FAA extends Remote ID deadline day

Saturday, 16 September 2023 would have been the day when all drones flying without Remote Identification would be deemed to be flouting the laws of the land.

But now commercial drone operators in the USA have six more months to ensure that they either ditch all drones in their inventory that they purchased before Remote ID was a requirement; or they attach some form of Remote ID broadcast module that would enable them to be properly identified by regulating authorities.

The new deadline for compliance is now March 16, 2024.

“Drone pilots who are unable to comply with the broadcast requirement of the Remote ID Rule will now have until March 16, 2024, to equip their aircraft,” the Federal Aviation Administration announced last week.

“After that date, operators could face fines and suspension or revocation of pilot certificates.

In making this decision, the FAA recognizes the unanticipated issues that some operators are experiencing finding some remote identification broadcast modules.”

Unmanned aerial vehicles can still fly without Remote ID, but they can only do so a designated recreational area (FRIA.)

“Drone pilots can meet this deadline by purchasing a standard Remote ID equipped drone from a manufacturer or purchasing a Remote ID broadcast module which can be affixed to existing drones that do not have Remote ID equipment.

Remote ID acts like a digital license plate and will help the FAA, law enforcement, and other federal agencies find the control station when a drone appears to be flying in an unsafe manner or where it is not allowed to fly.”

We guess those technology abusers who have found drones to be a convenient tool to smuggle contraband into prisons and across country borders will not be listening to this order then.

As the regulator acknowledged, ensuring that every stakeholder complied with the new rule by the deadline day was made difficult by problems; one of which was that the FAA itself failed to publish the accepted means of compliance for Remote ID to the Federal Register until August 11, 2022 – just one month before the deadline for manufacturers to have started making drone models that complied with the new rules. 

The FAA then extended a notice of “discretionary enforcement” for manufacturers to December 16 last year. 

While that deadline applied to new products, many manufacturers were already struggling to meet their clients’ deadlines to update existing products for their user base. 

Besides, there are many commercial operators using aircraft that whose software cannot or will not be updated by the manufacturer to be Remote ID compliant; for these Remote ID broadcast modules have proved difficult to source, with supply chain challenges leading delivery delays of up to eight months in some cases.

Faced with this, the FAA had little room to manoeuvre; so on the sidelines of the Commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas last week, they reassured stakeholders that interim relief would be granted as the September deadline loomed.

In response, the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) issued its own statement, through its Chief Advocacy Officer, Michael Robbins.

“The FAA has estimated that the number of recreational and hobbyist, non-commercial drones will reach 1.48 million by 2024,” Robbins said.

“Further, drones are increasingly used as industrial tools and for public safety, saving lives and money, and enhancing safety and security. In an increasingly busy airspace, the needs of airspace stakeholders must be harmonized with those of law enforcement agencies.

“The FAA’s Remote ID rule appropriately advances drone integration in a way that increases safety for all airspace users. The final rule has been subject to a lengthy rulemaking process, open comment periods, publication of Means of Compliance, judicial review, and extended deadlines.

“AUVSI urges drone operators to comply with Remote ID requirements as quickly as possible and for the FAA to swiftly implement all agency rulemaking. Remote ID is necessary to ensure the continued expansion of scalable and secure drone operations in the national airspace system – which will bring significant benefits to the American public and businesses.”


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