[Federal Register Volume 88, Number 101 (Thursday, May 25, 2023)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 33855-33857]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2023-11024]



Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Parts 61, 91, 107, and 135

[Docket No.: FAA-2023-1256]

UAS Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight Operations

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Request for comment.


SUMMARY: As the FAA reviews the recommendations of the UAS Beyond 
Visual Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) Operations Aviation Rulemaking Committee 
(ARC), the FAA is considering the expansion of BVLOS operations in 
certain operating environments with the appropriate safety mitigations 
to ensure no adverse safety impact. The FAA is seeking comment to 
gather additional technical input on key concepts and potential 
approaches that the FAA is contemplating for use in future exemptions.

DATES: Comments on this petition must identify the petition docket 
number and must be received on or before June 14, 2023.

ADDRESSES: Send comments identified by docket number FAA-2023-1256 
using any of the following methods:

[[Page 33856]]

     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for sending your 
comments electronically.
     Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30; U.S. 
Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W12-140, 
West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket 
Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 
New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001, between 9 a.m. and 5 
p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at (202) 493-2251.
    Privacy: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments 
from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT posts 
these comments, without edit, including any personal information the 
commenter provides, to http://www.regulations.gov, as described in the 
system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at 
    Docket: Background documents or comments received may be read at 
http://www.regulations.gov at any time. Follow the online instructions 
for accessing the docket or go to the Docket Operations in Room W12-140 
of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, 
Washington, DC 20590-0001, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dan Ngo, 202-267-9677, Office of 
Rulemaking, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue 
SW, Washington, DC 20591.



    In March 2022, the UAS Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) 
Operations Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) issued its final report, 
which included a comprehensive set of recommendations for 
implementation to support expanded unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) 
operations, such as linear infrastructure and package delivery. The FAA 
recognizes BVLOS operations provide significant safety, societal, and 
economic advantages and benefits. Several petitioners have proposed 
various methods to safely operate UAS BVLOS under petitions for 
exemptions. Along those lines, the FAA has received several petitions 
for exemptions to conduct several types of BVLOS operations, which the 
FAA is looking to leverage in enabling the next phase of BVLOS 
operations. The FAA will be separately publishing summaries in the 
Federal Register for the individual petitions on the affected projects 
and seeking comments on each of those petitions for exemption. In this 
document, the FAA seeks public comments that address how advances in 
technology, standards, and operational strategies to safely demonstrate 
UAS BVLOS operations can be applied without adversely affecting safety.
    Specific questions are included in this request for comments 
immediately following the discussion of the relevant issues. The FAA 
asks that commenters provide as much information as possible on any 
questions of interest to the commenter. Whenever possible, please 
provide citations and copies of any relevant studies or reports on 
which you rely, including cost data as well as any additional data 
which supports your comment. It is also helpful to explain the basis 
and reasoning underlying your comment. Each commenting party should 
include the identifying number of the specific question(s) to which it 
is responding.

A. Detect and Avoid Systems Performance Standards

    The FAA recognizes that several industry standards have been 
published that may be useful in defining the performance of Detect and 
Avoid (DAA) systems, a major component of BVLOS operations. However, 
any single standard may not be fully appropriate for the uses intended 
by applicants operating at and below 400 feet above ground level (AGL). 
Therefore, the FAA is reviewing these standards, as well as ways for 
operators to demonstrate that their DAA system meets specific 
requirements in a combination of published standards. These include:
    1. ASTM F3442/F3442M-23, Standard Specification for Detect and 
Avoid System Performance Requirements, dated February 28, 2023.
    2. RTCA DO-381, Minimum Operational Performance Standards (MOPS) 
for Ground Based Surveillance Systems (GBSS) for Traffic Surveillance, 
dated March 26, 2020.
    3. RTCA DO-365C, Minimum Operational Performance Standards (MOPS) 
for Detect and Avoid (DAA) Systems, dated September 15, 2022.
    4. RTCA DO-396, Minimum Operational Performance Standards for 
Airborne Collision Avoidance System sXu (ACAS sXu), dated December 15, 
     A1. In which circumstances or operating environments 
should the FAA allow this combination approach?
     A2. Conversely, are there circumstances or operating 
environments where no combination of current standards would provide an 
acceptable level of safety?

B. Declarations of Compliance for Detect and Avoid

    As the FAA is contemplating operations beyond visual line of sight, 
the FAA is considering allowing operators to declare that they are 
utilizing DAA systems that meet the DAA standard(s) referenced above.
     B1. In which circumstances or operating environments 
should the FAA allow this declaration approach? What supporting 
documentation or data should the FAA require prior to authorization to 
operating under an exemption?
     B2. Conversely, are there circumstances or operating 
environments in which the FAA should require operators to submit 
details of their DAA system for approval and validation prior to 

C. Well-Clear Boundary

    ASTM F3442/F3442M-23, Standard Specification for Detect and Avoid 
System Performance Requirements, referenced previously, suggests 
maintaining a horizontal distance of 2,000 feet and a vertical distance 
of 250 feet between a small UAS and crewed aircraft, described as a 
``hockey-puck-shaped'' area of airspace surrounding the small UAS.
     C1. In which circumstances or operating environments would 
this standard be appropriate?
     C2. If not this standard, what well-clear boundary should 
the FAA consider for operations under an exemption, and under what 
circumstances or operating environments?

D. DAA Systems That Include Third-Party Services/Associated Elements 

    There are numerous technologies and architectures that may be 
suitable when implementing DAA solutions. Some systems may have sensors 
and DAA logic that are fully contained onboard the aircraft with 
information relayed to the pilot control station. A remote pilot may be 
involved in executing avoidance maneuvers, or may monitor the 
aircraft's automated response. Other systems may rely on ground-based 
sensors that are connected to, but distinct from, the UA and its 
control station. Yet other DAA systems may use a combination of those 

[[Page 33857]]

    Under 14 CFR 1.1, a UAS is defined as the UA and its associated 
elements necessary to support the safe flight of the UA. However, in 
various petitions for exemptions, the FAA has understood some DAA 
system components are intended to be reused by multiple operators. 
These components are generally not directly controlled by either the 
UAS manufacturer or the operator; rather, they are controlled by a 
third-party service provider. Third-party services may directly support 
the DAA solution by, for example, detecting crewed aircraft in a 
defined geographic region, or by relaying such information through a 
managed command and control (C2) link on behalf of multiple operators.
    Therefore, the FAA is considering new ways to evaluate and 
recognize these components as distinct elements. Additionally, section 
377 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (Pub. L. 115-254) directs 
the Administrator to ``determine if certain UTM [Unmanned Aircraft 
Systems Traffic Management] services may operate safely in the national 
airspace system before completion of the implementation plan required 
by Section 376.''
     D1. The FAA is considering separating the UTM service 
provider approval from the exemption for relief from parts 91 and 61. 
In order to operate, the UTM service provider would need to receive its 
approval, and the applicant's exemption would be contingent on use of 
an approved service. Other operators seeking to use that same service 
would present their specific use case with the approved UTM service. 
Should the FAA separate the approval of the UTM service provider from 
the exemption? Why or why not?
     D2. Conversely, the FAA is also considering including the 
approval of the UTM service within the exemption, similar to how the 
FAA has implemented 49 U.S.C. 44807 to date. Should the FAA consolidate 
these approvals? Why or why not?

E. Use of UTM Services for Strategic Deconfliction

    At present, the FAA has not determined an acceptable level of risk 
for collision between two UA. However, FAA is concerned that with 
increasing numbers of BVLOS UAS operations, two UA could collide, 
resulting in falling debris that could cause property damage, injuries, 
or fatalities to non-participants on the ground.
     E1. One proposal the FAA is considering would be to 
require all BVLOS operations in controlled airspace or within the 
lateral limits of a Mode C Veil under an exemption to use a strategic 
deconfliction and conformance monitoring capability (both terms as 
described in FAA's UTM Concept of Operations v2.0). This could be 
fulfilled if the operator provisions their own capability that meets 
the requirements of a published standard; or by using a UTM service. 
Should the FAA impose this requirement? Why or why not?
     E2. Alternatively, the FAA is considering requiring all 
BVLOS operations under an exemption, including in Class G airspace, to 
use a strategic deconfliction and conformance monitoring capability. 
Should the FAA impose this requirement? Why or why not?
     E3. The FAA is aware of one published standard that could 
be used to meet a requirement to have a strategic deconfliction and 
conformance monitoring capability. It is referenced as ASTM F3548-21, 
Standard Specification for UAS Traffic Management (UTM) UAS Service 
Supplier (USS) Interoperability, dated March 8, 2022. What alternative 
means exist, preferably using published standards, that the FAA should 
consider? What evidence exists for the safety benefit and operational 
efficiency of any alternative means?

F. Detect and Avoid Between Unmanned Aircraft

    FAA views strategic deconfliction and conformance monitoring as two 
layers of a new, conceptual conflict management strategy for UAS. The 
FAA is also considering requiring a third layer, in the form of detect-
and-avoid between UA, leveraging some form of vehicle-to-vehicle 
communications method.
     F1. One proposal would be to use the ACAS sXu standard 
(RTCA DO-396). What communications method should be used in conjunction 
with this approach? Should the FAA impose this requirement, including 
use of a specific communications method? Why or why not?
     F2. What evidence exists that the requirement in the above 
question would sufficiently manage the risk of collision between UA? 
Should such a requirement be in addition to, or in lieu of, any 
requirement to use strategic deconfliction and conformance monitoring?
     F3. If the FAA imposes a requirement for UA-to-UA DAA, 
should it also prescribe technical requirements to ensure 
interoperability of the solution across all BVLOS UAS? Why or why not?

G. Beyond Visual Line of Sight Shielded Operations

    The BVLOS ARC report proposed labeling certain type of BVLOS 
operations as shielded operations. These operations would occur in a 
shielded area defined by the ARC as ``a volume of airspace that 
includes 100' above the vertical extent of an obstacle or critical 
infrastructure and is within 100 feet of the lateral extent of the same 
obstacle or critical infrastructure as defined in 42 U.S.C. 5195(c).'' 
Furthermore, the ARC recommended that shielded operations be given 
right-of-way privileges based on the unique nature of those operations 
and the limited likelihood of crewed aircraft operations in the 
specified areas.
    The FAA is considering a similar framework based on safety analysis 
and some ability to detect and avoid crewed aircraft operations.
     G1. In which circumstances or operating environments 
should the FAA authorize shielded operations? The 42 U.S.C. 5195(c) 
definition of critical infrastructure has a broad applicability. Should 
the FAA further limit or expand the applicability?
     G2. Conversely, are there circumstances or operating 
environments in which the FAA should not authorize shielded operations?
     G3. The ARC report describes the appropriate offset as 
100' above, and 100' lateral. Is this the appropriate standard? Why or 
why not? If not, what other standard should be used, and what evidence 
exists for the appropriateness and safety of an alternative standard?
     G4. What type of notification (e.g., email/phone call, web 
portal, mobile phone application using UTM services, etc.) should 
operators conducting BVLOS shielded operations provide to the local 
aviation communities?

    Issued in Washington, DC.
David H. Boulter,
Acting Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety.
[FR Doc. 2023-11024 Filed 5-23-23; 11:15 am]