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Final Drone Rules Come Into Effect on April 21

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced that the final rules requiring remote identification of drones and allowing some flights over people, over moving vehicles and at night under certain conditions will go into effect on April 21, 2021.

Remote identification (Remote ID) requires identification of drones in flight as well as the location of their control stations or takeoff point. It provides crucial information for national security, law enforcement and other officials charged with ensuring public safety. Airspace awareness reduces the risk of drone interference with other aircraft, people and property on the ground.

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. 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. 

Part 107 currently prohibits drone operations over people, over moving vehicles and at night unless the operator obtains a waiver from the FAA. The new FAA regulations jointly provide increased flexibility to conduct certain small drone operations without obtaining a waiver.

The Operations Over People rule requires that remote pilots have their remote pilot certificate and identification in their physical possession when flying. It also expands the class of authorities who may request these documents from a remote pilot. The final rule replaces the 24 calendar month requirement to complete a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test with the requirement to complete updated online recurrent training that includes the rule’s new provisions.

The public can review both the Remote ID and Operations Over People Rule in the Federal Register.

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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