FAA Legal Battle - Challenging Remote ID

RaceDayQuads is preparing to challenge the NPRM in court, as the NPRM (which the FAA plans to make official in December 2020) could have widespread and devastating effects on our hobby and on all of RC flight. 

 

Donate: Donations are being collected to assist in the fight. These are hugely helpful and very appreciated!

Learn: Below is an article published by the RDQ legal team, and here is a link to some of the FOIA's gathered by RDQ and its team

UPDATES ARE POSTED REGULARLY, SCROLL DOWN TO SEE THE LATEST

8/4/21:  I'm proud to announce we've officially filed our 14,000+ word argument against RemoteID

 
When I committed to doing this, I made the promise that we were going to do our absolute best to combat RemoteID and I truly feel we have done that. If you have time, I highly recommend reading our argument. It's a fantastic read that our team of 3 paid lawyers and 4 volunteer lawyers worked on for nearly a year and a half to produce. A lot of work and resources have gone into this, and the fight is hardly over. 

Next, the FAA will reply to our complaint in writing, and then we will reply to their reply. After that, the DOJ and our team will argue in court in front of a judge (likely this winter) with a ruling expected in the Spring. 

From a cost perspective, we are about halfway there - our reply and the verbal arguments in court will comprise about the other half. We are still pushing hard to meet our GoFundMe goal of $100,000, which we expect to cover about half the cost of the case if we can meet the goal. Donations not only allow us to put forth a better argument, but they also send a message to the FAA who, I'm told through an unofficial channel, has been using the GoFundMe to guage the force we have behind the case and to help plan their future moves. If you can donate, it is very very appreciated - it not only helps our case but also sends a message to the FAA!

As a community, I hope we all feel proud about the effort that FPV has put into fighting on behalf of all RC flight. I truly feel that the positive effect we are having will be felt for generations to come.


-Tyler Brennan
Owner / CEO, RaceDayQuads
 
Donate Here
 
 

 

3/17/21Court Case Officially Filed Against FAA

I am pleased to announce that our court case against the FAA has officially been filed, as of last Friday. 
This case is important not just to fight back against the current Remote ID requirements, but also the requirements which are still being development by the FAA and other government agencies. I (and other anonymous individuals) believe that the RemoteID rule was changed not because they care about us or listened to us, but because the RemoteID network they originally proposed simply is not ready yet. When it is ready, it will be imposed on us - *unless* we fight RemoteID now. So, that is what we are going to do. 

I want to thank everyone for your support and donations. The expenses associated with the preparation and engagement of a case like this are extreme, and your donations truly make a difference in us being able to put up as good of a fight as we possibly can. 


-Tyler Brennan
Owner / CEO, RaceDayQuads
Donate Here

 

1/20/21: What Remote ID Means for FPV Pilots

 

NPRM

Final Rule

Compliance Date

Flyers need to do remote ID 36 months after date it goes into effect.

Decreased to 30 months after.

Boundaries

89.105 says, “airspace of the United States” which is VERY broad.

No Change. This effectively says that if you are flying a drone in your backyard, friend’s yard, grandpa’s farm, etc. “out-of-doors and above the surface of the Earth”, you would have to comply with remote ID unless you fall into one of the exceptions: FRIA, foreign civil aircraft, <250 grams.

Network RID

Standard ID would have to transmit on the network if available.

Network was removed.

Limited RID

 

Deleted. Broadcast module ID basically took Limited RID’s place.

FAA-Recognized Identification Areas

Application deadline to get recognized.

Deadline Removed.

Only recognized Community Based Organizations could apply for a FRIA

FAA Recognized CBOs or educational institutions, including primary and secondary educational institutions, trade schools, colleges, and universities could apply for a FRIA. See 89.205.  The FAA rejected the idea of getting your backyard turned into a FRIA.

 

From a lawyer’s perspective, I am going to say that the entities that would fall under “educational institutions” would be somewhat unwilling to create free to the public FRIAs due to liability concerns.

 

I have the concern that the FRIA’s that get recognized because they are part of a CBO (like AMA), might have additional restrictions that the FAA did not account for that could restrict access. I reached out to someone very knowledgeable about this and was told that not all AMA clubs allow guest flyers. Some AMA locations are restricted by the landowners such as municipalities that restrict guest flyers. Flying fields at military installations are another example.  For guest flying, non-AMA members can fly at AMA chartered club sites under several programs such as introductory flights for newbies. An accomplished UAS pilot that is not an AMA member cannot merely show up and start flying at an AMA field. They would need to be flying within AMA’s various intro programs, trial membership, or AMA full membership. .

Equipage

Standard or Limited ID, unless exception.

You will need to do standard or broadcast ID unless within an exception (sub-250grams, federal government, FRIA, etc.).

Registration

Each registration can be only for one aircraft.

One registration can be used for all aircraft (like we are doing now under Part 48). 48.105 (“A Certificate of Aircraft Registration issued in accordance with § 48.110 for small unmanned aircraft to be operated exclusively in compliance with 49 U.S.C. 44809 constitutes registration for all the small unmanned aircraft used exclusively for operations in compliance with 49 U.S.C. 44809 owned by the individual identified on the application.”) The FAA ties the serial number of the broadcast RID to the specific registration. Please note that swapping out parts on the aircraft does not somehow unregister the drone.

Altitude Reporting

The altitude of the controller and sUA must be barometric (not GPS derived).

sUA must transmit geometric altitude within 95% probability of the controller and sUA. This means the aircraft must have equipment that can receive GPS signals. See 89.310 and 89.315.

Radio Frequency

47 CFR Part 15.

Unchanged. This means all sorts of apps are going to pop up for phones to identify the drone flyers AND (controller location for standard ID or take-off location for broadcast module ID). This also means a serious privacy concern. The FAA Network ID ConUse document mentioned “fixed receivers” as methods of obtaining the information.  

Here is the example they gave, “Officer Schroeder works as a law enforcement officer at the DOD facility. In his office, Officer Schroeder has a DOD computer through which he can log into a Remote ID monitoring application using his DOD credentials. He also has a DOD-issued tablet with the same capability, which he can carry around the facility. In the DOD Remote ID web application, he configures a default view to show the vicinity around the facility with all baseline streams shown in near-real-time. The facility also has several fixed receivers around the perimeter for Remote ID broadcasts. These are wired to a dedicated display unit in Officer Schroeder’s office which he can observe in addition to his web app for network Remote ID.”  It would be easy to install some Wi-Fi receivers around metropolitan areas and log all drone flights.

Ground Controller Location

Standard and Limited must transmit.

Standard RID transmits ground controller location. Module RID transmits lat/long/altitude of take-off location. See 89.310(a) & (h) and 89.315(e)-(f).

Distance of drone from controller?

Standard = none

Limited= 400ft.

No limitation. The 400ft thing is gone.

Manufacturers

“no person may produce an unmanned aircraft system unless:” This was super broad.

Narrowed in scope to those making standard ID aircraft and broadcast modules. See 89.501.

Swapping out parts and broadcast module IDs.

 

For flights under 44809, you can swap out parts all day long. “The FAA does not agree with commenters who believe that the requirement to obtain a serial number to then use for aircraft

registration would render parts swapping obsolete. The FAA explains in section XVIII.A of this preamble that discarded unmanned aircraft can be disassembled into the following parts: Carbon (frame, frame parts), plastic, metal parts (screws, standoffs), wire, electronics (flight controller, ESC, motors, camera, VTX, RX), and batteries. Those parts can be reused, especially if they remain in good condition. In addition, home-built unmanned aircraft are excepted from the production requirements of this rule including the requirement for a serial number.”

 

Basically, the unmanned aircraft has applied to it a registration number. That specific registration is tied to the broadcast module which has a distinct serial number it broadcasts. So you could show up to a field, crash drone A, salvage the broadcast module off of it, attach to drone B which also has the same registration number as drone A, and go and fly.  Make sure the recreational registration and broadcast module are ALWAYS together.

 

What if I bring my friend, two drones with the same registration, and one broadcast module, can we both fly at the same time?

 

No, because both drones need the broadcast module. Even if you had a second one attached, the FAA said,  “For owners operating exclusively in compliance with 49 U.S.C. 44809, the remote identification broadcast module may be used for all unmanned aircraft for which the owner is registered, but only one of those aircraft may be operated at a time”

 

FAQ

Can some DIY hobbyist guy create his own broadcast module?

It would be pretty time consuming. See Part 89 subpart E. 99% of everyone would just purchase a drone with this or attach an approved module unless they are flying within an exception.

Does this mean FPV flyers are going to get harassed/attacked more?

Yes. If transmitting standard, the controller location (lat/long/alt) will be broadcasting from the drone on Part 15 frequencies. All the smart phones could receive this. It would be trivial to set up a program to receive these broadcasts. I’m guessing ADT and other security companies could market this service alerting you to drones flying in your area.

Module ID transmits the take-off location, not present controller location. Broadcast module ID transmits take-off location. For best protection, use broadcast module ID and position yourself for your best protection in relationship to the take-off point.

Additionally, I’m anticipating someone making more complaints with a simple click of a button. Someone could send complaints to the FAA via the FAA Hotline web page. https://hotline.faa.gov/ or just simple emails to their local aviation safety inspectors regarding your flight. 89.305(a) and 89.315(a) both require transmission of unique identifying information that will be tied to your specific aircraft. It would be trivial to write a program to report to the FAA, “On [XXXXX] date, I observed unmanned aircraft [insert here the serial number observed], and it appeared to be operating in a dangerous manner.”

Moreover, on 12/22 the following documents were issued:

In these, the FAA told air traffic controllers on how to handle unmanned aircraft of interest (UOI).  You can expect law enforcement to do more drone stops going forward (“license and drone registration please”).

So why would someone do standard ID as opposed to module ID?

Standard has better privacy. Kinda. Standard id requires transmission of session id or serial number while module ID is only serial number. If you have different session IDs, it would be difficult for non-government actor to determine all the flights were the same aircraft. If I was stalking you, I would identify your serial number and then try and identify where you fly. I perceive as time goes on some wardriving apps will aggregate the serial numbers on maps similar to this SSID map. https://wigle.net/map Remember your drones will be transmitting on the same frequencies as Wi-Fi just like all of those little SSID blips are on that map.

For broadcast module ID, why can’t the FAA allow session id as opposed to only serial number broadcast which allows tracking? It seems like it would be trivial to create a unique session ID that would be generated for every flight from a private key and make sure the FAA always had the private key to be able to associate public sessions IDs with a unique registration. Think 2 factor authenticators. The FAA may be intentionally NOT doing that so as to force people over to standard ID who are privacy sensitive.

Beyond Line of Sight. Broadcast module ID does not allow for beyond line of sight flying.

 

Doesn’t the new rules cause havoc for the FPV community since you have to fly within visual line of sight in the FRIAs or with module ID? If a FPV flyer was wearing goggles, how could the drone be within line of sight? They have goggles on ya know!

To answer this, we need to go back into history to understand the FAA’s evolving view of “within visual line of sight” and “able to see” to understand what is going on here.

For many decades model aircraft flew under Advisory Circular 91-57. The FAA started applying the Federal Aviation Regulations to unmanned aircraft and their view on things was evolving.  

In 2012, the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 was passed which created Section 336 that protected model aircraft from being regulated by the FAA. The FMRA defined model aircraft as “flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft.” P.L. 112-95, section 336(c)(2).  

In 2014, the FAA issued a model aircraft interpretation explaining how they thought you should do things, “Based on the plain language of the statute, the FAA interprets this requirement to mean that: (1) the aircraft must be visible at all times to the operator; (2) that the operator must use his or her own natural vision (which includes vision corrected by standard eyeglasses or contact lenses) to observe the aircraft; and (3) people other than the operator may not be used in lieu of the operator for maintaining visual line of sight. Under the criteria above, visual line of sight would mean that the operator has an unobstructed view of the model aircraft. To ensure that the operator has the best view of the aircraft, the statutory requirement would preclude the use of vision-enhancing devices, such as binoculars, night vision goggles, powered vision magnifying devices, and goggles designed to provide a “first-person view” from the model. reducing his or her ability to see-and-avoid other aircraft in the area. Additionally, some of these devices could dramatically increase the distance at which an operator could see the aircraft, rendering the statutory visual-line-of-sight requirements meaningless.” This is all before Part 107 became a law. The FAA was applying the regulations of the time, 91.113 which has a “see and avoid” requirement, to unmanned aircraft because the FAA believed that the FMRA’s “rulemaking prohibition would not apply in the case of general rules that the FAA may issue or modify that apply to all aircraft[.]” like Part 91’s regulations.

In 2016, Part 107 came out with Part 101 subpart E. Part 107 allows FPV flying under 107.31 and 107.33. Here is where people get tripped up. Section 107.31 says: (a) With vision that is unaided by any device other than corrective lenses, the remote pilot in command, the visual observer (if one is used), and the person manipulating the flight control of the small unmanned aircraft system must be able to see the unmanned aircraft throughout the entire flight in order to: . . . . (b) Throughout the entire flight of the small unmanned aircraft, the ability described in paragraph (a) of this section must be exercised by either: (1) The remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls of the small unmanned aircraft system; or (2) A visual observer.” (Emphasis mine).

In 2018, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 hit the delete button on Section 336 and replaced it with now 49 USC 44809. This caused issues seeing that Part 101 subpart E was still on the books, but Section 44809 overruled it.  Most recreational flyers desire to fly within the exception for limited recreational operations listed in 49 USC 44809 which says in (a)(3), “The aircraft is flown within the visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft or a visual observer co-located and in direct communication with the operator.” (Emphasis mine).

In 2019, the FAA cleaned things up by withdrawing the 2014 model aircraft interpretation which said FPV flying with goggles can’t see and avoid.

On 12/11/2020, the FAA withdrew Part 101 subpart E as a regulation because it caused confusion and was overruled by 49 USC 44809 which came from the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.

CURRENTLY, you either fall into 49 USC 44809 which is for a very narrow group of recreational flyers (not all recreational flyers) or you fall into Part 107 which is for non-recreational flyers. That’s it. Remote ID in Part 89 applies to all unmanned aircraft, with some exceptions. All FPV flyers over 250 grams, flying in the national airspace of the United States, will have to do broadcast module remote ID, standard ID, fly in a FAA Recognized Identification Area (FRIA). FRIAs are granted only to recognized Community Based Organizations or educational institutions. Your backyard, friends’ yard, local park, etc. are most likely NOT going to be in a FRIA so FPV flyers flying a 250+gram drone are stuck doing standard ID (SID) or broadcast module ID (BMID).

Broadcast module ID allows for retrofitting aircraft but BMID has requirements:

“A person operating an unmanned aircraft that is not a standard remote identification unmanned aircraft may comply with the remote identification requirement of § 89.105 by meeting all of the requirements of either paragraph (a) or paragraph (b) of this section.

(a) Remote identification broadcast modules. Unless otherwise authorized by the Administrator, a person may operate an unmanned aircraft that is not a standard remote identification unmanned aircraft if all of the following conditions are met:

(1) Equipage.

(i) The unmanned aircraft used in the operation must be equipped with a remote identification broadcast module

 . . . .

(2) Remote identification operating requirements. Unless otherwise authorized by the Administrator, a person may operate an unmanned aircraft under this paragraph (a) only if all of the following conditions are met:

. . . .

(ii) The person manipulating the flight controls of the unmanned aircraft system must be able to see the unmanned aircraft at all times throughout the operation.

 . . . .

(b) Operations at FAA-recognized identification areas. Unless otherwise authorized by the Administrator, a person may operate an unmanned aircraft without remote identification equipment only if all of the following conditions are met:

 . . .

(2) The person manipulating the flight controls of the unmanned aircraft system must be able to see the unmanned aircraft at all times throughout the operation.” (Emphasis mine).

So how do we figure out what this “able to see” means in Part 89? Do FPV goggles void that? If I am wearing goggles, doesn’t that mean I’m not ABLE to see?

The remote ID notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) was attempting to define visual line of sight in Section 1.1. But that didn’t make it into the final rule. The final rule’s preamble said, “the FAA has determined not to adopt a definition for ‘visual line of sight’ in this rule.” They did not want to lock one definition in for ALL types of operations which may in the future have different definitions of visual line of sight, so they abandoned a one definition scenario. No help there. We need to look elsewhere.

In the remote ID NPRM, the FAA proposed the definition of visual line of sight from 107.31; therefore, that would be the most appropriate, and only other place to look, to identify how to define this term.  Context of 107.31 helps bring to light what is meant.  Section 107.31 says, “(a) With vision that is unaided by any device other than corrective lenses, the remote pilot in command, the visual observer (if one is used), and the person manipulating the flight control of the small unmanned aircraft system must be able to see the unmanned aircraft throughout the entire flight in order to: . . .(b) Throughout the entire flight of the small unmanned aircraft, the ability described in paragraph (a) of this section must be exercised by either: (1) The remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls of the small unmanned aircraft system; or (2) A visual observer.”  (Emphasis mine). Here is a comparison.

89.105 (Broadcast Module Remote ID or FRIA)

107.31

“The person manipulating the flight controls of the unmanned aircraft system must be able to see the unmanned aircraft at all times throughout the operation.”

“the person manipulating the flight control of the small unmanned aircraft system must be able to see the unmanned aircraft throughout the entire flight in order to:”

 

For 107.31, there is the ability to see by taking off the goggles and see the unmanned aircraft. The ability is primarily a distance and human capability number. The larger the drone, the further away you could fly. The smaller the drone, the shorter the distance you could fly it away. Now 107.31(b) says the ability must be getting exercised by the RPIC or VO.  Section 44809 and Part 89 do not have any such exercising of the ability requirement, just the ability.

In the area where the FAA discussed visual line of sight in the preamble of the final rule, it said, “FAA Response: As noted, the FAA has determined not to adopt a definition for ‘visual line of sight’ in this rule. The FAA recognizes that the concept of visual line of sight allows for variation in the distance to which an unmanned aircraft may fly and still be within visual line of sight of the person manipulating the flight controls of the UAS or the visual observer. The FAA believes this is appropriate given the performance-based nature of current UAS regulations.” (Emphasis mine). The ability to see the drone is what limits the distance you can fly away. Ability determines distance.

If we read part 89 and 107 to be harmony, Part 89 does not restrict FPV racers from using goggles as long as the person manipulating the controls is “able to see the unmanned aircraft at all times” and keeps the unmanned aircraft “within the visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft or a visual observer co-located and in direct communication with the operator.”

The FAA used “visual observer” multiple times and it’s not clear. Is the mention of the term visual observer indicate that there is this 2 person requirement to do FPV flying?

49 USC 44809(a)(4) says, “The aircraft is flown within the visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft or a visual observer co-located and in direct communication with the operator.” (Emphasis mine). It does not say “and a visual observer.” Please also note you can’t somehow use a VO to “daisy chain” the drone out further because 44809(a)(4) says the VO has to be “co-located and in direct communication with the operator.” For Part 107 flying, 107.31 & 107.33 would apply and prevent daisy-chaining further out.

“The FAA proposed that the term visual line of sight means the ability of a person manipulating the flight controls of the unmanned aircraft or a visual observer (if one is used) to see the unmanned aircraft throughout the entire flight with vision that is unaided by any device other than corrective lenses.” (Emphasis mine). The FAA abandoned that definition, and it did not get included into the final rule. 44809 is the only thing that applies.

Part 107 FPV operations are 2 person operations. For recreational under 44809, keep in mind that you would have to find a CBO that allows single person FPV ops.

I don’t want to fly in a FRIA or some 250gram or less drone. What’s the big deal with doing a broadcast module ID on my FPV racer?

You’ll have to add the module which may be too big and heavy. The module needs to have a GPS receiver and a Part 15 radio transmitter. This means a battery and a computer also.

Can I purchase just one broadcast module and then use it with all my FPV racers?

Yes, but you couldn’t fly them all at the same time. FAA said in the preamble to the final remote ID rule, “For owners operating exclusively in compliance with 49 U.S.C. 44809, the remote identification broadcast module may be used for all unmanned aircraft for which the owner is registered, but only one of those aircraft may be operated at a time.”

Any issues with one controller being used for multiple drones?

No issue. The RID must be done from the unmanned aircraft, not the controller. The FAA said, “the rule neither requires serial numbers to be assigned to control stations nor prevents operators from swapping out control stations. The serial number requirements are specific to the unmanned aircraft, not to the entire UAS.”

 

This broadcast module thing looks easy for some manufacturers to do. Won’t we be able to purchase these modules pretty soon?

A standards group would need to develop an acceptable means of compliance (MOC) that the FAA would accept. A manufacturer would need to submit all the information to the FAA saying their product meets that MOC. The FAA reviews and then issues a declaration of compliance that flyers could then print out and keep with them when flying. That might take some time. Keep in mind while the technology hardware costs may be low, there will be all sorts of regulatory costs baked into the end units to pay for paperwork pushing.

I really hate this remote ID thing. How can I fly legally and not have to remote ID?

  • Fly indoors.
  • Fly in a FRIA
  • Fly 250grams and not be required to register (like you were doing commercial work under 107) See 89.101(a)(1).
  • Obtain an authorization. 89.105 says, “Except as otherwise authorized by the Administrator” so it can be done and most likely will be done but only for certain groups. State and local law enforcement is an example where they would just obtain a COA to not RID. I don’t know how many civilians would be able to obtain it. 89.120 allows COAs for aeronautical research or to show compliance with the regulations (think aircraft certification of unmanned aircraft under 14 CFR 21.17(b)).

1/10/21 Update:

We would like to thank Auline, BetaFPV, CNHL, GNB, HappyModel, HQProp, MultiGP, PandaRC & Vifly for joining us in our fight against Remote ID. We encourage you to support these manufacturers as they support FPV in this important time.

- Tyler Brennan
Owner / CEO, RaceDayQuads 


12/31/20 Update:

After careful review of the Remote ID rule, our team has determined that, despite the FAA’s removal of the network requirement, there remains overwhelming legal justification and precedent that will allow us to file a strong suit against Remote ID.

I will not make any promises about the outcomes of our effort, nor give any hard timelines (other than our complaint will be filed within the 60 day period following the publishing of the rule), but I will say that based on our counsel’s experience and the preparations we have made during 2020, we are confident and will have our heads held high as we walk into the court room.

Once the rule is officially published, our team will put together a review/summary/legal opinion and release what we feel comfortable releasing - the rest will be available for your reading pleasure when our complaint is filed.
While there are many issues with the Remote ID rule and many benefits of having it struck down, put simply our goal is to preserve freedoms, maintain privacy, and eliminate unnecessary financial burden through the removal of the Remote ID requirement for FPV and Model Aviation Pilots.

The more help we have, the better! When the results of this affect millions of people and multiple generations to come, RDQ is much too small to go this alone. We need and want help on this case, especially when the stakes are so high. This is a call for assistance from everyone who will be negatively impacted by Remote ID or by the gross government overstep this rule will give precedent to. If you or an organization you are a part of want to help, we can certainly use it. Please message me!

If you’re a hobbyist or modeler who is against this rule, I hope this news brings a good start to your New Year. We will do everything we can.
Please spread the word, donate, and help us to bring FPV and Model Aviation together as much as possible so we can be one concentrated effort. Our GoFundMe is active here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/savefpv

Lastly, Happy New Year from my home to yours! We wish you all the very best.

-Tyler Brennan
Owner / CEO, RaceDayQuads


12/10/20 Update:

Today the FAA deleted model aircraft language that had existed in Part 101. This means two things.

First, the FAA has “Model Aircraft”, which in most every case an FPV drone would be classified as, top of mind. There is no guarantee what this means, but my personal opinion is that this implies the FAA will have “Model Aircraft” specific guidance in the upcoming rule, and that in preparation for that they are making a couple regulatory moves. Hopefully, this is something to the effect of “Model Aircraft can continue operating as we have been below X AGL altitude”, and obviously NOT something like “Model Aircraft can only operate in a FRIA”. We have not seen anything definitive enough to make us think one is more likely than the other... one is how we’ve been operating for a hundred years and what common sense and most of the 50,000+ comments asked for, and the other is how it is written in the NPRM.

Second, legally it means that 49 USC 44809 is the law which currently applies to us, and not Part 101.

This was published today at 8:45am, so kudos to the legal team for being on top of it, translating their summary a couple times to something I could understand (lol), and making us all immediately aware.

-Tyler Brennan
Owner / CEO, RaceDayQuads


 Originally published by Rupprecht Law

Massive Data Collection and Surveillance

Remote ID is part of the Unmanned Aircraft Traffic Management System (UTM).  FAA, NASA, DHS, DOD have been working on this.  FAA, DHS, and DOD have a teaming agreement. DHS is going to be a federal Unmanned Aircraft Service Supplier (USS). While the FAA may be collecting alot of the data, DHS could query things in the system. The FAA in explaining their Concept of Operations (CONOPs) regarding UTM, they said the following:

  • “Flight Information Management System/FIMS  FIMS is an interface for data exchange between FAA systems and UTM participants. FIMS enables exchange of airspace constraint data between the FAA and the USS Network. The FAA also uses this interface as an access point for information on active UTM operations. FIMS also provides a means for approved FAA stakeholders to query and receive post-hoc/archived data on UTM operations for the purposes of compliance audits and/or incident or accident investigation. FIMS is managed by the FAA and is a part of the UTM ecosystem.”
    • DHS’s Air Domain Awareness Program is somehow connected to FIMS as a USS. See this Powerpoint presentation.
      • “Air Domain Awareness is understanding everything that is in the air around you . . . Includes all manned and unmanned aircraft”
      • “DHS is teaming with FAA and DOD to evaluate air domain awareness and counter UAS systems in real world situations”
      • The UTM CONOPS says, “The FAA provides services to certain federal public entities in support of public safety and security needs; services may include provision of portals designed to facilitate automated information exchanges and queries to the USS Network for authorized data. Local, state, tribal and federal public entities may have dedicated portals external to the FAA by which they can request and receive authorized information; USSs meet applicable security requirements and protocols when collecting and provisioning data to such entities. Authorization and authentication between entities, using IATF compliant identities, ensure data is provisioned to those permitted to obtain it. Authorized entities utilize USS Network discovery services to identify individual USSsfrom which to request and receive data commensurate with access credentials. USSs must be (1) discoverable to the requesting agency, (2) available and capable to comply with issue request, and (3) a trusted source as mitigation/enforcement actions may be taken as a result of the information provided.
  • “The FAA establishes requirements and response protocols to guard NAS systems and the public against associated security threats. The FAA uses UTM data (e.g., intent, RID messages) as a means of traceability to (1) ensure Operators are complying and conforming to regulatory standards, (2) identify and hold accountable those who are responsible during accident/incident investigations, and (3) inform other NAS users, if needed, of UAS activity in the vicinity of the airspace in which they are operating. The FAA can use near-real time data from UTM to address security needs with respect to operations conducted under ATM, including managing off-nominal and exigent circumstances. They use archived data as a means to analyze UTM operations and ensure NAS needs and safety objectives are being met. The FAA can also use UTM data to notify federal entities of security threats. The FAA leverages the GRAIN and the IATF policies to ensure the integrity and authenticity of the information received from all UTM stakeholders. “
  • “Local, state, tribal and federal entities (e.g., state police, Federal Bureau of Investigation, DHS) require access to UTM data to inform responses to local or federal complaints and safety/security incidents, and the conduct of investigations. Appropriate data access limitations are set by the FAA for individual federal and public/public safety entities (e.g., public information, classified information). Depending on the nature of the safety or security situation, historical or near-real time information may be needed. UTM data deemed publicly-accessible (e.g., RID messages) may be obtained by the general public through thirdparty services/applications and/or the government. UTM data that is not publicly-accessible (e.g., Operator contact information) is managed and provided based on the need to know, the credentials, and the level of access-to-information authorized for the requestor using identities issued compliant to the IATF policies.”
  • “Operators must satisfy FAA-stipulated data archiving and sharing requirements to support safety and security. Stakeholders may need information on active UTM operations for the purposes of aircraft separation and identification of UAS affecting air/ground activities, among other things, such that Operators respond to requests from authorized entities in near-real time; an example of such information is RID messages. Operators are required to archive certain data to support post-flight requests by authorized entities with a need to know (e.g., FAA, public entities), as previously noted; examples of such data may include operation intent, 4D position tracks, reroute changes to intent, and off-nominal event records (e.g., rogue UAS).”

 

Remote Identification Documents/Info Obtained

If you notice anything interesting below in the FOIA responses, please send me an email so we can use it in the litigation. :)

You’ll see a ton of ex parte going on below between law enforcement, DHS, FBI, and FAA. The FAA also did all sorts of stuff with 8 companies on working with RID. This was all done privately.

  • Invite Only Remote ID Demo at FBI Academy (The Public Was Not Invited and FAA Forced Them to Sign a Form Promising to Not Tell You).We found about this because the FAA published a comment here disclosing the existence of this secret demo. https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FAA-2019-1100-53261
  • Remote ID Cohort Memorandums of Understand. The FAA picked 8 companies to enter into agreements with to work on remote ID AFTER the remote ID NPRM was published.
  • FAA Risk Assessment for Remote ID(I redacted the names and addresses)
  • FAA sent out a request for information (RFI) on in March 17, 2020 (NPRM on remote ID closed March 2) to try and obtain answers on how “low altitude manned aviators. . . could participate in Remote ID, access data from the Remote ID USSs, or otherwise benefit from the Remote ID information being transmitted from UAS.” Multiple groups responded but none of those comments have been disclosed. The RFI said, “Responses to this RFI will not be included in the official docket of the NPRM.” On October 22, 2020, Jay Merkle did a presentation to the Drone Advisory Committee which said that they had 30 responses to this RFI. The FAA thought they “missed the mark when communicating what [they] were looking for in the RFI so they wanted to take a second chance at this and asked the Drone Advisory Committee explore this opportunity and make some recommendations. In the 30 responses, the pilot organizations said they see “dubious benefits:
    • UASs have primary responsibility to avoid manned-aircraft.
    • RID is security-centric; it may be inadequate to affect safety.
    • Adding RID receiving capability would be an additional expense burden to low-level aircraft pilots.
    • Low-level pilots are especially concerned with task saturation (e.g., avoiding obstructions & being distracted from the mission).
    • Any solutions should integrate with current avionics (EFB, ADS-B).”

Ways to Send Me Remote ID Info

If you want to send me a tip to assist with the litigation, we have multiple options below. Please note no attorney client-privilege will be afforded our communication so if I’m compelled by court order or subpoena to testify, I will. I’ll try to keep everything confidential but if a court order/subpoena comes, I’ll comply. If you want to remain anonymous, PLEASE do not give me anything that could identify you.

  • Physically mail me at 800 Village Square Crossing, 331, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410.
  • You can send me an email at jon@jrupprechtlaw.com
  • Anonymously
    • You can email me with the subject line of “Remote ID” using the following anonymous email services. I tested both of these and they work. Keep in mind that when connecting to these websites you should do it over TOR or a VPN so as to not leave an identifying IP on their website’s server logs of IP addresses. Just copy and paste these into a new browser.
      • https://anonymousemail.me/
      • https://www.5ymail.com/

To verify I received the information you sent, you could check back to this page and I’ll post below here a brief description of what I received unless you tell me in the email to put a certain phrase (example: “Taco55”). If it doesn’t show up, keep on trying to get it to me.

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