As announced in email and on our Facebook group, our club’s FRIA (Federally Recognized Identification Area) application was approved on August 21, 2023!
Below are some frequently asked questions and answers regarding FRIA and Remote ID.
An image of the zone is published on our website on the camera page toward the bottom in the “TRUST, FAA Registration, and FRIA Links” section: https://www.cnystars.com/images/stars-fria-zone.jpg.
It is roughly 0.7 miles wide along the flight line and 0.35 miles deep to the north from the flight line. FRIA zones do not imply any altitude restriction, however we are in a standard 400 FT AGL altitude zone. The exception to this is during an event that has a NOTAM and AMA Altitude Waiver issued, as we had during the 2023 Airshow.
FRIAs expire every 4 years. Renewal has to be filed no fewer than 120 days prior to the expiration date. AMA, as our CBO and administrator for all AMA club FRIAs, will track and submit that renewal when the time comes in 2027.
Our club is one of over 965 AMA sites that have been approved so far, as of 9/11/2023, out of a total of 1415 FRIA applications the AMA has submitted on behalf of clubs. 271 AMA sites, however, have been denied FRIA status, leaving around 179 that remain to be evaluated. In addition to the applications pending review and the denied sites that are resubmitting applications, there likely are clubs that have not yet submitted secondary sites or even their primary sites for FRIA status.
So far the FAA, nor the AMA, has published a map of FRIAs. The FAA does have a mandate to do so, but they are concentrating on processing applications first. The AMA has stated they will be publishing FRIA sites as part of the club finder feature on the AMA website, but they have not yet since they’re still focused on processing applications and resubmitting denied applications.
“Safety” is the primary reason being given by the FAA for denials so far. In some cases the safety concern is evident and simple boundary redraw for the FRIA zone – usually to work around dwellings, buildings, or public roadways – is all that’s required to get an approval. But in some cases it is less clear and the FAA hasn’t been forthcoming with a policy or rule that’s being violated. This is concerning since many of these sites are long established clubs with no history of safety problems. AMA has been trying to work with the FAA on this problem, but is also working on a congressional approach to set a clear policy for what constitutes a valid safety concern when denying these applications.
A FRIA is one form of exemption for people flying RC models from having to broadcast Remote ID signals and means that when people fly at our club field, they do not need to run Remote ID in their models. This goes for club members, guests, and those flying at our events – most everyone.
There is one exception to the rule saying when flying at a FRIA you do not need to use Remote ID: if you are flying a model that has Remote ID built into it from the factory, such as a DJI drone that came as a complete ready to fly system with transmitter, batteries, and the drone itself, you still have to transmit Remote ID while flying at a FRIA.
September 13, 2023 Update: FAA has extended the effective date for Remote ID compliance for flyers out to March 16, 2024.
Full details here: https://www.faa.gov/newsroom/faa-extends-remote-id-enforcement-date-six-months
Remote ID rules go into effect for recreational flyers starting on
September 16,2023 March 16, 2024. When you’re flying at a non-FRIA
site you will need to have Remote ID broadcasting from your model.
There are several options available to you (admittedly many are in pre-order or backorder) for Remote ID broadcast modules. Some are smaller and lighter than others. Some are less expensive than others. Some come in a case and others are bare PCB boards. Some have batteries built-in, others need an external power source. Some have antennas built in, others require external antennas, while others require being plugged into a compatible device that provides GPS information to the Remote ID module.
AMA has produced a PDF file with links to many options, along with some pertinent information about them: AMA Remote ID Module Status Report - Summer 2023. If you're looking for a more in-depth analysis there is a more complete version of that report here.
The modules range in price from $70 (Spektrum SkyID available for discount pricing through 10/21 from Horizon Hobby, it goes up to $99.99 after that introductory period) to one that costs over $300 from Zephyr Systems, and many in between. As an example of in between, I have two modules called the Dronetag Basic Solution from a company in the Czech Republic that cost $89 each. These are among the lightest RemoteID modules available.
Be aware that some of the cheapest solutions you will see advertised, such as the $49 Dronetag DRI unit, only work in conjunction with a compatible GPS data source. They achieve their low cost by being an add-on to some other unit that already has the GPS hardware. And some of the more expensive and larger/heavier units contain built-in batteries so as to be totally self-contained.
Some clubs do opt to enforce certain regulations and laws on members, often as a result of being required to by a long term fixed flying site agreement with the FAA or an agreement with a site owner (military, fed/state/local govt). However, as with the TRUST test and FAA registration numbers, the STARS club does not act as an enforcer of these laws/regulations. It is up to every member to comply with the laws and regs on their own. Keep in mind that as an AMA member subject to the AMA code of conduct you have agreed to comply with the relevant regulations and laws, including while flying at non-AMA club sites.
That said, since we are now an approved FRIA site, there is no compliance issue with regard to Remote ID for our members while flying at the club. So even if we were going to, there is nothing to enforce at the club with regard to Remote ID.
Last Updated: September 14, 2023
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