At Long Last….New UAS Rules Are Effective!!

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The new unmanned aircraft rules regarding remote identification and flight over persons are finally in effect, as of April 21, 2021.  The final versions of these rules were released by the FAA on December 28, 2020, and originally had an implementation date of March 16, 2021.  However, when the Biden administration took office, they immediately put a 60-day freeze in place for all rulemaking that was conducted under the Trump administration.  All such rules had to undergo an additional review by a Biden administration appointee before they could be finalized.  Because these UAS rules had been published in the Federal Register, but not yet implemented, they were caught up in the freeze.

As we previously reported, the Remote Identification rule requires virtually all unmanned aircraft manufactured for use in the United States to be equipped with a system that broadcasts identifying data that can be used by law enforcement.  The only exceptions are unmanned aircraft that weigh below .55 pounds or that operate in specific locations approved by the FAA.

The Operations Over People rule provides a framework for obtaining approval to fly unmanned aircraft over moving vehicles or open air assemblies of people.  It also provides a streamlined approach for UAS operations at night, if the remote pilot completes certain training or passes a knowledge test.

Both of these rules have requirements that are going to be phased in over the next few years.  Since many of these compliance dates are set based on the effective date of the rule, they have are also been delayed by the same amount of time.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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