- 53% believe they'll be forced into non-compliance.
- 23% due to back-ordered modules.
- 11% because their ordered modules haven't arrived.
- 19% because DJI will only make their drones compliant in December.
Adding all these factors together, we predict that one in four UAS pilots will be grounded or forced into non-compliance on September 16 if the enforcement date of Remote ID isn't postponed.
Now, based on data from the FAA's website as of September 1st, there are 540,000 recreational fliers. This figure is derived from the number of TRUST certificates issued.
Of them, 45% said they need at least one module, and 12% stated they won't comply with Remote ID. This indicates a need for approximately 194,000 modules for recreational pilots.
Further, with 331,000 Part 107 Certified Remote Pilots and our data showing 59% of them needing a module, another 171,000 modules are required. In total, that's approximately 365,000 modules.
As for the actual number of modules shipped? Only 3% of our respondents said they've received one, equaling roughly 11,000 units.
Addressing the supply chain, the primary U.S. supplier, Blue Mark Innovation, produces the most affordable self-contained module at $130. They report a supply rate of only 150 units per week. With only six approved Remote ID suppliers listed on the FAA website, the math seems daunting.
Our survey also gave respondents the chance to express reasons for potential non-compliance. Top concerns included privacy, Remote ID module pricing, safety, availability, and module weight.
I've sent our findings and recommendations to the FAA in a letter. The ball is in their court, and while they have always held the decision-making power, they now have our comprehensive data. They previously shifted the manufacturer's enforcement from September to December. Given the current supply issues, we hope they'll consider a further delay until March 2024.
I'd like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated in our survey. We'll continue to represent your views to the FAA and others who might listen. In the meantime, I'll see you in the next video.
Graphics courtesy of Pilot Institute.
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