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Proposed UAS Remote Identification Requirements To Impact Drone Users

On Dec. 31, 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a proposed rule on Remote Identification of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Remote ID Rule). If implemented, the rule would require unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operating in U.S. airspace, which includes drones, model aircraft and their control stations, to automatically and continuously identify the device and broadcast its location to the FAA while in flight.

Comments must be submitted on or before March 2, 2020.

Remote ID is an important building block in the unmanned traffic management ecosystem, particularly as the number of UAS operations in all classes of airspace increases. The ability to identify and locate unmanned aircrafts provides critical information to improve situational awareness during flight and serves as a foundation for developing other technologies that can enable the expansion of commercial drone operations.

According to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, all UAS operators – recreational or commercial – would be required to comply. The proposed Remote ID Rule would amend current registration requirements for UAS operators, create operation and production requirements for UAS producers, and prohibit operators from registering multiple drones under a single registration number. Further, the rule would require all registered UAS to have functional end-to-end communication throughout the duration of the flight. 

Amateur-built UAS and most unmanned aircraft under 0.55 pounds would be exempt from the requirements, but would have to limit their operations to areas within a visual line of sight, exclusively in FAA-recognized identification airspace, unless registration of the UAS is required under another FAA regulation.  

The FAA would require all drones and control systems to broadcast or transmit their serial number, latitude, longitude, time-mark and barometric pressure altitude through a Remote ID UAS Service Supplier (Remote ID USS), which will store, protect and transmit the information to the FAA during flight. While standard remote identification UAS would be required to broadcast and transmit information from the control station and the drone, limited identification UAS would only require transmission of information from the control station. 

If the regulation is finalized without any substantial changes, designers and producers would be required to classify and label all drones as either standard remote identification UAS, limited remote identification UAS, amateur-built UAS, or UAS of the United States government. 

© 2020 BARNES & THORNBURG LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 55


About this Author

Clifford G. Maine, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, Grand Rapids, Corporate Law Attorney

Clifford G. Maine is chairman of the firm’s Aviation Law Group. Mr. Maine's practice encompasses a wide variety of aviation law practice areas. He serves as general counsel to numerous aviation organizations, including the Southwest Michigan Regional Airport Authority.

Mr. Maine’s aviation clients include some of the largest corporate flight departments in the world. He has structured numerous aviation transactions, including domestic and foreign-based aircraft purchase and sale transactions, like-kind exchanges, timeshare agreements,...

Todd Dixon Commercial Litigation & Aviation Attorney

Todd A. Dixon is an attorney in Barnes & Thornburg's Grand Rapids and Indianapolis offices and focuses his practice on commercial litigation and aviation law.

Todd's practice encompasses a wide variety of aviation law practice areas. He has structured aviation transactions, including domestic and foreign-based aircraft purchase and sale transactions, like-kind exchanges, timeshare agreements, interchange agreements, joint and fractional ownership agreements, personal and executive use policies, FAA registrations, Capetown International Registry, and aircraft leasing transactions. Todd also provides legal counsel on aviation-related issues including aircraft ownership structures, federal excise tax planning, state sales and use tax planning, and depreciation planning. Todd frequently advises on aviation insurance coverage matters, warranty matters, ongoing service requirements, and regulatory requirements and enforcement matters.

In addition to his transactional practice, Todd represents clients in complex aviation lawsuits.

Prior to embarking on his legal career, Todd was a career military officer and pilot. During his twenty-year active-duty United States Air Force career, he amassed more than 2,000 flying hours, primarily in KC-135 and C-12 aircraft, operated in multiple combat environments throughout the world. Todd retired from the Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel. Trained and experienced in problem solving and accustomed to working in a fast-paced, unforgiving, and high stakes environment, he has leveraged that experience to provide timely, accurate, and focused legal services to clients.

Todd is extremely active in the legal community, specifically in the area of aviation law.

A leader in pro bono work, he provides substantial legal services to numerous nonprofit organizations and has been active in the Southern District of Indiana's Pro Bono Program.