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FAA's Statement On The GPS Requirement For Remote ID

By: Richard J. Gross
Updated On: August 4, 2022

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has clarified that aircraft equipped with remote identification (Remote ID) must be able to transmit their GPS location as part of the Remote ID signal. This clarification comes in response to concerns that some aircraft might not be able to comply with the requirement.

The FAA's new rule on Remote ID, which was published in the Federal Register on November 29, 2019, requires aircraft to be equipped with a remote identification system that can transmit their location, altitude, speed, and direction to a Remote ID service provider. The purpose of the rule is to help the FAA identify and track drones that are operating illegally or pose a safety hazard.

Previously, the FAA had indicated that aircraft would only need to be able to transmit their GPS location if they were equipped with an automated dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) system. However, the agency has now clarified that all aircraft equipped with Remote ID must be able to transmit their GPS location.

This article will discuss the implications of this change and what it means for aircraft owners and operators.

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What is Remote ID?

The FAA considers the remote ID to be an important step in developing an autonomous traffic control system, similar to a "digital license plate" for drones. It is a method for concerned authorities to identify a drone, even if they are not directly involved in the drone's operations.

GPS Requirement For Remote Id

The remote ID is a system that allows the FAA to identify and track drones that are operating illegally or pose a safety hazard. The system consists of two parts: an aircraft-mounted remote identification system and a ground-based remote identification service provider.

The remote identification system transmits the aircraft's location, altitude, speed, and direction to the remote identification service provider. The service provider then makes this information available to law enforcement, security agencies, and other concerned parties.

The Need For GPS And Its Obstacles

The new rule on Remote ID has been criticized by some who argue that it will be difficult for aircraft without ADS-B to comply with the GPS requirement. In particular, critics have raised concerns that aircraft without ADS-B will need to install a new GPS receiver, which could be expensive and time-consuming.

The FAA has responded to these concerns by clarifying that aircraft without ADS-B will only need to install a GPS receiver if they are not already required to have one.

The agency has also indicated that it is working on a process for aircraft owners to appeal the GPS requirement if they can demonstrate that it would be difficult or impossible for them to comply.

What Is In The New Statement of Policy?

On November 22, 2021, the FAA issued a Statement of Policy on the use of remote identification systems. The statement contains three main provisions:

GPS Requirement For Remote Id
  • The FAA clarified that all aircraft that are required to be equipped with Remote ID must be able to transmit their GPS location. Previously, the agency had indicated that only aircraft with ADS-B would need to have this capability.
  • The FAA indicated that it is working on a process for aircraft owners to appeal the GPS requirement if they can demonstrate that it would be difficult or impossible for them to comply.
  • The FAA reaffirmed its commitment to working with industry and other stakeholders to develop standards for Remote ID systems.

The statement is significant because it provides more information on the agency's plans for the implementation of the Remote ID rule. In particular, the statement clarifies that all aircraft that are required to be equipped with Remote ID must be able to transmit their GPS location.

This clarification is significant because it means that all aircraft that are required to be equipped with Remote ID will need to have a GPS receiver on board. Previously, only aircraft that were already required to have ADS-B would need to have a GPS receiver.

The statement also indicates that the FAA is working on a process for aircraft owners to appeal the GPS requirement if they can demonstrate that it would be difficult or impossible for them to comply. This is significant because it shows that the agency is aware of the concerns that have been raised about the GPS requirement and are working to address them.

Finally, the statement reaffirms the FAA's commitment to working with industry and other stakeholders to develop standards for Remote ID systems. This is significant because it shows that the agency is open to working with stakeholders on this issue.

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What is WAAS?

WAAS is the Wide Area Augmentation System. It is a GPS-based navigation system that provides improved accuracy and reliability for aircraft. WAAS is not required for Remote ID, but it is required for ADS-B.

What is WAAS? GPS Requirement For Remote Id

WAAS relies on a network of ground-based reference stations as well as geostationary satellites to function. Ground-based reference stations monitor variations in GPS satellite signals caused by satellite orbit errors or ionospheric disturbances.

These observations are subsequently sent as "correction messages" to geostationary satellites, allowing GPS signals to be corrected for increased accuracy.

WAAS receivers are not particularly different from regular GPS receivers in terms of hardware. Their firmware, on the other hand, has been substantially updated to receive signals from WAAS satellites and compute for GPS signal corrections.

WAAS is the most used system in the aviation industry. They're still uncommon, and they're a lot more expensive than regular GPS receivers.

What impact will this have on the installation of Remote ID?

Compliance with Remote ID is becoming more difficult for both drone manufacturers and pilots, as the FAA appears to be pressing down on the requirement to maintain a 15-foot vertical accuracy.

What is WAAS?

Currently, either a built-in GPS function or the GPS receiver of the mobile device connected to the controller determines the position of the control station. This relies on conventional GPS, which we all know isn't accurate enough to meet Remote ID requirements.

This means that if you don't have a WAAS-enabled GPS receiver, you might not be able to comply with the FAA's Remote ID rule. This could have a significant impact on the implementation of Remote ID, as it would make it more difficult for pilots to comply with the rule.

The good news is that the FAA is aware of this issue and is working with stakeholders to develop standards for Remote ID systems. This shows that the agency is open to working with stakeholders on this issue.

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Conclusion

The FAA's statement on the GPS requirement for Remote ID is significant because it provides more information on the agency's plans for the implementation of the Remote ID rule.

In particular, the statement clarifies that all aircraft that are required to be equipped with Remote ID must be able to transmit their GPS location. This clarification is significant because it means that all aircraft that are required to have ADS-B will also need to have a GPS receiver on board.

The statement also indicates that the FAA is working on a process for aircraft owners to appeal the GPS requirement if they can demonstrate that it would be difficult or impossible for them to comply.

This is significant because it shows that the agency is aware of the concerns that have been raised about the GPS requirement and are working to address them.

Finally, the statement reaffirms the FAA's commitment to working with industry and other stakeholders to develop standards for Remote ID systems.

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Richard J. Gross

Hi, my name is Richard J. Gross and I’m a full-time Airbus pilot and commercial drone business owner. I got into drones in 2015 when I started doing aerial photography for real estate companies. I had no idea what I was getting into at the time, but it turns out that police were called on me shortly after I started flying. They didn’t like me flying my drone near people, so they asked me to come train their officers on the rules and regulations for drones. After that, I decided to start my own drone business and teach others about the safe and responsible use of drones.

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