00:00:00 – Kevin (FAA): Here we go. It's 5 p. m. Eastern Time, 4 o'clock Central, and we have gathered some of the greatest minds here this evening to talk about Remote ID. I'm lucky enough to be joined by Greg from the Pilot Institute and also Keith from Alien Drones, and we're going to discuss… All things Remote ID for about the next 45 minutes to an hour.
Kevin Morris explains FAA's Remote ID
00:00:24 – Kevin (FAA): If you haven't met me or seen me before, my name is Kevin Morris. I'm also known as the FAA Drone Guy. I've been with the FAA for about 16 years. I've done a lot of different jobs with the FAA during that time. I was an investigator. I was an inspector, I was a manager of the FAA safety team in Minneapolis, and then recently I've been moved into our Office of Communications, where I've been working with drones now, it's something I've been doing now in the FAA for about six years.
00:00:50 – Kevin (FAA): Very passionate about it, very excited about it, it's the next generation of aviation, and one of those things that we're going to talk about in that next generation, is the stepping stone we call Remote ID. So I'd like to welcome Greg and Keith to jump on with their cameras here and join me, and I'll give them a moment to introduce themselves. Greg, since I see you first, we'll start with you. Welcome. Awesome.
00:01:13 – Greg (Pilot Institute): Thanks, Kevin. Thanks for having me. Greg from Pilot Institute. We provide online training for drones and airplanes, all sorts of training free training, paid training. Pilot Institute is also a TRUST provider, so we can provide the TRUST Certificate for you when you are done with the training. Important to do that, it's free, takes about 30 minutes, and it's something that you can do online from the comfort of your home. We're also an FAA industry partner and a course author on FAASafety.gov, so we love to educate people on drone stuff.
00:01:46 – Kevin (FAA): All right. Thanks, Greg. And hopefully, we'll provide a little bit of Education here today on some drone stuff, which I get to now welcome my friendly neighbor to the east.
00:01:54 – Kevin (FAA): I live in Minnesota. Keith, you're out of Wisconsin if I did my maps right. And it's good to have you back. Good to see you again, my friend. Welcome.
00:02:03 – Keith (Alien Drones): Hello, of course, pleasure is always mine. Thank you very much for having me. And for you, that don't know me, my name is Keith and I have a YouTube channel called Alien Drones, and I correspond with these gentlemen quite often because I am very active in the drone community. I am a commercial 107 pilot, and I'm a self-imposed advocate for drones, both for recreational and 107, so I do lean on, like I said, Greg and the FAA in general a lot, and I try to put that out on my YouTube page. Answer questions that people have, whether they're just getting started because it is a great hobby. So if they have recreational questions or 107 type questions, commercial, I'm always happy to help and I use the channel to take care of that. So a pleasure being here. I appreciate you guys having me on.
00:02:56 – Kevin (FAA): Yeah. It's really nice to have both of you folks on. You represent really two large groups of the drone community, Greg, I know you work a lot with the part 107 community and Keith, I know you do a lot with that as well, but as you mentioned, you're also tied a lot into the recreational side of drones, which I think is going to be a couple of really good bookends to our discussion today, talking about Remote ID.
00:03:16 – Kevin (FAA): So this is the big topic at hand, obviously the last seven days, or maybe just a little bit more. We're pretty busy when it comes to Remote ID. We're all working up to that operational compliance date of September 16th and then that compliance date happened, and there was a little bit of additional information the FAA had put out as well.
00:03:33 – Kevin (FAA): So, as the old joke goes, how do you know you're hanging out with a pilot? It's when they say that's enough about me. Let's talk about airplanes. Let's move on, right? Let's start talking about airplanes, specifically drones. We've got a lot of questions out there. There's a lot of misconceptions. There's a lot of generally really good honest questions some people don't know. So let's try to get through as many as we can through this hour. I know that we're broadcasting live on YouTube, and I'm sure the comment section is going crazy, like the comments section always does. But what we've done here is I've asked Greg and Keith to really gather the questions that they're seeing in their respective communities.
00:04:08- Kevin (FAA): So a lot of questions from recreational flyer side, a lot of questions from the part 107 side, and really just a lot of questions from drone enthusiasts. So enough talk, let's get some answers. Greg, I'll start over with you. What's one of the questions you're seeing from your members or things that people want to know?
00:04:24 – Greg (Pilot Institute): I think the biggest question lately is with the release of the DJI Air 3 and the DJI Mini 4, a lot of people have been asking, is it drone, is it Remote ID compliant? And I keep telling them it does broadcast, but it is not on the DOC, on the FAA Declaration Of Compliance list. People are asking, can I fly it legally? It is broadcasting Remote ID. It's sending all the signal, but it's not on the approved list yet. I'm assuming the FAA is still pending approval. So what do you say?
00:04:50 – Kevin (FAA): Yeah, so a great question to start off with, and I'll probably broaden that just a little bit as to what happens if I bought a drone that says it's Remote ID ready, or Remote ID compliant, or it says it broadcasts Remote ID signal, but I can't find it on the FAA's DOC, which stands for Declaration Of Compliance.
00:05:08 – Kevin (FAA): So maybe to help some folks out that are a little bit new to this terminology, we love acronyms, of course, in the FAA and the aviation community. But let's talk a little bit about the DOC, the Declaration Of Compliance. Those are documents that the FAA maintains on a public website. You can go visit our Declaration Of Compliance website, where you can look up drones and Remote ID broadcast modules to see if they meet the criteria to be FAA-approved in terms of broadcasting Remote ID.
00:05:34 – Kevin (FAA): So there are going to be drones. There are going to be Remote ID modules that come out. That are saying that they're Remote ID ready or Remote ID capable, but are not on that list. So Greg, now let me get to your question. If you have one of those drones, if you have a broadcast module that says it's ready, but when you go and check and make sure on the FAA's Declaration Of Compliance list, you don't see That drone is not yet approved for Remote ID.
00:05:59 – Kevin (FAA): So even though it might be broadcasting a signal, even though it may be broadcasting certain bits or maybe all of the information required for Remote ID, Because it's not listed on that Declaration Of Compliance, it's technically not in compliance with Remote ID, so that drone would not be in compliance until the manufacturer, in this case you gave me a DJI example, Greg, or a different manufacturer, until that manufacturer notifies the FAA that, hey, this drone is ready, it does what it's required, it meets the rule, we're putting it on a Declaration Of Compliance, and then that drone will be on the list. Thanks for that. Keith, over to you.
00:06:36 – Keith (Alien Drones): Probably one of the most common questions I get, and it is a funny story with it, too, that I'll expand on just a little bit. And that is that we have an existing drone. We have a bunch of them that we bought before, and they are not broadcasting Remote ID. But, I get people telling me this was grandfathered in like anything else would be, right? Before, the rule was in effect. My drone must be grandfathered in. And the funny story that along with that is when I answered this one time because I had spoke with Kevin about this particular subject I put it on a Facebook post and the person that was in charge of that post disagreed and banned me from that Facebook page forever.
00:07:21 – Keith (Alien Drones): So I was permanently banned for giving the answer. And so it's just one of those things that it's really nice to have this forum to go right to the horse's mouth and get the right information one time. Whether you agree with it or not, it's important to get the correct information. So I took my lumps for it, but I'll let Kevin let me know that, hey, is my drone grandfathered in if it's too old. And then the second part of that is there some kind of a rule and thumb of to know when it needs Remote ID, if the grandfathered ones do or don't need a Remote ID?
00:07:53 – Kevin (FAA): Sure just let me figure out how to kick you out of this meeting right now here, Keith. I'll ban you from this. 😉
00:07:58 – Kevin (FAA): No, so the simplest way to put it is there, there are no drones that are grandfathered in. I'm not even sure what that term would mean in reference to a dateline or something like that. But let's talk about some dates here because I think that might help with the answer. When Remote ID became effective, at that time, people really didn't need to do much because there were a couple of dates on the horizon, and we called those Operational Compliance dates. One of them was for manufacturers, and that was December 16th of… Excuse me, September 16th of last year. And that date was the date where manufacturers of drones that were going to be flown in US airspace had to comply with producing Standard Remote ID drones.
00:08:46 – Kevin (FAA): There, there was some issues with that where we issued a what we refer to as a discretionary enforcement letter that gave them through December 16th of 2022, but nonetheless, the September 16th, 2022 date was when manufacturers had to start producing Remote ID drones. Obviously, they were producing drones throughout the entire time frame, so there's a lot of drones that are out there that do not have Remote ID capabilities built into them.
00:09:11 – Kevin (FAA): There's no special provision in the rule that says, hey, if you bought a drone prior to September 16th of 2022, or prior to Remote ID rule actually being published in the Federal Register, that you're grandfathered in. There's no allowance for that. It's a rule that states quite frankly, after September 16th of this year, so just maybe a week and a half or so ago, any drone being flown needs to comply with the Remote ID rule. And that's why we have certain things like Remote ID broadcast modules that are available to retrofit. So the simple way to put it is, no, there are no drones that are grandfathered in that do not need to comply with Remote ID.
00:09:53 – Keith (Alien Drones): Perfect. Thank you.
00:09:57 – Kevin (FAA): All right, Greg, I can see you thinking over there. You probably got another question brewing.
00:10:02 – Greg (Pilot Institute): I'm trying to think how I'm going to ask this one because it's a bit convoluted, but I know it affects a lot of people, especially people in the FPV community. At the moment, if you build your own drone, and this is typically for people that build FPV Drones, and you use your drone under part 107, not recreationally your drone needs to comply with Standard Remote ID, which means that the controller needs to… The location of the pilot and the location of the aircraft needs to be broadcasted via Remote ID. There's currently no solution that exists out there that have been designed so that we can comply. We build drones ourselves at Pilot Institute, FPV drones and others that we fly under Part 107. At this stage, our hands are tight unless we put a module, which is the next closest thing that we can do to be Remote ID compliant. What's the FAA's take on this? Maybe even taking away the extension to March 2024. What's the what's the idea if nobody comes up with a solution in the industry?
00:11:01 – Kevin (FAA): It's hard for me… It's a super important question you're asking here, Greg, and it's hard for me to speculate on what if something doesn't happen between now and a date down in the future. So I think what I'll do is I'll address the question that exists today, where we're sitting at today. So the rule identifies a couple different types of drones. If you look into the definitions of Part 89, which is the Remote ID Rule, it does reference something called a home built drone. And in, in certain ways, it doesn't require a home built drone to be produced with Standard mode ID. And that's for recreational or educational purposes type of use. But now we're talking about part 107. There's a couple of ways that people traditionally build drones. One of which is they buy a kit. They buy a kit from a producer that sells them. They assemble the drone. They solder the parts together. They put all the pieces together. And what we get into at that point is trying to determine who's the producer of that drone. So if you've ever read through Part 89, and it's really not that long of a rule, you could probably read through it in 20 minutes or so, but if you read through it, you'll notice that Part 89 talks a lot about producers of drones, producers organizations producing drones.
00:12:16 – Kevin (FAA): So who is a producer? In the case of that drone that you might buy that's a kit that you buy and it's all pieces and you got to put it all together, the producer of that drone would be the company selling you that kit. So even though you're assembling that drone in your basement or as part of a class, whoever produced that kit to be assembled, the FAA would consider the producer and therefore would put the onus upon them to incorporate the Standard Remote ID equipment into that kit. That's the easy answer, if you can believe that. The more difficult answer is… What happens if you're really building this thing from scratch? You've got circuit boards, you're wiring, you're putting motors together, you're doing all that type of stuff, and you're really building it from the ground up. For that, unfortunately, without having some sort of Standard Remote ID, a piece of equipment that you can easily buy and affix, like Greg, like you'd pointed out, one does not exist today for that, we're stuck when it comes to part 107. Because at that point, you as the individual would technically be producing that drone. You're not building it from a kit, you're building it from the ground up, your own circuitry and all that good stuff. You are producing that drone and therefore would need to have Standard Remote ID in that drone.
00:13:38 – Kevin (FAA): Now, there are always options. One of those options could be applying for an exemption. From the producing requirement in part 89. That's a long, when I say exemption, the hair should stand up on the back of your neck because it's not like a waiver, not like an authorization where it's quite a process to go through, but that could be an avenue you might be able to take depending on your situation to address that sort of current state of, Hey, we're building this from the ground up. But there's nothing I can do to make it Standard Remote ID compliant and I need to operate under part 107. So that would be one avenue you have today. Now, maybe down the future, six months down the road, hopefully, there might be some other solutions that industry can innovate to fill that gap. But that's unfortunately where we'd be at right now, Greg, with that drone, again, that you're building from the ground up. And it all gets back to, who the FAA would consider as the producer of that drone.
00:14:28 – Greg (Pilot Institute): Yeah, that's a tough situation for many, for sure.
00:14:31 – Kevin (FAA): Yeah, and we hear you loud and clear on that.
00:14:37 – Keith (Alien Drones): I have a question related to that, but just a little bit different take. And that is, let's say I'm flying a drone that is under, sub-250 and I'm doing it as a recreation. I purchased it that way, so it doesn't need the Remote ID. But let's say it is a small little whoop drone or something like that, but now I want to fly that drone, part 107. And I can't, now I think I can put a module on it, but it typically, the ones that are available right now probably cost more than a drone, and they're very heavy. If I want to use a small drone like that's not required to have Remote ID when it's sold because of the weight, what do I do with that if I'm going to try to use that as a 107 pilot?
00:15:18 – Kevin (FAA): So another good question related to the drones and bringing them into 107. Keith, I think you hit on an important part here that it should be reiterated, which is compliance with Remote ID is based largely on registration requirements for that drone. You could have one particular drone that's sub-250-grams. Fly that under section 44809 without the need for any Remote ID equipment on it whatsoever, because that drone doesn't need to be registered. And if you haven't registered it, then you don't need to have Remote ID equipment on it. But you take that same drone, you bring it into part 107. Now there's no minimum weight. So each drone under part 107 needs to be registered. Therefore, each drone needs to comply with Remote ID. So we get into the, how do we do that? So, one of the options is a broadcast module in this particular case, but let's say that the broadcast modules available weigh twice as much as the drone that you're trying to fly, and they're just not going to have the lift capability to get off the ground. So one of the things we've done in the interim right now is to offer the discretionary enforcement policy for drone operators. I know we're going to talk about that a little bit more later, but that is one of the options that through March 16th of 2024, we're providing some additional time for drone operators who can't comply to be able to comply.
00:16:39 – Kevin (FAA): So let's say that broadcast module doesn't exist right now. Maybe it'll exist in three months or maybe it'll exist in six months from now. We don't really know. That's the hope. We're hoping the industry continues to innovate and provide those types of products. But let's go with the scenario, Keith, where that doesn't happen. So what happens six months from now with that drone? Part 89 does allow for an authorization from the FAA to operate without Remote ID. There is a pathway to use that drone without Remote ID with a specific authorization from the FAA. If you read through the rule you'll see some of the terminology in a lot of FAA rules, quite frankly, that read unless authorized by the administrator, right? And that's the FAA regulatory language saying, hey, we can authorize you to do something differently. Those authorizations aren't gimme's. They're not just simply send us an email and we'll give you the authorization to operate without Remote ID, but we do recognize there are situations, and Keith, you're probably pointing this out, one where maybe you need that drone to fly your mission. Maybe no other drone can meet that mission requirement under Part 107. That may be a valid reason, considering all your circumstances, for when you apply to say, I need an authorization to operate this particular drone without Remote ID. And the rule does allow you to apply for that authorization.
00:18:05 – Keith (Alien Drones): Have you had that people apply for that so far and granted? How hard is it?
00:18:10 – Kevin (FAA): So I don't know specifically for a tiny whoop or something like that in terms of that particular make and model of drone getting an authorization to operate without Remote ID. But we have definitely had people apply for authorization to operate without Remote ID. And they definitely have received approval. It's not just law enforcement, as some might be thinking. There's, it's, it runs the gamut right now. There's different case scenarios that the FAA can look at and say, that's a very legitimate need. It's a very legitimate reason. We can see why you're not going to be able to meet it, or perhaps meeting the rule negates the mission entirely on its own. So we can authorize this. So yes, people have applied. Yes. People have gotten the authorizations, but no, it's not just a, Hey, I'm going to apply because I don't want to do it type of thing. You do need a legitimate reason. Good questions. Thanks.
00:19:00 – Greg (Pilot Institute): I have a question about the labeling that's required for Remote ID. So, technically any drone that's Standard Remote ID and any module that broadcasts Remote ID needs to have a module on them. We haven't really seen that, except for one American drone manufacturer that has a label. Every other manufacturer so far has produced drones that are on the DOC list and that broadcast Remote ID but no label. I know it's to be honest, is a bit more on the manufacturer than it is on the operator. Should the operator just print a simple label that says Remote ID compliant as per part 89 or something like that, or what do you recommend?
00:19:36 – Kevin (FAA): Yeah, so you're absolutely right, Greg, that. The requirement to label that drone is on the manufacturer. So the expectation is that the manufacturer and I'm not gonna quote the reg here, but it talks about stating that it meets the rule it has to be in English, it has to be legible, it has to be permanently affixed. There are some requirements that we have for. Sticker, if you will, that has to go on the drone. Obviously, we would expect the manufacturers of Standard Remote ID drones, the manufacturers of Remote ID broadcast modules, to put that permanently affixed sticker, identification on that drone. If they're not, my first step would be to reach out to that manufacturer who has a drone or has the broadcast module, list it on their DOC and say, You're saying this is, it's on the DOC, I don't see the sticker, can you send me the sticker, can you send me a PDF of the sticker, I can print it out. The rule doesn't really specify who has to literally affix that sticker to the drone. It just simply states, hey, if the drone is meeting the rule, it's going to have that sticker. Of course, you as a drone pilot, just like I know, Greg, you're a Part 61 pilot as well. You check documentations and stickers on your airplane before you go fly. It would be on the drone pilot to make sure that sticker is on that aircraft before they fly, if they're going to be operating in compliance with Remote ID.
00:20:52 – Keith (Alien Drones): I had one that came up that just came to mind. Cause I've had this question as well. And as of the date that the manufacturers were supposed to comply last year, actually with only providing drones that were Remote ID, Standard Remote ID compliant. There are drone manufacturers out there right now supplying drones that are over the 250-gram-limit, and they don't have Remote ID. Now, I think legally, according to the rule, they can't do that. But if I, as a consumer, buy this drone, assuming that… I'm buying a Legal drone. Is it my fault now, or not fault, but is it on me as a recreational pilot, let's say, to search down and find out if that drone is currently legal to actually be purchased? Or, because it should have been produced in the first place without Remote ID, is it the manufacturer's responsibility to ensure that's there?
00:21:45 – Kevin (FAA): I am so glad you asked that question, because I've seen that question come up a few times too, Keith, and the answer is, the responsibility to produce a Standard Remote ID drone is on the manufacturer, or as the rule references them, the producer of the drone. If you were to buy a drone I, always Buyer Beware, whenever you're buying anything, in particular aviation, because nothing is ever inexpensive in aviation. I've been in it long enough to know that but always check and make sure that the drone nowadays does have Standard Remote ID capability into it. But let's say you didn't know and you just went out and you bought a drone, you had no idea and you get in, it doesn't have Standard Remote ID. That's not your fault as the operator. You might be bummed out to find out that the drone doesn't have this thing called Remote ID that maybe you didn't know about before today. But that's not your responsibility to ensure the manufacturer is putting the module in and putting the sticker on, but it's your responsibility when it comes to operating it. And that's the line that we cross, which is once it gets in your hands, You need to make sure that drone is ready to fly. And that it meets the rule. You need to make sure that you're ready to fly and you meet the rule. Part of that whole process is making sure that drone complies with Remote ID. So if you bought that drone and you didn't know, or you thought it did, had Standard Remote ID and it doesn't. Now you need to find a way to retrofit that. Either through a broadcast module or operating in a FRIA. Or, Keith, as we brought up before, you talked about maybe a mission-critical element where you need an authorization to operate without Remote ID. So it's not really your fault that you ended up with a drone that doesn't have a Standard Remote ID that was manufactured after the manufacturer-date of September 2022. But it is your responsibility to ensure that it is broadcasting in accordance with the rule before flying.
00:23:41 – Greg (Pilot Institute): Yeah, I would say probably should return that drone and go buy one from a manufacturer that, actually, puts it together. We talked about sub-250-drones and I think I said something wrong during one of my live podcasts and I wanted to make sure that you corrected it. People don't have to register their small drones, sub-250-gram if they fly them for recreational purposes, which means they don't need to follow Remote ID. What if they actually did register that drone recreationally, now do they actually have to follow Remote ID?
00:24:15 – Kevin (FAA): Yeah, this is a great question, and I feel a little bit odd correcting you, Greg, because normally you, you hit home runs all the time, so I'm a little out of my element here, but I'll just answer the question and pretend that I'm not correcting you, so when you get into the rule, again I recommend if you haven't read the rule, go ahead and take a read through it. It's really not that long you'll notice that one of the first questions things in the general requirements section. I can't remember the title of it talks about drones that are required to be registered or have been registered. And that's the kicker, right? So you might have a sub-250-gram drone. You're flying recreationally under section 44809 Remote ID is in effect today. But you registered that drone because you registered that drone., you are now required to equip that drone with Remote ID because the rule requires if it needed to be registered because it weighed more or it was registered just because you were excited and you registered it, it needs to have Remote ID. So just unregister that drone. If you're flying as a recreational flyer, you have one registration number for all your drones. Those drones that you put are part of your inventory. You can take that drone out of your inventory and then that drone no longer is registered and would no longer would have to be equipped with Remote ID. And I just want to remind everyone, we're talking about a recreational flyer scenario here. Please don't go out and start deregistering all your Part 107 drones because that's not going to work. So yeah, so Greg, that, that would be the answer to the question is it tiles, it boils down to drones that needed to be registered or were registered.
00:25:56 – Greg (Pilot Institute): Were registered. Yeah. And yeah, in this case, just delete and remove the sticker from the drone if you had it. Kind of a follow up I have on this now, if your drone is sub-250-grams and it broadcasts Remote ID and you fly it for recreational purposes. Now do you have to register it? Because we did get that question as well. So let's say you have a Mini 4 or a Mini 3 from DJI. Those drones actually have Remote ID even though they're sub-250-grams. Does that mean you have to register it now if you fly recreationally?
00:26:23 – Kevin (FAA): A good follow up. So when we're talking about registration and we're talking about Remote ID, we really have to look at them in their own separate channels, right? You've certainly got Remote ID is based upon registration. We just talked about that. But the actual requirement to register itself is based on the weight of that drone. It should also point out here, it's a good reminder, it includes anything you put on it. So if you buy a sub 250 gram drone, but you put on, 30 grams of equipment, now it's 280 grams. That drone needs to be registered. But in, with your scenario there where the drone doesn't need to be registered, it has Remote ID built into it, you do not need to register that drone. That registration requirement is still in effect, meaning that if that drone is sub-250-grams, It does not need to be registered, even if it does have Remote ID.
00:27:18 – Keith (Alien Drones): As a follow up to that we talked about if we had a drone registered already and we decided to change it because, geez, I was trying to be nice and register it early and now I don't want to put Remote ID on it or I can't it's maybe cost inhibitive or something. But now I want to go back in and I want to change my registration for some reason, whether I have it registered already and I want to add a Remote ID number to it or vice versa and I want to change that. I know initially when I went in a few times I tried to change something about the registration and it said it was locked and I could no longer change it and I initially there was like a 14 day period where you could actually make updates to your registration. Is that still the case in where if you have a drone and you're going to add, things to it for your Remote ID or vice versa de-register anything like that? Is there any dates now that it's gonna be locked out? And if so, are we going to have to pay again if we change things Or how's the FAA dealing with the registration changes ongoing now and into the future?
00:28:16 – Kevin (FAA): Yeah. So one of the things that we looked at pre-September 16th of this year, as we approached that date, we started to have some concerns with people not registering their Remote ID serial number in numbers that we really were expecting to see. This goes into a larger thing of all these different issues popped up and that we're hearing feedback and why we issued our policy letter. But when we looked at that, we decided, hey, let's push this, a fee for updating your drone registration through December 31st. There's a few reasons why we did that. But let's walk through kind of the registration process. If you're going to register your drone, I always tell people it's going to cost you $5 and if you pay a penny more, you, somebody's taking money from you. It is not difficult to register your drone. It's something that anybody can do. There are people that will offer to do it for you. And take care of the paperwork and charge you whatever amount, but five bucks to register your drone. No matter what, if you're registering a new drone, or you're registering yourself as a recreational flyer, it's going to be a five dollar charge. You have a couple of weeks after that initial registration to make changes to your drone registration, and I emphasize drone because you can always update your name, your contact, your address, or whatever else you put in there. You can always do that. But when we're talking about actually changing your drone's registration, You have about two weeks in a Part 107 registration to do that. I say Part 107 because recreationally, you can change your drone inventory anytime you want. You can add, delete, move stuff around because it's just one registration number. So we're talking about Part 107. You get a couple of weeks to make changes to your drone registration, including adding a Remote ID serial number.
00:30:03 – Kevin (FAA): And that was the kicker to where we decided, wait, let's push this out. Let's give people a little bit more time to do these updates to their registration so they can get the information in there without having to pay that extra $5 fee. Assuming that September 16th was the only date that we were going to talk about tonight. Of course, that's not the only date we're talking about tonight. We're talking about March 16th, 2024 as well. And I'm waiting for one of you guys to ask me about the policy. It hasn't come up yet, but I'm sorry I'll be quiet. I'll answer the question here. But now, because we have this March 16th, 2024 date out there, we are taking a look at how we want to manage that. So bottom line is you can go in as a part 107 operator, You can update your drone's registration information anytime between now and December 31st for no fee. It's not locked. You don't have to pay $5. We are looking at how we want to manage that after December 31st because of the new date that's in the FAA policy letter. So right now you do have through the end of the year. And we're looking at making that a little bit longer based on recent events.
00:31:09 – Greg (Pilot Institute): Let me see. Oh, this is a question we get quite a bit. How far must the Remote ID signal be broadcast? Is there a limit? Is there like a power minimum, a distance minimum? How would the FAA kind of figure out if something is broadcasting or not?
00:31:24 – Kevin (FAA): So one of the things that, that we've done with a lot of rules, not just Remote ID, is something called performance based rulemaking, where instead of prescribing all the ones and zeros that have to happen, we provide a framework of how we want this to work and then let industry innovate itself into meeting that requirement and Remote ID speaks well to that. Now, if you look at the rule, there are certain requirements in the rule that we talk about accuracies of locations, plus, within 100 feet or things, different things of that nature. But when it comes to the broadcasting requirement. How it's being broadcast. The range that it's going to be broadcast on. That's really a function of performance base. So this brings in another term that I think we should all be familiar with, which is A Means Of Compliance. So we talked about Declaration Of Compliance. That's the list of all the drones, all the broadcast modules that have met the requirements to be a Remote ID broadcast modular drone. Before they get there, they have to be built or certified through a Means Of Compliance. And the Means Of Compliance document is what gets into the nitty-gritty of how's it going to broadcast, what's the signal strength, how far is that going to go, that type of thing. And those are FAA approved documents that industry submits to the FAA. To build a Standard Remote ID drone or to build a broadcast module.
00:32:52 – Kevin (FAA): The rule has a little caveat in there, which talks about maximizing the effective range. So we don't really say it has to go out this far. We do say it has to maximize the range of the broadcast equipment that is being used and how that is done is through that Means Of Compliance document, which is more of a manufacturer document than it is a consumer document, but that Means Of Compliance document will go into the details of how it will work, what the range is going to be. And so on and so forth. So I don't have a straight-up answer. It's got to go for 100 feet or 1000 feet or something like that, because that's contained in that Means Of Compliance document. So it depends on what type of product they're making based on that type of approval process.
00:33:44 – Keith (Alien Drones): Perfect. I have a follow up question there. We came to just recently this September 16th date here. Seemed like there was another announcement from the FAA that said something about, yeah, it's not going to be September 16th. It's going to be March of 24, but not really. You still have to comply, but maybe not. Maybe we won't hold you to it, but maybe we will. Depends if we like you, if you donate to our cause, what have you. It might be for you, might be March, or might be now. So could you please clarify, what does that mean? Do we need to comply? Do we not? Is it not going to be enforced? Is it? And what are the distinctions that let us know if we're complying or not?
00:34:23 – Kevin (FAA): A couple things, Keith. You get the gold star for asking the question I've been excited to answer now for about 35 minutes. And I don't think I could have phrased it any better than the way you just did. So well done on both accounts. All right. Yeah. Let's, what happened? What happened on let's say Saturday, September 16th. So we're approaching what we call the Operator Compliance Date. That was the bid, the big date. Everybody was talking about it. September 16th, 2023, every drone that was going to be flown had to comply with Remote ID, either through operating in a FRIA or broadcasting Standard, or having a module attached to it, that was the date. Probably no surprise to either of you two on this chat here today, there were some problems. There were some challenges in industry. Some things that we had expected to happen that weren't happening. Some supply chain issues that we didn't expect to happen that were happening. The number of FRIA applications being approved weren't really happening as fast as we anticipated them to happen. And there was a lot of public feedback, a lot of public feedback. So the FAA took a look at this and really tried to figure out, all right, what are we going to do with this and how are we going to handle it? It's important to note that we didn't decide on a whim. It, we didn't decide, make this decision on a Facebook post or anecdotal evidence. We really did look at hard data, availability, cost, compliance, registration numbers, FRIA accounts, all that stuff we looked at. We came to a decision that. This isn't going as quickly as we anticipated it would when we came out with this proposed rule however many years ago. So how are we going to manage that? So the FAA decided to issue a policy on discretionary enforcement. And this is where it gets a little bit different here. That policy of discretionary enforcement allows the FAA to use this discretion as to whether or not we would conduct an enforcement investigation if somebody wasn't complying with Remote ID. That's a lot of words. So, what does it actually mean? It's a, it's an understanding that there are drone pilots out there. Who are unable to comply, and I stress that word, unable to comply, for a variety of reasons, some of which both of you have mentioned here this evening, to comply with Remote ID.
00:36:51 – Kevin (FAA): In those instances, the FAA has the ability to say, we understand. You're operating a drone, not according to the rule right now, because the September 16th date didn't change. However, because of all these things, all these factors, we are going to say, thank you, do your best to comply, and hopefully that will all work out by March 16th of 2024. So, there's the new date, but it's not moving the compliance date. And I think that's the hardest thing for people to understand in FAA speak, we expect everybody to comply with Remote ID on September 16th of 2023. That is the expectation. If you have Remote ID, we expect you to broadcast it. If there's a module that's available that works for your drone, that you can purchase, we expect you to purchase it and attach it and operate with Remote ID broadcast module. However. We understand that not everybody can. There's broadcast modules that, Keith, you pointed out they're too heavy. Or they're too expensive for what you need, or they don't work, or you're waiting on the FRIA because of the school you have, and the FRIA has not been approved yet. All these things factor into the FAA saying, there are legitimate situations where people cannot comply with Remote ID. And in those situations, we'll use our discretion. In practical terms that means that most people who are trying to comply with Remote ID, and who are not able to, are given some additional time to do that.
00:38:20 – Kevin (FAA): So if there's a broadcast module that you need, that's just, it's backordered for four months. That's something that the FAA would say, I understand you're trying, but you can't. You just can't comply with the rule. So you have until March 16th to do that. After March 16th, that discretionary enforcement, the ability for the FAA to say, we're not going to conduct an enforcement because you have some legitimate reasons that you can't comply with the Remote ID rule. That goes away. What sort of, what takes us place is our Standard compliance program, which isn't exactly bringing a hammer to every drone that's not flying with Remote ID. It's something that we will look at case by case, just like we do every situation, and say, all right, what are the situations surrounding your flight? And how come you didn't use Remote ID broadcasting? You didn't know that Remote ID existed?
00:39:15 – Kevin (FAA): The compliance program in the FAA allows inspectors a wide latitude of addressing non-compliance, and it's important to say right here that our goal is compliance. Our goal is safety, right? That's something that we strive towards in our Mission Statement to ensure the safety of our National Airspace System. And that's what we want to strive towards. So if we can help out a drone pilot that maybe after March 16th, 2024 is flying and they don't have Remote ID because they just didn't know they're not connected in, they're not listening, they don't hear, they didn't know we can use our compliance program to help that drone pilot to do some verbal counseling, to provide them with some education materials. That's still technically considered part of an enforcement. But it's not a fine, it's not a suspension, it's simply we're doing some corrective action, maybe some remedial training, some counseling, verbal warning, things like that, where we can help that drone pilot understand there's a rule. There's where you can find it. Here's the information you need to know. We'll document that we chatted with you about it, and hope next time we see you that you're complying with the rule like we expect.
00:40:22 – Kevin (FAA): Great question, and I know it was a long answer, but it's a little bit a little bit tricky to state. I will say I've seen some of the comments where… Oh, it's just going to depend on how that inspector feels that day. And if they woke up on the wrong side of the bed, they're going to, they're going to be out there and they're going to be, they're getting you with this Remote ID. And because it's their discretion, they can come and hammer you. And that's not at all how this works. Not even ‘remotely' no pun intended there.
00:40:49 – Greg (Pilot Institute): Kevin, you talked about the FRIAs for a little bit. Can you I heard somewhere that there is 400 and some FRIAs that have been approved and like about 1, 200 more that are supposed to be reviewed. I think there's been a number that also have been denied that I'm sure are, have re-applied. Can you talk about where those FRIA locations will be shared because I think at the moment there is no location where that's available. And then if there is maybe an easier process in the future, is the FAA getting warmed up on approving these? It feels like 1200 is still a whole lot of them to come out of 400 and then some 600 that have been denied, I think.
00:41:29 – Kevin (FAA): Yeah, absolutely. So let me start with the easier answer first, which is these, the FRIA locations will all be displayed on our UAS data delivery system, or people call them our Facility Maps, the UDS website, they will be displayed there, just like fixed flying sites were displayed there. The process of getting that database updated and on FRIA-approved locations is a little bit challenging and we're trying to work through some of that, but they will be displayed there. So if there is a FRIA location approved, everybody will know where that freer location is. It will be displayed on our data delivery system. Now the trickier or the longer answer I should say is why are we only at 400 or 500 now and we have 1200 and we've been working on this for a while. There's a lot of challenges to establishing a FRIA, which is an FAA-Recognized Identification Area, that's an area where you can operate a drone that doesn't have Remote ID even now or even after March 16th. There are challenges to where those locations are. They could be near critical infrastructure, they could be near airports, they could be in airspace, they could be overflying parks or schools or certain things. All of this has to factor into an FAA approval of a FRIA, which as you can imagine involves a few different departments taking a look at it from security, from safety, from air traffic, from environmental. Everybody has to take a look at where these FREA locations are, and that process was a little bit cumbersome. But the good News is that we've streamlined and made some of that way more efficient now. So the capability of the core team that gets a FRIA application has been expanded. They no longer have to go to every one of these little groups on the side and say, hey, you need to check this for your expertise. You need to check this for your expertise because they have that baked into the program now. So what happened was the FRIA applications at the beginning were painfully challenging and slow to approve. It wasn't because we weren't paying attention. It wasn't because we weren't working hard. They just required a lot of work and a lot of different people seeing it.
00:43:39 – Kevin (FAA): That has started to change. And now because of that change, we're not approving one or two a week. We're up into the higher numbers of getting these approved. So the expectation is that by March, we will have most of these free applications approved or at least reviewed. I shouldn't say that not everybody gets approved, but they would at least be reviewed and put on our data delivery system so people can see where they are. There are always challenges. One of the challenges coming this weekend is whether or not the government's going to continue to function or be open on Monday. That, of course, will slow everything down and back everything up a little bit, but barring any of those types of challenges, I know that the team is working hard. They're much happy about some of the increased efficiency they have to operate, and we should see more FREIA locations being proved at a much more rapid pace in the near term.
FAA Ramp Check
00:44:34 – Keith (Alien Drones): I have a follow up to we were talking about the enforcement versus compliance kind of a thing, and… A common question I get, and it's both, I'd like you to talk about a little bit about the 44809, the recreational side, and the Part 107 side with this question. And that is, if you're out just flying in either one of those capacities, And somebody comes and does a ramp check, and you can talk about what a ramp check is. But what should the pilot in command have with them? What should they be expected to, show, or have, or discuss? Whatever that might be. What is their responsibility if somebody comes up and says, hey, I just want to see if you're compliant flying that drone as the Remote Pilot in Command. What do we need? And that includes the Remote ID. If somebody walks up and, is the Remote ID working? Not. They're going to prove it. If you can go through those scenarios.
00:45:21 –Kevin (FAA): Yeah, the dreaded ramp check from the FAA, right? I have as, before I came to the FAA, I was ramp checked a few times by FAA inspectors. As an FAA inspector, I've done a few ramp checks myself. Just, I'm curious, not to answer a question with a question, Keith, but have either one of you guys been ramp checked by the FAA for drone stuff? Greg, I think you begged me to ramp check you a couple times in my member series, right? But yeah it's pretty rare. It's a matter of managing our resources, our human resources and the inspector workloads and things like that. But that doesn't mean it can't happen. So Keith, I'm going to right back to your question now. What happens if you get ramp checked? One of the things to remember is when you get ramp checked the inspector is going to need to show you some credentials. You have every right to ask that inspector to see their credentials that they are authorized to, to conduct a ramp check. And you can look on the FAA website, you can find what those credentials are and what you should look for. So the FAA inspector should show your credentials, say, Hi, I'm here from the FAA just doing a surveillance or a ramp check. I'd like to chat with you a little bit. They shouldn't do that when you're in the middle of flying your drone. There, there's, there are times when you can engage a pilot operating an aircraft, which is what we're talking about here, and there are times when you need to wait a little bit and let them land and finish their mission, or finish securing their aircraft, and then go approach them.
00:46:43 – Kevin (FAA): They should be approaching you at a time where it's not distracting you from flying, and it's not creating an unsafe environment, but assuming that's all been done, and they're asking you the questions of, hey, can you show me some things here? One of the first questions they're going to ask you is, are you flying under Part 107 or are you flying recreationally under 44809? So let's say you're, I'm flying under Part 107. I was doing some photography or I was doing some infrastructure inspection. Then they're going to ask you for the documentation you would be expected to have on you. So your Remote Pilot Certificate. That is going to be the actual card, by the way, not You can't take a picture of your Remote Pilot Certificate and hold up your phone and say, this is what it looks like. It'll have to be the actual card you get. It says UAS on it, greenish in color. It'll be that Remote Pilot Certificate. It'll be a copy of your registration. That can be paper, that can be electronic some sort of photo identification. You'll need to show to prove you are who you are. And then depending on what you were doing, if you had a LAANC authorization because you're operating in controlled airspace, or if you're operating under the provisions of a waiver or some other authorization, they could ask to see those documents as well.
00:47:52 – Kevin (FAA): Saying, hey, I know we're in controlled airspace. Can you show me your LAANC authorization? Hold up your phone. Yep. Here's my authorization. Or hey, I see you're you're operating beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). You, can you show me your waiver? Oh, yep. Here's my waiver for BVLOS. And you can explain that to them. And it should be in all reality, a very friendly conversation between you and the inspector. Again, they're not out to get you. They're just out doing a check to make sure that you're doing all the things that you need to be doing to fly safe and fly according to the rule.
00:48:25 – Kevin (FAA): Now, if you're a recreational flyer. They'll still probably ask you for a few things, but the documentation will be a little bit different. You're obviously not going to have a Remote Pilot Certificate as a recreational flyer, so they'll ask you most likely to see the Recreational UAS Safety Test Completion Certificate (TRUST). Greg has mentioned the Pilot Institute as one of our TRUST test administrators. So what they do is they issue these on behalf of the FAA, and it's a little piece of paper that says, hey, I've taken the Recreational UAS Safety Test. That's good to go. So that's going to be one of the first things. That can be a paper, Or that can be electronic. Same as Part 107, your proof of registration, paper or electronic. And then also be able to provide a LAANC authorization if you're flying recreationally in controlled airspace, just like Part 107. You can't have waivers as a recreational flyer, but they could ask you what set of safety guidelines are you following? Because one of the requirements in 44 809 is that you follow a set of safety guidelines from an FAA-recognized community-based organization (CBO). And if you want to know more about that, please go to our website because I'll have all the information. But you do need to be able to identify what rules are you following? And the requirement is that you follow the rules of a FAA-Recognized Community-Based Organization. Now, with Remote ID, because I know that was the big question here at the end.
00:49:43 – Kevin (FAA): What happens if they say, show me your Remote ID sticker, or show me that you've got a broadcast module on there. Currently, today, you could say, I don't have it because of this, and this. Or, I've tried to purchase it, and I can't. Or, I want to buy it, it's on backorder. Or, a number of different things that the FAA has listed as some of the reasons we issued the discretionary enforcement. And the FAA inspector can take that back, consider everything and say, okay, they don't have Remote ID, but it's because they can't. They've tried, it's not available, the FRIA is not there, whatever. There's a lot of different reasons. You do not need to provide proof of a receipt. I've seen that around online too, where it's saying the only way you can get out of an enforcement is if you've got a receipt because you ordered your module, but it's… No, you don't have to, you don't have to do that. Just have a conversation with the inspector and explain perhaps why you're not complying with Remote ID. And they, you guys can talk through that and then they can come and decide what they want to do most likely. And in this area of discretionary enforcement, it'll be nothing. It'll be all right. Thanks a lot. Continue to fly safe and hope to see you again next time.
00:50:52 – Keith (Alien Drones): So is there any piece that says I see there's a module there, but is it on and is it working?
00:50:57 – Kevin (FAA): The modules themselves we're getting a little bit into the technical aspects of it here, but they do need to have a feature built-in that lets the pilot know that the device is functioning and broadcasting. There has to be some sort of indication on that device or system to alert the pilot, The Remote ID broadcast module is powered and it's transmitting. We're good to go. So you could explain that to the inspector because there's a whole bunch of different broadcast modules out there. They're not going to be experts in every one, so talk to them a little bit about the equipment. Most inspectors are aviation enthusiasts. They love airplanes and they could sit and talk to you for hours about your airplane. Although I don't think you'd want to hang out with an FAA inspector for an hour maybe, but they would certainly love to talk to you about airplanes. So help educate them on your broadcasting module, how it looks, how do you know it's working before flight, because that's a requirement in the rule, right? That you ensure that it's broadcasting before you fly. So tell the inspector how that works. They'd probably love to know.
00:51:57 – Kevin (FAA): Oh, Greg, you're on mute still.
00:52:03 – Greg (Pilot Institute): Yeah, I was coughing again. We get a lot of questions about moving modules from aircraft to aircraft. Can you explain the difference between recreational flying and part 107 flying as far as moving a module from one to the next?
00:52:16 – Kevin (FAA): So I'll start with recreational flying. You'll have one registration number. You can use that one broadcast module and you can move it around to all your different aircraft as long as those drones are listed in your inventory. So your registration as a recreational flyer, you're going to list your, let's say broadcast module serial number, and then you're going to have an inventory of drones that you can move that module around. And as long as that drone is listed in your inventory, the Remote ID broadcast module, serial number is listed on your registration. You're good to go.
00:52:53 – Kevin (FAA): A little bit different under part 107. It's a one for one. You're going to have one registration number for each drone. You're going to need one. Remote ID serial number for each drone as well, whether that is a Standard or a Remote ID broadcast module. So it's a one for one. So you could move it around under part 107, but you would have to unregister the drone that was tied to the Remote ID broadcast module. You'd have to update the registration on the drone you're moving it to. And so it's just, it's not as convenient maybe as a recreational flyer. So, for normal discussion, we say you can move it around. No problem as a recreational flyer, but under Part 107, it needs to stay with the aircraft that it's registered to. And I know we're getting short here on time, we're bumping up against our hour, so I just wanted to say thank you to both of you, but I wanted to give you guys one more question in case there was a question you were burning to ask. You were saving it for the end, the big gotcha one. So I didn't want to walk past that, so Keith, I'll jump over to you. Last question.
00:53:48 – Keith (Alien Drones): Sure, yeah, it's not a big gotcha question. Sorry, you'd be disappointed, but it is one that I do hear often, and maybe you could just clarify. There is a nuance, and I hear it quite often, and it's somebody who says, I'm flying recreationally under Part 107. My drone is You know, under the 249 grams, do I still need Remote ID? Because I'm flying recreational under Part 107, and I realize it's a nuance, not 44809. So you could just go through that nuance a little bit and explain how the registration and Remote ID works with that recreational under Part 107.
00:54:21 – Kevin (FAA): Yeah, great question. Great one to wrap up with for you, Keith, because I think a lot of people misunderstand the registration requirements between the two. So to put simply, as a recreational flyer under Section 44809, there are drones that if they come under a certain weight, they do not need to be registered. Under Part 107, regardless of the reason you're flying that drone, recreational, photo, infrastructure, instruction, every drone has to be registered. So under Part 107, there is no minimum weight. There's no exclusion. Any drone being flown under Part 107 also has to be individually registered and would also need to have their individual Remote ID, serial number, broadcast module attached to that drone. So yeah, great one there. And Greg, over to you. Don't forget to click off your mute. You got one last shot at me.
00:55:11 – Greg (Pilot Institute): The biggest question we get is now that I get Remote ID, I can fly over people, right?
00:55:19 – Kevin (FAA): So let me give you a real good government answer on that. Maybe. But I'll break that down a little bit more. Remote ID is an equipment rule. Part 107 is an operating rule. And let's talk a little bit about that. So when we're talking about Remote ID, Part 89 of our rules, we're talking about equipment that has to be on your drone, it doesn't really tell you how to operate your drone because it shouldn't. Because operating your drone comes under Part 107. So if you want to know what you can do with your drone, Part 107 will tell you. If you want to know what equipment you have to have, Part 89 will tell you. Can you fly over people all of a sudden because you put a broadcast module on there? It depends. What is Part 107 going to tell you? And I'm saying focus on Part 107 and ignoring the other parts here for this discussion. But what does Part 107 tell you? It's going to tell you there are different categories of drone for flying over people. So it's going to be a question of, does your drone fall into one of those categories? If it does it meet all the requirements? And if you do have Remote ID attached to it, it will probably allow you to fly over people meeting those requirements with Remote ID. So yes, if you have a drone that has Remote ID, you can fly over people, but you have to look at Part 107 to see if it's going to let you. Because that is going to be a requirement. So really good question here.
00:56:35 – Kevin (FAA): So I'm going to give you guys the last word and Keith, I'll jump back to you. I want to thank you personally for being honest. I know we've had a couple of conversations over, over the years. It's always a pleasure to speak with you. And I, I feel honored every time I get a chance to chat with the alien drones guys. So last word for you, Keith.
00:56:56 – Keith (Alien Drones): Oh, exactly. Yeah, it's my pleasure being here. I really do appreciate it. I think everybody in the community can appreciate, getting firsthand information. I'm extremely grateful and very fortunate to have such good contacts here to get good information. Of course this information will be on the channel and I'll make sure that I answer the questions accordingly as well. Thank you very much for having me. I appreciate it. I look forward to doing it again.
00:57:18 – Kevin (FAA): Thanks, Keith. Appreciate it. Greg?
00:57:22 – Greg (Pilot Institute): Yeah, tons of questions. I've been reading the comments on our YouTube channel and trying to share as many as I can. I know there will be more, so hopefully we can do that again in the future. And yeah, thanks. Thanks for the opportunity.
00:57:36 – Kevin (FAA): All right. Thank you, gentlemen, both of you. I know you're super busy. And I do appreciate your time. It's either late in the evening or just about dinner time, depending on where you are. So I appreciate everyone that joined us and stuck through the whole hour. We had a lot of good information on there. If you want the latest from the FAA, you can follow our social media accounts. We have our DroneZone Twitter, or X, and we have our DroneZone Facebook accounts. You can also visit our website faa.gov/uas, and if you have questions, our support center is staffed with great folks. You can email them at email@example.com. So with that, I'm gonna sign off. I'm Kevin Morris, the FAA drone guy, thanking Greg and Keith for joining me and all of you. I wish you a wonderful rest of your week. Have a great weekend. Fly safe, everyone. Take care.
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