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Airports and Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Volume 1: Managing and Engaging Stakeholders on UAS in the Vicinity of Airports

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The introduction of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) has presented a wide range of new safety, economic, operational, regulatory, community, environmental, and infrastructure challenges to airports and the National Airspace System. These risks are further complicated by the dynamic and shifting nature of UAS technologies.

The pre-publication draft of ACRP Research Report 212: Airports and Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Volume 1: Managing and Engaging Stakeholders on UAS in the Vicinity of Airports provides guidance for airport operators and managers to interact with UAS operations in the vicinity of airports. The demand for commercial UAS may increase significantly once advanced UAS operations—including beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations, operations over people, and operations of multiple UAS by one pilot—are allowed through broader regulatory frameworks.

Understanding the nature of UAS operations, platforms, and applications is a topic of interest at most, if not all, airports. Currently, federal regulations allow broad commercial use of UAS in the United States for the first time. However, UAS operations directly over people are still prohibited unless the operator has received a waiver or other approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The activities of small UAS (those weighing less than 55 pounds) may take many forms, including multi-rotor, fixed wing, and hybrid vertical take-off and landing with fixed-wing forward flight vehicles. Some UAS operations near airports will require the ability to fly over populated areas and therefore will require waivers to allow operations over people.

As a part of managing UAS operations, it will be important for airport operators to understand the regulatory requirements and framework as well as to have the ability to obtain waivers and exemptions. This guidebook describes the regulatory frameworks that currently exist so that airport managers and operators will be in a better position to interact and guide UAS users who fly in their vicinity.

Other Resources:

Volume 2: Incorporating UAS into Airport Infrastructure—Planning Guidebook provides planning, operational, and infrastructure guidance to safely integrate existing and anticipated UAS operations into an airport environment.

Volume 3: Potential Use of UAS by Airport Operators provides airports with resources to appropriately integrate UAS missions as part of their standard operations.

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Suggested Citation

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Airports and Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Volume 1: Managing and Engaging Stakeholders on UAS in the Vicinity of Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25599.

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Publication Info

115 pages | 8.5 x 11
DOI: https://doi.org/10.17226/25599
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