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Wed, Apr 01, 2020

FAA To Require Weather Briefings For All Drone Flights

Weather Info To Be Included In The B4UFly App

Aero-News April 1 Special Edition

The FAA has proposed a new rule that would require all drone pilots to obtain a weather briefing before conducting any flight.

The NPRM published April 1 in the Federal Register indicates that each drone pilot would have to be knowledgeable about local weather conditions before launching their drone. The briefings would be obtained through the B4UFly app available from the FAA.

“These people want to consider themselves pilots, so let them act like pilots,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson (pictured). “Every pilot knows that getting an up-to-date weather briefing is essential to safe operations. We’re treating drones as aircraft in every other respect, and this is just a natural extension of that mindset.”

The system would be tied to the aircraft’s Remote ID and geofencing software, and would not allow the drone to take off unless a current weather briefing had been obtained. The app would upload a code to the aircraft indicating that the requirement had been met.

The AMA immediately released a statement opposing the proposed rule. “Model airplane pilots know they shouldn’t fly in bad weather, and have been operating safely for decades,” AMA said in the statement. “Just because some of these quadcopter guys don’t have the sense to get in out of the rain doesn’t mean that someone flying a small model airplane shouldn’t be able to go out and fly like they always have.”

AUVSI president and CEO Brian Wynne said the association was “looking at the NPRM and would comment when appropriate”, but the organization was not completely opposed to the idea. “At first blush, it would seem that if you can see the drone, you can know the local weather, but when BVLOS becomes a reality, that dynamic will change,” Wynne said.

NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen said that the idea was sound. “Anything that advances safety as drones start using the NAS is probably a pretty good idea,” Bolen said. “If you want to be a pilot, you’ve got to understand the weather and how it affects your aircraft.”

The comment period will be open through April 1, 2021.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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