FAA rolling out new rules to integrate drones into national airspace system

Updated: Jan. 12, 2021 at 4:06 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Un-piloted Aerial Vehicles that must be registered with the FAA will soon have to be equipped with a system called Remote Identification.

It’s one of two new rules for drones.

“Remote ID is a separate system that seems to allow identification of a drone and where the operator is,” said Mike Elliot, owner of Drone Services Hawaii.

The FAA said its new rules address safety, security and privacy and will help integrate drones into the national airspace system. It’s like a digital license plate authorities can instantly access.

Elliot said it might make it easier for commercial drone pilots to fly in controlled airspace.

“It’s going to share latitude, longitude, altitude, time information, and a unique Remote ID that’s associated with that drone,” he said.

The FAA is also allowing commercial drone operators to fly small drones over people and at night, a step toward using UAVs to deliver packages.

Elliot said recreational fliers may not like the Remote ID requirement.

“Some of them see it as being intrusive. I understand their point,” he said.

Another concern comes from the drone racing community, pilots who fly first-person view drones or FPVs that weigh less than half-a-pound.

“They may not even honor this 250-gram threshold anymore. It may just be anything that flies will require some sort of identification and be able to be tracked,” said Ephraim Botulan, organizer of Aloha FPV Drone Racing.

The new rules take effect in March but drone manufacturers and operators will have more time to comply with the Remote ID requirement.

“So about 30 months out there is supposed to be full compliance,” Elliot said.

The FAA’s new regulations come at a time when drone flying has become the fastest growing segment of transportation in the US.

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