Proposed FAA Regulations Could Impact Rural Drone Operators
The Federal Aviation Administration is proposing new regulations that will impact farm and rural drone operators. Currently, drones are just required to have an ID registered with the FAA. Under new regulations, drones and controls may be required to be connected via radio or internet signal so they can be tracked in real time.
Dustin Blakey is a County Director and Farm Advisor with the UC Cooperative Extension in Inyo and Mono Counties.
Blakey…”What they're looking at essentially is requiring every single drone to broadcast using the radio signal, certain information about what the drone is doing at that time. And then additionally, whatever control station you're using, like your remote controller or your cell phone or whatever device is controlling the drone, needs to have an internet connection at that time too. So you would be broadcasting via the internet the operations that you're doing and where your drone is. Simultaneously the drone itself would be broadcasting a signal.”
Issues with rural connectivity will likely present a problem with using drones for agricultural purposes and complying with these regulations.
Also proposed is a limited remote ID process, but it only gives 400 feet of flight radius, which would just be enough to cover maybe 11 acres.
Blakey believes the proposed regulations are likely to be tweaked or watered-down, but in order for that to happen, people will need to comment on them to the FAA.
The proposed regulations are currently published on the FAA’s website and open for comment until March 2nd. Once finalized most features will phase in over the course of 36 months.
Link to proposed regulations: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/12/31/2019-28100/remote-identification-of-unmanned-aircraft-systems