FPV is still in danger. You might remember an uproar back in January, when the community came together to comment on a proposal by the FAA regarding Remote ID for drones. While the process to put it in place stopped being public, this terrible proposal did not simply go away. We’re expecting it to resurface next month, and when it does we need to be ready.
Why is the Proposal Bad for FPV?
If you’re not familiar with the proposal, take a look at my Remote ID Proposal article on GetFPV that was published in January. From there you can learn about the proposal and also find links to many other documents and resources. In short, the proposal as written would outright ban most of what we do today, and make what remains needlessly costly and considerably more difficult.
What’s Happening Now?
For most of us, it’s a waiting game. The public comment period closed back in the spring, and the rule is expected to be published in December 2020. We don’t know what’s going to be in that rule, but signs point to things looking much like they did in the proposal. Once it drops, there’s about 60 days to make a legal challenge. The rule would then be phased in across a 3-year period.
A team lead by Tyler Brennan, CEO of RaceDayQuads, is gearing up to make that challenge. Between privacy issues with broadcasting your identity and location while flying, to factual errors in the proposed rule, there are significant concerns that the upcoming rule may not be legal. Tyler believes there’s a strong case to be made and has been conducting research to back this up in court if needed. Although this could be a court case, this may end up instead being a campaign to educate the FAA about FPV and its actual risks to manned aviation. For now, the team is preparing for various directions so that once the rule is published, they can get to work.
What Can We Do About it?
As a hobbyist pilot, there are a number of things you can do to help give us the best chance of keeping FPV alive as we know it.
Catching up on the proposed rule will help you understand the position we’re in, but also allow you to discuss it with others. The aforementioned GetFPV article is a great place to start, or groups like the FPV Freedom Coalition. You can also watch video on the subject such as the recent interview of Tyler Brennan and his legal team lead by Joshua Bardwell. Once the rule becomes available it will be important to learn about it.
The response to the Remote ID rule may take a number of different forms. While the could be a direct court challenge, hopefully it won’t come to that. It’s likely that a petition to the FAA will be employed for reasonable changes to be made. Should that happen, people would need to sign to show their support for it. Other avenues or response are possible with slightly different needs. We may only have a short time to respond, so keep your eyes and ears open so you can act quickly. Simply paying attention is a great help.
Talk About it
Do your friends know what’s going on? Do their friends? Your local community? The more people who understand this issue and are willing to discuss and contribute, the better chance we all have. Bring it up with everyone who might be interested in keeping things alive—from community groups to friends and the spectators you meet while out flying.
Support Tyler’s Response
Tyler and RaceDayQuads are spearheading our response. This is a skilled team of experts that will speak for all of us. But preparing for the challenge takes time and resources. Tyler is actively seeking your financial support in order to keep this team running and focused. To support this legal team directly, the Save FPV GoFundMe page has been set up for this cause.