On December 26th, 2019, the FAA released its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking setting standards and requirements for all small UAS/model aircraft/quadcopters flown in the U.S. The FAA has opened up a 60-day period during which members of the public may file comments about the proposal. We ave until
To learn about the proposal, go here and click on the proceeding title.
On the next page you can access the NPRM document and supporting documents. You may also click on Comment Now! to submit your own comments. You may also upload a Word document file, if you wish.
Note that the NPRM is 319 pages long and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of pages of supporting documents. This is a very complex rulemaking and the FAA has made it difficult for the general public to understand the details – we do not have teams of lawyers, engineers and other staff to go through all this.
How This Process Works
The Administrative Procedures Act requires that new proposed rules be posted to the public and the public be given an opportunity to comment on those rules. Unfortunately, the law does not require the agencies to listen to that feedback; it only requires collection of the feedback. An agency could, if it wished, accept the public’s comments, ignore them and issue its final rule. In practice, that does not normally happen.
Instead, the agency will analyze and remove duplicate filings, form letters and so on. Possibly they will be “counted” but the specific points raised are only counted once.
Agency staff will then begin reading the comments and identifying each unique issue. If dozens of people identify the same issues, then this is coalesced into a single issue point.
Once they have collected all of the issues raised, the FAA will proceed to interpret the issues and determine how to modify the proposed rule.
Once this lengthy process is completed, the FAA will issue its final rulemaking. In that document, they will list each of the key issues raised and explain how the resolved or did not resolve the points raised.
Good Comments / Bad Comments
The best comments are those that identify specific issues, explain the problems, provide facts and logic to back up your discussion, and suggest recommended alternatives.
The worst comments are those that rant and whine or which just copy form letters. These comments may be ignored by the FAA.