REMOTE ID: What every drone pilot needs to know

Hey you’re watching gm6 mapping uh today we’re going to talk about some of the uh, some of the new laws that are going to be coming out that the faa has been working on and uh, i’m going to be talking with vic moss, who has a Photography company and is in uh is involved in this process. I believe since the beginning, and then we’re also going to talk with scott stoffman, who is a licensed attorney but is not practicing and he’s involved in the industry. He does a lot of consulting. So i wanted to get their perspective on these new rules and kind of see. You know what uh what we can expect.

So let me go ahead and say you know hi vic! Thank you for coming on and talking with us and well thanks for inviting me this uh. This will be fun, uh and then scott uh, if you would just kind of no, i i think you you, you did a good uh job, just kind of explaining the basics and background sort of uh my place here in the the industry that uh i’m An attorney by training, but i got into flying , probably about four years ago, as a service provider and in the last couple of years, i’ve gotten heavier into using my legal background to consult with some clients that are manufacturing and flying and sort of on. What are the things to to worry about and think about on that side of working in the industry? And so a lot of what i do is digging deep into these rules and considerations and waivers and authorizations and uh.

You know i not everybody needs to do it, not everybody wants to do it, not everybody should do it. So i think you’ve got people like vic, who are putting out some really great summaries and doing the good sort of public outreach on this, and – and that’s part of why we’re here today is to talk about this. We’Re going to sort of dispel the rumors and correct the sort of misconceptions that are coming out with this remote id ruling and night time operations operations over people and vic. Can you kind of tell just a little bit about your background? How you got into dealing with this whole issue sure i’m a photographer by trade actually have an art degree.

So i always tell people you’re getting legal advice from somebody with an art degree, so keep that in the back of your mind, um and uh. I started flying about seven years ago uh here in colorado, we started having some. The state was starting to look at some of these rules that they wanted to try to implement, and so i went to a meeting of a local group here. First time i went, and i said, hey who’s working with the legislature and nobody raised their hand. So i left that meeting as the liaison for for that particular group in the colorado legislature and it just kind of snowballed from there and now i’m also working with the fa, not for the faa, big distinction as a volunteer with the fba safety team and a Drone pro, which scott is part of that as well and um uh, it’s uh, it’s kind of fun um to be able to do that.

We do a lot of education, a lot of outreach, uh that kind of thing, and then uh, kenji, sugar and myself also about uh two months ago, announced and launched drone service provider alliance. Uh, which is the uh, hopefully, will be the uh um voice for the small and medium format, medium sized uh dsps out in the united states. Interesting. So let me, let me ask let me start with with you vic um. Can you tell me about the uh?

The uh, the mprm, the final rules, uh changes and just kind of talk about that a little bit. What to expect sure um. You know the first thing i like to get to to make sure that the people understand in interviews like this is there’s no reason to panic. Um we’ve got plenty of time to do what we need to do some of the parts that we’re not really happy with. Maybe we can get them changed before then, or at least better clarified before then, but we definitely had some victories between the nprm and the final rule, which was announced monday, and i think the biggest one everybody can agree on is that we no longer have to Be connected to the internet to fly so that transmission aspect of the remote id informational packet or whatever you want to call it is gone non-existent.

So that’s a huge win for the for the small, the smaller manufacturers and smaller dsps big telecom was behind a lot of that, as, as was the government federal agencies, the security agencies as they’re known. So the fact that that went away is huge, there’s not going to be the monthly fee, there’s not going to be the internet connection um, because it was so big and so unworkable that that was a huge win uh for us uh, the other real huge win For the drone service providers, especially uh, is back that we can. We can retrofit our legacy, birds uh. It’S also a good win for the fpv crowd and the hobby rc crowd that they can then go ahead and put um the module one of the two ways they can put it. They can put an rid module on their drone or their rc aircraft and fly.

Keep continue to fly in some place other than afria, so those are probably the the two highlights of um of what came out of the final rule on monday, interesting yeah, because i think that was the the biggest one that i’ve heard. The most complaints about was the whole internet connectivity and, of course, people being able to see where you’re at just by logging into you, know something online. So a lot of rumors that you know i wasn’t sure about so that so that’s gone completely. Then right yep, it is well they. They use this funny little word at this time, a number of times throughout the throughout the rid uh for the final rule, but um.

I just can’t imagine that becoming mandatory down the road uh. Maybe in some instances there there might be something maybe congested controlled airspace or something um and once uh utm gets up and running that might be in there somehow. But as of right now, no it doesn’t exist and i would be surprised if it really comes out any kind of major uh requirement, uh wide area requirement. At all. I mean it’s not workable, so i don’t know how they could do it right.

Okay, well, uh. Scott, can you uh? Can you kind of tell me uh, you know same same question. You know. As far as what you’ve read – and you said, you’ve read through the whole thing.

Is that correct? Oh yeah, all 470 pages of the remote id and the 292 pages of the you know ops over people, nighttime operations and i haven’t gone through the supporting documentation yet. But you know there a lot of that is laid out in the docket materials on the, if you’re really into the nitty-gritty stuff and more will come. The faa has promised that they’re going to be advisory, circulars, that detail more information on kind of the production, certificates and means of compliance, and i know that the standards development organizations are working to kind of make sure that their existing rules will comply and hopefully very Soon be workable as a means of compliance, for you know a manufacturer and an operator to comply with remote id uh.

I think the main thing here is that you’ve got three different ways that you can fall underneath remote id, which is basically operating a standard, remote id drone, which is it’s already built in, and it’s been approved on the manufacturing side and you’re good to go with That or the one of the biggest boons that we got out of this as vic mentioned, is that retrofit is going to be available with the broadcasting module as far as what those are going to look like, we don’t really know yet. I think the the faa has said they see those costing anywhere from hopefully 20 to 50 bucks, and it’s going to be something that you can move between and essentially your serial number will be attached to that specific item. Think of it, like your uh, you know collision avoidance lights or you know your nighttime lights, probably something of that size, hopefully and uh requirement, and then the other is just to operate at an faa, recognized identification, areas or freya. So think of those like currently your ama fields, um, they have opened that up. You know one of the one of the other big changes that we did get was on.

The free is between the nprm and the final rule that that concept was going to be very restricted in a limited amount of time for people to apply and now they’ve kind of taken away. That time, restriction and they’ve also opened it up to not just community based organizations will be able to apply for those licenses, but also educational institutions. So your stem programs and things like that, will have a chance to operate their drones without remote id for recreational purposes. So that’s really interesting. Okay, so and speaking of recreational is, is that going to be across the board or recreational pilot’s going to be required for the most part to abide by the same rules yeah anything over 250 grams or the 0.

5 pounds? Even if it’s operated recreationally, it will need to have our id a good way to look at. It is basically tie it to registration. If you have to register your drone, you got to have our id on it. That’S the best way to do it really.

The way that they lay it out is, you know the part. 47 part 48, part 135. So if you’re, a commercial operator and you’ve got one of those under 250 gram, drones and you’re using it for commercial purposes and you had to register it anyway, then it’s got to be remote id compliant. So that would mean you likely got a broadcast module on that or the industry will push for a lot of those smaller drones to be standard, robotid capable going forward. Okay.

So let me ask you, along the the same line of thought with you know what we’re talking about here: uh scotland. Let’S talk about good versus bad. What what, if anything, has stuck out with from uh with you on on that? In that respect, i’d say on the at least sort of red flag things that we would have liked to maybe have seen some difference on and it will have to see how it shakes out is the the pilot location um. I i, as a pilot, who is out there flying and who has had guns, pointed in my direction personally, while on jobs, don’t love the the thought of my location being broadcast, but at the same time, taking away that internet connected piece sort of reduces the utility Of that location, if somebody’s going to see you they’re going to be pretty close to you anyway, because you’re broadcasting over a part, 15 licensed radio, so likely wi-fi or bluetooth, which aren’t going to necessarily push for miles and miles away.

And the other piece of that is uh. We i work a little bit on the first response side, and so they as they have uh you know, sensitive operations probably would not necessarily want their location pushed out to the the people that they’re they’re looking at or you know possibly jeopardizing the safety of the Operations that they have underway, but that’s why there’s exceptions and you know potential for those rules to be changed or tweaked for specific operations and the faa is they’re, not dumb. They listen and uh. They want to make sure that if there is safety is balanced between that remote identification and between that kind of operational safety. Okay, so i maybe i had misunderstood earlier, so they it’s going to send out um it’s over.

It’S not over the white uh over the internet, but it’s going to send out a signal. So if that signal is basically like bluetooth or wi-fi uh, how is it gon na or who who’s gon na be able to pick up that signal and how is that going to prevent uh pilots from having you know some sort of interaction with an aircraft airplane Helicopter rid itself is not designed to to cut down interaction between aircraft um, not yet anyway, i mean the utm side of it for it for unmanned, but for man for man aircraft, that’s not part of that’s not part of our idea at all. Really there was some discussion about it in the nprm and, of course, a ton of comments um, but that’s that’s not going to be an issue uh at all. It’S that’s! That’S!

That’S not it’s a non-starter! It’S not part of it and as far as the is um again line of sight is going to be the issue because it’s uh it’s about bluetooth and wi-fi or line of sight and depending on the wi-fi perfect condition, is a little over a kilometer. I’M sorry bluetooth a little over kilometer wi-fi is a little less but um. You know it’s. It’S doable to be out that high or that that far, but it’s it’s all going to be line of sight, um and so the lower you are, the less the less radius you’ll be able to pick that stuff up and it will be picked up by anything.

That’S capable of uh of uh, wi-fi or bluetooth, which is basically your phone um, so that will be that will be doable but again the lower you are the less your radius is going to be, they didn’t define radius and they didn’t even define the um. The requirements of the radius, yet so once astm gets their stuff into the faa and the faa approves it. That’S probably gon na that’s probably gon na answer a lot of these questions and astm is almost there um. So it’s just a matter of getting that there. Okay yeah, i spoke to kenji a little bit and i think that they’re standing up that working group again to sort of figure out.

Let’S, let’s get these in line and make sure that the the standards that we have in the astm version jive with. What’S in this final rule, and one of the other things is sort of the accuracy requirements within the final rule, there’s leeway in there you’re not looking at some. You know a gps pinpoint down to five feet uh, especially on the altitude of the aircraft, and the other thing that we haven’t really touched on. Yet. Is that, depending on the type of remote id that you’re flying under there’s requirement for aircraft information and ground station information, so it just depends on if you’ve got something, that’s retrofitted or you’ve got something that is standard remote id, then there may be information pushed out About the ground station and pilot location, because the main goal of this is to give people on the ground information if they need to locate a pilot who’s out there doing something that they don’t want to happen.

Or that might be dangerous and they can either educate or stop or you know do what it is that they need to do within their the line of business that they’re providing yep yeah. And you know, if we’re being real honest, most people, the general public, is not going to even know or have uh the or probably won’t even be able to figure out how to find people on, because i’m guessing it may be an app or something. And if you’re within that proximity uh, there might be some some organizations that push stuff out pushing information out. But i think if it’s something you know leo law enforcement will have it. There’S no question about it: they’re going to have that um and that’s that’s really who it’s geared towards, but the general public probably aren’t going to be all that familiar with it um unless it becomes.

You know somebody some kids find a drone all over the place and somebody goes on or whatever and says hey. You know. If you want to know who that is, go here, download it call it happy and let’s let’s, let’s, let’s do what we need to do, but i think for the most part: it’s it’s not going to be that big, a deal because, honestly, it’s it’s not it’s! Not as common as it used to be still, it still happens and it’s still going to create a safety issue for those of us who are flying.

So i don’t want to. I don’t want to brush that underneath you know under the rug but um. I don’t think this would be quite as bad as people like. I still want it changed um, but we’ll see how that goes. Yeah i haven’t read through it.

I’Ve been depending on scott to kind of fill me in, so that’s not a bad thing yeah. Well, i i trust his opinion more than uh my interpretation, so one thing real, quick too, before we move on from this. The reason that aspect in there, the pilot location or takeoff location is in there is because the federal security agencies would not have signed off on the final rule without it um. So a lot of people are kind of miffed at the faa about it and i’m wearing my little faa hat um. It’S it’s not necessarily faa’s fault on this uh.

It is it’s like it was either this or we don’t get it um and we need it now. We do need our id for utm. So there is that aspect of it, but um the fa understands our our concern. We’Ve had a few meetings with them uh since sunday, actually, because i did get a preview of it and uh. That was the first thing i brought up, it’s like hey guys and it’s like well.

Do you want a final rule? Well, this that’s here because of the security agencies, yeah yeah and you know that’s uh kind of thinking about that in the the whole picture. You know specifically what you’re saying you know: if we wanted it, then you know to get to one point: we’ve got to get. You know some rules in place first and so uh like i do some consulting and i’ve had clients uh in other countries and uh. Let’S take africa, for instance, uh looking at their rules, because we were at one point planning on flying long distance uh.

I think we’re talking about 60 kilometers and uh at a time and over you know some populated areas and just the whole thing that people are working on here and looking at their rules. They look almost identical to ours, and so what you know in my head, that that tells me that you know a lot of countries are looking at what we’re doing here. They’Re, either going to uh copy and paste or make some uh rules that are really similar. With some variations so to me, it seems like uh, like it’s important, for even people that are not in the us now to kind of know some of these rules, because it’s only a matter of time, um again in the aviation world kind of like as the Faa goes so does the world um, so they are kind of leading the way there and uh. If you know if we can get iko on board with some of this uas stuff, that’ll be even more cemented into it.

But if you look at the faa, aubsi um symposium that was held earlier that well earlier this summer, it’s new year’s. Last last year there were a lot of international people there for that very reason to see if they can get information um on how things are working here, and so then they can incorporate it into what they’re doing in their own countries, and there were people from Africa there were people from south america and central america there um in some of those forums asking those very pointed questions, two faa people that were there. So it’s definitely something there. That’S on their mind, um, and that was really the only interaction i’ve ever had with them was um sort of as a bystander in some of those forums, um and typing in when i can but yeah that it’s the international people are looking and watching what we’re Doing one of the things that came out of that symposium was the faa actually announcing that they had some agreements in place with other countries like the swiss. Foca has been very heavy in uh drone delivery and i believe they announced something with transport canada.

At the same time as well uh i mean, if you look through the comments heavily in the remote id and the final rule itself in the preamble. You could see who wrote specific comments about specific things and iasa is the is chiming in there transport canada is in there, and so you know, other countries are aware and they’re looking at what we’re putting together and trying to sort of bring their bend on it And working in general, one of the biggest things that we’ve been trying to work on as an industry internationally is harmonization of rules so kind of trying to figure out which ones vote, which ones make the most sense in which places and not all airspace is the Same, not all population density is the same. It’S the main reason that you look at a rule like this and it’s performance based and that’s great for us. So, do you see any new opportunities being available because of this yeah i mean we’ll, and you touched on the operations over people here for a second so and that’s one of the rules that we got coming out was a lot of clarification on the potential for Being able to do that without waivers that to do that, and so the fa is establishing these new categories based on weight of the aircraft, as well as the the impact force that you get um when it lands. And so one of the things that some people might miss is that, as you get into those larger category, aircrafts or sort of higher impact forces, you’ve got to have remote id on board or some sort of remote id compliant.

So i know that, while we have talked about you know, don’t worry as a general operator. You know we’ve got time on this. We’Ve got that you know 60 days after publishing in the federal register plus 18 months for manufacturers and it’s 30 months for operators for compliance. But there will definitely be people working very quickly to try and get some of this up and running so that you can have those aircraft operating over people. And you know one of the other things and there was incidental operation over moving vehicles, which is just amazing to see that having come from, where we’ve been for the last few years of operating, especially with the parachute manufacturers and everybody trying to get your own delivery.

Working right there’s definitely opportunity there and the faa has addressed it and they’re trying to work with industry to make those kinds of operations viable uh, i would say um, you know, agree with what scott’s saying and it’s really once it’s fully implemented um and some of The kinks are worked out, um, it’s it’s going to open the air up for us. It’S going to open the air space up for a number of us um. I like to use the example of if you’re going to fly like let’s say, vip tfrs. You know it’s a 30 mile tfr when the president’s around which, if you’re flying 172 or something along those lines, yeah, that’s that probably should be a 30 mile tfr um. If you’re flying a drone.

I think it’s a little absurd um. It is a little absurd. It just is so once everything’s going on and when you’ve got a vip tfr anyway. You’Ve got all this monitoring equipment in the sky, monitoring everything, so maybe they can shrink the the uas down to two miles five miles whatever and open up that huge radius on the outside, because so many people lose work that way they can. You know drone pops up.

It’S like. Oh that’s, scottie’s over there doing that. That’S vecky’s over there doing that! That’S fine somebody! Pops up!

It’S like don’t know who that is, let’s concentrate our assets out over there um, so the assets aren’t being thrown all over the place, and people inside that tfr can fly safely, um and legally. So i think it’ll open the skies up. Man deviate or you know, controlled airspace. I think it’ll open things up a little bit. More zero grids are really really tough.

Sometimes, like you know here in denver, we got dia and i can fly on zero grids there, some of them uh, but we also have centennial where they just shut you down. They won’t even they won’t even look at you being a zero grid. So i think all of this will open up disguise for the 107 operator yeah. You know – and i i have some – i have some issues with some of that stuff as well, because there’s times when uh you know, you just need to be 100 feet in the air and that’s not going to affect an airplane. If you’re, you know a few miles away from the airport or something, but so let me well, you know so we’re touching on that airspace access, and i think that one of the reasons that you have some of these controllers and or you know, uas liaisons – that Are a little bit apprehensive about.

Drones is because they don’t really know that much about drones and what it is that operators are doing and and what the actual operations themselves look like, how much they might affect the airspace and the the users that they have around. And so hopefully, something like remote id will give them a better picture into that outside of the current commercially available tracking systems like a aeroscope or something along those lines that if you can actually open a conversation with the the airport themselves, like hey, there’s this Zero grid, it’s it’s not on the runway, it’s not on the approach. It’S on the takeoff, like the risk, is low. Here’S! What i want to do and just be a real person.

I know that not every airport has somebody that’s amenable to those kinds of conversations, but hopefully, as we get more public understanding of what it is, that we’re doing with drones. And we have more trust because of rules like this, that those operations will be easier to to make happen, because people will understand more about what it is, that we’re doing and be sort of less mystified. And you know less scared about what it is that we’re doing, because there’s some more accountability in the system. Yeah! No, i i agree, i think that’s the biggest.

The biggest point of all is: if we can build up trust, then we’ll be able to do more good. All right well, is before i let you guys go. Is there anything that you think we didn’t cover that people should know there um, but i you know. I also want to reiterate that you know everybody complained that the faa is not going to read. Everything – and all you got to do is look at the look at the preamble realize and scott.

I already mentioned this, but the faa read these um and and use them to help craft the you know the final rules, so i i personally want to say thank you to all 55 000 people who who commented that was huge for the industry um as the Fa said, you know when you put out an nprm. This is not. This is not an election you’re not voting on it um. We want to hear your thoughts, you know, and if you complain about something, go ahead and give them give them a give them a a resolution to it as well. If you’ve got one okay yeah it’s one of the things that we did working with the north central texas council of governments, we had ernest huffman who used to be, or is very heavily involved in the manned aviation side of things and and working on it and Has dealt with the faa sort of on how this legislative process works, he tried to counsel everybody say, look, don’t just copy and paste, because you know what you get 20 000 of those it counts as one, and so i think some people got that message and Made sure you can use kind of a base set of information and then craft it personally to how it affects you as an operator, or you know, as a user of the airspace, and i think a lot of people did that and i i definitely know that They read the comments because the one that i submitted for one of my clients got called out in this.

You know in the preamble. I saw the company name, it’s right there. I know i wrote it and uh, so it’s they’re paying attention. You know they may not have made changes to everything based on the suggestions that they received, but there definitely was movement in this and i think it’s similar to what happened with 107, that they they, the the rule-making process, exists for a reason. Yeah.

They don’t know everything at the faa, but they’re also not they’re, also intelligent. They know what they’re doing they’ve been working around aviation for a long time and they want to work collaboratively with the people who don’t want to just stand there and yell at them and want to move the industry forward. And you know: increase the safety of the national airspace system, so uh it’s exciting to have been a part of that and where we’re going to move as an industry in the future – and i think it helps that we have people like you, troy and vic, who Are coming out and doing these kinds of videos to sort of hey, look, here’s a an opinion and an informed view. Uh, you know so don’t just have that kind of knee jerk. Oh, the sky is falling uh.

You know take a little bit of time. Not everything has to be released day, one and um. You know otherwise enjoy doing your business and being a safe operator and and have fun with drones. Not everything is commercial and uh. That’S not going away right!

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