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FAA Release NEW rules for UAS Operations

BigAl07

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AirCam

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So, drone manufacturers have 18 months to deliver remote ID drones and end users have an additional year to buy them. It looks like my old drones are still good for 2 1/2 years. If the diminishing number of people posting on these forums is any indicator, interest in drones is slowing down at a higher rate than it was increasing, just a couple of years ago. At that rate, there won't be much left for the FAA to regulate by the time it goes into effect.
 

SirThomas

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I think that this is a pretty good compromise between what the FAA originally proposed and what commenters said back to them during the comment period. They removed the requirement to be on an internet connection and send info over the internet to a (cost extra) company that would collect that and send to FAA. Instead, these new Remote ID radios will broadcast over unlicensed spectrum (WiFi or Bluetooth most likely). Only the FAA will have the ability to match up the units ID number with the registration database, so there is some privacy there (since anyone with a receiver and app will be able to view where the drones are flying -- just not who they are).
There is a retrofit for us Spark flyers in the form of a broadcast module that can be affixed to the unit. Yeah, more weight on it, so it will likely affect performance, but at least we will have an option for older units to keep flying legally.
If you cannot use built-in (upgrade S/W) system and cannot/don't want to affix a module to the unit, you can still fly but only in approved locations (which will be in an FAA database if you want to find them).

The "broadcast module" units that will have to be affixed to non-compatible drones will have to send lat/long, altitude/time info so they may actually be pretty small since they will need a Wifi/Bluetooth transmitter & a GPS chip to get their location , speed, and time data. That's just a couple of chips on a typical smartphone these days. Add a couple of button batteries or a small phone-type battery (rechargeable) and I suspect they'll be only a few ounces. With all the smartphones and GPS and Bluetooth/WiFi chips out there the chips are cheap so cost isn't going to be huge either.
 

theDRONEranger

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The big question is $$$
How much will compliance cost me?
If I read that correctly, early afternoon yesterday, before I finished my COVID marathon of coffee drinking, I will need a total of four (4) transponders for:
One Spark drone
One Spark Controller
One Mavic Air drone
One MA controller

I have no problem w/ showing ID to proper authorities, nor do I have any issue with knowledge test. (I am 107 already)
 

Pearson

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So the FAA recognized their blind spot when it comes to collecting this data and removed the requirement to broadcast via network/Internet for now. (pg. 16). The summary (linked above) says: "Network-based / Internet transmission requirements have been eliminated."

Practically speaking, what does that mean? We still have to broadcast via BlueTooth or WiFi, no? If not IP-based, then how is this data getting routed to the FAA from a drone out in the middle of nowhere or on some mountaintop?
 
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SirThomas

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Practically speaking, what does that mean? We still have to broadcast via BlueTooth or WiFi, no? If not IP-based, then how is this data getting routed to the FAA from a drone out in the middle of nowhere or on some mountaintop?
In the 400+ page comment response, it implied to me that it would likely be Bluetooth or WiFi. It will transmit a Remote ID ("serial number") that has to be in your application for the license. So the FAA can match up the number to your info. My understanding is the purpose of broadcasting is so that 1) they know who a drone belongs to if it is a hazard/security risk and 2) anything operating "nearby" (within range of the signal) knows where it is in order to avoid it. #2 isn't likely to be an issue for most aircraft other than perhaps helicopters and perhaps something like delivery drones that are going to operate in the same airspace regularly.
 

SirThomas

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Mar 2, 2019
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The big question is $$$
How much will compliance cost me?
If I read that correctly, early afternoon yesterday, before I finished my COVID marathon of coffee drinking, I will need a total of four (4) transponders for:
One Spark drone
One Spark Controller
One Mavic Air drone
One MA controller
I will through out an EE guess here and say it might be in the $30-$50 range for an attached unit. Attached units do not need to broadcast the controller location, but only the location of takeoff of the drone (they assume the controller is likely pretty close to where the drone takes off from, so that is good enough for controller location). So only units for the drones and not the controllers.

Given that Spark and Mavic already have GPS chips and WiFi transmitters in them (to connect drone to controller), there is some possibility that a software/firmware upgrade would be all that is needed. My phone is barely able to act as a platform for the DJI4 software, so I'm running back level software on the phone and drone. So if a software upgrade is possible, I'll still have the added cost of upgrading to a compatible phone to run the latest software.
 
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Pearson

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In the 400+ page comment response, it implied to me that it would likely be Bluetooth or WiFi. It will transmit a Remote ID ("serial number") that has to be in your application for the license. So the FAA can match up the number to your info. My understanding is the purpose of broadcasting is so that 1) they know who a drone belongs to if it is a hazard/security risk and 2) anything operating "nearby" (within range of the signal) knows where it is in order to avoid it. #2 isn't likely to be an issue for most aircraft other than perhaps helicopters and perhaps something like delivery drones that are going to operate in the same airspace regularly.
Oh, this is what I was missing. Regardless of whether someone's around to receive the signal, it's going to be broadcast. For example, should a pilot wander into the same air space, then he might pick up on it. Thanks.
 

SirThomas

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This is speculation on my part, but the fact that the rule says that devices will NOT be permitted to use ADS-B (because so many units transmitting might overwhelm the receivers) almost implies a separation of the airspace above and below 400 ft. Above 400 ft the ADS-B will provide location information and below 400 ft, this Remote ID broadcast will provide location information (for now).

This could cause some complication for commercial aircraft that also operate in airspace below 400ft but not within a restricted airspace (i.e. places we're not allowed to fly already such as near airports, heliports, etc). In addition to ADS-B, they might need to have a Remote ID receiver to determine if there are any drones in the way of their intended flight path. I think this probably applies mostly to helicopters. I'm sure a news chopper hovering over some area would like to know if there are drones also hovering in the area, particularly since they cannot use radio to communicate with the drone pilots the way they can with other helicopter pilots.

In the same way that the FAA has been working on nextgen traffic control systems (including ADS-B), I could see a future where the FAA works to try to converge on a single aircraft identification system that applies to both "commercial" aircraft and helicopters as well as UAVs so that there is a single collision-avoidance system from 0 ft and above rather than just 400 ft and above. First phase might be what we're seeing now with this Remote ID requirement.
 
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