The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that the final rules covering remote identification of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS/drones) and drone operations over people, will go into effect on April 21, 2021. The original effective date for both rules was March 16, which is 60 days after they were published in the Federal Register.
The FAA points out that the date was moved back to “afford the President’s appointees or designees an opportunity to review the rule and … allow for consideration of any questions of fact, law, or policy that the rule may raise before it becomes effective.”*
According to The Remote Identification of Unmanned Aircraft rule, drones in flight are required to broadcast identification and location information along with requiring similar location data from the aircraft’s control station or takeoff point. However, unmanned aircraft operating at identification areas (FRIAs) recognized by the FAA, are exempt from Remote ID requirements. Although the Remote ID rule goes into effect on April 21, operators will have 30 months from the date the rule was published in the Federal Register — January 15, 2021 — to comply with the new regulations.
The “Operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft Over People” rule applies to Part 107 operations and includes provisions for flights over people, over moving vehicles and at night. Furthermore, this rule requires remote pilots to pass an “updated” initial knowledge test or complete an online training course prior to operating under the new regulations. The knowledge test and training course will be available on April 6, 2021, according to the FAA.
While Remote ID was the most complex of the new rules, the “Operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft Over People” and “Flight at Night” became considered under the same category and thereby the three rules will become effective on the same date. Pilots won’t have to wait 3 years to take advantage of “Operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft Over People” and “Night Flight” rules, however, as the FAA statement makes clear:
“The Operations Over People rule applies to pilots who fly under Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. The ability to fly over people and over moving vehicles varies depending on the level of risk a small drone operation presents to people on the ground. The rule allows operations based on four categories, which can be found in the rule’s Executive Summary (PDF). Additionally, this rule allows operations at night under certain conditions. Prior to flying under the new provisions, a remote pilot must pass the updated initial knowledge test or complete the appropriate updated online training course, which will be available on April 6, 2021….”*
The Remote ID (PDF) and Operations Over People Rule (PDF) can be reviewed by the public in the Federal Register.
The “Operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft Over People” rule includes provisions for flights over people, over moving vehicles, and at night, under certain conditions. Pilots won’t have to wait 3 years to take advantage of “Operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft Over People” and “Night Flight” rules, as long as the pilots fly under Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations.