FAA considering new rules for remote pilots

It's a brilliant afternoon on the hills of Butler Park, the perfect weather for some aerial photography. "You want the beautiful cinematic shots and that's why we come here to Butler Park," Robert Youens with Camera Wings aerial photography explains. 

Robert Youens has been getting those shots for more than a decade

"Oh god, when we first started doing this we used helicopters and then we used remote helicopters with no GPS or anything."

Now, he has all that and the attention of a passing cyclist. "Are these as easy as I think they are?"

Robert tells him flying is easy, but the FAA is making it harder. "Well what they're getting ready to do is the remote-id regulations, every aircraft over .5 pounds is going to have to have a transmitter the FAA can pick up and an internet connection from a third-party vendor."

Those connections currently don't exist. "The actual implementation of the remote-id requirements is going to take a while," said Gabriel Cox, a drone system architect. 

Despite that, the FAA's public comment period on the proposed new rules is almost over. Remote-id comments end March 2nd.

"This is a solution for a problem that doesn't exist,"  according to Robert Youens. "They're dropping solutions on us that are designed for government contractors and Amazon that will make it impossible for me to work."

Out at Hill Country Aero Modelers, it's less work and more play. "There you are, basking in your glory, it's exciting you know whenever you get a new person out there on the buddy box you just see a smile on their face."

But when asked about the new FAA rules, Robert Youens' smile fades. "Why do they need to know where this guy is right now? This guy is 100 feet off the ground right over our field."

While the proposed new rules make some exemptions for fields like this one, Youens says there's a catch. "One of the FAA's proposals is there will be no new flying fields. If a field is lost it doesn't get replaced."

If that happens, Youens says his generation could be the last to enjoy the thrill of remote flight. "You know it would be like cutting off an arm I mean you're going to lose something very major in your life if this goes away."