Sept. 23, 2019

The FAA has delayed release of its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) governing remote identification of certain unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), an important step toward broader deployment of UAS in the National Airspace System. The highly anticipated NPRM is now due for publication in late December.

“This rulemaking is vital to the safe integration of UAS on the traffic management side,” said Heidi Williams, NBAA director of air traffic services and infrastructure. “While it’s somewhat disappointing to see this delay, it’s imperative the agency gets remote ID right.”

Remote ID is the ability of a UAS to provide tracking and identification information while in flight. Availability of this data to other parties will help enable the expansion of beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations, while also assisting authorities when a UAS appears to be flying in an unsafe manner or is operating in a restricted area.

In a recent interview with NBAA’s Business Aviation Insider magazine, Jay Merkle, executive director of the FAA Office of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration, termed remote ID “crucial” to the agency’s UAS integration efforts and enabling “much more high-volume, low-altitude UAS operations. Read Merkle’s full interview.

“We need remote ID for routine BVLOS operations and package delivery; operations in congested, low-altitude airspace as part of unmanned traffic management; and for the continued safe operation of all aircraft in the shared airspace system,” he said.

The NPRM is expected to consider recommendations submitted in 2017 by the UAS ID aviation rulemaking committee (ARC). Comprised of regulators and industry UAS stakeholders, the ARC also included several members of NBAA’s newly formed Emerging Technologies Committee tasked with helping to drive the future of aviation safety and policy across new industry segments including UAS, urban mobility and commercial space.

Williams noted the committee will be closely monitoring implementation of remote ID in the months ahead.

“There’s a lot of work in the coming 12-24 months that hinges on the successful implementation of remote identification for UAS, and NBAA understands the importance of enacting these requirements safely,” she said.