On October 22, 2020, AMA met with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to discuss the FAA’s proposed rule on Remote ID. OIRA is a statutory part of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is an Executive Office of the President. AMA’s Government Affairs Director, Tyler Dobbs, began the conversation by pointing out the burden the FAA’s Remote ID proposal would place on model aviation hobbyists, UAS manufacturing, hobby shops, and the UAS industry as a whole. Many of AMA’s members fly aircraft that would be difficult, if not impossible, to be retrofitted in order to comply with the proposed Remote ID rule. In addition to retrofitting, AMA discussed the burden of per aircraft registration, manufacturing certification and standards, and the 12-month request period for remote ID exempt flying sites.
AMA has approximately 2500 fixed flying site locations along with several hundred JROTC locations within the United States. The FAA has recognized these flying sites and the safe operations that occur within them. However, the FAA has given AMA a limited time frame to request these flying sites be exempt from the Remote ID rule. If a club’s flying site were to become unavailable, said club would not be allowed to change their site’s location after the 12-month request period ends. AMA has approximately 60 fixed flying site location changes every year. Due to such frequent change, it is imperative that AMA have the option to change and request new fixed flying site locations when needed, and that the FAA’s proposed 12-month requesting period be removed from the rule.
An app-based solution for AMA members who fly outside of a fixed flying site location was also discussed. Approximately half of AMA’s 180,000 members fly outside of a fixed flying site location. The app would work similarly to the LAANC app used for operating within controlled airspace. Members flying outside of a fixed flying site would need to use their cell phone or computer to request authorization to operate their aircraft. The app would provide the user’s FAA registration number to law enforcement and the FAA, and would remove all proposed transponder, internet connection, and certification and standard requirements. AMA believes this app-based solution will not only make it easier for clubs and their members to comply but also remove the financial burden that would come along with the FAA’s proposed rule.
Finally, AMA wants all its members to be able to continue flying as they have been for decades. Many members own several aircraft, ranging anywhere from one to hundreds of aircraft in total. Under the current proposed FAA rule, each aircraft would require its own individual registration and would have a fee associated with each aircraft. AMA has proposed that FAA registration remain status quo, arguing that users should only be required to register once, and that one registration number cover all of the aircraft they own.