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FAA Denies Comment Period Extension for Remote ID Rule

January 30, 2020 - The FAA this week denied requests filed by EAA and others, including AMA and AOPA, for a comment period extension to a controversial notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) mandating remote ID (RID) for unmanned aerial systems (UAS). EAA had requested a doubling of the 60-day period provided by the FAA, which released the lengthy NPRM on New Year's Eve.

EAA is concerned that among other consequences, the NPRM as written could have a serious detrimental impact on traditional model aircraft. Traditional modeling has been a popular gateway to aviation for generations of enthusiasts, and has maintained a remarkable safety record over that period, with very little need for regulation.

In denying the request, the FAA stated the urgency of the "safety and security objectives" of the NPRM were such that any delay caused by a comment period extension would be inappropriate, citing "public safety and national security concerns."

The denial letter states that RID "fosters accountability of the operators and owners of unmanned aircraft systems, and improves the capabilities of the FAA and law enforcement to address safety and investigate and mitigate careless, hazardous, and noncompliant operations." The letter, like many parts of the NPRM, does not distinguish between traditional modeling and other UAS operations.

"We are taken aback by the strident tone of the FAA's letter," said Sean Elliott, EAA vice-president of advocacy and safety. "If the agency does not act carefully and deliberately on this NPRM, it could forever jeopardize the freedoms enjoyed by countless modelers, who represent a significant pathway into manned aviation."

The NPRM has been one of the FAA's most controversial in recent memory, garnering more than 7,000 comments less than 30 days into the comment period. With no extension granted, the comment period ends March 2.

Despite the lack of a comment period extension, EAA will soon submit thorough feedback regarding the NPRM and will provide members with talking points for creating their own comments as soon as possible.

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