BREAKING NEWS: FAA Releases BVLOS ARC Recommendations

BVLOS ARC recommendations FAA ARC BVLOS Flight NOTAM name change new LAANC providersThe FAA has published the Advisory Rulemaking Committee (ARC) recommendations for rulemaking on flight beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS).  The full, 222 page report can be read here.

FAA published the report last night.  The drone industry has been expecting news on a proposed rulemaking for several months, as Administrator Steve Dickson promised  publication “sometime before the end of the year” in his address at a drone conference earlier this year.

BVLOS ARC Recommendations

We’re still unpacking the full report, and comments from stakeholders have begun to come in.  In summary, however, the report makes five key recommendations for a BVLOS flight rule.

1. Take a “Risk-Based” approach to regulation.

In terms of key recommendations, the ARC recommends that the FAA set an acceptable level of risk (ALR) for UAS that is consistent across all types of operations being performed. The ARC envisions that this approach will allow the FAA to adopt a common and consistent set of regulations and guidance, giving operators the flexibility to meet the ALR through qualitative or quantitative methods, or a hybrid approach.

2.  Allow Automated “See and Avoid” Tools

…the ARC recommends a series of modifications to the right of way rules in Low Altitude Shielded Areas (within 100’ of a structure or critical infrastructure as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 5195c) 2 and in Low Altitude Non-Shielded Areas (below 400’) to accommodate UA operations. Specifically, the ARC recommends several amendments to 91.113 to allow automatic means for see-and-avoid responsibility…

3.  Develop a new “BVLOS Rated”  Remote Pilot license 

…the ARC recommends an approach to operator qualification that would extend Part 107, Remote Pilot Certificate with Small UAS Rating, to cover topics associated with Extended Visual Line of Sight (EVLOS) and shielded UAS operations. The recommendation creates a new Remote Pilot certificate rating to cover BVLOS operations beyond the scope of the extended Part 107 rating.

4. Enable drones to be certified for BVLOS flight through an established process

…the ARC recommends that the FAA establish a new BVLOS Rule which includes a process for qualification of UA and UAS, applicable to aircraft up to 800,000 ft-lb of kinetic energy (in accordance with the Operation Risk Matrix).

5.  Allow 3rd party participation in BVLOS operations.

… the ARC recommends that the FAA adopt a non-mandatory regulatory scheme for third party services to be used in support of UAS BVLOS operations…

Jon Hegranes, Founder and CEO of Aloft Technologies, commented on the report publication.

“As a participant in the FAA rulemaking committee, Aloft welcomes today’s report from the FAA that establishes a basis for scaling uncrewed flight in the national airspace. Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations make practical use cases like drone delivery and urban air mobility a reality with a clear blueprint on how to operate safely. It’s our belief that BVLOS will ultimately rely on programmatic data and network remote ID to scale among enterprises and governments.”