A draft programmatic environmental assessment (PEA) for FAA-recognized identification areas (FRIA) is available for public review and comment. An FRIA is a defined geographic area where uncrewed aircraft can be flown without remote identification equipment. The Draft PEA analyzes and discloses the potential environmental impacts associated with the establishment of FRIAs.
Based on the analysis of the PEA, the FAA has preliminarily determined there “will not be a significant impact to the human environment.” Therefore, the agency said an environmental impact statement will not be initiated at this time. The FAA intends for this PEA to be a framework that can be used for project-specific actions. If additional analysis is required, “environmental reviews will be conducted to supplement the analysis in this PEA.”
Under operations approved for FRIAs, both the unmanned aircraft and remote pilot must be located within the FRIA’s boundaries throughout the operation. In addition, the unmanned aircraft’s remote pilot must be able to see it at all times throughout the duration of the flight. Only FAA-recognized “community-based organizations” and educational institutions are eligible to request the establishment of an FRIA. Approval will be valid for 48 calendar months. Comments on the PEA are due by May 3.