Requiring the installation of a geo-fencing system capable of keeping small unmanned aircraft out of restricted and prohibited airspace would present a number of technical hurdles. Specifically, there are currently no design or performance standards for geo-fencing equipment to ensure safe and reliable integration into the NAS. Without appropriate geo-fencing design and performance standards, the industry and the FAA lack the data necessary to assess the accuracy and reliability of geo-fencing equipment and therefore, the FAA cannot promulgate geo-fencing equipment design requirements (i.e., airworthiness certification).
Also, geo-fencing equipment integrated on small UAS would require an evolving database of terrain and obstacle updates, restricted and special use airspace, Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs), and Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs). The FAA is unaware of a database that provides this full capability and therefore cannot accurately determine the effort to develop and maintain it for remote pilots. The FAA also does not have information on how frequently updates to the onboard small UAS geo-fence database would be required to maintain safe and reliable operation in the NAS.
Under the NPRM, this area of knowledge would also be included in the recurrent knowledge test because: (1) airspace that the airman is familiar with could become reclassified over time; (2) the location of existing flight restrictions could change over time; and (3) some airmen may not regularly encounter these issues in their operations. For the reasons discussed below, this rule will include knowledge of airspace classification and operating requirements and knowledge of flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation as an area of knowledge tested on both the initial and recurrent knowledge tests.
In response to Aerius, the FAA notes that special-use airspace will be covered under knowledge of flight restrictions, which will determine the test taker’s knowledge of regulatory restrictions on small UAS flight imposed through means such as prohibited airspace or a TFR. Right-of-way rules, visual scanning, and accident reporting will be covered by the knowledge area of regulations applicable to small UAS operations because all of these concepts are codified in the operational regulations of part 107. Aeromedical factors will not specifically be included on the knowledge test, but the FAA may publish further guidance to remote pilots on topics such as aeromedical factors and visual scanning techniques.