FAA proposal for drone ID

Here’s what people are saying about the FAA proposal for drone ID

The Federal Aviation Administration gave the drone industry a Christmas gift of sorts at the end of 2019, by releasing its proposal for Remote ID. Remote ID is a kind of electronic license plate system for drones, where drones would have to transmit their identifying information either over the internet or via broadcast.

The news unleashed a whirlwind of comments on the Internet. And the FAA doesn’t want to read the YouTube or Twitter comments (hey, as someone who posts things to the Internet for a living, I can’t blame them). But the FAA does want to hear your comments in some capacity.

Many of the backlash came from small businesses citing cost concerns, as well as people flying in rural areas who fear the ability to transmit their information, among other criticisms.

The FAA opened up a public comment system through the Federal Register, enabling anyone to leave their thoughts between now and Monday, March 2.

And the FAA has thus far received more than 10,000 comments. You can read all of them here, but we also had a look to sort through some of the most interesting ones.

Here are some fast facts (as of today’s publication date):

  • 10,864 comments have been received so far
  • 414 comments reference ‘DJI’
  • 10 comments reference ‘Yuneec’
  • 56 comments reference ‘China’
  • 3 comments came from “Donald Trump” (the FAA requires you to submit your name, but there is no way to authenticate that the commenter is leaving their real name)

Here were some interesting tidbits from notable commenters and organizations:

Concerns over needing to fly with some sort of network connection, even in remote/rural areas where connections are limited:

From Thomas Atwood, Executive Director, The National Robotics Education Foundation and Director of AUVSI’s Florida Peninsula Chapter: The rule must consider hobbyists who fly in rural areas with little or no internet connectivity. As I read the proposed rule, I would be required to have an internet connection even if flying at an approved fixed flying site in a rural part of the country. Unfortunately, some rural areas don’t have adequate cell service, which means I could not be able to fly. Rural locations are frequently the safest places to fly because they are away from people, other aircraft and structures.

From James Ferguson of the Montrose Model Aircraft Association: Unfortunately, here in the west many areas don’t have adequate cell service, which means I could not be able to fly under the limited remote ID option. The FAA needs to provide a solution for these areas, such as the ability to comply from home or other WIFI-enabled locations.

Concerns that over-regulation would make it tougher for law enforcement and emergency responders to operate drones quickly given the otherwise lengthy approval process:

From Ryan Durbin, Washington State Patrol: It is essential that the law enforcement organization can operate without delay in launching and conducting the sUAS deployment without a lengthy approval process. Time delays in crime scene investigations risk the loss of fleeting evidence, which can jeopardize the integrity of the case and the ability to successfully prosecute criminal violations.

Concerns over cost burdens for hobbyists and small businesses:

From the Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Radio Control Club: We are deeply concerned that many elements of the proposal could impose significant costs and burdens on the recreational model aviation community, and modeling industry, by unnecessarily restricting existing, safe recreational model aircraft operations while providing little additional safety to the NAS (National Air Space) for this class of UAS and little if no deterrence of illegal or unsafe UAS operation.

From Shaun Stanton, Director of Operations at Flytcam Motion Pictures: As a small business service provider, it will be difficult to discern when to initiate a capital outlay for equipment. If you purchase before the final year and your equipment is unable to meet the future standard, now you must make a substantial repurchase. Either you will delay the purchase of equipment in fear of not being able to use it, or you take a risk. If you do the former, your risk is losing productivity as you will not have the proper tools to stay on the competitive edge. In this industry, a year’s loss of work is enough to destroy a shop. The latter, and now you are stuck with a capability you cannot legally use.

Concerns that the new rule would restrict flights outside ‘Recreational Flight Fields’ but that are in otherwise safe-to-fly areas, like AMA fields

From Emma Roberson, Age 12: Last summer my grandfather taught me to fly a model airplane. I’m 12 years old and the only girl that I know of in my school that flies model airplanes. Now I see that the FAA wants to change a lot of rules that may stop me from flying model airplanes. I think flying at a club airfield is right, but I’m told that if these places have to close because they are old, they can’t make a new one under the FAA new rules. That seems to be a bad rule. It means that there will not be any place for me, and others, to fly in the future. I want to become a good pilot and learn to fly in contests. You should make it possible for the contests to be held at a fixed airfield and at air shows.

You too can get in on the public comment action. Just go to Federal Register’s page on ‘Remote Identification of Unmanned Aircraft Systems’ and click the ‘Submit a Formal Comment’ button, which should be on the top right side of the page. Keep in mind, that you’re leaving a public comment, so be mindful of what you say on the Internet.

You have until Monday, March 2 to leave your own Remote ID public comment. But first, read the entire text of the FAA’s drone remote ID proposal here.

What are your thoughts on the rule? Leave a comment here, but don’t forget to leave your official comment with the FAA, too!


  • Tim says:

    The other night I planned on submitting my comments to the FAA about the Remote ID proposal but could not find it anywhere.
    The next day I get your post in my inbox with the link on where to post comments.
    My goodness Sally. You’re the only person who listens to me! ?

  • I am writing in response to the FAAs notice of proposed rulemaking on remote identification of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

    I can understand the reason and the need for FAA notification when operating a UAS within controlled airspace. I do NOT endorse the reason or need for FAA notification when flying a UAS under 400′ AGL in uncontrolled airspace.

    Uncontrolled airspace should remain precisely that – UNCONTROLLED. UAS aircraft should fly within 400′ AGL. Licensed, N-numbered aircraft are not allowed to fly under 500′ AGL without tower clearance. I fly in remote areas of the west – far-far away from any sort of cell service or controlled airspace. I shoot waterfalls, ghost towns, old graveyards and interesting rock formations with a drone. If I have to figure out how to notify FAA in uncontrolled airspace and without cell service every time I make a shot, I will endure unneeded and restrictive burdens that will abolish my ability to effectively shoot video and tell compelling stories. Moreover, such notification for flying under 400′ AGL in uncontrolled airspace does not add to the safety of general aviation that is already required to fly above 500′ AGL.

    Further, mandatory FAA notification in rural uncontrolled airspace will place an unneeded procedural burden and restriction on small business owners, inflicting yet another cost of trying to do business.

    Conversely, I do know that there are commercial producers and local licensed TV stations who need to shoot video in towns where cell service is available. If these people have to notify FAA every time they make a shot under 400′ AGL, FAA doesn’t have enough bandwidth or human/computer resources to make any sort of reasonable use of such information. It comes to be just another burdensome procedure, without merit and goes to serve no good or reasonable purpose.

    I believe that anyone who flies a drone within controlled airspace without tower clearance should permanently lose the ability to fly a UAS for life. No exceptions. I have produced marketing videos for airport authorities and have always had airport personnel with direct 2-way control tower communication to insure we do not endanger licensed air traffic or public safety while we make our shots. Other than the procedure just described, nobody has any business flying UAS aircraft in controlled airspace – especially in and around an airport.

    I shoot the Reno Air Races every year as I have since inception in 1964. While aerial shots of air racing taken from inside the course would be thrilling to watch from a UAS, the fact is that safety would and should preclude such photography because frequently, pilots call a mayday and need to land on infield runways unencumbered. Consequently, it is my firm belief that UAS should be absolutely forbidden for use at any airshow. No exceptions.

    I can understand the reason and the need for FAA notification when operating a UAS within controlled airspace. I do NOT endorse the reason or need for FAA notification when flying a UAS under 400′ AGL in uncontrolled airspace.

    Jim Mitchell, Producer
    P. O. Box 2266
    Sparks, NV 89432
    (775) 287-6602

  • There are 319 pages to this proposed regulation for a simple drone. Really? Typical swamp squalor. These are battery-operated drones for Pete’s sake – not a lunar lander!

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