New Draft Drone Laws for France Require Remote ID And Signal
The French Federation of Aeromodelism (FFAM) has published 3 draft texts corresponding to the decrees and decrees of application of the so-called “drones” law of October 2016. Currently due for consultation by the State authorities, they are not yet definitive, but they give a good idea of what drone pilots can look forward to.
The main focus of the new draft decree is ensuring the ability of authorities to remotely identify UAVs via “electronic or digital signaling”. They must also be able to differentiate an unmanned aircraft from an inhabited aircraft. The draft publication has been issued in three parts (1, 2, and 3), and concerns itself with the type of device, how it would be implemented and the types of data that must be transmitted by the device.
This would be done using a device that “may be integrated or not integrated with the aircraft”. In the case of a non-integrated device, “it can be used on multiple aircraft of identical mass range belonging to the same owner”. In other words, it can be included in the drone by its manufacturer, or added by the pilot. In the second case, it may be removable, allowing it to be placed on board several machines – this in itself sounds problematic.
The device would be programmed during its production, with no native solution that would allow a modification of its settings by a third party”. The manufacturer of the device must ensure “the uniqueness of the identification number”.
The device must remotely transmit the following data:
- Identification number of the reporting device;
- Geographical position and altitude;
- The date and time of the position;
- The coordinates of the position of the take-off point of the aircraft;
- The road and the speed of the device.
This would be transmitted by 802.11N WiFi at 2.4 GHz, in Ad-Hoc mode, in a single frame, unencrypted, sent every 3 seconds and every 30 meters when there is displacement.
As for the signalling light, it must be:
- Visible at night by an observer on the ground, up to a maximum height of 150 metres and in a radius of at least 150 meters;
- Flashing according to the code U in Morse: two short flashes then a long flash;
- Of a different color from those defined for air navigation.
The use of green, red and white colors is therefore prohibited.
If the new laws are passed, pilots who fly their drones without the electronic ID or signalling light would be subject to a maximum €750 fine. Issuing an electronic report that does not correspond to the device would attract a maximum of €1500 fine (or €3500 in cases of reoffence).
The date for compliance is expected to take place when the laws are passed before July 1, 2018. However the fines will be pronounced only from January 1, 2019. This period of 6 months is undoubtedly that estimated by the State for pilots to comply.
In the meantime, it is likely that the leisure market will be affected, if enthusiasts turn to lightweight devices which are under the current mass threshold, which is 800 grams. This means that many smaller consumer drones such as DJI Spark, and the foldable Mavic series, will not be affected.
Neither will devices used for leisure and competition purposes be affected, if they are affiliated with a federation approved by the Ministry of Sports, on a field with a location of activity. The requirement for identification also does not apply in enclosed and covered areas, nor to devices operated by the State (customs, public security, civil security, police).