What is Section 2209 – and Why is the Drone Industry Urging the FAA to Implement it as Fast as Possible?

What is Section 2209 – and Why is the Drone Industry Urging the FAA to Implement it as Fast as Possible?

what is section 2209 critical infrastructureNews and Commentary. What is Section 2209 of the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 – and why is it so vital to the drone business that stakeholders are urging the FAA to implement it as quickly as attainable?

What is Section 2209?

Simply, Section 2209 requires the FAA to determine outlined boundaries defending “vital infrastructure” from unauthorized drones.  In actuality, it’s a fancy downside. The FAA should outline the websites that are prohibited to drones – presumably working with state and native governements to resolve which locations ought to be designated as “fastened web site amenities.”  From oil refineries to amusement parks, the Act additionally permits for “different places that warrant such restrictions,” which leaves the class of fastened websites large open to interpretation.

From H.R. 636, the FAA Extension, Safety and Security Act of 2016:

(Sec. 2209) DOT shall set up procedures for candidates to petition the FAA to ban or limit the operation of drones in shut proximity to a hard and fast web site facility (an affirmative designation).

A “fastened web site facility” is taken into account to be:

  • vital infrastructure, resembling power manufacturing, transmission, and distribution amenities and tools;
  • oil refineries and chemical amenities;
  • amusement parks; and
  • different places that warrant such restrictions.

The FAA shall publish designations on a public web site.

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 gave the FAA a deadline for implementing Section 2209, one which has not been met.  According to the Reauthorization Act, the FAA was required to publish a discover of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on Section 2209 by March 31, 2019: the ultimate rule was due 12 months after publication of the NPRM.  To date, no NPRM on Section 2209 has been issued.

Drone Industry Stakeholders Urge the FAA to Act

In the final week, two main coalitions have despatched letter to FAA Chief Admistrator Steve Dickson, urging him to behave on Section 2209 as shortly as attainable.   “The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the Commercial Drone Alliance, the Consumer Technology Association, and the Small UAV Coalition are urging the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to publish a proposed rule to determine a course of to designate airspace above and round fixed-site vital infrastructure amenities,” writes AUVSI (copy of the letter available here.). The U.S. Chamber of Commerce group additionally printed a letter to the FAA, signed by a big record of drone and demanding infrastructure stakeholders (see signatories and a copy of the letter here.)

Section 2209 is vital to the business drone business, as a result of with no system to outline “fastened websites” on the federal stage, states and native governments have stepped in to outline their very own vital websites as off limits to drones.  Without definition on the federal stage, drone operators might not have a central supply of knowledge that defines the websites and helps them to respect airspace restrictions.  If websites should not outlined on the federal stage, drone operators don’t have any environment friendly manner of making use of for an exception to the restrictions when required for public security, emergency, or legit business functions.

Who’s in Charge of the Airspace?

Failure to enact Section 2209 is not only about publishing a particular rule: it’s a failure of the FAA to firmly set up that they maintain sole authority to manage the nationwide airspace – and that’s a failure that might have long-reaching penalties.

As AUVSI and the opposite signatories wrote of their letter,

We help this rulemaking to guard vital infrastructure amenities from the danger that malicious, reckless, or unknowing UAS operations might pose, and in addition to make sure that it’s the federal authorities — not state or native governments — that controls the nationwide airspace. The delay in establishing a course of to designate airspace has left a vacuum that invitations state and native governments to enact restrictions on UAS operations above and close to quite a lot of buildings.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce letter echos these opinions, stating:

“In the absence of the required rulemaking, many states have enacted laws to guard vital infrastructure websites, leading to a patchwork of state legal guidelines that’s complicated for vital infrastructure stakeholders and the UAS business.”

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, an expert drone providers market, and a fascinated observer of the rising drone business and the regulatory atmosphere for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles targeted on the business drone area and is a global speaker and acknowledged determine within the business.  Miriam has a level from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of expertise in excessive tech gross sales and advertising for brand spanking new applied sciences.
For drone business consulting or writing, Email Miriam.

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