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News and Updates – FAA Establishes Restrictions on Drone Operations Near U.S. Navy Vessels

At the request of its federal security partners, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is using its existing authority under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) 99.7 Special Security Instructions to restrict drone operations over select facilities and assets.

The FAA established special security instructions today that restrict drone operations in airspace up to 2,000 feet mean sea level (MSL) near U.S. territorial and navigable waters. These new restrictions specifically prohibit drone flights in this airspace within a stand-off distance of 3,000 feet laterally and 1,000 feet above any U.S. Navy vessel.

UAS operators who violate the flight restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges. Violators may also face security enforcement action that results in the interference, disruption, seizure, damaging or destruction of unmanned aircraft considered to pose a safety or security threat to protected U.S. Navy assets.

The restrictions are detailed in Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), and can be found at the UAS Data Display System (UDDS) website. Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operators are urged to familiarize themselves with these NOTAMs and to go to UDDS to help them comply with these FAA restrictions, which are put in place to support the nations security. UDDS provides precise descriptions of the airspace to which these restrictions are applied, procedures to access this airspace, an interactive map, downloadable geospatial data and other crucial information and tools for UAS operators. A link to these restrictions is also included in the FAAs B4UFLY mobile app.

The FAA is considering additional requests by eligible federal security agencies for UAS-specific airspace restrictions using the agencys 99.7 authority as they are received. Additional changes to these restrictions will be announced by the FAA as appropriate.

UAS operators can find more information on a broader range of issues related to flying drones in the National Airspace System on the FAAs main UAS website, including answers to frequently asked questions.

News and Updates – FAA Highlights Changes for Recreational Drones

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is implementing changes for recreational drone flyers mandated by Congress in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.

While recreational flyers may continue to fly below 400 feet in uncontrolled airspace without specific certification or operating authority from the FAA, they are now required to obtain prior authorization from the FAA before flying in controlled airspace around airports. Furthermore, they must comply with all airspace restrictions and prohibitions when flying in controlled and uncontrolled airspace.

The new requirement to obtain an airspace authorization prior to flying a drone in controlled airspace replaces the old requirement to notify the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower prior to flying within five miles of an airport.

Until further notice, air traffic control facilities will no longer accept requests to operate recreational drones in controlled airspace on a case-by-case basis. Instead, to enable operations under the congressionally-mandated exception for limited recreational drone operations, the FAA is granting temporary airspace authorizations to fly in certain fixed sites in controlled airspace throughout the country. The fixed sites are listed online and will be routinely updated.

The sites are also shown as blue dots on Unmanned Aircraft Systems Facility Maps. The maps depict the maximum altitude above ground level at which a drone may be flown safely for each location in controlled airspace.

In the future, recreational flyers will be able to obtain authorization from the FAA to fly in controlled airspace. The FAA currently has a system called the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC), which is available to non-recreational pilots who operate under the FAAs small drone rule (Part 107). The FAA is upgrading LAANC to allow recreational flyers to use the system. For now, however, recreational flyers who want to operate in controlled airspace may only do so at the fixed sites.

Another new provision in the 2018 Act requires recreational flyers to pass an aeronautical knowledge and safety test. They must maintain proof that they passed, and make it available to the FAA or law enforcement upon request. The FAA is currently developing a training module and test in coordination with the drone community. The test will ensure that recreational flyers have the basic aeronautical knowledge needed to fly safely.

Some requirements have not changed significantly. In addition to being able to fly without FAA authorization below 400 feet in uncontrolled airspace, recreational users must still register their drones, fly within visual line-of-sight, avoid other aircraft at all times, and be responsible for complying with all FAA airspace restrictions and prohibitions.

Additionally, recreational flyers can continue to fly without obtaining a remote pilot certificate provided they meet the eight statutory conditions of Section 349 of the Act, which are described in a Federal Register notice.

If recreational flyers do not meet any of the conditions, they could choose to operate under Part 107 with a remote pilot certification. Drone operators who fail to comply with the appropriate operating authority may be subject to FAA enforcement action.

Furthermore, flying a drone carelessly or recklessly may also result in FAA enforcement action.

The FAA will help recreational flyers learn and understand the changes by posting updates and additional guidance, including regulatory changes, on the FAA website.

If you are thinking about buying a drone, the FAA can help you get started with registration and important safety information.

News and Updates – U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao Announces $779 Million in Funding for Airport Infrastructure

Selected airports will receive funding for construction or equipment to increase their safety, capacity, and security.

News and Updates – ADS-B Rebates Have All Been Reserved

The last few hundred of the $500 Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) rebate reservations offered to general aviation aircraft owners by the FAA are gone.

Since launching the program in September 2016, the FAA has offered 20,000 rebates to qualified applicants.

Should any of the reservations be returned, the agency will make them available each Wednesday at 1 p.m. Eastern Time on a first-come, first-served basis.

The FAA rebates were made available to encourage owners of fixed-wing, single-engine piston aircraftto equip with ADS-B Out avionics, which will be required in certain, controlled airspace by Jan. 1, 2020.

Aircraft owners need to follow five steps to receive the $500 rebate:

  1. Purchase the equipment and schedule its installation.
  2. Obtain a Rebate Reservation Code by reserving a position online.
  3. Have the equipment installed.
  4. Conduct the required equipment performance validation and get an Incentive Code.
  5. Claim the $500 rebate online using the Rebate Reservation Code and Incentive Code.

In addition to the ADS-B Rebate reservation portal, the FAA’s Equip ADS-B website lists FAA-certified ADS-B equipment and features an equipage database searchable by aircraft type and model.

News and Updates – FAA General Aviation ADS-B Rebates Running Out

Only a few hundred of the $500 GA Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) rebate reservations being offered by the FAA remain.

Dont miss this final opportunity to claim an equipage rebate and get ready to fly by Jan. 1, 2020.

The FAA relaunched its rebate program last October, offering 9,792 reservations through Oct. 11 or as long as reservations remain available.

Fewer than 1,000 rebates remain as of today. The rate of rebates being claimed has doubled from about 70 per day to about 150 per day in the last week.

The agency may run out of rebates as early as next week.

The FAA rebates are available to encourage owners of fixed-wing, single-engine piston aircraftto equip with ADS-B Out avionics, which will be required in certain, controlled airspace beginning Jan. 1, 2020, which is a little over half a year from now.

Aircraft owners need to follow five steps to receive the $500 rebate:

  • Purchase the equipment and schedule its installation.
  • Obtain a Rebate Reservation Code by reserving a position online.
  • Have the equipment installed.
  • Conduct the required equipment performance validation and get an Incentive Code.
  • Claim the $500 rebate online using the Rebate Reservation Code and Incentive Code.

As with the earlier rebate program, the relaunched rebate program is available only to those who have not yet equipped their aircraft.

In addition to the ADS-B Rebate reservation portal, the FAA’s Equip ADS-B website lists FAA-certified ADS-B equipment and features an equipage database searchable by aircraft type and model.