Part 89 – the regulation that contains the remote ID for drones – will go into effect on April 21, 2021 and the clock will start ticking to ensure compliance. Here is a clear extension of the requirements for operators and manufacturers.
The following is a guest post by Ronald E. Quirk, Head of Drones / UA Regulatory Practice and Internet of Things and Connected Devices Practice at Marashlian & Donahue PLLC in Tysons, VA. DRONELIFE does not accept or pay any guest post payments.
The commercial drone market is on the verge of exponential growth. Drones (ie “unmanned aircraft” or “UA”) have been the domain of hobbyists for many years; not normally used by trading companies. But in 2016 the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) got through Part 107 began granting exemptions to commercial units to operate drones in the US, resulting in exponential growth in the US drone industry. According to Business Insider, annual drone revenue has increased from $ 8.5 billion in 2016 to an expected $ 12 billion in 2021.
Now the FAA is implementing a new rule section, Part 89This will create a regulatory environment in which drone operations can be fully integrated into US airspace, enabling greater commercial operational capabilities of drones while promoting safety. Part 89, like Part 107, will continue to expand the drone market, which is expected to grow to $ 63.6 billion by 2025. It is predicted that the growth of drones will mainly occur in five main industries: agriculture, construction and mining, insurance, telecommunications and law enforcement, but niche businesses will also benefit. Part 89 is effective immediately April 21, 2021 (The original Effective Date was March 16, 2021, but due to administrative issues, the FAA has moved the date to April 21.)
While Part 89 will create the regulatory security that will grow and consolidate the commercial drone market, drone operators and manufacturers in particular will be subject to an enormous number of new regulatory requirements for compliance with the FAA’s Remote Identification (“Remote ID”) process, that is Core of the new rule section. Part 89 requires that virtually all types of commercial drones send remote ID messages over unlicensed radio frequencies compatible with personal wireless devices. As a result, drones are subject to various types of new operational, performance, and message element requirements. These new requirements require drone manufacturers to comply with many new regulations, which include a variety of filings with the FAA and other forms of compliance to ensure compliance with the Part 89 design and production rules. In addition, drone manufacturers are subject to the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) regulations governing radio frequency equipment.
Remote ID requirements
UA suppliers and operators have three different options to meet the new Remote ID requirements. Whichever option is chosen, operators and suppliers will be subject to significant new regulatory work in addition to the existing registration requirements under Part 107 of the FAA rules.
This requires UAs to send remote ID messages from drones using unlicensed radio frequencies (e.g., Wi-Fi frequencies), and broadcasts are compatible with personal wireless devices. The Remote ID broadcasts are subject to: (a) operational requirements, including: continuous transmission from startup to shutdown, malfunction considerations, self-testing and monitoring, and error correction; and (b) message element conditions including: integration of a unique identifier, coordinates and heights of the control stations, time stamps and message rates. The UA must be able to send the message elements using an improper broadcast specification.
- UA with a remote broadcast module
This option enables UAs to be retrofitted and offers flexibility to UA operators whose aircraft do not meet the requirements for Standard Remote ID UA. UAs can be equipped with a remote ID broadcast module by connecting the remote ID broadcast module to the UA or in some other way (e.g. by software upgrade). Operation of UAs equipped with Remote ID modules is limited to the visual line of sight (“VLOS”) of the UA operator. The operational and message element requirements for broadcast modules are similar, but not identical, to those of standard remote ID UAs
- FAA-recognized identification area (“FRIA”)
FRIAs are FAA recognized geographic areas in which UAs that are not equipped with Remote ID are allowed to operate. The only eligible entities for FRIA are FAA-recognized community-level organizations and educational institutions. Operators must fly UAs in VLOS. In order to benefit from a FRIA, an Eligible Company must submit a relevant application to the FAA which will contain certain information, including a detailed description of what the FRIA will be used for and a detailed explanation of why the proposed FRIA is required for this purpose. If the FAA accepts a FRIA application, eligibility to use the FRIA is valid for 48 months and can be renewed prior to the expiration date.
Remote ID design and production
Standard Remote ID UA and Broadcast Modules must be carefully designed and manufactured to meet Part 89 requirements. The UA manufacturers are responsible for adhering to these rules. The design and production rules are quite complicated, e.g. B. different rules apply if a manufacturer produces a UA according to the FAAs Part 21 Certification process or not.
In general, the following design requirements apply to UA manufacturers:
- Serial number. The manufacturer must assign a serial number to the UA or broadcast module that corresponds to the ANSI / CTA-2063-A standard.
- Compliance Funds (“MoC”). This is evidence that the proposed UA design meets Part 89 requirements. Manufacturers must submit a MoC to the FAA, which it must approve before the proposed design can be used on a UA or module. The MOC must contain at least the following: (a) a detailed description of the means of compliance; (b) an explanation of how the MoC meets all of Part 89; and (c) testing and validation procedures.
- Declaration of Conformity (“DoC”). This is another document manufacturers must provide to the FAA. The DoC generally includes: (a) the make and model of the UA or module; (b) serial number; (c) Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) identifier to demonstrate that each component that transmits radio frequency energy has been certified by the FCC; (d) MOC (as an attachment); (e) Manufacturer’s declaration that it can be demonstrated that the device complies with Part 89; and (f) Declaration that the FCC compliant device has been incorporated into the UA or the module without modification to this device.
- Labeling. Manufacturers must ensure that a UA or broadcast module has a label affixed to it stating that the device complies with Part 89. The label must be in English and be legible, clearly visible and permanently attached to the UA or module.
Most production and design rules apply from September 16, 2022. However, manufacturers of remote ID broadcast modules are subject to MoC requirements, FAA inspection and audit procedures, and certain other regulations from April 21, 2021. The operational requirements apply from September 16, 2023.
Compliance with all of these regulations can be mind-boggling. The new requirements for UA operators are high enough, but the real pressure is on the manufacturers. As shown here, UA manufacturers are responsible for complying with all types of design and production requirements, as well as FAA slings. In addition, manufacturers must ensure that the approval rules for FCC devices are observed. Any manufacturer who fails to comply with applicable regulations will face enforcement proceedings that often result in heavy fines and other market barriers. In other countries, authorities confiscate non-compliant devices and prohibit the marketing of a company’s products. Working with a good lawyer or legal advisor can help ensure compliance with the new rules and unlock opportunities for business growth.
For more information, please contact Ronald E. Quirk at [email protected] or (703) 714-1305.
Ronald E. Quirk is Head of Drones / UA Regulatory Practice and Internet of Things and Connected Devices Practice at Marashlian & Donahue PLLC in Tysons, VA. He mainly focuses on federal, state and international administrative law with an emphasis on regulation, case law and politics. Mr. Quirk’s specialties include helping customers upfront regulatory compliance (e.g., device authorization and compliance with marketing and operational rules) to enable them to grow their business without worrying about it whether their products can be marketed, and at the same time they represent in regulating enforcement proceedings in the event of a rule violation. Mr. Quirk also works closely with customers to develop their new RF and other regulated devices by obtaining waivers and experimental licenses that allow them to legally test their products before they are launched.